Wednesday, March 18, 2020

A Few Thoughts About the End of "Kevin & Bean" and "Kevin In The Morning" on KROQ

When I first arrived to Los Angeles in 1996, I immediately began listening to KROQ in the morning. Being a radio junkie, I had heard about "Kevin & Bean," and wanted to finally check it out for myself. I've listened to plenty of morning radio, and had just lived in both Washington, D.C., and Chicago, where the morning radio shows I heard were... all right. But missing real personality.

"Kevin & Bean" had personality. It wasn't trying to force sophomoric gags on you or unearned laughs. By the time I started tuning in, Kevin and Bean had been doing the show for six years, while Jimmy Kimmel had already been there for two — so I missed the early trials and errors. By 1996, the elements had all come into place. Kimmel was scripting fantastic bits and providing sports reports. Adam Corolla would join in, mostly in character. Lisa May chiming in on traffic, Doc on the Roq on news. Kevin and Bean orchestrating it all.

As Kimmel left and Ralph Garman joined the show, "Kevin & Bean" climbed to even greater heights, including many ratings books at No. 1. The show's bits were even further honed, and took full advantage of Ralph's voice skills and improv abilities. They not only referenced the top news and pop culture stories, they gave sharp commentary on them via satire and parody. "Kevin & Bean" had plenty of sophomoric stuff, but it was funny — and balanced by some really smart takes on the world. At one period of time, "Psycho Mike" Catherwood provided even more voices and takes, and the show was on fire.

Lisa and Ralph were eventually let go, and the way both of those exits were handled were unfortunate. Mike went off to pursue other things. But in came Allie Mac Kay, who gave the show new energy and a fresh perspective. Other players, including Johnny "Beer Mug" Kantrowe stepped up. A year and a half ago, Jensen Karp joined the show, another sharp writer and producer who injected the show with more original ideas.

After 30 years, "Kevin & Bean" had been inducted into both the NAB Hall of Fame and Radio Hall of Fame. Bean, who had done the show remotely for the last 20 of those years, departed at the end of 2019. "Kevin & Bean" was reborn in 2020 as "Kevin in the Morning with Allie & Jensen," but apparently the station's new management wasn't patient. And opted to throw away 30 years of history, just like that, on Tuesday. "Kevin & Bean" is no more, and now "Kevin in the Morning" is no more either.

Which is a shame. Especially during this coronavirus crisis, we need all the virtual human connection we can get, and "Kevin in the Morning" was family, a group we heard from and interacted with every morning over the airwaves (or on the podcast). Kevin Ryder, in particular, had developed those relationships with KROQ listeners over 30 years. To be so cavalier with its listeners shows a great amount of disrespect by the KROQ and Entercom management. That's truly a slap in the face, and extremely short-sighted by them.

I'm heartbroken. And yeah, quite a bit angry at KROQ and Entercom. But also grateful for having had "Kevin & Bean" and "Kevin in the Morning" in my life for the 24 years I've been out here. Part of what made my lengthy commute so bearable all these years was knowing I had a full hour and a half of the show to accompany me on that drive every day.

But even more important, I'm grateful to having known the "Kevin & Bean"/ "Kevin in the Morning" team personally. Ruben and Destiny. Beer Mug is truly one of the good guys. Omar created two different openers for my podcasts over the years. Christine was so kind to invite me to see Local Natives at the KROQ Sound Space just a few weeks ago, after seeing me post a pic of their album on Instagram! Dave Sanchez, the man who kept the K&B/KITM ship floating for these past several years as producer, thanks for always having me on, especially in November, when I got to spend the entire day with the team. Jensen, you were a fantastic addition to the show this past year and a half. Allie, you brought a fun evergy and an important voice/perspective to the show every day.

And Kevin, after 30 years, you and Bean are radio legends. KROQ can't take that away. Grateful to have had "Kevin & Bean"/ "Kevin in the Mornings" in my life, and to have even unleashed "Bruddah Mike" on your listeners. Thanks to you and the entire team for everything.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Retail Apocalypse 2020: Sears Succumbs in Glendale

Before there was Amazon, there was Sears. The retail giant first began as a mail-order catalog service in 1893, later branching out to brick-and-mortar stores as well. How big was Sears at its height? Its headquarters were literally the tallest in the world: The Sears Tower in Chicago. But the Sears Tower isn't the Sears Tower anymore (it's been the Willis Tower since 2009), and Sears isn't close to what Sears once was.

For a variety of reasons, Sears couldn't keep up with the times — and got rid of that mailorder business a few years before Amazon reinvented the concept. After years of declines, Sears was not immune to the retail apocalypse, and continues to shed stores. Next up: Glendale's Sears location, which opened in 1938 and is shutting down next month.

Sears wasn't a regular stop for us, but we did buy some appliances there when we bought our house, including our refrigerator and our oven. And when Blogger Teen was born, we took him several times to the Sears Portrait Studio (long since closed) to take his picture.

On Monday, Maria and I stopped by to see the inside of Sears one more time and also check out the clearance sales. I bought a suit jacket, a shirt and some ties, and got a pretty decent deal. But I also took a few shots of the store as it began to fade away. Here are some images:

Monday, January 27, 2020

RIP Kobe Bryant: Los Angeles Radio Plays Tribute With a Moment of Silence

LA radio stations owned by Entercom, iHeart, Meruelo Media and others all went silent for one minute, eight seconds at noon today in tribute to late Lakers icon Kobe Bryant. If you moved across the dial at that time today, you heard mostly silence -- except on the iHeart stations, which cheated a bit by playing ambient sounds of birds instead of silence (above). (As others noted, iHeart went with the white noise in order to still register on Nielsen personal people meters).

Entercom stations, including KROQ, KRTH "K-Earth" and KAMP "Amp Radio" played a pre-taped tribute to Bryant, before the silence. After the minute of silence (or, "silence"), here's what the stations played:
KROQ: Green Day, "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)"

K-EARTH: Eric Clapton, "Tears in Heaven"

ALT 98.7fm, Real 92.3, KIIS-FM: Puff Daddy [feat. Faith Evans & 112], "I'll Be Missing You"

104.3 MYfm: The Police, "Every Breath You Take"

Friday, January 3, 2020

Sunset to Start the Year

Maybe this is a good sign 2020 won't be so bad? Oh, who are we kidding. It's going to be a garbage fire. But at least the sky is pretty.

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