Dave Skyler's three-year tenure as KNST-AM 790 morning host came to an abrupt end Friday, Jan. 13. Skyler, the conservative talk-show host of the KNST morning block, announced to Clear Channel personnel Thursday he would be quitting the show, then left the Tucson airwaves the following day.
"I've gone as far as I can go with this at KNST," Skyler said. "It's limited resources, but it was a great time. It was a place for me to learn how to do talk. We took it to No. 1 (in) 25-54, right in our target demo. I leave them in good hands."
KNST has been Tucson's ratings leader on the AM band for years, largely due to a talk lineup that includes Rush Limbaugh. Skyler moved into the morning drive slot shortly after the departure of Mike Rapp, who has returned to mornings along with Tim Tyler on KHYT Rock 107.5.
"Three years, and let me tell you, it's the hardest thing I've done in broadcasting," Skyler said. "I've been in broadcasting for 20 years, mainly Top 40 and music formats. This format was the most challenging and most exciting, but the hardest. You have to get up at 3 (a.m.); you have to read the newspapers. I'm constantly watching Fox News Channel. The one thing I said as I was driving out of the parking lot was, 'My God, I don't have to go home and tune in the Fox News Channel.' I love the Fox News Channel, but I needed a breather. It's the hardest job I've ever done."
Skyler also dabbled in weekend radio for a Clear Channel outlet in Los Angeles and hopes to pursue his radio career in some capacity on the West Coast.
"I want to continue doing talk," Skyler said. "I accepted pretty good pay here, but I made so much more doing Top 40 morning shows. It's really funny, because it's so easy. If I go back and do talk again in a morning situation, I'm going to ask for a lot more money and a lot more vacation time. You need it. You need to rejuvenate. When I had a chance to talk to Sean Hannity when he visited four or five times, he said you need a lot of downtime to do this, because it can really get you. Now I know why Rush and Sean take six or more weeks. It will be nice to take a little breather."
KNST will likely continue with a format similar to the Skyler model, but the search for a permanent replacement could take some time.
"We'll do a pretty thorough search and try to hire the best," said Debbie Wagner, market manager for Clear Channel Tucson. "We have some great fill-in people. Dave Sitton has done a great job for us in the past. Alan Cook, the program director, has filled in for us. The rest of the show is still intact."