ATLANTA — Dan Bongino, a rising star in the conservative talk show world on 300 stations nationwide, told his listeners Monday that he is threatening to bolt if his employer, Atlanta-based Cumulus Media, doesn’t change its coronavirus vaccine mandate.
Chief executive Mary Berner gave employees until Sept. 27 to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before returning to the office and wrote in a memo that “it would neither be fair nor do we have the bandwidth to make exceptions based on individual preferences,” according to industry publication Inside Radio. Some employees who can work remotely full time are exempted.
But Cumulus Media corporate said no to most staff who requested exemptions, including those who applied based on religious beliefs and for medical conditions, Inside Radio said.
Bongino is vaccinated because he has Hodgkin lymphoma but is protesting the mandate on behalf of other employees who don’t want to get vaccinated.
“I’m not really happy with the company I work with right here,” Bongino said on the radio Monday. “I believe these vaccine mandates are unethical. I believe they’re immoral. I believe they don’t take into account the science of natural immunity due to a prior infection. I believe they’re broad-based and don’t take into account an individual circumstances of why they may or may not want to take a vaccine. And they’re antithetical to everything I believe in.”
“So, I’ll say again, I’m not going to let this go,” Bongino continued. “Cumulus is going to have to make a decision with me — if they want to continue this partnership or they don’t. But I’m talking to you on their airwaves. They don’t have to let that happen. And I wouldn’t mind if they didn’t. Because it’s really unfortunate that people with a lower profile than me, who don’t have 300-plus stations, have been summarily either shown the door or been put in really untenable circumstances because they simply want to make a medical decision by themselves.”
Cumulus has declined to comment.
Bongino’s radio show also airs on the streaming service Fox Nation and he hosts a weekend show on Fox News.
Westwood One also distributes well-known conservative talk-show hosts such as Mark Levin, Ben Shapiro and Chris Plante. None of the network’s major hosts have left Cumulus though a few talk-show hosts in specific markets have departed or been let go for not getting vaccinated.
Cumulus owns 413 stations nationwide in 86 markets, making it the second largest radio company behind only iHeartMedia.
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