'Fred the Show,' Jeff Styles leaving NoogaRadio over management dispute

Keon Rose, Jen Lambert, Jason Kirk also leaving station

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Three-fourths of the "Fred the Show" daily program on WPLZ-FM 92.7, NoogaRadio, are leaving the station as of Friday, Aug. 6 over a dispute with station ownership about the direction of the station, according to a news release from general manager and on-air personality Jen Lambert.

She, along with show host Jeff Styles and operations manager and on-air personality Jason Kirk will be pursuing other interests. A fourth member of the morning show team, Russell Stroud is undecided on his plans, she said.

The four are not the only ones who have left or who are leaving the station. Sports broadcaster Keon Rose is also leaving the station for a larger market in Arizona. General Sales Manager Michael Lisowski is also leaving to pursue other opportunities, according to the release. "StoneOnAir" host Bryan Stone was let go from the station almost two weeks ago.

"I hired Bryan because he was really good and I knew he could bring a product to the table I could sell," Lambert said. "He is a known local personality. People love him or they love to not like him."

A 20-year veteran of local radio, Stone previously was on the air at WXCT-FM 98.7 and before that was a producer and on-air personality at WGOW-FM 102.3, where Styles had hosted a show for 26 years.

"He [Stone] was parttime and only here a couple [three] of days a week," said station owner Sabatini Cuppelli. "It was my decision to let him go."

Lambert said she and Cuppelli disagreed on the direction he wanted to take the station with more nationaly syndicated shows and pay-to-play shows hosted by people who buy the time.

Cuppelli said, "We will always use a mix of local and national and there will be very little buying time."

Lambert wrote in the release that Styles "is pursuing numerous options, including taking some time off from early morning duties, and is deeply, sincerely appreciative of the opportunity afforded him by NoogaRadio to continue entertaining and informing our community through these last extremely difficult months when honest communication was most needed and an unfortunate rarity. His podcasts, 'Rockaeology' and 'Storyville' will live on at fredpodcast.com."

She added, "Unfortunately, after 4 years, a lot of blood, sweat, tears and a whole lot of love, the station ownership has chosen to take NoogaRadio in a direction that most of us feel we are unable to stand behind."

She said her goal over the last four years to to be "a locally owned small independent station with local businesses, musicians and local stories and we had that for a while. We had that and we were really proud of it. Our intentions here were nothing but good. We could have had something here."

"We are so grateful and proud to have been able to entertain you for as long as we have and, as the General Manager, I am able to move on with my head held high knowing that I gave it my all.

"We genuinely hope we can bring our relationship to an amicable end in the most professional manner leaving no burned bridges, hard feelings or severed business relationships."

Cuppelli said "People want to pursue what they want to do. Jen and Mike want to pursue what they want to do, and I told Jen she is welcome back anytime she wants. Keon is going to a larger market. We are all friends and we are just going in different directions."

Contact Barry Courter at bcourter@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6354.