WDEV Radio has canceled its daily morning program "The Dave Gram Show" and fired its host, saying he was too opinionated on air.
Gram, a veteran journalist, claims station managers took issue with his criticisms of outgoing President Donald Trump. He was told of the show's immediate cancellation on Friday afternoon.
Former Vermont Public Radio producer Ric Cengeri took over the morning slot on Monday, debuting a program called "Vermont Viewpoint." Slated segments were to highlight a literacy program and the Vermont Veteran's Museum.
It didn't work out that way, Cormier said Monday. Managers bristled when Gram seemed to inject his opinions into political topics.
"I would say it was a problem," Cormier said. "We had this discussion multiple times about that, and he continued to go about the show the way he had done it."
Cormier would not provide specific examples of instances or topics where Gram crossed a line. "I don't think that's the important part," he said.
But Gram, in an email to Seven Days, said station managers had criticized him during his tenure "in two main areas."
"I was too critical of the president, and I needed to be quicker about asking questions and getting into and out of breaks," he said.
Gram defended his comments about Trump on the grounds that he directed them at the president's behavior, rather than his ideology. On air, he noted the "criminality" of members of Trump's orbit and pointed out their high numbers of criminal convictions.
"I think convictions are a good measure of this, because they are not just charges by Democrats or indictments by overzealous prosecutors, but are the product of an independent judiciary," Gram explained.
He contended that while he was personally critical of Trump, he made room for conservative viewpoints on his show.
"I felt like it was a pretty robust public forum," he said. "I wasn't trying to shut anything down."
Over the summer, he penned a column for VTDigger.org about the pitfalls of journalistic "neutrality," arguing that local right-wing media outlets were weaponizing it. The online news outlet laid off Gram from his part-time job earlier this year, as part of pandemic-related cutbacks.