Jason Matheson knows what some of you nontolerant folk are saying now that he’s left the Fox 9 “Buzz,” where he modestly predicts the ratings will only climb.
Last week the personality, who has done so much for tolerance in the Twin Cities by being hysterically open, but not over the top, about his sexuality, left Fox 9 to begin working exclusively at MyTalk FM107.1. His TV bosses let him start working at the radio station weekday afternoons four years ago, after his Saturday radio show did so well. And a personality that was already very much in bud on TV went into full bloom. Now Matheson and co-host Alexis Thompson are doing the morning show at MyTalk FM107.1, while he waits out the noncompete in his TV contract.
He’s definitely coming back to a TV station. What was remarkable during his time on Fox 9 is that he never forgot where he was, as there are things you can’t say on TV, while you can say just about anything on the radio. Because I’ve worked with Jason and know people to whom he talks, I was a little like his mom, Dar, in this Q&A. You know how moms have a knack for asking questions the answers to which they already know? But Matheson had a few surprises for me. A huge “Dallas” fan who’s had the opportunity to befriend stars such as the late Larry Hagman and Linda Gray, Matheson is contemplating building his own South Fork in Minnesota. He’s also thinking he’ll marry his boyfriend of seven months, Collin Haas, who works at the U. Humm, I assume Collin knows Jason is an only child?
I interviewed Matheson the day he and Haas were moving into their new residence. For the interview, I wore a jacket I bought in Asia which never failed to get a wry comment from Matheson at the TV station. I baited him on air, even dared him to share with viewers the funny offbeat comments he made to me about my beautiful jacket. He never would (because on TV these cracks would get him in trouble) — until now. It’s on my startribune.com/video.
Q Now that you’ve left Fox 9, can you share any thoughts about your relationships with GM Carol Rueppel and ND Bill Dallman, who helped pave the way for your current success?
A Yeah! I was talking to a friend today who has had a lot of people come up to her and say “Why did he leave?” I’ve said it on the air several times. The proof that there’s no drama with Carol or Bill is the fact that [had there been], I would have been pulled from the air. I remained on the air for the duration of my contract. It was just the deal didn’t work out. Bill and Carol tried their best. I worked my butt off for them while I could.
Q Did you feel any pangs of disloyalty with your departure?
A No, no. Thirteen years. I loved Fox 9. My previous news director [Ted Canova] kept me on the payroll. Then when Fox bought us, Bill changed the trajectory of my career. He was the one who went to bat for me and said, “Hey, we’re going to do this 9 a.m. show. They’re going to let us do something different. Let’s see what Jason can do.” They listened to my radio show [which they allowed him to break out and do] and kind of developed the “Buzz” around parts of that. So no, I don’t feel disloyal at all. I worked my butt off for them. There’s no ill will.
Q You get to wait out your noncompete when you can’t be on TV by being on FM107.1, a great luxury for you. So why play around with this? Today, why don’t you look into my camera and give me the exclusive. You’ll return to TV in a year to take over “Almanac” on TPT2?
A [Laughter] I’m way too dumb. They need a smart person in there. If I’m going to go on a game show, instead of “Jeopardy,” I’d go on “Wheel of Fortune.”
Q Do you think you get better service around the Twin Cities because companies know you can go on the radio and whine for days if you don’t?
A Noooo. I think they know, because I worked at Red Lobster, that I have servers’ backs. I yelled at that woman who asked me for grape jelly with the cheddar garlic biscuits. I told her, “This ain’t Cracker Barrel.”