Veteran country DJ Dr. Don Carpenter surprised his listeners Wednesday — and stunned his co-hosts — with the announcement that Friday will be his last morning show on WYCD-FM (99.5).
Carpenter, whose two stints at the station have totaled 18 years, said he will “still be a part of the WYCD family,” helping with special programming and concerts.
“As a lot of you know, I’ve got my own business,” he said on the air, referring to a humor-writing service for other radio hosts. “CBS has come to me with an opportunity to concentrate on that.”
“Is this April Fools?” asked co-host Rachael Hunter.
“I don’t know what’s going on,” said Steve Grunwald, who is also part of the team along with Jason Raithel.
Off the air, Carpenter said his contract runs through March 2017. The change wasn’t his choice, he said, but only because he didn’t come up with it first: “If I’d thought asking for a two-year paid vacation would work, I’d have tried it myself, much earlier.”
The announcement came several weeks after station owner CBS Radio oversaw the firings and what it called “voluntary layoff opportunities” of 13 employees at the chain’s five Detroit stations. Those cuts included six positions, five of them on-air, at all-news WWJ-AM (950).
Carpenter came to Detroit in late 1992 and was the only on-air holdover when 99.5 FM changed from music to talk shortly afterward under the call letters WOW-FM.
When that format failed, he helped originate Young Country in May 1993 as the afternoon host. He had been the morning host for two years when he was fired in May 2000.
After several years working a morning shift in Cincinnati, Carpenter returned to WYCD in March 2005.
Debbie Kenyon, the senior vice-president and market manager for CBS Radio Detroit, said Carpenter’s pending exit from the morning show “was an opportunity for both of us, but even more so for Doc,” given his outside work and his interest in writing books.
She said the station has a new morning show “ready to go,” and that it will include Hunter, Grunwald and Raithel, who were given details after Wednesday’s program. She said the transition will “be very natural.”
“We’re very excited,” she said.
Said Carpenter, closing Wednesday’s broadcast, “Thanks, Motor City. It’s been fun.”