Jimmy Baron Says Sayonara To 99X
April 26, 2006 at 10:06 AM (PT)
SUSQUEHANNA Alternative WNNX (99X)/ATLANTA (soon to be CUMULUS) morning co-host JIMMY BARON has exited after over 12 years with the station. BARON has been off the morning show since his contract expired APRIL 5th and he has officially announced that his contract negotitations with CUMULUS have ceased. CUMULUS' takeover of SUSQUEHANNA is set for MAY 5th.
BARON released the following statement: "In JANUARY of this year, CUMULUS RADIO Head of Programming JOHN DICKEY approached me expressing his desire that I stay and renew my contract. I was naturally excited at the idea of continuing what has been an unbelievable ride in ATLANTA at 99X.
"Through my agent, GLENN GOLDSTEIN, I proposed a new deal to simply extend my current employment agreement for a to-be-determined length of time with no pay or bonus increase. I have been very grateful for the terms offered by previous owners SUSQUEHANNA RADIO, and was happy to continue working at the station under this agreement. However, MR. DICKEY’s initial offer was for a base salary of 55% less than I was currently making -- an offer we felt to be unacceptable in the industry for a 12 ½ year veteran morning drive-time personality in Market #10 (at one of the premiere rock stations in the country). My agent also pointed out that, in fact, I had agreed to a 33% salary cut two and a half years ago when THE MORNING X ended. Unfortunately, up to the end, the CUMULUS offer was of the `take it or leave it' variety -- never moving from their original number. As a result, on APRIL 19th I determined that we had reached an impasse.
"Words cannot describe how fortunate and privileged I feel to have been able to spend such a large chunk of my life at such an amazing place. There are very few stations in our industry today that can breed the type of family atmosphere that I’ve enjoyed at 99X. I can’t express how grateful I am to SUSQUEHANNA RADIO and 99X GM MARK RENIER for their generosity and for believing in me all these years. Additionally, I feel privileged to have worked with LESLIE FRAM. She and I have sat next to each other since Day One of the MORNING X (and subsequently the TOUCHER, JIMMY AND LESLIE SHOW) and have shared many unbelievable and even historic experiences together. I am also appreciative to FRED TOUCHER AND GARY WALLACE who have been instrumental for the success I’ve enjoyed here, as well as Assoc. Producer TODD PHILLIPS and all our great interns."
BARON is currently in talks for several exciting opportunities and hints that an announcement may be forthcoming in the next few days. Reach out to BARON at email@example.com.
War Of Words Erupts
Meanwhile, a trip to 99xwatch.org cites a story "BARON Calls Out DICKEY On `100% LIE'" where he is disputing CUMULUS CEO LEW DICKEY's words in the ATLANTA BUSINESS CHRONICLE, page 8A, APRIL 21-27 issue, article entitled "MAY Deal Will Propel CUMULUS Into Top Cities," by SARAH DAVID SPEARS who writes "... DICKEY also said that the retirement of popular radio personalities JIMMY BARON and FRED TOUCHER on 99X was unrelated to the station's change in ownership. He said CUMULUS would conduct a national search to replace BARON for 99X's morning show, and that they were aware the deal would likely be an expensive one. 'We'll be looking for the best person to fill JIMMY's spot, and we'll spare no expense in finding them,' DICKEY said."