An internal reorganization at a pair of Long Island's biggest radio stations has led to the departure of veteran DJ Ralph Tortora. In addition, another radio veteran and Long Islander, Kara Reifert, has departed WHLI/1100 AM, where she worked the afternoon slot. Tortora's exit from WBZO/MAX103.1 FM was first reported by RadioInsight.
The departures come in the midst of a historically challenging period for the radio industry nationwide. David Bevins, chief operating officer of Westport, Connecticut-based Connoisseur Media, which owns the stations involved in the reorganization, said Monday, "Due to the difficult economic situation out here right now and across the country we had to make tough decisions on consolidating," and called the change "a better alignment" for both stations.
Those changes effectively involved swapping program directors of WBZO-FM and WALK/97.5 FM: Patrick Shea, director of operations at WBZO and midday host went over to WALK (which he once programmed), where he replaced Tommy Conway who went to WBZO to host the afternoons. He replaces Tortora, 65, who had been in that role the past five years, and previously DJ'ed at Long Island stations WBAB/102.3 FM and WRCN/103.9 FM as well as a number of New York stations.
Reifert, who had been morning host at KJOY/98.3 FM before recently moving over to WHLI-AM, said via email, "after 10 years in Farmingdale [where the studio is based] on to the next chapter." Tortora could not be reached for comment.