DR Kingsley Stewart, host of the hugely popular morning talk show Ragashanti Live, yesterday quit NewsTalk 93FM, ending years of what had been an acrimonious relationship with the owners of the radio station, the University of the West Indies (UWI).
To those with knowledge of the tug-of-war between the owners of the station — described as high-browed from the elitist, intellectual class — and Stewart, the self-proclaimed 'king of mix-up', whose often sexually explicit programme catered to the so-called lower class, the split came as no surprise.
So controversial has been the programme that occupied a two-hour slot from 10am to midday, that the station had on numerous occasions been cited by the media watchdog Broadcasting Commission.
Yesterday, Professor Gordon Shirley — principal of the UWI Mona Campus and chairman of Universal Media Company Ltd, operators of NewsTalk 93 FM — said in an afternoon release that he received an e-mail from Stewart in which he stated that effective yesterday, the programme would no longer air.
"The board of management of the station, after careful review of the matter, determined that in the best interest of the University of the West Indies, Mona, and the station, that the programme should be discontinued with immediate effect and appropriate music played until further notice," the release said.
With approximately an hour and 20 minutes left in the broadcast, the order was given for the microphone to be cut, angering listeners and betraying just how stormy the relationship between host and owners had become.
Hours later, Stewart told the Observer that he tendered his resignation as he was tired of the "continued harassment" and constant fight over the nature of his programme.
He admitted that the programme at times engaged in trash talk but was unapologetic, pointing to its financial success.
Ragashanti Live, Stewart said, has raked in well over $70 million between 2008 and now. Recent media surveys have in at the number two slot. Stewart, who started out with the station close to three years ago from Hot102 FM where he hosted the current affairs programme Upfront with Ragashanti, said that he had received a more lucrative offer elsewhere and had hopes of sealing that deal next Thursday with broadcast to start in October.