For longtime fans of Dallas radio host Chris Jagger, their morning routine has been turned on its ear. On Friday afternoon, 102.1 FM The Edge, the station where Jagger and his various ensembles of the Jagger Mafia have hosted a morning radio show on and off since 1998, announced that he was being dropped from their programing.
Over the weekend, Jagger went one step further and announced his plans to retire from the airwaves altogether, leaving the city short one of its most well-known radio personalities.
Given that all of the major companies like iHeartMedia and CBS Radio (who own the stations Jagger worked at here in DFW) face uncertain futures with extremely large debt, Jagger thought it was best to get out now before more layoffs happen. "I just came to work everyday, enjoyed what I did when I got to do it and said, 'One day they'll tell me to stop coming in and I'll put the headphones down and that'll be it,'" Jagger says. "That's where the progression has been for me in my head over the last couple of years."
Central to Jagger's decision to walk away are his two daughters, a 7-year-old and a 3-year-old, whom he adopted with his partner Patrick Conner. "I think if they weren't in the picture, my perspective might be a little bit different, but they are," he says. Besides The Edge, Jagger's 30-year career has seen him serve stints at The Fan and Now, as well as hosting a reality TV show called Change of Heart. "I put in this much time in the business between the television show and the radio shows and all these years."
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Jagger considered the option of finding a new gig in a different town, a common move in the radio field. He had been through that before, working in Pittsburgh, Washington D.C., Philadelphia and New York areas before coming to Dallas. With his partner's job as a senior creative director for a major corporation and their two children, along with the state of radio these days, Jagger decided it was time to leave the field. But he says he won't do so with a bitter taste in his mouth. It's just time.
In fact, the thought of walking away isn't a new one. When Jagger's contract was up for renewal last year, the thought of getting out of the field came in loud and clear. "It wasn't any kind of shock or surprise," he says when it was announced his show would be replaced by The Atom Smasher Show. Jagger's co-host Jasmine Sadry had left to take a job with KSCS and fellow co-host "Mondo Mike" Vasquez left the company last year.
Julie Fisk, who worked on The Jagger and Julie Show between 1999 and 2004, while Jagger was also hosting Change of Heart, is grateful to him for his support and generosity in giving his co-hosts a fair chance to speak up. She says he always kept the conversations spontaneous and the co-hosts' microphones on, which doesn't usually happen on morning shows. But she is firmly aware of the reality of radio now. Given the drive for numbers with the web and Portable People Meter rating system, as compared to how ratings used to be measured, things have changed drastically just in the past five years.
"Honest to God, I really thought that Chris Jagger was going to be one of the last people standing," Fisk says. "So many people are losing their jobs now. My thought was, there was going to be a handful of really great old school talent that will be the people we're still listening to, like The Kidd Kraddick Show, The Hardline, these undeniable presences and shows. Jagger was on that list to me."
As for what he wants to do next, Jagger doesn't carry around the excuse of, "This is the only thing I know how to do." He's open to opportunities here, but in the meantime, it's taking care of the kids and a Honey-Do list. He says he's never bored. "It just kinda gets made up as it goes at this point," Jagger says.