Tom Barnard, the most popular, powerful broadcaster in Twin Cities radio, announced Tuesday that he plans to quit his KQ92 morning program three years from now.
"I just don't fit into the show anymore," Barnard said late Tuesday night. "The corporate climate is not what I signed up for."
Barnard, 57, who for decades has dominated local morning radio like no other broadcaster in the country, casually mentioned retiring during Tuesday's show, but he confirmed later in the day that it was a serious announcement.
"I can tell that it's time to do other things," he said. "I always think comedy should be reactive, not proactive. That's not true in radio anymore. It's proactive."
Barnard, also well respected and well compensated for his voiceover work, said he was unclear what he would do after his last KQ show on Dec. 21, 2012.
"Our fans are the best in the business," said Barnard, who debuted his show in 1986. "I still love radio and I appreciate the fact that I get to do the show every day."
Barnard's politically incorrect show has often gotten him into hot water, but it's also drawn a record number of listeners.
At one point, he attracted nearly 25 percent of listeners 25 to 54, an almost unheard of number in the radio business.
Barnard denied speculation that his retirement date was a stunt linked to recent reports that the ancient Mayan calendar predicts the apocalypse will arrive on Dec. 21, 2012, saying he chose to make his last show the Friday before Christmas.