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Jay Thomas Juggles 'Love & War' Career : Radio: Though he is happy with his new role in TV, he is still fuming over his firing last June as morning deejay at KPWR.


Don't get Jay Thomas wrong. He's very pleased with his day job: the male lead in CBS' "Love & War."

It's the lack of a daybreak job that's giving him fits.

Thomas is still fuming over his firing last June from the morning deejay job at KPWR-FM (105.9), where he had worked since 1986. While waiting for action in his $1-million lawsuit against the station for breach of contract, he's applied for other morning spots on the radio dial.

"I'm having withdrawal symptoms," Thomas said. "I've done both jobs here. I did both jobs when I lived in New York (and) was a struggling actor. I really miss it. I've applied for radio jobs, but everyone is pretty much ensconced. Nothing is available."

Recalling the firing still brings an edge to Thomas' voice. He chose not to discuss the matter publicly until now. "I had the rug pulled out from under me. It's very hurtful. It's a crappy feeling, just like the feeling that anyone gets when they're fired."

Thomas said the station let him go "because they became jealous of my TV show. Power 106 became a dance music station for 12- to 24-year-olds. It was hard to see a 45-year-old disc jockey playing that kind of music. I told them it was not going to work. They could not parlay my television popularity into what they wanted."

He said that station management also accused him of habitual tardiness, and of pre-taping portions of his show.

"I may have pre-taped some things, but I gave them a radio show each morning," said Thomas. "This should have been settled. It was a dumb move on their part. They should have talked to me."

Rick Cummings, program director at KPWR, declined to discuss specifics of the lawsuit, but said, "We're litigating this case because Jay chose to litigate it. We've been very forthright with everyone involved about what happened. We would not litigate this if we didn't think we had a great case."

Cummings added, "We are not jealous of Jay's television personality. From day one, we saw the show as a chance to enhance his value. That claim is not germane to this whole egregious contract violation."

While Thomas waits for the case to come to court, he is trying to get used to not getting up in the wee hours of the morning.

"It's not like I'm sleeping in now," he said. "I have two small children, so it turns out I'm now sleeping till 5:45 rather than 4:45. Frankly, I would rather be somewhere else when they wake up."

He's also taken the opportunity to listen to some of his competition--even Howard Stern, who took constant potshots at Thomas when he was on the air.

"Stern has been complimenting me lately," Thomas said. "He even visited me on the set. Morning radio is like wrestling. We all know and like each other. But when we get on the radio, it's another story."

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