Former WALK/97.5 FM morning host Mark Daniels announced Friday that he will launch a Long Island-focused podcast on Jan. 2 — the same day WALK begins a new morning show that originates from Connecticut.
Daniels — who was dropped by the station in mid-November, ending one of the longest tenures in Long Island radio history — said by phone that "I was just literally overwhelmed by all the support and love that I saw people were generating" after he was fired, which included a Change.org petition to rehire him.
"I thought, I don't really have a radio station to go to right now [but] who needs a radio station these days to broadcast? You don't."
Calling the new podcast "a work in progress," he said he'll begin with five-minute segments, updated three times daily, and available early in the morning. "Essentially we'll keep it brief and to the point," he said. "I don't want to bore people to death by talking to them for an hour." He said the podcasts could grow depending on the topic or listener response.
The podcast, titled "Breakfast with Mark Daniels," will be available on Spotify, iTunes and Apple Music, he said, while he will also post it on his Facebook page.
Daniels joined WALK in 1985, and there he remained — through ownership changes, programming fads and an industrywide practice that treats hosts as interchangeable or dispensable. For almost all of those years, he commuted in early morning hours from his home in East Setauket to the Farmingdale studios. His subject, day after day, year after year: Life on Long Island, in all its complicated, frustrating and unique forms.
After he was fired, there was a fan outcry followed by the petition to rehire him, which to date has just over 1,400 signatures. On Thursday, WALK — which is owned by Westport, Connecticut-based Connoisseur Media — said it would start simulcasting the morning show from Connecticut's Star 99 hosted by Anna Zap and Jay Raven.
Daniels said Friday, "as far as what WALK is doing, delivering the material from the Connecticut station is not unusual, and it's done all over the country. I'm surprised it took this long for it to come to Long Island. It's not unusual and I respect their business plan. But it's also the reason I'm reacting to it. So many people commented on my exit that I guess I felt almost obligated personally to refill that void. I felt like if I did nothing it would be more of an insult."
He said that the new podcast would "try to provide the entertainment that the 'WALK Breakfast Club' did when we were there. That's essentially what I'm trying to do — fill that void."
Each segment, he said, will be "geared to Nassau and Suffolk, and geared to the lifestyle and all of the crazy, wonderful and humorous things that happen to us, and — in a broader sense — also be observational. I hope to get discussions [going] and to get people to chime in, through comments, Facebook and Instagram. All of that will be used within the show."
Daniels said he also hopes to add a co-host. His former partner at WALK, Jamie Morris, will remain with Connoisseur, the company said this week, but she will have no role on the new morning program.