Harris canned from radio talk show

| 29/05/2015 | 128 Comments

Austin-Harris-radio-talkshow-host (2)(CNS): The long-standing host of a local radio breakfast time talk show, Austin Harris, has been canned and will be replaced in the short-term by former PPM West Bay political candidate Woody DaCosta. Officials from Rooster confirmed Friday that on Monday morning Harris will no longer be on air as DaCosta takes over the phone-in show for an interim period.

Hurley’s Entertainment Managing Director Randy Merren thanked Harris for his years of service and said the firm would miss him but it was time for a new direction for the talk show, which broadcasts between 7am and 10am weekday mornings.

“Cayman Crosstalk has always been at the intersection of political and business conversations in the Cayman Islands,” Merren said in a release announcing the news. “We have been exploring our options on how to broaden the show’s audience and influence.”

Cayman News Service

Woody DaCosta

Harris recently escaped conviction and punishment when he came clean over a violent domestic abuse incident in Summary Court. Harris told the magistrate that he was so drunk he did not remember what happened during the melee at a party last summer. He was given a free pass by the magistrate because of his remorse and because he had voluntarily given up alcohol and undergone relevant counselling.

Except for a brief suspension when he was first arrested, Harris had stayed on at his job at the station throughout the progress of the assault charges. His sudden departure now is, however, likely to be seen as a political move.

CNS has reached out to Harris and is hoping to have comment from him later today.

In his release about the change, Merren said that he wanted Crosstalk to grow and become even more relevant.

DaCosta, who is from West Bay and ran for office in the district on the PPM ticket in 2013, has worked in hospitality, property, project management and international business law. He sits on the boards of a number of Cayman Islands institutions, including the International College of the Cayman Islands and the Cayman Islands Youth Development Consortium.

“Woody’s diverse background in business, politics and public affairs makes him well suited to lead the discussion about the Cayman Islands’ future,” Merren said. “He has an excellent understanding of the many diverse points of view that comprise our unique home.”

Since its inception 13 years ago, Merren claimed the show has “always led the discourse about the Cayman Islands” with guests willing to go on the show from various sectors of the community, both public and private, to reach its listeners.

“We shall miss Austin, but we are pleased to have someone of Woody’s experience take the microphone,” Merren said, adding that his combination of private sector and public service experience will be a valuable asset to the programme.

Harris has confirmed that he does not wish to comment on his termination

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Comments (128)

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  1. Robbie says:

    It is quite funny how now that the PPM is being pressured and questioned Austin gets fired. I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that Panton now owns most o the shares of Rooster. When Austin was peppering and pressuring MAC and the UDP, no one complained. He was on Mac’s case so much that Mac vowed never to go back on the show, and he never did until a few years later. While Austin did have a knack for talking too much, if you listen to the show, his MO was to hold any government in power accountable as they had the power to make changes.

    Violence against women or violence in general should never be tolerated, but should we think for one minute that was the real issue for removal you are fooled.

    I have tried to listen to Woody but unfortunately he is BORING!!!! If it is time for a change find someone who has more charisma and who wont be afraid to ask the important questions.

    As for the person asking where are the “mythical merchant class people and the thriving plantation owners” clearly you live in a bubble somewhere other than Cayman and better yet probably not Caymanian enough to notice the divide in our country between the haves and haves not when in the past this country was mainly a middle class country . Plantation owners have grown!!! and they fit the bill in most cases.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I agree with many commenters that Austin loves the sound of his uh uh uh own voice. But listening to the boring monotone quoting Psalms and pronouncing it ‘sams’ this morning caused my eyes to cross. I had to turn it off. That voice will grate on nerves soon enough. Just wait and you can bitch about that.

  3. Anonymous says:

    It’s likely Austin was removed so that he could run Randy Merren’s new TV station. If there are those who think Randy Merren uses his position as owner of a radio station to promote a political agenda…you wait and see when he gets control of Cayman 27. Once that happens he and DART are going to be in charge of the only newscast on the island. And it ain’t going to be objective news. It’s going to be pro DART and pro what ever Randy Merren wants. Cayman 27 will be sitting inside Camana bay very soon.
    Remember…he who controls to media, controls the message.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Good grief -didn’t doctor the honourable or is it honourable the doctor Linford Pierson testify that Mr Harris was a splendid person? Mr Pierson, a person proud to acknowledge he is a Christian, is one who would abhor the sort of violent behavior towards women Mr Harris was accused of so should Hurley’s Entertainment not have taken some notice of that?

  5. NoLongerChattle says:

    And so the PPM Nazi propaganda scheme has found new breath. No more hard questions, could see this coming from Mr. Archers apoplectic speech in the weeks back.

    He was not charged by the courts, but he did as usual stick to his guns in questioning the government. The PPM was having a hard time forcing nonsense down our throats and used their power to remove the obstruction. There is no coincidence here, no moral high ground, it was the right time to make a political switch. Yes you should not hit women, unless in self defense. However this is not the reason he was canned.

    Now the PPM controls both Radio stations, I hope that Austin, or whoever else has a voice, can start their own show(s) and keep the pressure on. This is a matter that certainly requires high horses to be left in the stable. Take an honest look and you will see this had nothing to do with the court case or domestic violence in this country.

  6. Kadafe says:

    This man should have been jailed just like any other member of the public. There should be zero tolerance for abuse like this.. Drunken or not!

  7. Anonymous says:

    The whole show needs an overhaul. The way it was for the last few months was just the endless ramblings of the same 10 callers and the host. Please! If you know that someone calls in EVERY SINGLE DAY to offer his/her 2 cents do not put them on the air EVERY SINGLE TIME they call! Also, rather than making this into a moaning and groaning session, the show should be a platform for people to present ideas and solutions which is something the host should encourage. Finally, the political folks showing up to the show should not abuse this opportunity just for backlashing or lashing out against others, but rather be asked to very factual state their opinion/issues etc.

  8. Bluff Patrol says:

    Bring back Jonathan Piercy!

  9. Anonymous says:

    ahhh boi… that’s all I can say. all UDP get stung by Austin on his shows…. PPM also and so does any other politician . Austin do not partial! period!!

    So certain members avoiding the show or get that get challenged with tough questions should not take it personal… just try to do better for the next time that they get invited to the show.

  10. Disgusted! says:

    Woody DaCosta’s experience? Perhaps that as a practising laywer for a few years might count in some way – can’t think of anything else. Randy Merren should have come straight and referenced Mr. DaCosta’s connections – family, political, and brotherhood. Those are the real qualifying criteria.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Given the legal problems the Merren family have themselves perhaps Austin’s legal problems prompted the change. Austin was being used at Rooster and the talk show hosts are expendable as history has shown.

  12. Just Sayin' says:

    Woody will be awful, much like all his predecessors. Crappe, Helium, Wild Gilbert, etc. On the plus side, its temporary. My vote is for the Jordanian to get the permanent post. It couldn’t be any worse than it was.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Looks like another PPM road show — election come soon — lol

  14. Anonymous says:

    There’s a thin line between “objective” professional and personalism.
    For those that that haven’t yet figured it out, Personalism works similar to “subjective” professionalism, whereby an allegiance to a particular person, political party, and/or political ideology is the dominant influence in the way things will or may happen to you.
    Austin’s time was limited for the reasons above.
    Domestic violence is not a traditional excuse for dismissing employees. As we can recall many such incidences among our businessmen, politicians, and so on are well known – some even documented – however, they still manage retain their jobs or remain highly employable without prejudice.
    Austin, it was just your time – likely most for “subjective” professional reasons.
    Your employer’s views of you changed quite possibly due to external forces; likely to stifle the real issues of the country and for politicians to avoid the hard questions by skirting around them.
    While that may be the case, history has it that Mr. Randy Merren has always had to (reappear with his tail between his legs) requesting the help of Rooster’s former talk show hosts to keep this segment of his business operational. So, you might very see him again in (near) future, with an enticing contract in hand appealing for you to rejoin – even if its just temporary.
    Not to say you were the best and only choice, but you were no doubt a damn good one.
    Let’s see how well Mr. Merren can match talk show/radio broadcast talent in the months ahead. My gut feeling tells me that he might have to consider recruiting overseas talent (i.e. a work permit holder) or shutter this segment of Hurley’s Enterprise.

    I’m looking forward to tuning on Monday.

    All the best.

  15. Anonymous says:

    With a resume that includes failed financial consultant, wife beater, girlfriend beater, drunk driver, alcoholic amnesiac, bullying talk show host and failed political hopeful he shouldn’t have too much trouble getting a new job.

    • Anonymous says:

      Like resumes exist in our Government – past and present – and they too same to be doing quite well. Oh, and don’t let me start on the private citizens with the same MOs.
      Sounds like you have an ax to grind with Austin?..even a mission to ruin his life and livelihood?

      Shame on you and your vindictive soul.

    • Anonymous says:

      As one disreputable gambling politician will tell you…”The woters has a werry short memory..”

    • hafoo says:

      you must be caymanian,crab in a bucket mentallity.If you have nothing positive to contribute,Shut up!!!Question:how many skeletons do you have in your closet?

  16. Anonymous says:

    I am happy not having to listen to endless monologues of Mr. Harris.

    • Anonymous says:

      Now the callers will actually have a chance to speak.

    • Anonymous says:

      You mean you didn’t know Austin was on Rooster when searching for stations to listen to? Your comment tells us exactly what you are:- a bigot; a dufus and as generational caymanians call unna:- a damn yahyah! For the definition of the latter check an older caymanain; say up in the 80’s

  17. Anonymous says:

    Where is the so called transparency? Now Rooster will just have another PPM mouthpiece. Everyone should ban Rooster!

  18. Fred the Piemaker says:


    How come the banner says 87 comments and you are only showing 2?

    CNS: Click on “older comments”.

  19. Knot S Smart says:

    Dont worry Austin old boy… If you had kept that job your tongue would soon be worn out from talking too much … So look at the bright side…

  20. Austin Powers says:

    To answer you inquiry 10:03am we have one now employed at MACI right under Minister Panton’s ministry who is about to walk free cause complainant now caught a cold tongue and frozen feet yes the PPM sure takes good care of their own i wonder if he will be fired when he gets off his charges?????

    • Sharkey says:

      I really think that this is a political move to be able to make sure that people who disagree with the agenda of the ” ONE MAN” , then when you see this happening , just ask the host why are you not being fair and balance in the conversation , if the host decline to answer your question, then remember that there are other ways to expose this kind of disrespectful behavior .

    • Anonymous says:

      The show was becoming very intimidating and disrespectful. It was sounding like an extension of the LA. We need to work together and offer solutions to the people rather than point out the obvious. Change is not a bad thing, Too bad we don’t have more of it. The government also need to listen to the people who have elected them or They will be replaced too

      • Anonymous says:

        Ever since his arrest he jumped on the “get rid of top cop” band wagon with everyone of his UDP friends… Independence was also becoming a favorite Brit bashing topic whenever he got the chance…. good riddance.

        • Foghorn says:

          I wouldn’t put too much store in the ramblings of some grocer’s small time radio host whose influence extends to a half dozen callers and the chickens in their back yards.

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh people can’t you see, a week fraught with negative commentary on the zpPMS era of mismanagement and impulsive spending and exoneration of the UDP administration; has brought the demise of Austin. Certainly Austins no charge victory in court could not be the reason for his dismissal after the embrace or is it the handshake given when he was returned to his post.

      Let’s face it, the connections between Rooster, the V4c and the PPM clearly demonstrate that the era of merchant class politics is alive and well, do not for one moment believe that it is not so, for if you do , and you in any shape or form seek to denounce discredit any of the thriving plantation owners, you will findd that their wrath is swift and without mercy.

      This is the reason why the “majority” of caymanians need to stop cutting each other down and lift up one another, that is why we must speak as one voice not fragmented but cemented together; for this is the only way that these indentured servants will lose their power over the masses. No jobs, no education, piss poor minimum wages, loss of homes , no water or electricity and the hypocrisy lives on.

      • Anonymous says:

        Hear hear,

      • Anonymous says:

        Who are these mythical merchant class people and the thriving plantation owners? If you are referring to persons such as Randy Merren, is he any more privileged or been given any more opportunity than other Caymanians?

        • Anonymous says:

          They know who they are and so did their forefathers. You throw a rock in a pond and you get a splash. Get it. Haha.

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