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KFAN has parted ways with Jeff Dubay.
The decision comes after Dubay was charged Wednesday with felony drug possession, accused of tossing crack cocaine and a pipe from his vehicle in Maplewood last week. Dubay had been the co-host of a mid-day show with Paul Allen for the past 10 years on the sports-talk station.
Mike Crusham, president and market manager for Clear Channel Minneapolis, which owns KFAN, confirmed Dubay's dismissal.
"I'm not going to comment on personnel issues, but he is no longer with the company," Crusham said. The move became obvious this morning when Allen was listed as the only host of what had been the "PA and Dubay" show on the KFAN website.
Dubay's attorney, Mark D. Kelly, offered the following statement on behalf of his client: "Jeff would like to take this opportunity to express his sincere gratitude to everybody who has expressed their support in his hour of need. With every crisis comes opportunity, and Jeff believes that given time, things will work out for the best."
Crusham said station executives would "probably look internally" for Dubay's replacement but added, "We're going to look at all options." Crusham said he expects that things will move "pretty fast" in terms of finding a new co-host. Justin Gaard, producer and contributor on the "PA and Dubay" show, would be a leading candidate.
Dubay had not been on the air since his arrest and was on a leave from the station. Dubay also has done work on Gophers men's hockey games for FSN North television but did not appear last weekend. He is considered a freelance employee by FSN North.
Mike Dimond, senior vice president and general manager of FSN North, said the network doesn't have any plans to put Dubay back on the air at this point but said no decision about his long-term future has been made.
"We're going to continue to take a wait and see attitude," Dimond said. "We wish Jeff the best and want to do whatever we can to support Jeff and help Jeff in anyway we can. That doesn't necessarily mean putting him back on the air. The personal aspect of this is much more important than the television aspect."
While Clear Channel executives have been extremely limited by their lawyers in what they can say regarding Dubay's situation, Doug Westerman has no such restrictions. Westerman, the former program director at KFAN and a Clear Channel employee for more than 12 years before leaving the company in September 2007, played a large role in pairing Allen and Dubay together in 1998 after Jesse Ventura was taken off the air because he was running for governor. What was expected to be a brief stint as fill-ins turned into a permanent job when Ventura was elected governor.
"Jeff was unique in the ability to have chemistry with whoever we put him on the air with, it just so happened to work very, very well with PA, and the two of them thrived for many years," Westerman said. "I'd like to see him get another chance. I just hope he realizes he needs to resurrect his life and get things in order before he gets to work on his career. There are just so many people who love him and are rooting for him. Not only at the station, but I'm sure the listeners as well. The guy has got a huge heart."
Dubay, a former batboy for the Twins, began working at KFAN in the early 1990s in a non on-air capacity. He eventually began to produce the morning show with Bob Yates and becames Yates' sidekick. It was Yates who dubbed Dubay as "The Culture Vulture" -- an inside joke, considering Dubay claimed to read only the sports sections of newspapers. Allen came up with a myriad of names for Dubay, although the most frequently used one was "Puffy."
Allen, who was on vacation from the show this week, said in a text message Friday evening that he was "saddened by the news," adding, "As I told him Thursday night, I always will be there for him. I cherish the memories I have of our 10 years doing this show."
Dubay was off the KFAN airwaves for an extended period this summer while in treatment. He was charged with fifth-degree drug possession by summons in Ramsey County District Court. His first court appearance is set for Nov. 24.