Anthony Gargano is not on the air today and it doesn’t sound like it’s because of a previously scheduled day off or vacation. G Cobb and Brian Haddad are hosting the Afternoon show (with a delightful placed ad read from Gargano as a lead-in) and made no mention of Anthony’s (or Rob Ellis’) absence. The show’s usual theme music wasn’t played.
As I mentioned the other day, Gargano’s contract is up in… carry the 2… subtract 94.1… exactly 12 days, and as of yet no deal on an extension has been reached. The thought is that WIP Operations Manager Andy Bloom eventually plans to put his guy, Josh Innes, on in the afternoons. I’m told WIP offered Gargano a one-year extension, perhaps to give Innes more time to be groomed for that role and thus his battle with stated foe Mike Missanelli. Gargano, not surprisingly, didn’t appreciate the offer. Ensuing negotiations have been contentious. I’m also hearing that there have been discussions between Gargano and 97.5 The Fanatic Program Director Matt Nahigian about Cuz hosting a show that leads into Missanelli’s. It would cost Greater Media (97.5) some dough, but I wouldn’t completely rule it out.
This isn’t an unprecedented move, of course. Last year around this time, Glen Macnow recused himself from his show with Gargano while details of his new contract were being hammered out. And this summer, Tony Bruno did the same when 97.5 offered him what he says was a six-month deal. Macnow is still on WIP and other CBS Philly properties, but has been replaced by Rob Ellis on the Afternoon show. Bruno, as you know, is podcasting. Cue the music:
UPDATE: Since posting the story multiple folks have told me that Gargano is done at WIP. Something like this isn’t going to be confirmed by the station too eagerly, but barring a drastic change here, it sounds like Gargano is out.
UPDATE 2: Sources say Gargano is out at WIP and that the final decision to cut ties, following a contentious negotiation, may have come from CBS corporate suits in New York.
UPDATE 3: There are, of course, two sides to every story, and other sources say the decision was Gargano’s, and that blaming CBS in NY is a convenient way for WIP to sidestep blame. These are, after all, RADIO WARS.