Brent Johnson, the longtime Gamecock commentator on WNKT 107.5 The Game and morning show host on WTCB 106.7, is no longer with the stations.
A company official said Johnson chose to leave after changes were set to be made at the stations, which are owned by Cumulus Media of Atlanta.
“We were going through some programing-lineup changes on B106.7 and The Game 107.5, and last Friday, Brent decided he wanted to move on,” said Rick Prusator, vice president and market manager of Cumulus in Columbia.
Prusator says Johnson chose to leave on his own and was not forced out. Johnson will still be part of Gamecock sports broadcasts produced by the IMG sports network and aired on 107.5, according to Prusator.
Attempts to reach Johnson were unsuccessful.
On Friday, Johnson thanked his listeners from the two stations.
“I believe we did some good things together,” he said on social media. “I love and miss my co-workers already. They are a special and talented group of people.”
He did, however, add he was “also stoked to be able to drive my daughter to school,” while saying he was enthusiastic for the upcoming Gamecocks’ football season and being a commentator for live Gamecocks’ sports broadcast.
Johnson was the long-running host of the morning show on B106.7. On 107.5, he co-hosted a noon call-in show about the South Carolina Gamecocks and college and national sports. Johnson won Personality of the Year six times and Morning Show of the Year four times from the S.C. Broadcasters Association, The Game’s website says.
He also captured a Marconi Award, a top honor by the National Association of Broadcasters, according to the website.
The noon show on 107.5 The Game is being hosted by Johnson’s former on-air partner, Pearson Fowler, who will have guests such as Todd Ellis, the play-by-play announcer for Gamecocks football; Jay Philips; and other regular Gamecock commentators. A new morning show is in the works for B106.7, while other radio personalities are filling in the early hours DJ slot.
Philips, a well-known Gamecock and SEC commentator on 107.5, says he was set on a path of being a radio host by Johnson in a time when Philips didn’t know where his career was taking him. Philips worked with Johnson for 22 years.
“Brent is one of the finest people I’ve ever worked with,” Philips said. “He was my boss, but he was absolutely even more a mentor. I looked to him for all kinds of advice to get better.”
The longtime host’s departure has riled some fans.
Michele Barry Dove said she met Johnson through fundraisers for Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital — work that she says showed Johnson was a personable and compassionate person.
“It breaks my heart that he isn’t going to be on the radio anymore,” Dove said. “I liked that he was always the same. He was calm, funny, sarcastic, but mostly, he was dedicated to what he did. B106.7 won’t be the same without him. It changes radio for me.”
Karen Price, another Johnson fan, said she wouldn’t be supporting Cumulus anymore.
“He is relatable on air,” she said. “He’s family-friendly. He talks about his faith, which is refreshing. He talks about how he edits songs with profanity in them ... to make it family-friendly . . . . On the air, he seems like a genuinely nice guy, and I will miss that. . . . I hope he finds a new radio home here.”
To Philips, it was a moment outside the studio that demonstrates Johnson’s character. A decade ago, when Philips’ wife was pregnant with their fourth child, they found out his wife had cervical cancer. The couple went through lengthy treatment and hospitalization outside of Columbia, with their daughter being born six weeks early. His wife is healthy now, but it was the hardest time of his life, Philips says, and the hardship came when 107.5 was still getting on its feet. Johnson made sure Philips kept his job at the station and made sure his family was taken care of. While some workplaces might be calling for their employee to get back on the job, Johnson and the other station heads gave Philips’ family the time and support they needed.
“That’s the kind of guy he was,” Philips says. “He just looked out for people. I’ll never forget that.”