Tampa Bay radio host Mike Calta and co-host Anthony “Spanish” Polichemi have tested positive for COVID-19, Calta said on his live 102.5-FM The Bone radio show Monday morning.
The Cox-owned station, which broadcasts out of studios in St. Petersburg, is the second to report the virus spreading among on-air talent locally. Three DJs at Beasley Media Group-owned station Wild 94.1, also broadcasting from St. Petersburg, have also tested positive.
On Thursday’s broadcast, Calta noted that Polichemi was taking the day off due to a fever, along with another staffer who is Polichemi’s roommate. The show was not live on Friday, but Calta addressed the positive tests on Monday.
The plan for now was for the Calta show to continue broadcasting live with with everyone working remotely from their own homes.
Drew Garabo, an afternoon host on the station who broadcasts from the same studio as Calta, said on his show Monday that he received a call from a supervisor Friday night while en route to a Tampa strip club in a rideshare.
“It’s one of those things where I guess we should have known it was going to happen,” Garabo said, but he said he was also surprised because everyone in the studios had been so cautious. He said that although they use the same microphones, each host has their own microphone socks, and the studios were being disinfected between shows.
Garabo said he chose to broadcast live from the Cox studios on Monday, even though he was allowed to work remotely from home, because it makes for a better quality show. He said he also told the rest of the show’s staff they did not have to be there in person.
“I don’t know if it’s the right thing to be here right now," Garabo said, but "it’s the best thing for you listening to us.”
Garabo said that he and a co-host were, coincidentally, offered a COVID-19 test in the back office of that strip club after they arrived. Both came back later showing no signs of the virus. He said he’s unsure if it could have been a false negative, or if he has been exposed since then.
Garabo said he’d been questioning in recent days whether or not he needed to wear a mask, but has now changed his mind. “If there is any message i’d like to send," he said. "I would encourage you to wear a mask.”
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