Updated 8:20pm -- UTICA-ROME -- For the first time in its 25-year history, perennial market leader Big Frog 104 (WFRG) is playing "the best and most country" without its longtime morning host. Matt Herkimer's bio and photo disappeared from the station website over the weekend, and he's not on the air this morning.
On the Big Frog 104 website, co-host Polly Wogg is now listed as the sole host of the morning show, but she was joined by afternoon drive host Tad Pole today.
CNYRadio.com has reached out to Townsquare Media Utica Operations Manager Bill McAdams and General Manager Karen Carey for confirmation and any additional information, but so far, no responses. However, based on material we've seen on Facebook (we won't link or mention specific names due to privacy settings), it appears that Tad Pole will be permanently co-hosting mornings with Polly Wogg, while part-timers will be hosting afternoons for the time being.
The lack of an official farewell for outgoing co-host Matt Herkimer is rather surprising, considering he had been with the station from day one, in 1988, when it started out as 96 Frog. For the first few years, Herkimer was the afternoon host, but eventually moved to mornings. When he -- and the station -- celebrated 25 years together this past February, he shared plenty of memories on the Big Frog 104 website.
Among them, Herkimer shared a couple of photos of himself with WFRG mascot "Jeremiah B. Frog" -- at left, from the "96 Frog" era, and at right, a more recent photo with "Big Frog 104."
Throughout its 25-year run, WFRG has consistently ranked 1st or 2nd place in local ratings. For many of those years, Herkimer had a co-host, but for a few years, the venerable host handled his duties solo.
In addition to having been the only remaining on-air personality since WFRG's launch, Herkimer was also the only staff member in the entire building to have attended all 25 FrogFest listener appreciation concerts to date. Earlier this year, he said he's often asked which one was his favorite. Although he said having to pick just one favorite FrogFest "is like picking out your favorite child," he admitted it was exciting when the station booked "Rascal Flatts [to] appear in 2000, before they were RASCAL FLATTS!"