Westwood One Trims Its Staff With Silver, Helton Exits


He’s been the host of the syndicated Country Countdown USA since its inception in 1992. His voice has been on Country radio stations including the former WMAQ-AM in Chicago, with a career that began in 1971. He was also the Country Editor of the former Radio & Records until its August 2006 acquisition for 23 years.

Now, the founder of trade newsletter Country Aircheck is seeking a new distributor for his weekly radio rundown of Country’s most popular songs — just one of several cuts seen on Thursday at Cumulus Media’s Westwood One national radio arm.

What’s next for Lon Helton? Speaking to All Access, the radio programming and music industry website founded by former colleague Joel Denver, Helton said, “We have had a great run of 30 years, and my deepest thanks to all of the stations and artists who have contributed to our success. Our longtime writer/producer George Achaves is out as well, and together we will keep the show going as we always have with a different Country star as a co-host each week. We are exploring other platforms and opportunities.”

Distribution will cease after the weekend of July 30-31.

Helton was named CMA National Personality of the Year in 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018, 2020 and 2021. In 2009, 2012, 2014, 2016, and 2018, he won that honor from the Academy of Country Music. He was inducted into the Country Radio DJ Hall of Fame in 2006 and is widely respected as country radio’s best-known country star interviewer.

Meanwhile, Radio Ink reports that Jack Silver has exited after a decade at Westwood One.

Silver served as PD for NBC Sports Radio and served as Operations Manager for Westwood One’s Culver City, Calif., Studios, overseeing the production crew for NFL, College Football and Basketball as well as music, talk shows and podcasts produced in the facility.

“I had a great run with an amazing company and was able to work with top tier talent and staff,” he said. “Now it’s on to a new challenge.”

Silver is widely known for his role as the top programmers for CBS Radio’s KLSX-FM in Los Angeles, which had The Howard Stern Show until his shift to SiriusXM and Tom Leykis in afternoons. Silver was in the PD chair from 1997-2009; KLSX suffered audience erosion with the shift from diary-based ratings methodology to the Portable People Meter by Arbitron.

Silver would later serve as the top programmer for Cumulus’ KABC-AM and formerly owned Rocker KLOS before joining WWO in August 2012.

Those aren’t the only departures coming as the second half of 2022 begins for America’s broadcast media companies. All Access reports that Cumulus SVP Music/Entertainment Doug Cohn and 20-year Cumulus VP of Label Relations John Kilgo are out.

EVP/Content Brian Philips explained to the publication that Cumulus’ plan is to merge two departmental positions into “a single pivotal new role, embracing our friends—artists, labels, management and touring. Our forthcoming new Head of Music Partnerships will report to me.”

Westwood One is also saying farewell to VP of Country Formats Nick Fox, who came on board in 2019 as PD/Country Formats and was elevated to the VP role in February. In the role, Fox directed all of the company’s Country formats, which include Mainstream Country, Hot Country, Classic Country, Real Country and Nash Icon.

Lastly, All Access reports that Affiliate Relations Manager for the 24/7 Formats at Westwood One, Dan Pearman, has also departed.