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Beck gives up afternoon show; MJ gets it

By PAMELA DAVIS, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times,
published December 13, 2001

Two radio shows were one too many for WFLA-AM 970 talk show host Glenn Beck.

During a live broadcast Wednesday from the Stumps Supper Club in Tampa, Beck announced that his last afternoon show will be Friday and that WFLZ-FM 93.3 morning show host MJ Kelli will take over the slot he is vacating.

"It has been exhausting. While others may be able to do two shows a day, I have been sacrificing quality on both shows to be able to put them both on," Beck said.

Kelli will use his real name, Todd Schnitt, on the air at WFLA from 3 to 6 p.m., and he will continue to do the MJ Morning Show on WFLZ. The Schnitt Show begins Jan. 3. Beck will continue to broadcast his nationally syndicated show from Tampa. It airs on WFLA from 9 to 11:30 a.m.

"I wouldn't want to be in (Schnitt's) shoes; it's not a good place to be," Beck said on the air Wednesday. "Nobody likes a new guy. But I think he's one of the more talented people I know."

Schnitt has been has been pulling double duty since October, when he started broadcasting an afternoon talk show from Tampa for WIOD-AM 610 in Miami. WFLA, WFLZ and WIOD are owned by Clear Channel Communications.

"We recognized a long time ago that MJ's future was in talk," WFLA operations manager Sue Treccase said. "Quite frankly, he has been doing a talk show on WFLZ for at least the past five years since he barely plays any music."

"The afternoon show will give me chance to do something completely different," Schnitt said. Two years ago, Beck came to Tampa from Connecticut to try his hand at talk radio after working in Top 40. His type of talk -- a mix of conservative views, discussion of topical issues, humor and religion -- caught listeners off-guard but eventually won them over.

Plans were in the works to take Beck's show national in January, but the timetable was moved up after the terrorist attacks. Clear Channel syndicated Beck's show Sept. 18, and he's now heard on 47 stations.

Former WFLA talk show host Mark Larsen, who's been doing a temporary hourlong evening show for WFLA, will fill in from 3 to 7 p.m. until Schnitt's show begins.

NEW NPR JOB: All Things Considered host Linda Wertheimer is leaving her post after 13 years. She will become National Public Radio's first senior national correspondent starting Jan. 2. Her reports will be heard on All Things Considered, Morning Edition and other NPR news programs, which are heard on WUSF-FM 89.7.

HELLO, GOODBYE: Toby Knapp is the new afternoon drive host at WFLZ. He comes from WLAN-FM in Lancaster, Pa., and also will serve as assistant program director.

WSSR-FM 95.7 (Star) 7 p.m. to midnight host James Dean and program director Scott Chase will be gone at the end of the year because of budget cuts. Music director/on-air personality John Stewart will be interim program director.

CRAZY CHRISTMAS MUSIC: WMNF-FM 88.5 is the place to hear the kinds of songs carolers won't be performing. Moods for Moderns host Flee has assembled two hours' worth of "songs only the kids on Santa's naughty list are listening to," he says.

From 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Flee will play tunes performed on power tools and kazoos, compilations from the album A Punk Rock Christmas, and the stylistic renditions of Tiny Tim and El Vez, among other things.

LOG ON AND LISTEN: Clear Channel's Tampa stations -- WDAE-AM 620, WFLA, WHNZ-AM 1250, WFLZ, WSSR, WXTB-FM 97.9, WMTX-FM 100.7 and WTBT-FM 103.5 -- are streaming audio on the Internet again. In April, Clear Channel stopped broadcasting on the Web over a disagreement with the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.

DOES SHE GET A CROWN? WMTX morning co-host Nancy Alexander has been elected Alcaldessa of Ybor City. Alexander will regin as the titular head of state next year. Her duties begin when she leads the Ybor Navy in its invasion of the U.S. Navy during a Gasparilla event and then represents the city in the annual parade.

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