LAURA VARNER NORMAN
“Pittsburgh’s home for hip-hop and hottest hits” is now without a general manager. After days of speculation and an exclusive report by the New Pittsburgh Courier on its Daily Digital last week, that WAMO General Manager Laura Varner Norman could soon be gone, it is now official.
Late last week, Norman, who was general manager of WAMO since its return to Pittsburgh in 2011 after being sold in 2009 to a Catholic broadcaster, was let go from her position.
The details of and reason for her departure are still unknown.
While several calls were made to Tim Martz of Martz Communications Group, the owner of WAMO, and Orlana Darkins Drewery, director of marketing and special events for WAMO100, for comments, both parties failed to respond.
It was last Thursday that the New Pittsburgh Courier broke the story about the possibility of a managerial change at the urban formatted station and by Friday Norman was no longer general manager. Although reports of the change were denied, information provided to the Courier told a different story.
According to an email received by the Courier, it was suggested that Gary Gunter, Radio One Baltimore general sales manager, would soon be moving to Pittsburgh to replace Norman.
“It is with very mixed emotions that I announce the resignation of Gary Gunter. Gary has been an integral part of the sales department during a period of time that saw lots of changes and reconfiguration. Gary is very well respected and has become a true Baltimorean in a relatively short time,” stated Dave Willner, director of sales at Radio One Baltimore in an email with the subject title “Gary Gunter.”
He continued to say, “But, future challenges and growth opportunities await him as he assumes the General Manager role at a radio station in Pittsburgh.”
Although the particular station was not identified in the emails, there was speculation that WAMO would likely be the station, especially with Gunter’s background in urban radio.
Radio One Inc. is an urban oriented multi media company that focuses on African-American and urban consumers. Their main medium is radio broadcasting and according to their website, they own and operate 53 broadcast radio stations in 15 urban markets in the United States.
Gunter, who was contacted for the original story, would not confirm nor deny his new position and said he had no comment. However, another email obtained by the Courier, also suggested something different. In an email from Gutner’s address and titled “FW: Gary Gutner” it stated, “IT’S OFFICIAL!”
Norman was also contacted, but did not return the call by this publication’s deadline.