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Published September 10 2010

Reasons for Hennen dismissal remain mystery

Exactly why longtime radio talk show host Scott Hennen was abruptly dismissed from the local radio station he helped build continues to be a mystery.

Hennen was fired Wednesday from his position as president and CEO of Great Plains Integrated Marketing Inc., which owns The Flag-AM 1100, where Hennen had hosted a talk show for two years.

Hennen and a group of investors established The Flag in 2008, and Hennen’s colleagues at The Flag described the situation Thursday as a “parting of the ways” between Hennen and his fellow investors.

Breck Von Bank, general sales manager for The Flag, said Hennen met with several investors Wednesday afternoon. She declined to disclose who the investors were.

“The investors were here this morning and had a staff meeting and basically just said the situation that happened in their meeting with Scott yesterday afternoon was a surprise to everybody,” Von Bank said Thursday afternoon.

“I don’t know what happened. None of us do,” she continued. “We only know that something happened, and while Scott is still a shareholder in the company, he’s no longer employed here as far as management or on air or anything.”

Osgood developer Kevin Christianson – who is believed to be among Hennen’s investors – declined to comment when reached by The Forum.

Multiple attempts to contact Hennen and other investors were unsuccessful, and messages left for them were not returned as of Thursday evening.

Conservative blogger Rob Port, who hosts a morning show on The Flag and has filled in for Hennen on several occasions, dismissed speculation Thursday that Hennen was facing health problems.

“He made a trip to the Mayo Clinic recently, and pre-cancerous cells were found in his colon,” Port wrote online on his Say Anything blog. “I can tell you after talking with Scott last night that he is healthy and happy.”

Speculation also surfaced Thursday that Hennen’s dismissal might be due to financial problems at The Flag that dealt with spending and advertising. However, the rumors could not be independently verified.

Von Bank said she’s fielded many phone calls from people inquiring about the rumor.

“I have no knowledge of this, and it kind of concerns me because I don’t know where it’s coming from,” she said. “I am just baffled by that.”

Port said Hennen intends to focus on his work with Freedom Force Communications, of which Hennen and Port are partners. The company is engaged in social media and political projects.

Hennen, a Montevideo, Minn., native, started in radio in 1992 at a Grand Forks station.

In 2001, he came to Fargo, where he hosted a talk show and was general manger at WDAY-AM 970. Hennen left WDAY in March 2008 to start The Flag.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Kristen Daum at (701) 241-5541