"Music Professor" Jim LaBarbara Fired
Only two more days to hear Jim "The Music Professor" LaBarbara on WGRR-FM (103.5). After 38 years on the air here -- the last 14 at don't-call-us-oldies WGRR-FM -- LaBarbara was told Wednesday his contract would not be renewed. He will leave after his 2-7 p.m. show Friday.
LaBarbara, 65, will be replaced by program director Keith Mitchell. He says he was told that Cumulus corporate execs in Atlanta ordered the move, to put Mitchell back on the air. Mitchell was PD and morning personality at MOJO 94.9, until Cumulus sold the station in September.
LaBarbara told me this morning: "I'm just shellshocked now, trying to figure out what I'm going to do next. They said it had nothing to do with me, or my ratings, or my age. They said corporate wanted to make the change."
LaBarbara, who is listed in the Rock Jock Hall of Fame and a member of the Ohio Radio/Television Broadcasters Hall of Fame, says he won't do anything special on his show today or Friday -- because he hopes to land another radio job.
"I'm not going to say goodbye. I'm not ready yet to retire. I definitely want to stay on the air. I'm hoping and praying I can catch on somewhere. I love being on the air."
Mitchell, who subbed for LaBarbara over Christmas, says no other DJ changes are planned for the station. (So Rockin' Ron, Chris & Janeen are safe for now.)
So who might pick up LaBarbara? WDJO? Or could he do talk somewhere, as he did for five years on old WCKY?
Any you have fond memories of The Music Professor on WLW-AM, or his hundreds of interviews with rock musicians?