Steve has two and a half years left on his contract, he says he's going to sit out until it expires. His sidekick, newsman/bluesman Buzz Kilman, has one year left, but he'll be looking now.
Really, this doesn't come as a surprise. Since the media ownership rules were relaxed under the Clinton administration, most stations in the medium and larger markets have been bought up by large media corporations. Big companies with big balance sheets. Advertising revenue is seriously down in this economy. These companies are going to cut spending wherever they can, and I think they feel their return on investment is lowest in radio. CBS is going to pay Brad Pitt whatever he wants for the next movie he does at Paramount, because they know they'll make it back fivefold. They'll keep paying Mark Harmon and David Caruso, because they're making killings on NCIS and CSI: Sunglasses Of Justice. Those divisions also enjoy nationwide familiarity. Radio is still a local medium.
Steve is going to be fine, in the long run. He's been through this literally a dozen times before. He's got money in the bank, and all the kids are done with college. I'm bummed that he's out, but this is part of the change that's been happening in radio for ten years. So much of the country gets satellite-fed programming on its terrestrial radio stations now. We've seen Howard Stern depart for direct subscriber satellite radio. The government let the two sat radio providers merge. There has been demand for these kinds of programming in tne past, there will continue to be demand in the future (even if the new Arbitron Portable People Meter doesn't measure it.) I can't tell you what the face of the medium is going to be, but it's going to be radically different in a few years.
Steve's show has been available as a podcast on the iTunes Music Store. He and Buzz discuss the departure at the end of hour 4 on December 5, 2008, starting at the 26:28 mark. As separations go, this might be the most amicable one Steve's ever had. And thanks to the Internet, keeping up is dirt cheap. Gone are the days of calling 976-4242 (or later, 976-8686) to get the story.
And here's Janet's writeup.