Bob Earley, a host on talk-radio station WNIR (100.1-FM) for close to a decade, resigned Friday morning after a disagreement with management.
Bill Klaus, WNIR CEO and station manager, said, “We had a disagreement in the direction of [Earley’s] weekend program and he chose to resign.”
He declined to elaborate.
Earley said the disagreement began with his plan to have Jennifer Downey, president of erotic-goods chain Ambiance, on his show Sunday. Downey has often appeared in local media, and those appearances are especially common around Valentine’s Day.
According to Earley, Bob Klaus — Bill’s brother, and WNIR’s president and general sales manager — at first approved Downey going on Earley’s show, but later balked. After some back-and-forth, Bob Klaus finally said no.
As a local concert promoter and event chairman of the Rockin’ on the River concert series in Cuyahoga Falls, Earley said he also had a business connection to Ambiance as one of the sponsors of Rockin’ on the River. He was not sure if the chance of frank talk about sex was the only thing worrying the Klauses, or if the Ambiance/Rockin’ relationship was part of the problem.
But he said, Klaus added that any future spots for Ambiance in Earley’s show had to be prerecorded — and Earley could not offer his own endorsement of the company along with the spots.
“You know, ‘They’re good people,’ ‘Go to the store.’ What I always do about every client,” Earley said. “That [order] didn’t make sense.”
Rockin’ on the River also advertises on WNIR. Earley said. And he expected to mention Ambiance as an event sponsor in some of the ads. Bob Klaus told him not to.
“Now I’m starting to get mad,” he said. “You’re telling me I’m spending $20,000 [a year] at that station — and then telling me what I can put in my ads? … I was in shock. I talked to my wife, and said, ‘You know something, honey? I can’t live like this.’ ” Then Earley resigned.
He said he had not had issues with the Klauses before. “I consider them my friends. … I’m not going to get into any bad-rapping or anything else. Just like with Maggie [Fuller, formerly of WNIR], it was definitely time to draw the line.”
In September 2013, Fuller and morning personality Stan Piatt departed WNIR. The Ohio Unemployment Compensation Review Commission later ruled that Fuller had just cause to quit after WNIR host John “Couchburner” Denning made a crude anatomical reference to her at a public event; the commission faulted WNIR management for its failure to discipline Denning for his outburst “in a meaningful manner.”
Piatt’s retirement had been announced, but he left the station sooner than expected after becoming unhappy about the way his retirement was being handled — and speaking up for Fuller in her dispute with Denning.
Earley has been a substitute host on the station since 2005 and has hosted a Saturday and Sunday evening show since 2009. His departure continues a string of changes at the station; besides Piatt and Fuller, WNIR personalities Howie Chizek and Tom Erickson died in June and November 2012 respectively, with Chizek succeeded by Denning and Erickson by Jim Isabella.
Rich Heldenfels writes about popular culture for the Beacon Journal and Ohio.com. He is also on Twitter (@RHeldenfelsABJ) and Facebook. You can contact him at 330-996-3582 or email@example.com.