PALM SPRINGS – A popular conservative radio talk show host at KNEWS 94.3 and 104.7 is abruptly off the air this week following an on-air, combative exchange, which some have characterized as slanderous, with Republican Dan Ball, a candidate for the 36th Congressional District.

Rich “Da’ Coach” Gilgallon was allegedly suspended this week, according to at least three sources, and is reportedly expected to return on Tuesday, May 29, though that remains to be seen.

That is not true, Tricia Bastida, vice president and market manager, told Uken Report. She acknowledged talking to Gillgallon but said for personnel reasons she could not elaborate. Bastida said he was “simply taking some time off,” adding that he likely played golf Tuesday morning.

Bastida also said she is the only one who knows the truth and others are saying anything else, it simply not true.

Part of the exchange. which occurred May 17, included Gilgallon accusing Ball of getting into his vehicle with his 10-year-old daughter after drinking. Gilgallon also accuses Ball of being “fired from all these jobs and escorted from the building. Gilgallon further refers to Ball as “dangerous” and a “loose cannon.”

Ball accuses Gilgallon of being in the pocket of Kimberlin Brown Pelzer, one of Ball’s challengers in the June 5 Primary.

Gilgallon and Paul Cashin host “Hot Talk” from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays.  The station aired a “best of” segment Monday and will fill that time slot with Rush Limbaugh’s show the remainder of the week.

Cashin is also off this week, Bastida said. “They are a team, when one is off, both are off.”

You may listen to the entire exchange at the end of this story.

From day one my campaign has been about truly representing the people of this District, Ball told Uken Report. Early on we were attacked for having a fundraiser at a local restaurant in Palm Springs by a small group of (Congressman Raul) Ruiz supporters. Now this, attacked by a conservative talk-show host and a small group of Brown Pelzer supporters.

“I guess this is what happens when you run for the people and not a party or special interest groups,” Ball said. “As far as my response to Mr. Gilgallon’s comments last week, I was shocked and appalled to hear the lies and slanderous libel statements made by “The Coach.”

Ball added, “Once I tuned in, I then called into the show in the hopes of setting the record straight. However to my dismay, I was treated rudely, talked over, shouted at and eventually hung up on. To be honest, I didn’t expect any better treatment. Just a few weeks ago during an event at Republican Headquarters in LaQuinta Mr. Gilgallon got in my face and threatened me in front of my child. In addition, the Coach along with a few Kimberlin Brown Pelzer supporters have spread hate and lies about me and my campaign for months.

“I understand politics can be a nasty business and I have thick of enough skin to handle whatever is thrown at me, but enough is enough,” Ball said. “I will not stand for a man going on local airwaves and calling me a liar, questioning my service to my country, throwing false allegations about my parenting and accusing me of harassing people. For a man who constantly talks about Fake News on his program, the Coach should know better. So, I now call BS on Mr. Gilgallon, you sir are a hypocrite, spreading fake news in an effort to support your candidate of choice, shame on you! Furthermore, I understand that the executives at Alpha Media have disciplined Mr. Gilgallon, but when I requested a formal apology, I was informed no apology will be made. This matter is by no means settled.”

Ball said he has contacted his attorney and may decide to take legal action against the Coach and his employer.

“My hope is that Mr. Gilgallon will realize what he has done was wrong and that he will now do the right thing by apologizing to me, my family and my supporters. There is enough hate and divisiveness in this country right now and Republicans shouldn’t be attacking other Republicans.”

Gilgallon is often heard doing speaking engagements around the Coachella Valley for organizations such as the East Valley Republican Women, Lincoln Club, etc., according to the station’s website.

The East Valley Republican Women Federated, whose president is Joy Meidecke, was also a point of contention in the men’s exchange. The organization endorsed Kimberlin Brown last year before interviewing all Republican candidates for a possible endorsement.

Meidecke told Uken Report at the time that the role of East Valley Republican Women Federated is to support all Republican candidates, both men and women, but most of all to get Republican women in office. At least two Republican candidates said they have received no support from the organization and that Meidecke has trash-talked at least one of them and there is email proof.

When news of Gilgallon’s absence first surfaced, Meidicke rushed to his defense sending out emails imploring people to “Make a Call for Rich Today!” She sent it at 2:19 p.m. Monday, May 21. Another suggested Gillgallon’s job could be in jeopardy. Less than 40 minutes later, Meidecke was telling her followers to hold off on the calls. You can read the email chain here.

Meidecke did not return a request for comment.

Gilgallons’ absence comes at one of the worst possible times in the radio business. Stations are currently in a highly competitive ratings period, which measures audience reach, helps determine which shows are popular and which are not. Careers have been made and broken over radio ratings.

They are described in the radio business as a “period you don’t take time off unless you are dead.”

Bastida acknowledged that the station is in a ratings period.