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MPR Reporter Marie Combs Resigns After Editors Kill Story

“Combs said she wrote a draft and presented it to legal counsel for review and that the story was determined to be well-sourced.”

Ryan Hedrick

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A veteran Minnesota news reporter abruptly resigned after she accused her station of spiking a story she had written about her co-worker’s alleged sexual misconduct.

Reporter Marianne Combs said she spent two and a half months investigating allegations made about a DJ at her Minnesota Public Radio sister station, 89.3 The Current. 

Combs said she communicated with eight women all claiming that DJ Eric Malmberg sexually manipulated and psychologically abused them. 

The story was first reported by the Minnesota Star Tribune. 

Combs wrote on Monday that the women encountered Malmberg while he worked at other stations including the Cumulus Media combo of Classic Rock 92.5 KQRS and Rock “93X” KXXR.

“I also interviewed the directors of a summer church camp who told this DJ he was no longer welcome to volunteer there because of his inappropriate behavior with teenage girls,” Combs wrote in a Facebook post.” I found out that in June he was fired from another job where he worked with children; that organization is now conducting an investigation into his time there.”

Combs said she wrote a draft and presented it to legal counsel for review and that the story was determined to be well-sourced. 

“My editors have failed to move forward on the story. They have countered that the DJ’s actions were, for the most part, legal, and therefore don’t rise to the level of warranting news coverage,” Combs said. 

Combs won an award in June for her reporting on sex abuse cases at Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis. 

Minnesota Public Radio publicly fired Malmberg Tuesday reversing earlier support. 

“MPR has made the decision that the audience of The Current is best served by a programmatic change,” the release stated. “As a result, Eric Malmberg will no longer be a DJ on The Current. Our hosts have to be able to attract an audience that wants to listen to them and trusts them and over the last 36 hours those conditions have changed for Malmberg.” 

Meantime Combs said she her resignation will serve as a “catalyst for positive change.” 

Minnesota Public Radio said they were “blindsided” by Combs’ resignation.

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Audacy Vice President of News Bill Smee Announces Departure

“It has been incredibly rewarding to work these last four years with so many talented and passionate people within Audacy’s newsrooms and across the larger company. And I’m proud of our collective accomplishments…”

Barrett News Media

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A photo of Bill Smee and the Audacy logo
(Photo: Bill Smee)

Audacy Vice President of News Bill Smee has announced he is stepping away from his role with the radio giant.

Smee said he is moving back into the strategic consulting and project management roles that he enjoyed for a number of years, before taking his current role with Audacy in 2020.

Prior to joining the company in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Smee served as President and Founder of Bill Smee Video Strategies. He also previously worked at HuffPost, Mashable, NBC News, Slate, Discovery Communications, The New York Times, and CNN, among others.

“It has been incredibly rewarding to work these last four years with so many talented and passionate people within Audacy’s newsrooms and across the larger company. And I’m proud of our collective accomplishments: building out digital and podcasting capacity; integrating broadcast and digital teams within newsrooms; strengthening communication and collaboration across a network of brands; navigating the first wave of AI; and creating new revenue opportunities in partnership with sales teams,” Smee wrote in a social media post announcing the move.

“All of this was done while delivering over and over in high leverage, breaking news situations and racking up awards that validate Audacy’s local news brands as best in class. 

“The challenges for media and journalism these days — and for local news in particular — are profound, and the stakes are high. But there are new frontiers on the horizon and we can deploy innovative ways of thinking about how we do what we do,” he continued. “As always, I’m excited to explore those frontiers and draw on my many years of strategic and operational experience to help media brands and other organizations find a way forward.”

Smee’s exit coincides with Audacy’s financial issues coming to a head. Earlier this year, the company filed for pre-packaged Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Audacy CEO David Field called the filing the “dawn of a new era” for the company. Several leadership changes have happened inside the offices at Audacy since the bankruptcy filing took place, with several local leaders shifting to other markets inside the company.

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KDKA Morning Host Marty Griffin Gives Update After Health Scare

“12 on a scale of 1-10 pain. Couldn’t move, couldn’t talk, couldn’t swallow.”

Barrett News Media

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A photo of Marty Griffin
(Photo: Audacy)

KDKA morning host Marty Griffin has been off the air this week after suffering from pneumonia and its aftereffects, leading to his hospitalization.

Griffin was sent to UPMC in Pittsburgh Sunday after having “crazy, insane” pain in his throat late last week. He noted that he had been diagnosed with throat cancer a few years ago, but won the battle and has been in remission.

During a video posted to X Monday, Griffin admitted there was a slight possibility the cancer had returned.

“12 on a scale of 1-10 pain. Couldn’t move, couldn’t talk, couldn’t swallow,” Marty Griffin said. “Concerns of possible cancer back in my throat because it’s kind of my history…my pain was at a 12 on Saturday, it’s a 5 right now. I’m gonna go home, fight pneumonia and fight this infection.

“When all the swelling in my throat goes down, we will re-evaluate what they describe as a very, very low risk of cancer,” the KDKA host said. “There you have it.”

Marty Griffin hosts The Big K Morning Show from 5:30-10:00 AM alongside Larry Richert each weekday morning.

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Yellowhammer News Anchor, Longtime Alabama Conservative Host J. Holland Announces Retirement

“No list of Alabama’s most iconic broadcasters is complete without J. Holland.”

Barrett News Media

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A photo of J. Holland and the Yellowhammer News logo
(Photo: YHN News)

After spending a half-century in the industry, with the overwhelming majority spent on the air in Alabama, Yellowhammer News anchor J. Holland will step aside later this month.

YHN Network newscasts are heard on 25 stations throughout the state.

 “On behalf of YHN Media Group, LLC, we want to congratulate J. Holland on his retirement. He is an icon in Alabama broadcasting and has made such an impact over the last 50 years,” said Yellowhammer News President Ellis Terry. “We are grateful for his service to Yellowhammer News.”

After beginning his career in Dalton, Georgia in 1973, Holland moved to Alabama and worked at numerous stations around the state before joining Yellowhammer News. In the 1990s, Holland began the first conservative talk station on WAAX-AM 570 in Gadsden. He later hosted programs on 770 WVNN in Huntsville and 960 WERC in Birmingham.

J. Holland began anchoring network news for YHN Network in 2015.

“No list of Alabama’s most iconic broadcasters is complete without J. Holland,” added fellow anchor Elisabeth Charmer. “J. brings decades of expertise to his passion for Alabama’s communities. I’ve worked with no one else as committed to their craft.”

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