Radio veteran Nancy Alexander loses her afternoon show on WMTX-FM
Nancy Alexander might be the Tampa Bay area’s best-known female radio personality, bringing her energetic irreverent personality to bear hosting local TV and radio shows since the 1980s — when she first appeared as “Nancy in the Sky,” a traffic reporter on WRBQ-FM (104.7).
But Alexander won’t have a broadcast job in the Tampa Bay area for the first time in many years, following the decision by Clear Channel Radio Monday to remove her and co-host Kurt Shriner from the afternoon show at WMTX-FM (100.7).
Officials at Clear Channel declined to say why they took Alexander off the air or who would succeed her in the station’s 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekday timeslot. The host herself said she was blindsided by the news and unable to explain the move, which will see her leave WMTX after more than a dozen years as its highest-profile local host.
“I wasn’t let go — my contract is not being renewed,” said an emotional Alexander, when reached at her home Monday. “I can’t make sense of it.”
After her early work on WRBQ and a short stint in Houston, Alexander came back to the Tampa Bay area for a job at WUSA, the station then occupying the same frequency at WMTX. By 1995, she was working part-time as a features reporter for local Fox station WTVT-Ch. 13 and in 1999, she took over the morning shift at WMTX, replacing Mason Dixon.
Her national profile grew after an October 2000 appearance co-hosting alongside Regis Philbin on his daytime TV show not long after co-host Kathie Lee Gifford had departed and before successor Kelly Ripa was chosen.
But in 2002, Alexander pleaded no contest to charges of driving under the influence and in 2004 was cited for careless driving after leaving the scene of an accident; that same year she left her reporting job at WTVT, saying she wanted to concentrate on radio.
In late 2009, Alexander moved to afternoons with Shriner (at left) following a decade on the morning shift. At the time, she and a Clear Channel official said the move was a response to new ratings technology which indicated the audience was shifting to later in the day for adult contemporary stations such as WMTX.
Executives at Clear Channel would not say whether the move failed or if ratings were a factor in deciding to remove Alexander. "We wish her well, she's a great personality," said operations manager Doug Hamand, who declined further comment.
And host herself, who has long criticized the lack of female voices in a male-dominated radio industry, couldn’t say what she might do next, as she joined the long list of veteran voices let go from local stations.
“I’ll be fine,” said Alexander, who has two sons. “I always land on my feet.”
Times researcher Carolyn Edds contributed to this report.