SYRACUSE -- Syndicated host Michael Baisden, heard locally on Power 620 (WHEN), announced this morning that he'll be ending his radio show at the end of this month. But when he and his staff reported for work today, Baisden said they were "locked out" of the studio.
Baisden made the initial announcement on his Baisden Live Facebook Page this morning. In a rather lengthy (by Facebook standards, anyway) status update, Baisden explained, "it was not my intention to leave radio," but added, "sometimes fate, the universe, God, or however you want to label that undeniable force, has it’s own plans. Someone once told me that the greatest experiences in life are unplanned ones. I guess I’m about to test that theory."
Although Baisden avoided getting into the details behind his departure, the message seemed to indicate that his departure wasn't entirely voluntary. A report on AccessAtlanta, a partner of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, reported that Baisden's announcement may have been the result of Baisden failing to agree on a new contract with his show's syndicator, Cumulus Media Networks.
National radio trade website AllAccess.com reported Cumulus refused to comment, citing company policy against discussion of personnel matters.
But confirmation from Cumulus may not be necessary: this afternoon, Baisden reported on Facebook that he and his staff were "locked out" of the building when they reported for work today. In the status update, Baisden complained, "Just because we couldn't come to an agreement is no reason to deprive the listeners, our affiliates, and our advertisers of only 9 days to say goodbye and show our appreciation."
And an eleventh-hour renewal doesn't seem likely, with Baisden pledging, "All their action does is make me more determined than ever to come back! And next time there will be no middlemen between me, my affiliates, and my listeners. Lesson learned!"
Cumulus Media fed a "best of" show to affiliates in Baisden's regular 3-7pm timeslot today. And it appears they'll continue feeding "best of" shows through at least March 29, which was what Baisden had originally announced would have been his last day on the radio.
Local affiliate Power 620 is owned by Clear Channel Media + Entertainment, and there's no word yet on how the station plans to fill the timeslot. Syndicator Cumulus Media owns four radio stations in Syracuse: CHR 93Q (WNTQ), classic rock 105.9 The Rebel (WXTL), active rock 95X (WAQX) and CBS-affiliated sports talk The Score 1260 (WSKO).
According to Wikipedia, Baisden's weekday radio program has nearly 80 affiliates, reaching 8 million listeners daily.
Do you think Cumulus was wrong to deny Michael Baisden a live, on-air farewell, or do you think he was naive to expect to be allowed on-air after announcing his plans to leave radio? Share your thoughts below via Facebook or with your CNYRadio.com login.