It’s the most highly reported mystery this week…
The dramatic, totally unexpected, on-air resignation Wednesday of KCUR-FM host Jabulani Leffall was the talk of the town. In the local media anyway.
Yet outside of regurgitating Jabulani’s resume, quoting an unnamed source on his cryptic, final on-air utterance and lifting KCUR’s reaction to his departure off its website, precious little was actually learned or reported.
So let’s take a look, shall we?Starting with the reaction of KCUR staffers at Jabulani’s odd choice of breakup techniques.
“The staff all says the same thing,” says a source. “That he basically quit without anyone knowing he was going to quit. It was a total surprise. It was a totally left field deal.”
As for the station wishing Jabulani well on his future career path, “They don’t know what he’s going to do,” says the source. “Nobody knows what he’s going to do.”
That’s probably an overstatement because at least two people probably have a pretty good idea, but neither is talking.
Jabulani did not return a Facebook message request for an interview and new KCUR general manager Nico Leone is – as Bill O’Reilly likes to say – “hiding under his desk.”
I placed a call to Leone Wednesday and was intercepted by a KCUR staffer who proceeded to 3rd degree screen me as to what I wanted to speak Leone about.
Finally I said, “Look, we both know what I’m calling about can you please just tell him I’m here and would like to speak with him.”
Needless to say, my voice mail message to Leone went unreturned.
So let’s spell it out.
Clearly Jabulani would not have quit like this were he not unhappy with the station and/or someone at the station.
And probably someone fairly high up.
“It’s like, what’s the matter with the guy? You just don’t do that,” says the source. “The vibe I got is he lost his fucking mind. He obviously has a problem, because you just don’t leave like that. There’s something wrong, people just don’t do that.”
Jabulani’s forebear – legendary Kansas City broadcaster Walt Bodine – was stunned to hear of Jabulani’s departure.
“I didn’t know that,” Bodine says. “That’s a crock.”
Longtime listener and Jabulani fan Roger Peugeot has a theory on why he quit KCUR so harshly.
“Maybe he had a conversation with them and he wanted more money or something and he wasn’t going to get it and he just decided to move on,” Peugeot ventures. “You know, maybe four days a week on an NPR station doesn’t cut it.”
Jabulani was hired on longtime general manager Patricia Cahill‘s watch and Leone only arrived on the scene from St. Louis last August.
Making for a reasonably good possibility that the two did get along.
Why else would Jabulani leave KCUR in the lurch and Leone be so paranoid about taking phone calls?
“The rest of the staff at KCUR is stunned,” says the source.
The one guy that would most likely know the reason for Jabulani’s awkward exit – outside of Jabulani himself – is Leone.
And at this stage of the game, he obviously ain’t talking.