[Radio Daze] KSL Radio's Nightside Project will go on the air tonight as usual, at 7. The only thing missing will be its host, Michael Castner.
After a much-heralded 17 months on the air in the 7-to-midnight time slot, Castner got canned yesterday morning (as first reported on this blog by City Weekly's Bill Frost). The official reason given to a bleary-eyed Castner at an 8 a.m. meeting: Budget cutting.
But Castner and others are wondering what it all really means, which is rather like trying to read the Kremlin wall. In an e-mailed statement, KSL program director Kevin LaRue called the move a "restructuring." He added, "the program’s talented and popular host, Michael Castner, will be leaving the Nightside staff to pursue other opportunities."
Though as of Friday afternoon, none of those "opportunities" had shown up yet for Castner, who has hired a media employment lawyer to work out a severance deal with the station. "We're in the middle of a ratings book, and we're number one in this time slot in the market. The math just doesn't add up as far as budget cuts go," Castner said in a telephone interview.
So tonight, Nightside goes on, but with a skeleton staff. "Politics Guru" Ethan Millard and reporter Alex Kirry will take over as co-hosts, a station source says. Chase Lauritsen will produce the show. No word on whether live chats with other regular "gurus" -- of TV and movies, personal finance and relationships -- will continue.
Increasingly, the show had been built almost exclusively around Castner, and, says one source, "there's a big hole left to fill." There's also loud rumbling about whether the layoff was more about Castner's acerbic, "in your face style." The subject of a City Weekly cover story on July 19 of this year, Castner once riffed on a show about wearing a t-shirt in high school that showed a baby with his hands down his pants, obviously playing with his "man junk."
Perhaps reality finally hit: Chatty moments about masturbation on the big 1160? Oh my heck, no! (Holly Mullen)