Radio: June 2, 2017
As reported in the Orange County Register, longtime KROQ (106.7 FM) DJ Rodney Bingenheimer will host the last edition of his groundbreaking show, Rodney on the Roq, this Sunday night (officially Monday morning) from 12 midnight to 3 a.m.
The announcement was made May 25 by Bingenheimer himself on his Facebook page, stating,
“It has been an amazing run, and I will be thanking all of you when I say goodbye to KROQ next week (June 4/5). I am planning on some special callers and special music as I say a proper goodbye.
“As this chapter closes, I will be opening another chapter of my rock life soon. I may be done with KROQ, but I am not retiring.”
Not retiring? That means he’s being let go after more than 40 years? Yes, you could say that. Of course he had one heck of a run -- perhaps the longest in radio history. Bingenheimer later posted an update confirming:
“I didn't leave KROQ, in fact KROQ is really leaving me. I was informed that with new management coming in, KROQ would be making some changes and as such, they no longer needed me to do my show on Sunday nights ... I have nothing but respect and love for the people of KROQ. But it's time for me to move on and I will be able to report on that soon. For now, let's say a proper goodbye to my time at KROQ, and I welcome everyone to join me on the next adventure.”
New management is a bit misleading; KROQ is in fact getting new owners as CBS’ radio division merges with Entercom. Entercom has stated that management will remain essentially the same and Kevin Weatherly is expected to remain as KROQ’s programmer (and continue as PD of sisters KCBS-FM 93.1 and KAMP 97.1 FM). It most certainly isn’t ratings, since Bingenheimer’s shift isn’t even rated by Nielsen. So what is the reason?
Most likely cost-cutting. KROQ has been in a downward spiral for the past few years, and had already lost its direction by the time it let go of morning newsman Doc on the Roq (Boyd R. Britton) and traffic reporter/sidekick Lisa May two years ago. It’s gotten so bad that a competing station owned by iHeart -- Alt 98.7 FM -- is currently beating KROQ at its own game.
This latest move shows that KROQ has totally lost its soul and is likely doing Bingenheimer a favor by letting him go. It is also more proof that KROQ is the station that should be sold (rather than the rumored KSWD - The Sound) due to the CBS/Entercom merger placing the combined company over the legal limit of FM stations.
Sell KROQ to an owner that will give it the support and respect it needs rather than continuing the attempt to make it a cheap commodity. KROQ has been living on it’s past reputation and borrowed time for years through inept management and the corporate “do it cheap” culture that is legendary CBS. And for gosh sake stop assuming one person can program three stations at once. Weatherly is either over his head or out of his league.
While his program was on only once a week, Bingenheimer was instrumental in the success of KROQ: he broke many of the bands and found much of the music that was played on the alternative rock station ... before alternative rock was even considered a format. And not all of it was alternative; Bingenheimer was open to any music he considered good:
Blondie ... Duran Duran ... The Sex Pistols ... Sublime ... The Red Hot Chili Peppers ... Cheap Trick ... Van Halen ... The Runaways ... Joan Jett ... The Ramones ... the list goes on and on ... all acknowledge the effect Bingenheimer had on their careers by playing their music and supporting their efforts before anyone else.
The fact that he lasted as long as he did on KROQ -- perhaps his shift allowed for an out-of-sight-out-of mind effect on management -- is a testament to his influence. I sincerely hope he lands at another station that will put him back at a time when people can actually listen.
This could be a great time for a competitor to strike hard.