Second woman to exit Eric Ferguson’s show in last three years
There’s more to the story than The Mix is telling listeners
[Editor’s Note: This story was updated.]
After being AWOL for the last several weeks from Eric Ferguson’s morning show, Melissa McGurren has decided to exit Hubbard-owned 101.9 The Mix (WTMX) after a 22-year run at the hot adult contemporary station.
Starting in 1998 as a traffic reporter on the former Eric & Kathy Show, the Portage, Ind. native and west suburban Riverside resident was promoted to one of the regulars on Eric Ferguson’s co-hosts on his morning show. She opted not to renew her contract, which expires at the end of this month.
“Our plans for the future of ‘Eric in the Morning’ definitely included Melissa,” said Hubbard Chicago vice president and market manager Jeff England in a statement. “We were disappointed by her decision not to renew her contract, but also know that this year has led all of us to assess our lives in different ways. When she informed me of her decision, she described her time at the station as ‘a privilege’ and that feeling is completely mutual. We wish her the best.”
But McGurren took issue with the statement in a video posted on social media Wednesday night. “[WTMX] sent out a statement today, and it’s been not the most easy thing to deal with seeing that, McGurren said, as reported by the Chicago Tribune Thursday morning. “I will say I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to handle it, but that statement was not accurate. And I just think that the most important thing is the truth, and hopefully… not hopefully…the truth will come out. I’ve always wanted to work at the Mix, and this is not how I saw things coming, so here I sit. I can’t even believe this, I am where I am right now. This is bizarre.”
McGurren posted a video earlier this month on her Facebook page, explaining she was fine after listeners wondered where she was after being absent from the show for weeks.
This marks the second co-host to exit Eric Ferguson’s morning show in recent years, after the departure of Kathy Hart in 2017. Like McGurren, Hart also took an extended absence for months as she was known to have a turbulent relationship with Ferguson, which led to their breakup. Ratings for 101.9 The Mix have declined a bit in morning drive but is still ranked in the top ten.
There was no known animosity between Ferguson and McGuren, as the show plans to continue with the rest of the cast. But given McGurren’s statement Wednesday evening, there may be more than what Hubbard executives are telling us.
It’s no secret revenues for all media have been decimated due to the pandemic, which closed businesses last spring due to stay-at-home orders as numerous radio personnel were laid off and many shows were forced to do their programming remotely, Ferguson & Co. included. McGuire’s decision to leave comes only weeks after Mancow Muller also declined to renew his expiring contract at Cumulus’ WLS-AM after saying as he was doing “radio without joy.”
It seems the feeling is spreading.