Popular “Take A Stand” host Matt Mittan and producer Agnes Cheek leave Clear Channel Asheville

Popular “Take A Stand” host Matt Mittan and producer Agnes Cheek leave Clear Channel Asheville-attachment0

Amid swirling rumors over the cause of their departure, popular WWNC talk radio host Matt Mittan and producer Agnes Cheek are no longer working at Clear Channel Asheville.

A short statement posted on the news radio station’s website reads: “Matt Mittan made the decision to leave WWNC. We wish him well. Our listeners are our top priority, and WWNC will continue to serve our local community to the best of our ability. Sean Hannity will air from 3-6p until a new host is named.”

Asked for more information regarding the departures, WWNC Programming Director Brian Hall declined to give further details, reiterating to Xpress that Mittan chose to leave the show and wasn’t laid off.

“As a policy, we can’t comment on internal staffing matters,” he wrote in an email. “Matt made the decision to seek other opportunities and we wish him well; our listeners are our top priority, and WWNC will continue to serve Asheville and the entire Western North Carolina community to the best of our ability, as we have always done for the past 84 years.”

Mittan has thus far kept relatively quiet on the matter, posting several vague dispatches on his Facebook page in response to an outpouring of support and speculation from his Facebook friends. On Oct. 27, he changed his employer information to read: “Currently Unemployed • Person of maintained integrity · Oct 2011 to present · Asheville, North Carolina, Figuring out what to do next…” Later, he posted a YouTube video of John Lennon covering “Stand by Me.” In an Oct. 28 post, he urged supporters not to take their frustration out on the show’s advertisers, writing:

“I’ve noticed a lot of people are targeting advertisers with their frustration. Please … the advertisers and sponsors have been wonderful partners and supporters to me. If fact, I still stand by EVERY endorsement I had. I did those ads BECAUSE I believed in their products and service, not because it made me money. Want to help? DO business WITH them and let them know why. Love breeds love. :)”

At this writing, Mittan declined an Xpress request for further comment. He first hosted “Take A Stand” in 2004.

Meanwhile, Cheek, who started producing the show six years ago, reported Oct. 27 via a pair of dispatches from her Twitter account (She also declined a request from Xpress for further comment):

I’ve been seeing all the media coverage around town, and for the record I didn’t resign, I was met at the door and escorted out.

There is even more to it than that. I’m sure that Matt Mittan will have more to say on it soon. #integrity #truth @MattMittanShow

The changes at the local affiliate come as Clear Channel Communications, the largest radio station operator in the United States, dismissed D.J.‘s across the country, “raising fresh concerns about the homogenization of radio programming,” according to the New York Times.

“Clear Channel Radio, which operates about 850 stations in the U.S. and employs 12,000 people, declined to say how many employees were dismissed, but some of the D.J.’s said they believed that the number was in the hundreds,” the Times reports in an Oct. 27 article. “The company said the layoffs were not to cut costs, but were part of a reorganization of its roughly 600 regional radio stations. (Its 250 other stations are in large markets like New York and Los Angeles.)”

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About Jake Frankel
Jake Frankel is an award-winning writer and reporter who enjoys covering a wide range of topics, from politics and government to business, education and entertainment.

20 thoughts on “Popular “Take A Stand” host Matt Mittan and producer Agnes Cheek leave Clear Channel Asheville

  1. TallPaul

    Mr. Hall’s claim is simply not in any way plausible.

    It’s about what you’d expect, but not plausible.

  2. Alex

    What? Listeners top priority? Really? Sorry we all don’t buy it. If that were the case Brian then you would have Matt and Agnes back on….for the LISTENERS.
    Get it? FOR THE LISTENERS.
    We will all go elsewhere.

  3. Thunder Pig

    I was very skeptical and thought it was yet another publicity stunt by Matt and/or WWNC.

    But, I have heard that Matt did the honorable thing for once and kudos to him for taking a stand instead of a position calculated to generate controversy.

    • jay5

      Thunder,

      did the honorable thing for once? that is the most inane thing I have every heard from you, and that is saying something.

      While there is no way to deny that Matt was more than a little self aggrandizing, he rarely acted in a less than honorable way.

      for myself, i cannot wait to find out any details, for I think there is a lot to this.

  4. Jeff Fobes

    From RussBowenNews13 on Twitter: “@MattMittanShow Mittan tells me he left partially because management tried to control content for fear of losing ad rev”

    But I don’t think we yet know the whole story. What we do have is: the implication that Matt did what he did out of a sense of integrity (see his Facebook page), and Agnes Cheek saying (via Twitter) that she was met at the station door saying she no longer worked there.

  5. Jeff Fobes

    Comment from Matt Mittan on Ashvegas: “FYI: I was not part of the force reduction that occurred. I plan on talking to Jason (and others) about it in more detail soon. Right now I’m working hard to sort out taking care of my family while ensuring that a forum for free speech and diverse conversation can exist with integrity, loyalty and consistency. Those are my immediate priorities.”

    http://ashvegas.squarespace.com/journal/2011/10/27/rumor-control-big-changes-afoot-at-clear-channel-matt-mittan.html#comments

    For more info/details, check out the earlier Xpress post:
    http://www.mountainx.com/article/36873/WWNC-and-Matt-Mittan-part-company-company-states-its-position-UPDATED

  6. Betty

    Here’s an interesting bit of correlation (not necessarily causation). Frontier Communications had some kind of agreement with Clear Channel — Some may remember hearing Matt say “Call Us On the Frontier Communications Hotline.” Well, Ken Maxwell, the General Manager of WNC Frontier Communications, is a big supporter of the AB-Tech tax. Interesting, no? Frontier Communications terminated the agreement very recently.

  7. Barry Summers

    From the NYT story:

    “To some in the radio business, the layoffs signaled the continuation of a several-years-old strategy that replaces locally produced programming with less costly nationally syndicated shows…

    “Ms. Goldberg said that through this week

    • Jessica B.

      Clear Channel’s idea of “localized content” is feeding local info to the long distance announcers that do their voicetracking for them, so it (almost) sounds like they’re actually local.

  8. glolady

    People were distracted by gossip and mayhem while Government shut down public access….. people who spoke out truthfully were taken off air…. How blind are you people not to see what is happening to your rights?

    • bill smith

      Then how come you URTV folks never got off your duff and applied for your permit to be renewed?

      Did you fall asleep at the wheel of your freedom train? You have failed the people!

  9. D. Dial

    “Our listeners are our top priority.”
    Ha! Advertising dollars are their “top priority.” As it is with most main stream media.

  10. Word from our Sponsor

    From Agnes’ twitter feed:
    “I’ve been seeing all the media coverage around town, and for the record I didn’t resign, I was met at the door and escorted out.

    There is even more to it than that. I’m sure that Matt Mittan will have more to say on it soon.”

    Why can’t Agnes speak for herself, and for the reason she herself was let go? Matt still speaks for her, even after neither work at WWNC? Does she have to serve him in the after-life as well? And Matt keep teasing that he’ll tell the story, but hasn’t yet…how complex could it be?

    • CourtMan

      The story is not complex, it’s political.
      Ask the County Commissioners.

  11. Zulu

    Matt Mittan’s libertarian leanings should lead him to the conclusion that Clear Channel acted in what they saw as their corporate best interest. It just did what profit-motivated entities do. Why is Matt whining and bitching now? He should just move on out into the marketplace and find himself another job. (And maybe Agnes can become her own person and not Matt’s yes-man now?)

    Matt and Agnes cashed the checks that Clear Channel issued to them every payday. It wasn’t a mystery who was paying them. So why freak out when a big corporation does what big corporations do?

    And if there’s “more to the story”, tell it and be done. What does Mittan have to lose now? Is he afraid to “take a stand”?

    • buylocal

      I missed the “whining and bitching.” Link please…..
      “cricket…cricket…”

    • TallPaul

      “And if there’s “more to the story”, tell it and be done. What does Mittan have to lose now? Is he afraid to “take a stand”?”

      It’s been told.

      “Why is Matt whining and bitching now? He should just move on out into the marketplace and find himself another job.”

      He is doing just that.

  12. Brian

    I used to listen to 570 every day specifically for Take A Stand. Now that the show is gone, I no longer listen to 570.

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