Local conservative afternoon radio personality Rocky D gone from WQSC

Charleston afternoon radio host Rocky D has been taken off the air at WQSC-AM.

Conservative afternoon radio personality Rocky D is gone from WQSC-AM 1340 after nearly three years at the station.

“I don’t know why they made this move; it had to do with money,” the gravelly voiced host, whose real name is Rocky Disabato, told The Post and Courier on Monday.

Operations manager Ted Byrne said the slot is being filled by Todd Schnitt, who has a syndicated conservative-themed program that will air in the 3-6 p.m. time slot.

Byrne said there was nothing in Rocky D’s performance that led to his being dropped.

“We decided to make a change and go in a different direction,” Byrne said, adding, “Rocky did a great job and was a solid professional.”

Disabato had been a bombastic fixture on local airwaves, going back 10 years prior to joining WQSC when he was at WTMA-AM 1250 in Charleston.

Known for espousing conservative stances, he would sometimes discuss South Carolina history on the air in the vein of being supportive of the Confederacy’s point of view.

“I don’t back off that,” he said, adding he’s never been shy about addressing issues that others might find “taboo.”

“I don’t back off the history of South Carolina,” he said.

Disabato said he is exploring other options, including starting his own studio.

“I’ll end up somewhere; who knows?” he said.

The end of locally produced radio programing is becoming more of the norm, as the cheaper economics of syndication has taken over many segments of the industry. WQSC and its news talk format was listed at the bottom of a recent Nielsen ratings report done in mid-January that ranked the popularity of 19 Charleston-area stations that broadcast a variety of formats, including urban, rock, country, news talk and sports.

College of Charleston communication professor Doug Ferguson wasn’t familiar with the Rocky D show but said the broadcast industry has been on a years-long move toward replacing local with national programming. If the show had been profitable, there likely would be less of a question about making a switch, Ferguson said.

Ferguson doubted the loss would greatly affect news dispersal in Charleston since print, TV and other media will still be around.

“It’s one spigot being turned off,” he said.

Tampa Bay media reported that Schnitt had been a part of the crowded Tampa Bay market for more than 20 years but recently relocated to New York to be a part of Len Berman and Todd Schnitt in the Morning, on 710 WOR, New York’s oldest radio station. The afternoon Schnitt Show will keep its staff in Florida while Schnitt would record his part from a separate studio, the Tampa Bay Times said.

Reach Schuyler Kropf at 937-5551.