COLUMBIA (WACH) ?? On November 1, 2012, Midlands talk show host Keven Cohen went to the WVOC studios on Greystone Blvd., has he had done for over 18 years, to host his radio program.
That turned out to be the last time he would practice that routine, as Clear Channel, the Texas based company that owns WVOC, along with WCOS, Steve-FM, WNOK, and others in Columbia, fired him.
Rather than keeping the matter private, as many people would, Cohen went right to Facebook.
??An hour ago, Clear Channel relieved me of my duties and fired me. Obviously, I am devastated. I am not getting the chance to do so on the radio, so I want to thank all of you for the love and support you have offered my way over almost 19 years at WVOC. Please keep the COHEN family in your prayers. This will be a significant challenge. Thank you, KEV."
This prompted Clear Channel to also release a statement, opting not to address Cohen??s statement, but look forward, announcing the new line-up including Jonathan Rush and Kelly Nash. In part, the statement said ??100.1 WVOC, News Talk Sports, announced today that radio veteran, Jonathon Rush, and co-host, Kelly Nash, will now host the afternoon drive weekdays from 3-6:00 p.m. ET, effective immediately. Known as The Morning Rush, the duo will now host The Afternoon Rush on WVOC.??
Even without a microphone, Cohen??s fan base continued to interact and support him through social media. Cohen also hosted a series of meet and greets around town, in and effort to stay top of mind.
Cohen made it no secret that he wanted to stay in radio, and more importantly, stay in the Midlands, turning down other opportunities that would have kept him on the air, but not in town. It was a quest that proved daunting, as there are fiew local radio jobs, with automation and syndicated programming filling time slots that used to be local.
After about 11 months of silence, on Monday, Cohen??s ??on air?? light comes back on. In this case, it??s his own light. In fact, you could say it is his back porch light.
Richland Library Job Trainer Lori Cook pointed out on the Back to Work segment on Good Day Columbia pointed out that going out on your own is a growing trend, as traditional employment remains scarce, but it also has a major risk.
Taking a cue from Cook, Cohen has mortgaged his home in order to get the funding to lease the frequency from Glory Communications. ??We are hoping to be in our own location in about six months,?? he says of his newly set up broadcasting LLC.
It??s not hard to see that broadcasting in the Midlands is a driving passion for Cohen, who has put pretty much everything on the line to make his dream of owning his own station work. ??It??s just me,?? says Cohen. ??I have a couple of part-time people to help, but I have been hitting the streets.?? Cohen is acting as station owner, morning show host, and salesman for the new business.
He also make it a point to be clear about who owns the station and where the money goes. ??Every dollar spent on advertising on The Point will be spend in the Midlands,?? Cohen says, making reference to the larger corporate owned radio stations that have headquarters far outside of Columbia. Cohen also proudly says that if there is something in the community that he thinks is important, the station will be involved, regardless of ratings or revenue.
As for Cohen, he holds no ill-will toward his former employer, understanding it was a business decision, and that he had nearly 19 great years. ??It??s all about looking forward.??