Monday, December 29, 2014

Tearson Bites the Dust at WMGK

There's a time honored, but not so honorable tradition in broadcasting. On-air talent hardly ever gets to say "so-long" to listeners or viewers when they're being canned. Today, the ax fell on WMGK's Michael Tearson. But will you hear the tree fall?

Tearson Bites the Dust at WMGK

"Picking songs and putting them into a provocative sequence," Michael Tearson says, "it´s what I’ve done my entire adult life."
"Picking songs and putting them into a provocative sequence," Michael Tearson says, "it's what I’ve done my entire adult life."

There's a time honored, but not so honorable tradition in broadcasting. On-air talent  hardly ever gets to say "so-long" to listeners or viewers when they're being canned.  Today, the ax fell on WMGK's Michael Tearson. But will you hear the tree fall?

One of Philly's true pioneers of progressive rock radio, Tearson broke into the biz with his late 1960s years at a then student-run, all-volunteer WXPN, then moved to WDAS-FM, for many moons to  WMMR and later back, briefly  to a now professionally steered XPN.  Tearson has been holding down the fort at WMGK since April 2002 with a two hour (6 to 8 a.m.)  "Saturday Morning 60s" heritage music show that he put together with amazing first hand knowledge and a great record library from his South Jersey home studio.

But this morning, MGK program director Charlie Lake told Tearson the party is over after this Saturday's show. And since that episode (and several more)  are already in the can, M.T. won't get to say his farewells. A pity. This isn't just "another one bites the dust," it's one of the classic rock outlet's true "keeper of the keys"  getting locked out, no longer to share his small insights and big picture perspective, or what veteran reporters like to call our "institutional knowledge."

Tearson is sanguine about the whole thing, joking that doing his show from home kept him out of the line of fire (and firing) for much longer than most. And he's got gigs going on Sirius/XM satellite radio, heard regularly on the Blues channel and often doing fill in (including today) on Classic Vinyl. 

Still, as Leonard Cohen wrote and sang, "Hey, that's no way to say goodbye." Wonder if Tearson wasn't being prescient the other day, when he posted the survey question on Facebook "What's your favorite kiss-off song?" 

 


Contact Daily News staff writer Jonathan Takiff at takiffj@phillynews.com.

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