The ink had barely dried on last week’s column regarding cutbacks at local stations when it was announced that KROQ (106.7 FM) -- the station that showed newsman Boyd R. Britton the door -- had let another part of the morning Kevin and Bean Show go.
Technically, it was not a firing. Lisa May worked for the company that supplies traffic reports to KROQ and management simply decided to cancel the contract for traffic reports.
Or at least -- based upon initial reports and statements made on the air -- it was assumed to be management. Turns out it was Kevin and Bean themselves who made the decision to terminate both Doc and May. The logic being that no one tunes to KROQ for news or traffic, and it was time to take the show in a fresh new direction.
I disagree. Not everyone goes to the internet for news. Well-done news reports are a tune-IN, not a tune-out. Intelligent people WANT news on the radio; they WANT to be informed on their way to school. To the office. To wherever. Stations that treat their listeners with respect do well. It appears that Kevin and Bean don’t necessarily think too much of their listeners. Or at least their listener’s intelligence.
Regardless, the entire world knows that May was far more than traffic. She was indeed an integral part of the program. In fact, I would bet that most people didn’t realize she wasn’t in the studio with the boys. Of course the boys themselves aren’t in the same studio either; Bean -- Gene Baxter -- moved to Seattle over a decade ago and (like Mark Thompson does on The Sound) broadcasts from his house.
May has been with the show almost since it’s inception, back in 1990. She’s funny, intelligent, and a perfect partner for Kevin and Bean. She could have easily been hired away from Total Traffic to sit in studio, though I am not sure she would go for it, or that Total Traffic would allow it. So that “new direction” means no news and a new partner, Allie MacKay, who most recently worked with the KTLA Channel 5 Morning News as a lifestyle reporter.
Listeners are not sitting by idly. A “Boycott KROQ until Lisa May Comes Back” Facebook page appeared on February 20 -- merely two days after she was let go -- and there are online petitions to get her back. One on PetitionBuzz.Com had the message that “We’re Out Without Lisa May” ... #WOWLisaMay.
May’s own Facebook page has been swamped with posts from fans offering support, while posts on KROQ’s page have been harshly critical of the decision ... with KROQ staffers seemingly busy removing said posts as quickly as they can. Fans of Doc are ticked off as well, posting that mornings will not be the same.
Frankly, I am surprised that KROQ management went along with the decision. It takes the station down at least a tier, allows listeners to sample other stations -- and perhaps stay away -- and most likely will yield nothing in return. But then again, I’m old-school ... I like radio news. I like pros like Doc. And while I always thought traffic reports on radio were pretty useless, I still tune in to them. And I also like Lisa May.
On the other hand, I’m old-school. Kevin and Bean don’t want old-school ... they want young. They want increased ratings. Will it work? Time will tell. In the meantime, what are your thoughts?