While embattled Radio Hall of Famer Eric Ferguson faces allegations of misconduct from a growing number of former co-workers, he'll be off the air at least through the end of the month.
In court documents filed Tuesday Melissa McGurren, former morning co-host on WTMX 101.9-FM, became the third woman to publicly accuse Ferguson of inappropriate behavior at the Hubbard Radio hot adult-contemporary station. “For many years, Ferguson has grossly abused his power, and his conduct was the major reason the station became a hostile working environment,” she said in the filing.
Jeff England, vice president and market manager of Hubbard Radio Chicago, alerted employees to McGurren's complaint in an email and braced them for "another round of media stories about Eric’s situation." Ferguson has not been on the air this week.
"We have made the decision that Eric will not be on the air through October," England wrote. "We take these allegations seriously and we are confident in the results of multiple investigations we have initiated. But we also owe it to ourselves and our listeners to have a deliberate and thoughtful process about our path forward, and candidly we are not there yet."
Earlier the company released a statement about taking “concerns about our workplace culture and the experience of our employees very seriously” and said internal and external investigations “found no evidence to corroborate allegations of illegal workplace conduct.” Attorneys for Ferguson also denied the allegations.
Ferguson's fate ultimately rests with Ginny Hubbard Morris, chair and CEO of the Minnesota-based privately-owned parent company of The Mix. Morris has been at the station this week meeting with managers and employees.
Here is the text of England's email to staff:
I want you to hear this from me first. Later today, we are anticipating another round of media stories about Eric’s situation – including the contents of a complaint made by Melissa McGurren to the EEOC. This is not a new development, and we’ve thoroughly investigated this matter previously. Suffice it to say that we do not agree with Melissa’s characterization of events, but we are committed to following the appropriate process and not litigating this matter in the public or the press. We continue to wish Melissa well in her endeavors.
We have made the decision that Eric will not be on the air through October. We take these allegations seriously and we are confident in the results of multiple investigations we have initiated. But we also owe it to ourselves and our listeners to have a deliberate and thoughtful process about our path forward, and candidly we are not there yet.
I want to take a moment to thank this team for your continued professionalism amid all this. I know this has been a difficult situation, but through it all, you are continuing to show up to work each day and deliver quality programming to our listeners while serving our communities and advertisers. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that. I always want you to be able to be proud to work at Hubbard Chicago, and please know that we have no higher priority than creating and maintaining a safe workplace culture that celebrates all our collective contributions and creativity.
As always, we have an open-door policy, so please don’t hesitate to drop a line. I appreciate your trust, openness, and cooperation—and I hope you will always expect the same from me.