COLUMBIA, SC — The response to Clear Channel Media and Entertainments firing of Keven Cohen, the former afternoon drive host on WVOC-FM 100.1, was voluminous online Friday.
The comment sections of stories about Cohens departure on thestate.com and the websites of other media properties were filled with fans offering their opinions on the oft-opinionated talk show host.
Cohen, who had been the host of WVOCs 3-6 p.m. slot since 1999, was fired Thursday afternoon before he went on the air.
A majority of comments on news sites were sympathetic, but some, in terms that werent newspaper-friendly, indicated the writers were happy to see Cohen go.
On Cohens Facebook page, the outpouring of support was overwhelmingly in Cohens favor.
If I wanted to listen Johnboy and Billy (sic), Id tune into Johnboy and Billy, Al Orton wrote on Cohens Facebook wall, responding to Clear Channels Friday-afternoon announcement that Jonathon Rush and Kelly Nash would replace Cohen. No disrespect to J&K, but they cant do what Kev did. It takes more than two to replace Kev. I understand you cant reveal details, but WVOC just got rid of one the best things Columbia has to offer.
I wish you and your family the best, Mark Johnston posted on Cohens wall. Clear Channel made a big mistake. I am sure you will be back on the air soon. WVOC has lost a listener and I look forward to hearing you on air soon.
Rocky Blackwell wrote on Cohens page what many of Cohens fans had been wondering: Kevin (sic), your listeners want to know why u were fired. We need to know.
Clear Channels statement didnt address why Cohen was fired. Instead, the statement announced that Rush and Nash, co-hosts of The Morning Rush on WVOCs sister station WCOS-FM 97.5, would add what is now known as The Afternoon Rush to their broadcasting responsibilities.
News Talk radio is more than just political opinions and interviews with lawmakers. All news has an element of entertainment to it that makes it entertaining and compelling, said L.J. Smith, Clear Channels regional program manager. Jonathon and Kelly understand the balance between addressing hard-hitting issues while keeping listeners engaged in a compelling conversation about todays most relevant topics.
Smith could not be reached for further comment.
Clear Channel owns six stations in the market WCOS-AM 1400, gospel music; WCOS-FM 97.5, country; WLTY-FM 96.7 Steve FM, variety hits; WNOK-FM 104.7, top 40; WXBT-AM 560, sports talk; and WVOC. Last fall, Clear Channel sliced urban contemporary music from its local lineup when what was then-known as WXBT-FM The Beat was shut down. For a time, WVOCs AM programming was simulcast on the 100.1 FM frequency. WVOC and WXBT have since swapped frequencies.
For more than 18 years, Cohen was on WVOC. He hosted a morning show before moving to the afternoons.
I had a great run at WVOC, Cohen told The State on Thursday. It will always have a special place in my heart.
Cohen said he would be interested in returning to radio locally. In a text message to a reporter Friday, Cohen also said he was heartbroken. He continued, I am humbled by the love people are showing.
Annie Marsh said she was disappointed that Cohen was taken off the air.
I had recently started tuning in on my afternoon commute purely for the entertainment of listening to him, she said. While some may feel him a bit harsh, none can say he was not fair.
Hes been a source of entertainment and information during my commute from Columbia to Camden, Orton said when reached for further comment Friday afternoon. Columbia and WVOC was better for having him for all these years, and I miss him.
Reach Taylor at (803) 771-8362.