Listeners of The Bob & Tom Show received shocking news this morning when longtime co-host Kristi Lee announced that she is leaving the show after 28 years.
According to Fox 59, the Ben Davis High School graduate is the second member of the crew to leave in just a month's time. The news comes just after co-host and half of the show's namesake, Bob Kevoian, announced that he would not be returning to the show in 2016. Kristi Lee's departure leaves just Tom Griswold and Chick McGee as the only original cast still on the air.
Fans anticipated the departure of Bob Kevoian after he took extended time off to travel with his wife, Becky. The introduction of Scott Potasnik on the show quickly filled the gap that Bob left during his leaves. When Bob announced his retirement in November, many people felt that there was already closure in the form of Potasnik. Many listeners actually prefer Potasnik to Kevoian. However, no one expected that Kristi Lee would announce her departure from the show.
Kristi Lee did not announce why she was leaving the show or what she would be doing after vacating her seat at the news desk. However, she did announce on Twitter that she will reveal details regarding her next venture soon. Another tweet, verifying her departure, leads fans to believe that she is not leaving on bad terms, despite rumors of contract negotiation issues.
It's true I am moving on. I wish nothing but the best to all who are involved in making the @bobandtom the best radio show in America!
— Kristi Lee (@Kristileenews) January 11, 2016
— Kristi Lee (@Kristileenews) January 8, 2016
For the past week, former Bob & Tom sidekick Pat Carlini has been sitting at the news desk while Kristi Lee has been absent, according to the Indy Star. It has not been officially announced if Carlini will become a permanent replacement for Kristi Lee, or if another news personality will accept the role.
Rumors that Kristi Lee is leaving over contract negotiations gone bad have not been confirmed, nor is there solid evidence leading to their legitimacy. However, estimates claim that Kristi Lee's net worth of just over $3 million is well under the approximate net worth of Bob and Tom, who are each estimated at a net worth of $15 million. In comparison, Chick McGee is estimated at a net worth of $3 million as well.
Still, Kristi Lee's farewell speech leads fans to believe that her leave is not due to any negative vibes with the rest of the staff, proclaiming that she owes her career to her radio partners in crime.
"I wish all those involved in making 'The Bob & Tom Show' the best radio program in America continued success. I owe this part of my career to Bob Kevoian, Tom Griswold, Chick McGee, (producer) Dean Metcalf and all of those on staff. They have been family to me both on and off the air. I gained a lifetime of growth and experience for which I am extremely grateful."
— q95 (@q95) January 11, 2016
In the last couple of years, Kristi Lee's passion did not seem to be in the show. Her presence was often overshadowed by co-host Tom Griswold, leading to her voluntary silence during shows many times. At times, it was unclear whether it was part of her act or if she was genuinely annoyed and ready to give up.
Fans have expressed disbelief in her announcement to leave the show, some stating that Tom and Chick won't be able to keep the show alive past 2017. Yet, others are happy with Scott Potasnik's role and believe that the right replacement for Kristi Lee would keep the show alive and well.
What are your thoughts on Kristi Lee's announcement? Will the show survive, or is it on a downward slope?
[Image via Kristileenews/Twitter]