For the past 17 years, Rich Shertenlieb and Fred Toucher took to the air and entertained the region with their highly rated morning radio show “Toucher and Rich.”
The show has come to an abrupt end on 98.5 The Sports Hub.
Toucher announced at the beginning of Friday’s show that Thursday’s episode was Shertenlieb’s last.
Toucher said he learned about the news later Thursday.
“We do the show, we have the meeting after the show,” he said. “I’m in my car driving back, and I get a call that yesterday was Rich’s last show on the station. I assumed Rich was going to be here. We all assumed Rich was going to be here.”
Speculation about Toucher & Rich’s future continued on Thursday when Shertenlieb announced he would no longer be running the show’s account on X, the former Twitter platform.
The change came a couple weeks after the X account with nearly 150,000 followers had dropped Toucher’s name and left the account for only Shertenlieb (@heyrichhey). But now, the account’s handle is back to @touchernrich.
“Hello, this is Rich. As of this post, I will no longer maintain and will not be communicating through this account. Please contact me and follow me at my personal X account at @HeyRichHey. Thanks! – Rich Shertenlieb,” the host posted from @touchernrich on Thursday.
Late last month, Beasley Media Group announced it had reached a multiyear contract with Toucher, and in the press release, the company did not mention the show “Toucher & Rich” and Shertenlieb’s name was not mentioned once.
Heidi Rapheal, chief communications officer of Beasley Media, in a statement said the company offered Shertenlieb to renew his multi-year contract but he declined.
“We value Rich’s contributions to the show over the years,” Raphael said. “Beasley offered to renew his contract for multiple years on terms better than his existing contract. He never accepted. We wish him the best.”
Though he highlighted how he and Shertenlieb had a “great partnership” on air, Toucher admitted he ran into some issues with his co-host earlier this year, and the two didn’t communicate much off the show.
“Earlier this year, Rich said some stuff on and off of the air that I didn’t like, so I texted him some things that I have been holding on to from the course of our relationship which he did not like,” Toucher said. “Around that time, or a little bit later, his agent told my agent ‘Hey, maybe it’s better that the guys negotiate separately.’ We’d always negotiated as a team.”
“The prevailing wisdom in radio is if you’re a team, you negotiate together because you have more value together as you do apart,” he continued.
Toucher hinted that the show’s production team – Jon Wallach, Dan O’Brien, Mike Lockhart and Nick Gemelli – will likely remain intact and “out of the four guys who are here with me, there is a tremendous amount of talent – a talent that is sometimes overlooked by everyone.”
A new version of the show will launch at the beginning of 2024. For the remainder of this year, the show will run as if “Rich was on vacation,” Toucher said.
“Do I believe that this is a new opportunity to refresh everyone, to get new blood in here – not the same show without Rich because there’s only one Rich – but to do a show that is innovative, new and pushes boundaries and is like you haven’t heard? Abso-effing-lutely. I am very excited about the future of this show.”
As to the future for Shertenlieb? “I honestly don’t know,” Toucher said.
“Will I ever talk to Rich again? Not soon,” he said. “Just because that’s the way it is. And that’s fine, but I begrudge Rich nothing. I am very happy about the 17 years plus that we spent together. I couldn’t have done it without him. I hope he’s got something on the horizon because I don’t wish him any ill will.”