In a surprise move, conservative talker Steve Malzberg has been fired from the top-rated, afternoon drive-time slot on WOR in New York City that he has been broadcasting on for the last four years.
“As you may know by now, WOR Radio has decided not to renew my contract which expires in October,” Malzberg wrote on his official website. “They have also elected not to have me finish out my contract, so I am officially done with my on-air shows on WOR.”
Management at WOR have reportedly chosen former New York Governor David Patterson, a liberal Democrat, to replace the firebrand conservative-Republican host. “I wish [him] all the best,” Malzberg wrote.
WOR VP/GM Jerry Crowley called Patterson “the obvious choice to be the man behind the microphone,” reports AllAccess.com.
This is not the first surprise firing by WOR in recent past. Glenn Beck was axed from the station this past January, reportedly for low ratings.
While some believe the Beck firing was due to a desire by the station to move towards a more localized flavor in its programming, the rationale does not explain why Malzberg, a staple of New York City talk radio for the last 30 years who consistently won his time slot against rival talker Sean Hannity, was let go.
In an interview with FishbowlNY, Malzberg says he is “not totally shocked” about being fired. “They decided to go in a completely different direction.”
Ratings had gone down for the station overall, which normally happens over the summer months, but Malzberg said he was sure listenership would pick up again in the Fall, with the build-up to the 2012 US presidential election.
Malzberg plans to remain a strong voice for social conservatism in the tri-state area, with plans for many different ventures already in the works. He hinted in the interview with FishbowlNY that he might return to WABC, where he spent most of his 30-year career in radio.
“I grew up at WABC,” Malzberg said. “I would absolutely love to go back to WABC.”