Libertarian talk show host Larry Elder - who called himself 'The Sage from South Central' – was a fixture at KABC for most of the last two decades, until Tuesday, when he was abruptly fired.
KABC management called Elder and his agent, George Green, Tuesday night to tell them Elder was out, but Green says they didn’t offer any explanation.
“They chose not to tell him why, or to tell me why, so at this point I’m totally in the blind,” Green said Thursday.
KABC didn’t respond to KPCC's requests for comment.
Green says a format change could be coming, or the station could be trying to cut salaries.
“They may have said, 'We’re paying him a tremendous amount of money,'" Green said. "They’ve been cutting expenses all over, the same as most broadcasting companies have done. Everyone is cutting talent.”
A small audience is also likely to blame.
In the most recent ratings period, Green said KABC averaged just 12,200 listeners during Elder's timeslot, which made it the 32nd most-heard program in Los Angeles during those hours, according to the Nielsen Co.
By comparison, conservative talk station KFI-AM's "John and Ken" was the fifth most-popular program during the same timeslot, with an average of 48,700 listeners.
Elder was back hosting his show Wednesday, but on a podcast, not on the radio, talking about a grand jury's decision not to indict the NYPD officers who killed Eric Garner.
Green said Elder's staff "had been preparing for something like this happening," so they were ready to produce their own podcast on a moment's notice. Green hopes Elder will be back hosting on radio or television soon, and he says he's received interest after word of the firing spread.
Some KABC sales staffers felt blindsided by Elder's departure, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The trade paper also obtained an internal memo from the station:
"At the beginning of this year, 790 KABC Radio made changes to our lineup and packaging that have proven to be positive and fruitful," Hayes said in his memo. "We are now preparing to make further improvements and adding new shows for 2015. As part of this transition, Larry Elder's contract is not being picked up for the coming year, effective today."