The veteran programmer who has overseen the on-air and the digital success of the highest billing radio station in the country is leaving WTOP/DC. In a letter to the WTOP staff, SVP and General Manager of WTOP, Joel Oxley, announced the decision not to renew Cantillo's contract just before noon Friday. Oxley told Radio Ink, "The decision was reached mutually by Laurie and me." Laurie Cantrillo confirmed to Radio Ink that Friday was her last day at WTOP, and said in with a short statement,"WTOP is in a great place with #1 ratings and exceeding revenue goals, and it's time for me to pursue some new opportunities. I have a screenplay in the works and am entertaining some digital media ventures. I'll keep you posted."
Changes in the WTOP newsroom include Mitchell Miller now in charge of the newsroom Monday through Friday until 10 A.M., Mike McMearty handling the newsroom duties mid-morning through late afternoon. Oxley told the WTOP staff that, "we are not going to be hiring a third News Director."
Cantillo joined WTOP in late 2011 following her position as PD of WABC/NY and Program Director of Oprah & Friends Radio, on Sirius/XM. Cantillo was named one of Radio Ink's "Most Influential Women in Radio" multiple times. Cantillo was brought in to replace the retiring Jim Farley, who had arguably put together one of the most well respected, forward thinking and fiscally solvent radio stations in the country.
Cantillo emailed the staff at WTOP to let them know she was exiting the property and about her future plans:
WTOP is exceeding 2015 revenue goals and according to the latest ratings we're the #1 radio station in Washington, DC, both 6+ and 25-54. Our anchors and reporters have never sounded better. Uniques and page views for WTOP.com are off the charts. We're on the brink of an exciting partnership with NBC4.
Morale is high: as high as the International Space Station, where we conducted a historic live interview this morning. It was electrifying!
We're on TOP in every respect, which makes this the right time for me to pursue my next adventure. I thank Joel and Jim and the amazing people at Hubbard for the opportunity to lead WTOP. There is no finer multimedia newsroom in America and I will miss seeing you every day. As Joel noted, our decision to part ways is mutual and we remain friends.
My immediate plan is to co-create a screenplay - based on Beau's book - and (finally) get around to writing my next book. Radio and digital media innovation will continue to be a big part of my life, so stay tuned!
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