In an odd story from the world of local media, St. Louis radio station KFNS has reportedly re-hired talk-show host Jim Hayes… a week after he was let go.
The somewhat bizarre saga began last week when KFNS announced that Hayes, host of the drive-time show The Morning After, would leave the air immediately, for reasons unclear. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, here is how station owner Randy Markel described Hayes’ departure:
“Jim has decided he wants to leave,” Markel said. “I tried this morning to talk him into staying at least through the end of the year, but he didn’t want to. It’s just wearing on him, with all the travel he does (for Fox Sports Midwest) and he doesn’t want to be obligated to getting up at 5 in the morning” for the show.
In that Post-Dispatch report, Markel said that Hayes, who also serves as a reporter on Cardinals games, would be welcome back whenever he wished, but he probably didn’t assume that would be quite so soon.
On Friday, the Post-Dispatch reported that Hayes was back on KFNS, thanks to advocacy from co-host Tim McKernan and The Morning After‘s listeners.
“Tim showed me a stack of emails and said, ‘Can we work it out for him to come back?” Markel said. “I said, ‘We just worked it for him to leave’” including severance. “But it benefits us to have him back. Maybe we underestimated his popularity. Maybe Jim underestimated his own popularity.”
“Things changed and it made me reevaluate,” said Hayes, whose position as a reporter and anchor for Fox Sports Midwest was not affected by the radio situation. “The outpouring of kind words and support from our ‘TMA’ listeners meant so much to me. That also made me re-think.
“Our listeners are the most loyal in radio. Too bad for them they’ll have to listen to me for a little while longer.”
And so just like that, Hayes is back, likely with a nice raise.
KFNS had already tabbed Hayes’ replacement on The Morning After, a fellow sports-talk host named Charlie Marlow, but with Hayes returning, Marlow will return to fill-in duties while continuing to host alongside Martin Kilcoyne from noon to 1 p.m.
In other words, things will continue as they were on KFNS’ morning show, with the only differences being that Hayes now knows how much he is loved—both by fans and by management.