MONTEGO BAY -- Executive chairman of Hot 102, Robert Russell, yesterday confirmed that they have lost yet another talk show host to rival radio station, Power 106.

Three months after Cliff Hughes' Nationwide team jumped ship, they are being followed by the host of Perkins on Line, Wilmot "Mutty" Perkins.

"(Perkins) informed me, some time after 9 o'clock on Friday that he had signed a contract with Power 106 and would not be on the air Monday morning," Russell told the Sunday Observer.

Perkins could not be reached for comment yesterday and it wasn't clear when he would begin at Power.

According to Russell, Perkins' contract with Hot had expired since February and they had been in negotiations but he was surprised by the short, three-day notice.

"It has taken us by surprise because we didn't expect it to be so abrupt. We thought we might have been afforded a little bit more notice," Russell said.

He had expressed similar surprise at the beginning of the year when Nationwide pulled up stakes and moved to Power on January 14.

Power 106 is steadily moving towards a 24-hour, all-talk format and for several months now, there has been speculation that Perkins on Line, as well as the morning show The Breakfast Club, might make the move.

Yesterday, Russell admitted that the loss of two of its best shows was a blow to Hot 102, but seemed optimistic that the blow was not fatal.

"I'm concerned when I lose a programme but if we can replace it with a good replacement I think we'll be alright," he said.

He added that a new host will be in the slot by Tuesday but, citing the need to finalise the arrangements, he declined to provide a name.

"As executive chairman, I think we have to ensure that the station remains viable and as I said we are in discussions with somebody who should be very impressive as a talk show host," Russell said. "He has indicated that he will do it but I don't want to announce his name until we have firmed up our arrangements properly but I think you'll be quite impressed with who it is."

He added that since replacing Nationwide on January 7, the new evening current affairs programme, Drive Time Live, has performed well.

"They're doing very well. They're not up to what Nationwide was earning (in advertising dollars) but the graph steadily increases every month so we're quite happy with that programme. And the feedback has been excellent, both from advertisers and from the listening public," he said.

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