Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Departing glances

A few demises to note today. One's a well-known Miami talk show host who was dismissed from his job, another a national radio icon hosting his last show next week, and finally, we mark the real-life passing of a late-night television icon.

Rogers, WQAM part ways

First, after 12 years, Miami midday radio talker Neil Rogers, of note to some readers here, has been let go from sports talker WQAM (560AM).

The parting of ways is almost not surprising, given Rogers' increasingly scaled-down schedule, his 'telecommuting' from places such as Toronto and Amsterdam, his enormous paycheck and, of course, his prickly demeanor.

Owner Beasley Broadcasting recently signed Neil to a new contract that even allowed him a Summer-time schedule of working just Tuesdays and Thursdays, initially set to kick in next week.

But in recent weeks, Rogers, 66, got into hot water last month after accidently dropping an unbleeped 'f-bomb' on the air, and directed it at one of his bosses. He was angered over the departure of his longtime producer Jorge Rodriguez.

Rogers’ current contract is for five-years and pays $800,000 annually (down from $1.5 million). No word on whether Beasley will buy it out or settle. There is no noncompete clause, meaning that Rogers could work for another station at any time. However, Rogers has no plans to seek another on-air job at this time.

Rogers has been in Miami radio for 36 years.

Kasem hangs up his headphones

Meanwhile,a nationally-known radio icon is preparing to count backwards for perhaps the very last time. Casey Kasem, who had been hosting nationally-syndicated countdown shows since 1970, will do his last show during the July 4 weekend. Kasem and his syndicator, Premiere Radio Networks, mutually opted to cancel American Top 20, which airs weekly on mostly adult contemporary stations.

But that won't be the end of the road for Kasem. In recent years, Premiere has restored and remastered tapes of Kasem's old countdown shows from the 70s and 80s and currently offers them to oldies stations and satellite radio via syndication (which is perhaps one of the best ideas they ever came up with).

In addition, Kasem, 77, will continue with other lucrative projects, such as voice work, cartoons (hey, he was Shaggy in "Scooby Doo"!), and whatnot. He can also devote more time to outside causes, such as Lebanese-American and Arab-American issues (Kasem is Lebanese). He is also a vegan, and was a big supporter of Dennis Kucinich during his past two presidential runs (though he was a Nader guy in 2000, but don't hold that against him).

So, a tip of the hat to a legend and inspiration, Casey Kasem. Just be careful what you say when the mic is on.

McMahon dies

Finally, a real-life departure, this one of a longtime fixture on late night television. Former Tonight Show sidekick and announcer Ed McMahon passed away early this morning. He was 86.

No cause of death was given, but McMahon has been known to be suffering from many health problems over the last few months, including bone cancer and pneumonia. He also had to deal with a neck injury and many financial problems in recent years.

You can read more via the L.A. Times.


The Station Agent said...

You should point out that WQAM has been cutting costs quite a bit and they were desperate to shave something off Neil Rogers' deal. What's Neil supposed to? Not take an excellent buyout offer at the age of 66? He basically won the lottery.

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