Marc Steiner, Peabody award-winning radio host, announced last week that he would be leaving WEAA Morgan State University Radio 88.9 FM.
Steiner, 70, will end his 24-year run on Baltimore radio on July 31 and focus more on his documentaries and personal interviews.“There are a confluence of events,” Steiner said of his departure. “It’s not just one thing. I want to more work on documentaries I’m working on at our Center for Emerging Media … I’m more into interviewing people not-live these days. It’s just a totally different feel.”
Marc Steiner’s departure is expected to forecast things to come with the station transitioning from music to news and public affairs. The news segments will no longer be produced and reported by an outside entity, but the students in the Morgan State University’s School of Global Journalism and Communication.
Morgan State officials informed Steiner that he and his production company, Center for Emerging Media, would be responsible for raising their own money if the institution signed any new contract with him, Steiner said in a statement.
Dean of Morgan State, DeWayne Wickham, admitted to informing Steiner that the institution would no longer be financially contributing to the production of Steiner’s program. Although he did praise Steiner and his show, he felt the show no longer fit the school’s new agenda.
Wickman said when he began to focus on the school’s public radio station he discovered an operation that was not serving its educational goals.
“What I saw was an organization that had lost its way,” he said. “All our programming was done by professionals and students that had very little involvement in the production of the content. And I could not justify it. I could not justify continuing to fund Marc Steiner’s show, as fine a show as he has.”
Steiner’s contract was negotiated prior to Wickham becoming the dean of the school, calling for the institution to pay him $100,000 annually “to bring his show to Morgan,” and another nearly $9,000 for a producer.
“And then, on top of that, the contract allows Marc Steiner’s company to solicit underwriting for the show and keep the money,” Wickman said. “It’s a quality show, but we just can’t afford it.”
Steiner got his start in radio in 1993 when he was hired by WJHU-FM (88.1), the Johns-Hopkins owned radio station, which was later sold in 2001.