Media Insider: Exit of radio talk show host no big deal among Sussex media outlets


WGMDThe exit of WGMD morning co-host Jake Smith was a nothing burger downstate,  but ended up in print up north.

According to a  News Journal story, Smith was let go a couple of weeks before the piece was published and posted online late last week.

Management at the WGMD which has a conservative talk slant, apparently did not like that Smith refused to agree that he would not repeat the  actions he took with a caller upset about his views on Muslims.

“As far as I’m concerned, not every Muslim is guilty, but every Muslim is suspect,” Smith reportedly said.

Smith ended the conversation by labeling the caller a “jackass,” a term frequently used in big city talk radio.

While Smith’s exit could have been  cooler conversation in Sussex County, it apparently  did not rise to the level of becoming  a story. Sussex is also seeing a talk radio war of sorts, following the departure of popular WGMD morning host Dan Gaffney to Delmarva Media’s 105.9, which went to a news-talk format in 2012.

Other WGMD staff followed Gaffney to 105.9 and in the competitive world of radio, there was little incentive to mention brand X. The local print media seemed to feel the same way.

The News Journal, despite its series of cutbacks, has retained a Sussex County reporter, James Fisher., who wrote the piece.

Perhaps playing into the publishing decision is the strategy of the  NJ and  other Gannett papers to keep tabs on popularity of stories and productivity of reporters.

The days  of running a story a week may be gone. And on the social media and blogging  fronts, the story seemed to “have legs” making its way into the talk radio blogosphere and to  far right websites hostile to the Muslim community.

That produced plenty of clicks for the website.

The Basin Road media company  has always sold papers in Sussex County, but also battled other media, including the Washington Post,  and a strong weekly, the Cape Gazette.

The Daily Times, Salisbury (a Gannett property)  and  the dominant weekly, the  Cape Gazette,  based on a web search, did not cover the departure.

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