Big John Howell acknowledged Monday that he was blindsided by the defection of his radio partner, and he promised listeners that he would not eliminate "true-blue, right-wing conservative thought" from his morning show on Salem Communications news/talk WIND-AM (560).
It marked Howell's first public comment since news broke here Dec. 18 that Cisco Cotto had quit after three years at the station to return to Citadel Broadcasting news/talk WLS-AM (890) and join Roe Conn's afternoon show as co-host.
Howell told listeners he learned of Cotto's move in a call from WIND program director Marcus Brown late Dec. 17. Although Salem believed it had reached agreement on a renewal with Cotto, the contract had not yet been signed, Howell said. That opened the door for WLS, which offered Cotto a more lucrative two-year deal.