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 Thursday with Clear Channel Radio.
The news that Schnitt would keep his 3 p.m. weekday time slot 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 on Thursday, Schnitt and Clear Channel executives trumpeted a new multiyear 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 companywide layoff Dec. 6 that claimed several jobs in Tampa, including the one belonging to the man who was once in charge of programming at WFLA, Steve Versnick. When Schnitt's departure was announced, Versnick also revealed plans to hire a local personality to fill WFLA's 3 to 6 p.m. time slot.
Even though this 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."