There are at least three different sides to the story in the recent removal of talk-back radio’s Jonathan Piercy from the Rooster FM airwaves this week.
Mr. Piercy said he was notified at 8:15 p.m. Sunday via an email with an attached letter indicating that his services on the morning political talk show – which he had co-hosted with Austin Harris since May – were no longer needed. “It comes as a shock to me along with everyone else,” Mr. Piercy said Tuesday. Rooster FM station owner Randy Merren sent a statement to the Cayman Compass Monday explaining the situation.
“After listening to [the] show, it was clear that the show no longer had a lead host and a co-host,” Mr. Merren said. “We had two lead hosts and it was not working. We feel that Austin is capable of hosting the show by himself, so we will try it and see how it goes.
“I have advised Jonathan that we would like to have him host the show when Austin goes on annual vacation leave.”
Mr. Piercy said he had no idea what Mr. Merren was talking about, had never discussed the “co-host vs. host” subject with him, and stated there was no dispute between himself and his cousin, Mr. Harris, that he knew.
“Austin does not agree with that [statement from Mr. Merren],” Mr. Piercy said. “I can tell you there were times [on the air] when persons were sending me texts [messages] asking if I was in because I said so little. We’re family, there’s no animosity or feelings of acrimony or anything like that.”
Mr. Harris declined to comment regarding the matter when contacted Tuesday, stating he wished to stay out of what was a “clear contractual dispute.”
Mr. Piercy said he was also not aware of any contract issues and said he had never asked Mr. Merren for a raise or questioned any aspect of his contract since joining Rooster FM in May.
“When I had the [job] interview with Randy and Austin about the possibility of me co-hosting the show, one of the things Randy said to me is “we do not want another Gilbert McLean [former radio show host],” Mr. Piercy said, adding that station programmers were looking for someone “different,” who had a certain “dynamism” in their presentation.
“Now he’s talking about me being a co-host,” Mr. Piercy said.
Mr. Piercy is the second member and former candidate of the United Democratic Party, now known as the Cayman Islands Democratic Party, to have been removed from the Rooster FM airwaves this year.
Earlier in the year, ex-UDP George Town MLA Ellio Solomon was brought in to temporarily fill in for Mr. Harris, who has a pending matter before the criminal courts. Mr. Solomon was removed from the show when Mr. Harris returned.