The Beat puts CJ in the big chair, eases Donna Saker’s workload

Christin Jerome is now the early-afternoon host at The Beat

Christin Jerome is now the early-afternoon host at The Beat

Radio is a tough business, and sometimes it doesn’t matter how many hours you put in or how much experience you have or how eager you are when it comes to choosing who gets the big jobs.

But sometimes it does. And so Christin Jerome, better known to The Beat’s listeners as CJ, is getting a more high-profile role, becoming the host of the early afternoon show on the station. She takes over for Donna Saker, whose shift is being shortened to just mid-mornings.

“When we launched the station (as The Beat), we didn’t have the intention of her doing 2.5 years at that shift,” program director Leo Da Estrela tells me. “At the back of our minds we knew it wasn’t going to last forever. We were really stretching her to the limit.”

Jerome filled in on the afternoon drive show as the station waited for Cousin Vinny’s contractual obligations to Virgin Radio to expire last year. She also filled in for Saker while she was away.

“We always got good feedback with her on the air,” Da Estrela said. “You could see her doing better and better every day.”

Jerome has been a fixture at the station for many years. Her previous role was side-kick to Vinny on the afternoon drive show, doing traffic. That role is now being taken up by Shaun McMahon. “It gave us an opportunity to give Shaun space, a good opportunity to elevate everybody’s game,” Da Estrela said.

The move was made on Nov. 25, about two weeks before the latest ratings report came out showing The Beat’s daytime shows losing a significant chunk of its audience among young adults and losing ground to competitor Virgin Radio.

Needless to say, Jerome is thrilled about the new status. “It’s been a great experience so far,” she said. “I think we all give (Da Estrela) credit for recognizing our versatility and believing in us. Too often, radio PDs typecast their team. The traffic reporter never gets a crack at anything else. The swing or overnight announcer never gets a shot at working days. Leo isn’t that program director.”

Just be careful with that chance, because it can be fleeting. This is radio, after all.

4 thoughts on “The Beat puts CJ in the big chair, eases Donna Saker’s workload

  1. Media Man

    Another interesting change, but just a recycle of people already at the station and I am sure they are thrilled at what they could consider promotions, and no matter what the PD says, it’s a demotion for Donna Saker, and funny this move happens before the ratings release. Did Leo DaEstela have premonition or had his tea leaves read…But one has to wonder, how this will bring in younger listeners that they lost and, to be honest, were losing, and any way you cut it, 9 to 4 is a long radio shift.

    I’ll leave my better comments for the great Ratings article also posted today, but I think the younger female age category of Miss Saker’s’ schtick grew weary of her questions of the day which might work well on Facebook, but more suited to the older demographic the Beat still claims…It is time for the Beat to add new exciting blood or a change of format, reasons I’ll give in the ratings article but just to say there are really four stations in this area and depending where you live playing the same American stuff, when you factor 94.7 Hits, and Star 92.9 both upper border stations..but are equally hip or possibly more

    1. Fagstein Post author

      no matter what the PD says, it’s a demotion for Donna Saker

      I don’t think that’s necessarily true. It is actually unusual for someone to have such a long shift by themselves. Tootall does it at CHOM, but that’s only five hours because the morning show ends later and the afternoon show begins earlier. Everyone else is shorter shifts of 3-4 hours.

      Whether ratings had an impact I don’t know (they get monthly updates, so didn’t need to wait until this week to see how they did in September). But I’m willing to accept the explanation that Saker’s shift was just too long.

  2. mark trafford

    donna is a pro announcer but accountants have to realize that jocks are not machines and 4 hours live tends to be when they run out of fresh ideas and get tired,on top of that the 3 or 4 hours of show prep would mean a 12 hour day for miss saker,thats too much.The accountants who run radio dont get that while the midday jock is on air, the afternoon jock is prepping their show to be hot and fresh.thia is a good sign actually,the air staff are the face of a station,when companies wear them out they hurt themselves,if it shows the stations are now realizeing the value of talent its a positive,good luck to both ladies and a tip of the hat to the pd for realizing that need to be at their best.mark


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