Todd Schnitt signs surprise deal to stay with Clear Channel Radio and WFLA-AM in Tampa
Just when it looked as if Todd Schnitt was wrapping up a near-20-year streak of appearing on Tampa Bay area radio, the longtime personality announced a contract extension today with Clear Channel Radio.
The news that Schnitt would keep his 3 p.m. weekday timeslot on WFLA-AM (970) comes just two weeks after Schnitt told fans on his Twitter feed that Dec. 18 would be his last show on WFLA. The change would have meant that Schnitt, who was once the area's top-rated personality with his Schnitt Show on WFLA and The MJ Morning Show on WFLA-FM (93.3), could have been off Tampa radio for the first time in 19 years.
Back then, Schnitt said he wanted to focus on the national footprint of his politically-oriented Schnitt Show and industry experts wondered if Clear Channel had decided to get out of the Todd Schnitt business.
But today Schnitt and Clear Channel executives trumpeted a new multi-year deal -- neither side would say how long he was signed or under what terms -- characterizing their past plans to part ways as old news.
"We got together and had a great talk and we worked out a new deal," said Doug Hamand, vice president of programming for Clear Channel in Tampa. "I think (Schnitt's) in a happy place and so are we."
The biggest change at Clear Channel since the announcement of Schnitt's departure was a company-wide layoff Dec. 6 which claimed several jobs in Tampa, including the man who was once in charge of programming at WFLA, Steve Versnick (left). When Schnitt's departure was announced, Versnick also revealed plans to hire a local personality to fill WFLA's 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. timeslot.
But even though today's news essentially means Versnick's plans were erased, both Schnitt and Hamand denied the two moves were connected. Hamand said he expected WFLA's lineup to remain stable for the foreseeable future.
"We came to a new deal," said Schnitt, who declined to comment in detail on his new contract. "I'm happy to be staying."
Below is the press release distributed by Clear Channel and Schnitt.
CLEAR CHANNEL MEDIA AND ENTERTAINMENT TAMPA AND TODD SCHNITT ANNOUNCE A RENEWED AGREEMENT
Tampa Bay, Fla. – December 13, 2012 – Clear Channel Media and Entertainment Tampa today announced a new agreement with 970 WFLA’s Todd Schnitt host of The Schnitt Show, a top-rated news talk show. Schnitt will continue hosting weekdays from 3-6:00 p.m., renewing and extending his relationship with the company through a new, multi-year contract.
The Schnitt Show debuted in January 2002 from its flagship station 970 WFLA in Tampa and is now syndicated nationally on nearly 50 stations Nationwide as well as on iHeartRadio and XM satellite channel 165. In addition, Schnitt has been on-air in Tampa for more than 19 years, also hosting 93.3 WFLZ’s morning show until last February.
“We are thrilled to extend our relationship with Todd Schnitt and The Schnitt Show,” said Doug Hamand, Vice President of Programming, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment Tampa. “He is a staple of the community in Tampa Bay, broadcasting for more than 19 years with 11 of those on WFLA.”
“I’m thrilled to announce my new, multiyear deal with Clear Channel Tampa. 970 WFLA has been The Schnitt Show’s home for 11 years,” said Schnitt. “I really appreciate the outpouring of support from my loyal listeners.”