Saturday, January 24, 2009

KOAM parent company fires long time radio personality as he waits for kidney transplant

Talk about cold-blooded.

Saga Communications, which owns KOAM and KFJX in the Joplin market, ordered the firing of Steve Gibbons, the long-time voice of its radio station in Des Moines, Iowa, KRNT...even though he is on the waiting list for a kidney transplant:

Gibbons was off the air at 10 a.m. Thursday, concluding his four-hour shift. The new boss called him in at 10:10.

A few minutes later, he was gathering his belongings. "They told me to clean out my desk, which is kind of funny because I didn't have a desk," he says.

He picked up his briefcase and his headphones and was out the door by 10:30. Gibbons never saw it coming.

"I thought I had more value than that," he says. "Everybody does when they're let go. I always felt I was giving them more than they were paying me. But there comes a point when the stockholders have to get some kind of return."

He says he thought he'd work two more years and retire.

"I thought I'd slowly land the plane and get off in Social Security land," he says. "What really hurt is I never got to say goodbye to the audience."

The station general manager, Jeff Delvaux, who has been there all of two weeks, had this explanation for the firing:

"We're hunkering down like any other company," Delvaux says. "We don't want to make any cuts, but it's not realistic."

While Steve Gibbons is on the lookout for a kidney, it appears that Jeff Delvaux and his superiors at Saga Communications, could use a heart.

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