Thursday, December 14, 2017
TV and Radio_sports

Tampa Bay Times sports columnist Gary Shelton let go from Sportsradio 98.7 the Fan

Tampa Bay Times sports columnist Gary Shelton has left sports talk radio station WHFS-FM, fired after completing today's show.

Initially Shelton, who co-hosted a show from 9 a.m. to noon weekdays with Justin "The Commish" Pawlowski, was unsure if he would appear on air Thursday. But WHFS program director John O'Connell confirmed he would not return to the program.

"We have parted ways," O'Connell said, adding that Pawlowski would host the show on his own for the foreseeable future. "That's all I can say."

Shelton also wasn't sure why the station, known as Sportsradio 98.7 the Fan, decided to fire him. "In the past, they had mentioned they needed someone (in the broadcast booth) from Monday to Friday," the sportswriter said, adding that his earliest talks with the station outlined how much he must travel for his newspaper work.

"I assume it had something to do with that and they didn't tell me," added Shelton, who expected to spend more time traveling to cover the Masters golf tournament and the Final Four NCAA basketball tournament in weeks to come. "But I'm grateful for the chance to interact with the listeners."

Shelton was in the station's inaugural lineup when it debuted back in August 2012, as owner CBS Radio flipped the format of hits radio station WSJT-FM, creating the first FM sports talk station in the Tampa Bay area market.

But WHFS has endured upheavals as original program director Mike Pepper was reassigned and then left the company. By the beginning of February, the station was airing national broadcaster Jim Rome at noon and had rolled back its concept of around the clock live and local sports talk.

"It was a wonderfully positive experience the ended badly," Shelton said. "So right now. I'm not sure of any future in radio. I have a future in newspapers."

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