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Todd Schnitt to Wear Two Hats in the Big Apple

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Published: 
January 22, 2015

TAMPA BAY BUSINESS JOURNAL
By Eric Snider

'Cause it's New York City, man.

Todd "MJ" Schnitt didn't put it quite that bluntly, but the radio personality who called Tampa Bay home for more than 20 years simply couldn't pass up the opportunity to co-host a brand new show on the oldest radio station in the country's No. 1 market.

"To launch a morning show in New York is something that doesn't come along very often in one's career," he said by phone from Manhattan, on his way to look at an apartment. "I decided to snap it up."

Starting Monday, Schnitt teams up with veteran New York sports media personality Len Berman for a program on 710 WOR-AM from 6-10 a.m.

A chance at the big time is not for everyone, said Gabe Hobbs, a St. Petersburg-based radio consultant who brokered Schnitt's New York deal. "There a lot of people who have wonderful careers in Des Moines or Denver and would have no desire to go to New York," he explained. "One of the biggest reasons is the anxiety related to going to a market where you have to be one of the best in the country. Todd is the kind of guy who not only does not fear that, he chases it."

Not only has Schnitt moved to New York, he's doubled up on his workload.

He'll continue to host "The Schnitt Show," which airs in Tampa live on 1250 WHNZ-AM from 3-6 p.m., and is then rebroadcast on 970 WFLA-AM from 6-9 p.m.

IHeartRadio owns WHNZ and WFLA, as well as WOR — so the deejay's new gig amounted to what he calls an "employee transfer."

And he got a new contract.

"It's a multi-year deal," said Hobbs, who because of a confidentiality agreement could not provide more detail. "It's commensurate with what a typical morning talent makes in New York City."

Translation: Schnitt got a nice raise.

Both "Len Berman and Todd Schnitt in the Morning" and "The Schnitt Show," which is syndicated in more than 50 markets, will be produced at iHeartRadio's studios in the Tribeca section of Manhattan.

Because of its reach, Schnitt's own program skews toward big national issues and stories, with a focus on politics. "My show is technically in the conservative talk genre, but I've always brought a slightly different feel, an entertainment value, to my talk product," he said.

His four hours with Berman will be a "New York-centric daily entertainment, news and lifestyle program," Schnitt said. "It won't have a political emphasis, but I'm sure it'll come up."

Schnitt is no stranger to double radio duty. He hosted "MJ in the Morning" from 1994-2012, and kicked off the afternoon "Schnitt Show" in 2001. "I did two shows a day for 11 years," Schnitt said. "I'm looking forward to doing it again."

When Schnitt announced his departure, a measure of snark cropped up on radio and in the twittersphere, characterizing his departure as fleeing from Bubba the Love Sponge Clem.
The two engaged in a long, bitter and litigious radio feud.

Clem tweeted "Todd just don't sue the 1st NYC radio guy that makes fun of u. Hope u learned your lesson. #leavingtampa!! #urtampa radio career," and then followed with: "sorry I had 2run u outta Tampa …"

Schnitt responded: "He ran me out of town? To the No. 1 media market? Okay."

"I'm not a fan of the typical radio war," Schnitt said during the interview. "And there are some in the business that take a radio war into a whole different genre. It loses entertainment value. What occurred between Bubba and myself is completely behind me. I'm just focusing on doing the best I can in New York City."