Senior Editor and Researcher
Over the years, countless famous radio hosts have been fired.
It’s not a particularly unusual occurrence.
After all, broadcasting stations are constantly evolving, seeking new talent, and creating new shows.
As a result, some decide to move in a different direction with their content by hiring various presenters. Others let well-known hosts go because they no longer represent the larger brand.
Some of the world’s most popular radio hosts are well-known for their distinctive personalities. Radio presenters, hosts, or “disc jockeys” cultivate a following through their unique tone.
Some are best known for being intelligent, authoritative thought leaders. Others connect with their audience through humor and playful antics.
When a radio presenter’s personality suddenly starts clashing with the brand they represent, they probably won’t be around for long.
Let’s look at some of the most famous radio hosts fired from stations around the US – and what they did to deserve the chopping block.
1. Don Imus
Don Imus was one of the better-known radio personalities in the US, but he was a shock jock who got into hot water for sexist and racist remarks.
Since the late 1960s, he has worked with several different stations. Imus initially earned his first radio job at KUTY in California before landing a morning broadcast position at WNBC.
While Don was temporarily fired from WNBC, other firings drew more attention.
The “Shock Jock” caused massive waves in the radio landscape when CBS announced they had nixed the Imus in the Morning show.
According to CBS, Imus was fired for his racist and sexist commentary regarding a mostly black university basketball team.
Imus had already generated quite a reputation for abrasive commentary, giving him a somewhat controversial personal brand.
However, the CBS incident meant he lost the support of a lot of his previous fans.
2. Star and Buc Wild
Star and Buc Wild were radio hosts best known for broadcasting on NYC radio. They even had their own morning show.
Although the details around why these individuals were removed from their position are shady, most believe they were fired for mocking the death of Aaliyah, an R&B singer.
The pair played a sound bite on air featuring a woman screaming before a large crash. This prompted their co-host to storm out of the recording and demand a response from the producers.
The pair ended up on another show with Power 105.1 a few years later. Still, they were again fired after making offensive comments about the daughter of record producer DJ Envy.
3. Charlamagne Tha God
Otherwise known as Lenard Larry McKelvey, Charlamagne Tha God is a radio host and television personality in the United States.
McKelvey is no stranger to being axed from radio shows. Over the years, he has been fired from numerous positions, usually due to his problematic personal life.
McKelvey has been arrested for drug possession and accused of sexual assault in the past.
In 2009, Charlamagne was fired from The Beat in Philadelphia after airing an interview with Beanie Sigel, who had previously released a diss track about Jay Z.
Fortunately, he managed to remake his career as a co-host of The Breakfast Club between 2010 and 2016. Today, he’s involved in writing books and producing his own podcast.
4. Dianna Ploss
Often considered a relatively controversial radio host, Dianna Ploss was best known for her position with the WSMN broadcasting station in New Hampshire.
The conservative presenter and avid Donald Trump supporter filmed herself berating a man on the street for speaking Spanish while he worked.
According to news reports, Ploss was on her way to work when she overheard a landscaper speaking Spanish. She decided to film herself harassing the workers, and the interaction quickly became somewhat racist.
Following the video’s airing, WSMN announced Dianna Ploss would no longer be associated with their station or parent company.
Despite being fired, Ploss continued sharing her opinions via her Twitter account.
5. Donnell Rawlings
Donnel M. Rawlings was best known by many fans for appearing in frequent sketches on Chappelle’s Show. He has also appeared in numerous films and television shows, including Spider-Man 2.
When Donnell was fired from Power 105, an official reason for the termination was never released. Both Donnell and the station suggested the parting of ways was due to the broadcast moving in a new direction.
However, while this may be true, some fans have suggested Rawlings may have been fired for his somewhat controversial statements in specific broadcasts.
Listeners have taken offense to the presenter’s statements in the past, particularly concerning his skits for Are You Smarter than an Asian.
6. Sean Salisbury
Both an American football analyst and NFL quarterback, Sean Salisbury has always had a passion for sports.
After getting his start in the entertainment world in the Comedy Central show BattleBots, Salisbury became an NFL analyst for ESPN.
In 2006, he started broadcasting for ESPN Radio 1000 in Chicago. He also participated in various guest spots on a classic ESN comedy program.
Unfortunately, in 2008, Salisbury was axed from ESPN, and very little information was revealed about the departure.
It wasn’t until 2010, when Salisbury admitted to USA Today, that he had been suspended for showing a picture of his genitals to a coworker.
Initially, he denied he had done so but later admitted to his wrongdoing.
Since then, Salisbury has continued to break into the radio landscape. In 2017, he became the host of The Sean Salisbury Show on BeIn Sports.
A year later, he moved into a position as an afternoon-drive broadcast host for KBME Sportstalk 790.
7. Rush Limbaugh
Few radio hosts are as well known as a political commentator, Rush Limbaugh.
He was best known as the host of The Rush Limbaugh Show, where he shared several controversial conservative comments over the years.
Throughout his radio career, Limbaugh was fired multiple times. In 1973, he was removed from his role with WIXZ after “personality conflicts” with the directory.
In 1983, he was recruited to KMBZ in Kansas City and was later fired again.
At one point in 2003, when Rush was working as a football analyst for ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown, he fell into hot water after some racist commentary.
Although he wasn’t actually fired from the station after the comments, he said he “resigned” following some media backlash.
8. Rob Lederman
The radio show host for New York-based 97 Rock, Rob Lederman, was also fired due to racist commentary.
According to a spokesperson for the station’s parent company, Cumulus Media, the presenter was “swiftly terminated” after an exchange with his co-host.
During the conversation, Rob had made some unsavory comments comparing the skin tones of famous black women to various toaster settings.
The broadcasting station said his commentary was in “violation” of its principles.
After being fired, Lederman didn’t immediately respond to any commentary requests. However, after a little while, he shared an apologetic statement, saying he was “horrified” by his behavior.
9. Garrison Keillor
Known for hosting the popular Prairie Home Companion show, Garrison Keillor was fired from Minnesota Public Radio for allegedly inappropriate behavior.
Although Keillor had already retired “officially” from the show, he still produced content for syndication.
Keillor broke the news about being fired himself, telling the press that his ties with the Minnesota Public Radio team were severed due to a complex story.
The broadcasting station argued they had made the decision following allegations that he had behaved inappropriately with a coworker.
No further details were given about the alleged misconduct by either Keillor or the station.
10. Mark Lye
Best known for the SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio station, Mark Lye was fired for his problematic commentary about female basketball players.
In an episode of the Scorecard show, commenting on the LPGA tournament, Lye said he would rather “shoot himself” than watch female basketball.
Lye quickly commented on the situation on his Twitter account, explaining that he had apologized for his comments in the next segment.
He also went on to say that he used to hate watching women’s golf before he had an opportunity to get into it.
The professional golfer hasn’t returned to radio since but is still active on social media.
11. Craig Silverman
The reasons why Craig Silverman was fired have caused controversy in recent years.
According to the presenter, he was hosting his self-named show on Denver station 710 KNUS when his broadcast was abruptly cut.
Silverman said the program director told him he was fired when he was in the middle of a segment about Donald Trump.
Silverman noted he had previously encountered problems with the station for criticizing Donald Trump. He said he felt frustrated he couldn’t talk about the facts surrounding the impeachment case at the time.
However, KNUS said Silverman was never fired but decided to move to a rival network.
12. Ray and Beck
Finally, two radio hosts in upstate New York were fired following racial commentary during a live broadcast.
Kimberly Ray referenced a viral video of men attacking a couple within the segment. She asked her co-host, Barry Beck, if the group was acting “N-word-ish.”
Beck noted the men were acting “like thugs,” and the show’s producer, Pat McMahon, stepped in, asking them not to continue their commentary.
Following the broadcast, listeners called on iHeartRadio to terminate the pair immediately.
The organization acted quickly and hoped the incident served as a “clear example” of the need for more diversity on Rochester radio stations.