Even as he traded stories with talk show star Jerry Springer and Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn Thursday morning, Todd "MJ" Schnitt wasn't sure how he would react today when the radio morning show he has hosted for 18 years comes to an end.
"Am I going to cry?" he asked. "My final show, am I going to tear up? I don't even know if I'm going to get emotional or not."
Fans this morning already may know the answer, as Schnitt helms his last MJ Morning Show for WFLZ-FM (93.3) from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m.
The radio personality has been saying goodbye for about a month, since he released news on Twitter that he would be leaving the WFLZ program to focus on the political talk show he hosts at 3 p.m., The Schnitt Show, on WFLA-AM (970). On Thursday, Buckhorn stopped by to present a proclamation declaring today MJ in the Morning Day.
Neither Schnitt nor his superiors at Clear Channel agreed to interviews with the Tampa Bay Times on the decision.
Fans also have asked about the fate of Schnitt's on-air sidekicks, including Dominic "Fester" Siciliano, Meredith Walusek and Michael "Froggy" Cusamano. Siciliano said he expected to take a severance-funded vacation. But Walusek said she wouldn't find out the full details of their severance from Clear Channel, including whether they are barred from other radio jobs for a time by a non-compete contract, until later today.
The day after the changes were announced last month, Schnitt focused on the idea that he would have more time for his other show and more time for his family, though beginning next week he expects to spend time traveling to some of the 50 affiliates that air The Schnitt Show.
A native of New York, Schnitt, 46, came to Tampa in 1994 after stints at radio stations in New York and West Palm Beach. He joined B.J. Harris, leading its newly-adopted, irreverent "Power Pig" format under the name M.J. Kelli as part of The MJ and BJ Show. By 2001, Harris was gone, later admitting he had a problem with cocaine that derailed his life and career.
Schnitt kept hosting a retitled MJ Morning Show, adding the 3 p.m. Schnitt Show on a Miami station and on WFLA the next year. Now, he's capping a morning show that turned 18 just last week; on Monday, the timeslot will be filled by Kane, a syndicated personality who now fills the afternoon slot at WFLZ.