The Soscia-Paths, as they’re known, aren’t happy.
The fans of Brian Soscia, who hosted afternoons on WSTW 93.7-FM, tuned in Tuesday to learn Soscia had been let go and his popular show had been replaced after a four-year run.
“I was mad and sad. He was the only reason I listened to WSTW,” says Kelli Lawson, of Claymont, who has been listening to Soscia for years, dating back to his time working for iHeartRadio in Philadelphia.
“As soon as I heard about it, I deleted the station from my presets. I’ll probably never listen again,” she added.
Soscia is known for his positive, feel-good shows in which he interacts with his fans, whom he calls friends or family instead of listeners.
He knows their names. He knows about their lives. He cares. And they love him for it.
Soscia, who lives in Aston, Pennsylvania, with his wife Gina and 2-year-old son Nicky, says he was due to return to work Tuesday after vacation, but received a call Monday afternoon telling him he no longer had a job.
He says he wasn’t given a reason for being let go. WSTW program manger Mike Rossi did not return messages from The News Journal/Delaware Online for comment.
“They didn’t tell me this, but I feel maybe they didn’t see my value. I guess they just don’t want me anymore,” says Soscia, still scratching his head about losing the 2 to 7 p.m. slot. “It came almost out of nowhere. I’m not going to bash the company. They made a business decision.”
The move comes less than six months after the station laid off longtime “Hometown Heroes” host Mark Rogers, who led the 21-year Sunday night show dedicated to local original music.
REWIND: Former WSTW host Mark Rogers opens up about ‘Hometown Heroes’ cancellation; plots return
Rogers recently resurfaced, hosting his first “Hometown Heroes” last week at his new home: Delaware Public Media, which can be found at WMHS 88.1-FM, WDDE 91.1-FM and WMPH 91.7-FM. It airs Sundays at 7 p.m.
In terms of Soscia’s future, he says he’s already fielded calls from other radio stations and is working on debuting The Soscia Network podcast, which could be up and running as soon as later this month. (Stay tuned at soscianetwork.com.)
“The shackles are off. I can do what I want,” says Soscia, who also hosts a fan-based Facebook Live “Soscia Distancing” show on Saturday nights.
The cancellation comes a little more than a year after Wilmington-based Delmarva Broadcasting Co. was sold to Pennsylvania-based Forever Media in an $18.5 million deal that included both WSTW and Wilmington-based WDEL 1150-AM.
Chris Arena of Wilmington, a commercial truck driver and longtime “Soscia Network” caller known as Chris the Trucker, was a diehard listener. And like Lawson, he was shocked to hear Soscia was let go.
He listened every day and would find himself giggling as he rumbled down the highway each afternoon after a hard day of work. He says Soscia even helped him get through some personal issues over the years.
“WSTW has lost the heartbeat of its station by losing Brian. He cared,” says Arena, who says he no longer listens to WSTW, deciding to channel surf or listen to podcasts instead. “I don’t know why they did. I just don’t understand.”
Soscia says he loved his time at WSTW, a popular station that has been on air in Delaware since the ’60s. Its listeners are not only dedicated, but also diverse in age, adding to the familial feel.
“I would get calls from grandparents and parents — it was multigenerational. The station is part of the fabric of Delaware and I felt that. And I was so proud of that,” he says. “I know everything about them and their lives. Other than my family, this show is the most important thing in the world to me.”
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