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I'm very pleasantly stunned at the volume of correspondence from longtime listeners, and I want to thank you by being truthful about my abrupt departure. It was forced upon me, with no notice.
While KSFO & KGO were and are profitable, Citadel Broadcasting, the parent company that owns ABC Radio is in bankruptcy.
The top management of Citadel, led by a CEO named Farid Suleiman--widely regarded as the most incompetent executive in broadcasting--decided that I was making too much money after 25 years with ABC and fifteen as morning host on KSFO, taking no note of the fact that I've generated large sums of money for the company.
I was seriously considering retirement at the end of my contract in early July, and I certainly wouldn't have left without saying goodbye. Instead, within one minute of the conclusion of last Thursday's show, I got the word that it HAD been my last one; cut with no notice, in violation of my contract.
This is typical Citadel tactics; they've carried out massacres at many of our sister stations. At the Chicago station, WLS, a highly respected newscaster was pulled from the studio in mid-show, during a commercial break, and fired! There's a certain justice in that outcome: the two management people who carried it out were themselves fired a week later.
Understand, please, that this course was not chosen by the local management of KSFO. Mickey Luckoff and Jack Swanson have been helpful throughout my long run in San Francisco.
I WILL tell you, in all candor, that thanks to Mr. Suleiman's Citadel management, I could no longer proudly say that the company had never told me what to say or what not to say. There was an obvious cave-in to some ultra-left and pro-Muslim groups, making it unlikely that I would have ever renewed my contract with the company, anyway.
While it surprised many people to learn that the program came from Arizona, where I've lived for the past seven years (in the mountains near Tucson), it had been in the papers several times. Since I had exactly the same news sources as in SF, and my colleagues and I could see each other via video link, I never dwelled upon Arizona events which I felt would be of no interest to a largely
California audience. I was hardly "disconnected" from the Bay Area.
Some e-mailers apparently were under the impression that messages sent to me at this address would carry their complaints to management. Not so--if it was sent to this address, it came to me.
I want to convey my lasting respect and affection for Officer Vic, Big Buck and the best producer in radio, Sheri Yee. Our friendship is permanent. I also thank my old friend Melanie for the kind words she posted on her website. We had a lot of laughs together for a lot of years, and I'm hugely relieved that, while serious, her medical problem is treatable.
Susan and I are leaving next week for a cruise, planned long ago. Meantime, I'm adjusting to life with more than four hours sleep per night!
It's not likely that I'll be returning to the airwaves, but nothing is impossible. There are discussions already, but after fifty-plus years in radio/TV, it would take something extraordinary to bring me back.
Since you have demonstrated your good feeling for me, let me share with you my new e-mail address, in the event I'm removed from this site:
Thank you--many times over.
"And now...if you'll excuse me..."