Former WFLZ-FM Tampa morning co-host BJ Harris was back on the air Thursday morning with former partner MJ Kelli (Todd Schnitt) to tell listeners why the successful show broke up in 2001. The two-day reunion continues Friday to mark the 20th anniversary of the “Power Pig” format.
According to the blog of St. Petersburg Times media writer Eric Deggans, Harris said it was a cocaine addiction that prompted him to resign at the height of his career. “I had to leave Tampa or I was going to die,” he said on the “MJ Morning Show.”
Having successfully gone through rehab, Harris returned to radio and is currently Program Director and part of the morning show at Entercom’s KALC-FM Denver “Alice 106).
Harris’ explanation that a drug problem led him to exit WFLZ punches a hole in allegations by MJ-rival Bubba the Love Sponge Clem that Schnitt undermined Harris to Clear Channel management to push him out. He said on the air that Schnitt had nothing to do with his leaving. On his last day at WFLZ in 2001, Harris explained that a minor disagreement with Schnitt escalated into a major row and Harris abruptly quit his job. He had earlier admitted his addiction to Schnitt and Clear Channel management and remained employed as he tried to deal with the drug problem. He was re-hired by Clear Channel in Cincinnati, but eventually fired.
Schnitt has a lawsuit pending against Clem for defamation. Clem’s syndicated morning show originates from Cox Radio’s WHPT-FM “The Bone” Tampa. Schnitt’s MJ Morning Show is also syndicated to multiple stations, as is his afternoon conservative talk show, “The Schnitt Show,” which originates from WFLA-AM Tampa, also part of the Clear Channel cluster.