On-air personalities Dave Elswick and Bob Steel and News Director Jack Heinritz were terminated Thursday by KARN-FM/AM, 102.9/920, the Little Rock talk-radio station.
In a statement to Arkansas Business, Steel indicated that the directive came from the station's corporate owner, Cumulus Media Inc. of Atlanta, which acquired KARN three years ago as part of its purchase of Citadel Broadcasting Corp.
Kevin Miller, the station's traffic reporter, was named as Steel's replacement for the segment called "First News."
Station manager Cindy Thompson, contacted Thursday afternoon, declined comment on changes at KARN. She did not immediately respond to another request for comment on Friday morning.
Elswick, who had been program director until recently, posted a short message on Facebook Thursday evening:
"I ask for your prayers tonight. After nearly 14 years on KARN I was fired by Cumulus Media. Bob Steel and News Director Jack Heintz [sic] were also fired. I have no idea what will be on the station tomorrow. Know that I love everyone [sic] of you who have supported me over these years. God Bless"
Elswick's show had been scrubbed from the station's online program schedule by Friday morning.
Steel, in an email Friday morning, offered this statement:
"I want to thank the loyal listeners, clients and friends for the outpouring of support I have received from you today and I want you to know I have been overwhelmed by it, thank you. Please don’t worry about me. I’m fine as I own a small public relations firm that I’ve been operating for over seven years now and I also own and host the radio show Arkansas Fairways and Greens which has been on the air for five years. Thanks to my previous employer, the golf show will continue over KARN and the Arkansas Radio Network."
"I spent 18 years in broadcast (TV) management and I believe I understand the action taken by Cumulus Media late yesterday. Corporate broadcasting is a tough business these days. Many stations across the country have seen a decline in ratings with the explosion in social media and the Internet, not to mention the number of over-the-air and satellite competitors. It's becoming extremely difficult to grow your business and deliver for stockholders. One way to grow your revenue is to reduce your expenses. That’s what happened late yesterday. You can be bitter about it or not. I prefer not to be bitter. I want to thank KARN for putting food on my table for 7 years and I’m sorry they felt our relationship had to end this way."