HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – It has been radio silence recently for three popular Midstate radio personalities. Chachi from 93.5 Nash FM and Hot 106.7’s Puff and Steph were all suddenly fired last week.
Cumulus Media, which owns both stations, isn’t saying why.
Ryan “Puff” Downes and Steph Pagliaro spoke Monday with ABC27 about what happened.
“You don’t realize how important you are to people’s lives until something like this happens,” Puff said.
That’s perhaps the only positive for Puff and Steph, since their abrupt termination Wednesday.
“Our boss came into the studio and said ‘hey, Puff I need to talk to you,'” Puff said. “I was dumbfounded. I wasn’t ready for it.”
“One minute we were on the air laughing and joking, saying ‘alright, guys see you tomorrow,’ and then the next minute it’s all over,” Steph said.
“It almost still doesn’t seem real,” said Puff.
The duo has been together for three and a half years. Steph joined Puff right out of college.
Their goal, they say, was to always put local first.
“Endorsements we did and things advertisers paid for because of us, and now we’re gone and they’re pulling their advertising,” Steph said.
“They’re not saving a dime by letting us go. They’re gonna lose money,” Puff said.
Fellow Cumulus Media host Charles “Chachi” Angelo said if radio isn’t local, listeners will check out.
He said of his firing, in part, “I literally spent half my life working in radio, and to have that taken away in just a snap, it hurts.”
“We’ve had dozens and dozens of people say they don’t know how they’re gonna start their morning. You really become a part of people’s lives,” Steph said. “There’s no other job on the planet like that.”
While they can’t say exactly why they were fired, they say it wasn’t a lack of listeners.
“It was 100 percent not because of ratings,” Puff said.
Steph says she’ll miss helping homeless pets every week find new homes.
For Puff, that’s an easy one.
“I think the thing I’m gonna miss most is Steph,” Puff said. “You get trapped in a box with someone for hours a day and it’s just you two talking, how do you not become best friends?”
A representative of Cumulus Media had no comment on why the hosts were let go or on what programming will replace their respective morning shows.
As for Puff and Steph, they say they’re launching their own podcast in two weeks.