Twin Cities News Talk AM 1130 bangs the tambourines of conservatism "because you," the disciples of Ronald Reagan, "deserve the truth." The mantra doesn't apply to on-air personality divorces.
Listeners of the Up and At 'Em morning show on July 18 were told that Jack Tomczak, who co-hosts with the caramel-voiced Andrew Lee, wouldn't be behind the mic that Monday. Lee flew solo.
The week rolled forward and there was still no Tomczak, the former political operative who first joined KTLK's angry white guy lineup in 2011.
Various guests filled in through Friday. Meanwhile, devotees of the program were asking, but nobody was answering what the hell had happened to Tomczak.
Lee finally addressed the issue over the weekend, writing a carefully worded post on iHeartMedia station's website that began: "I am sad to announce that Jack is no longer a part of the… show."
Lee offered no explanation for Tomczak's exit, saying, "Some things are just better left private." But he did apologize to the audience for "not being able to be forthcoming on the air."
Tomczak and Lee both declined comment for this story. Gregg Swedberg of iHeart said the company doesn't comment on personnel matters.
This is what's known for sure about the unraveling:
Tomczak's current one-year contract was set to expire August 15. Up until mid-July, he had been having tepid contract renewal discussions with the company.
According to three industry insiders, who all spoke on the condition of anonymity because of professional relationships with the station and/or Tomczak and Lee, bad vibes had been felt internally at the show for months. Tomczak reportedly didn't believe his pay was commensurate with his workload.
According to one source, Up and At 'Em barely registers in the morning drive ratings. In fact, it's not even in the top 15 spots in the ages 25 to 54 demographic. But the ratings don't entirely explain Tomczak's exit.
"It's about revenue, not ratings, and a show like this is a hard sell," he says. "Selling advertisers on talk radio that's politically charged, a lot of companies don't want to do it. Take that and maybe add in a personality conflict or a difference of opinion internally, and you can see why there was a shake-up."