Longtime WDAE-AM (620) sports talk host Steve Duemig didn't appear for his 3 p.m. show Monday and may not show up for a while, sidelined by a dispute over contract negotiations with executives from owner Clear Channel Radio, according to Duemig.
The host said his deal allows for negotiating with other companies 60 days before the agreement ends in May. But Clear Channel executives pressured him to sign before that window opens, perhaps to keep him from talking to rivals such as CBS Radio, owner of the area's first FM sports talk station, Sportsradio 98.7 the Fan, Duemig said.
"They're benching me and paying me," said the host, 58, who told fans on Facebook and Twitter that he wouldn't be on air today, after Clear Channel executives notified him at noon. "I'm still under contract; ready, willing and able to work."
Executives from Clear Channel could not be reached for comment. But Duemig's name seemed to be removed from the station's website homepage by Monday evening; Tom Krasniqi hosted in Duemig's normal 3 p.m. timeslot.
Duemig was one of the first on air personalities hired when WDAE began broadcasting as a sports talk station in the mid '90s. Still, he said he planned to talk with other companies about his future, in accordance with the terms of his contract.
"I'm surprised," he said. "I'm planning on exercising my right to explore other options."