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Published: Saturday, 3/10/2007

Johny D finds new radio job in Detroit

Johny D has worn out his welcome in his hometown.

He's burned just about every bridge in Toledo this side of I-280.

Apparently, the road to Detroit isn't quite as bumpy.

The controversial host, fired by both major radio groups in town, Cumulus Broadcasting and Clear Channel Radio, has landed a gig as morning talk-show talent at WKRK-FM, 97.1, in the Motor City.

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Johny D confirmed yesterday that he signed a two-year contract earlier this week. His new show, which will follow Opie & Anthony, will air weekdays from 9 to 11 a.m.. He is scheduled to make his on-air debut April 2.

Johny D said he is "pumped up" about his new job, but he will continue to work his 3 to 7 p.m. show at WLWD-FM, 93.9, in Lima, courtesy of a remote set-up at his Perrysburg home.

"I'm looking forward to doing both jobs," he said. "It should be fun."

Johny D's tenure at Toledo's WTWR-FM, 98.3, known as Tower 98, wasn't all that rosy.

He lasted just 16 months at the Cumulus station before getting sacked on Jan. 18, along with two other staff members.

Johny D couldn't resist blasting his former employer. (He did likewise when he was canned after 10 years at Clear Channel's WVKS-FM, 92.5, in August, 2005.)

"What a lot of people don't know is that I was negotiating with 97.1 and trying to get out of my contract at Tower when I was fired," he said yesterday. "I had two years remaining on it, and they didn't want to let me out of it. I didn't want to be there anymore. I couldn't stand the company.

"Cumulus is the worst group I've ever worked for. I'll never work for them again."

Johny D, who also has been employed by radio stations in Cleveland, Houston, Tampa, and Jacksonville, took over as morning-show host on WVKS, premiering Johny D & the Morning Crew in September, 2003. He stepped into the job when another controversial, yet colorful, character, Denny Schaffer, moved to afternoons on WSPD-AM, 1370. Prior to that, Johny D had covered the 3 to 7 p.m. shift on KISS-FM for eight years.

His on-air personality - by his own admission, he can be a "lovable guy" one minute and a "big jerk" the next - was similar to Schaffer's.

Johny D wasn't out of work for long after his 23-month morning stint at WVKS, landing a similar spot at WTWR less than a month later.

He had some early success at Tower 98, beating his former employer, WVKS, in the Arbitron ratings in the winter of 2006. And he rebounded from his January firing at WTWR and was back on the air at WLWD last month.

Now he's set to join WKRK-FM, part of the CBS Radio cluster that carries the Detroit Lions, Red Wings, and Tigers.

Detroit ranks No. 10 in market size, according to Arbitron, while Toledo comes in at No. 87.

Johny D hopes he'll be a Motown hit.

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