John McDonald, who has hosted a weekend talk show on WGAN for 25 years, said he’s been fired from the Portland radio station.

John McDonald Photo courtesy of Islandport Press

McDonald, 75, said he was not given a reason for his dismissal Friday by Bob Adams, president of WGAN’s parent company, Portland Radio Group. McDonald said he had been allowed to take time off from the show over the last few weeks, partly because of his concerns about coming into the station during the current health crisis.

But in a meeting at the station Friday, he said, he was told by Adams his “hiatus” from the show would become permanent. Adams did not return emails and phone calls asking to confirm and provide a reason for McDonald’s release.

“I had been thinking about taking a hiatus because of what’s going on (with coronavirus), but I really did want to come back at some point,” said McDonald. He said WGAN has not announced his departure on the air, so some of his listeners have emailed him to find out what happened and if he would be back.

McDonald is the second longtime host at WGAN to be fired in the past month or so. Ken Altshuler, who was co-host of WGAN’s weekday morning news and talk show, was fired on March 27 after some 18 years. Altshuler, 67, had been the left-leaning counterpoint to co-host Matt Gagnon, CEO of the Maine Policy Institute, a conservative think tank. Altshuler said he was told his dismissal was part of “some financial restructuring” at the AM station.

McDonald hosted the “John McDonald Show” on Saturday and Sunday mornings from 6 to 10 a.m. McDonald discussed a wide variety of news, politics and lifestyle issues, had guests, and took phone calls. McDonald is a humorist and storyteller who makes frequent speaking appearances and has written for newspapers. He’s also written six books, including “A Moose and a Lobster Walk into a Bar …” and “Down the Road a Piece: A Storyteller’s Guide to Maine.”

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