Under fire for allegations of sexual misconduct and abusive behavior toward female co-workers, Eric Ferguson announced Friday he's leaving WTMX 101.9-FM after 25 years as morning personality.
"I feel that returning to the air at this time, in this environment, will be an unfair distraction to my colleagues and the rest of the morning show members who work so hard," Ferguson said in a statement.
It marks a stunning if inevitable fall from grace for one of Chicago radio's all-time most successful performers. Ferguson had been off the air throughout October while bosses of the Hubbard Radio hot adult-contemporary station considered his fate.
"As a result, and after discussions with Hubbard leadership, we’ve decided it is best that I step away from the show. I'm energized to move forward and defend myself against claims made against me and the station, and look forward to seeing them through to their conclusion. I am confident that at the end of the day the courts will rule and the right outcome will prevail," the statement said.
Terms of Ferguson's departure were not disclosed. Sources confirmed he had two years left on his contract with Hubbard Radio.
Hubbard Radio officials were not immediately available for comment.
Although no longer called "Eric in the Morning," The Mix morning show is expected to continue with his former cohorts Brian “Whip” Paruch, Nikki Chuminatto and Violeta Podrumedic.
In various court filings since September, four women alleged misconduct by Ferguson and claimed the company ignored their complaints in order to protect him.
“For many years, Ferguson has grossly abused his power, and his conduct was the major reason the station became a hostile working environment,” former co-host Melissa McGurren alleged, labeling him “a serial abuser of women.”
Ferguson, 54, grew up in Elburn and graduated from Kaneland High School and the University of Iowa. He joined The Mix in 1996 and went on to become the highest-paid radio personality in Chicago.
He and former partner Kathy Hart were inducted in the Radio Hall of Fame in 2016.
Here is the complete text of Ferguson's statement:
Many of you have asked if I am returning to the air on November 1st. During the time I have been off the air, I have had the chance to take a deep breath and reflect on my 25 years at WTMX, and take pause to consider what I want to do at this point of my life. The success we've enjoyed and the gratitude I feel is overwhelming. I would like to think what we achieved is unique and special in the history of Chicago radio.
For the first time in my career, I feel lucky to have been able to take time away from the daily demands of morning radio. It's allowed me to reflect, focus on myself, my family, and my health, and gain new perspective and resolve. I feel that returning to the air at this time, in this environment, will be an unfair distraction to my colleagues and the rest of the morning show members who work so hard.
As a result, and after discussions with Hubbard leadership, we’ve decided it is best that I step away from the show. I'm energized to move forward and defend myself against claims made against me and the station, and look forward to seeing them through to their conclusion. I am confident that at the end of the day the courts will rule and the right outcome will prevail.
I have not yet decided what's next for me. What I do know is I leave you in great hands. Whip, Nikki, Violeta, and Swanny are true professionals and the best at what they do. It will be fun to listen to their success. I appreciate all the love and support I have received over the years from current and former coworkers, friends in the media, and most importantly the Hubbard family. But most of all, I want to say thank you to the listeners. I have been extremely touched by your unwavering support and kind messages. It has been the honor and privilege of my life to be lucky enough to be a part of yours. Thank you for helping a small‐town boy from Elburn realize his dreams come true.