Rick Dees is taking another stab at local radio, and this time it's with Clear Channel -- the company with which he bitterly parted ways in 2004.
Dees will host mornings on Clear Channel's R&B oldies outlet KHHT-FM (Hot 92.3) beginning Wednesday, May 4. Here are the details:
n making this announcement, Clear Channel Los Angeles Market Manager/President, Greg Ashlock said, “Rick is synonymous with radio in Los Angeles and this genre of music is perfect for him as he introduced many of these artists that ultimately paralleled his career path of popularity.”
Clear Channel Los Angeles head of Programming, John Ivey commented, “We asked Hot 92.3 listeners who their favorite radio personalities were and the two most mentioned were Art Laboe and Rick Dees!” Ivey continued, “So, with Rick starting the day with his infectious humor and old school hits and Art ending the day with requests and dedications, we are going to have some very happy listeners.”
Dees commented, “I am proud to be welcomed back into the number one radio market in the world, playing some of the best music ever recorded and especially getting the opportunity to reunite with a long list of Clear Channel friends.”
Rick will begin his mornings at Hot 92.3 on Wednesday, May 4th with a naming rights partner, Valley View Casino & Hotel, already in place. To celebrate his return, Dees will be throwing out the first pitch for the Dodgers/Cubs game at Dodger Stadium at 12:10pm after his debut show.
I guess all is forgiven between Dees and Clear Channel. Dees was shown the door at KIIS-FM -- and replaced with Ryan Seacrest -- seven years ago after he and the radio behemoth (which owns KIIS) couldn't come to terms on a new deal. His more than two decades at KIIS came to a sudden close.
Later, Dees joined Emmis' new "Movin' 93.9" in 2006 after the station dumped its country format. But three years later, Movin' 93.9 signed off and flipped to country. Since then, Dees has focused on his Internet and syndication businesses.
PREVIOUSLY ON FRANKLIN AVENUE:
Another One Bites the Dust: Movin 93.9 Signs Off (April 2009)
Rick Dees Loses Radio Home: "Movin 93.9" To Go Spanish (April 2009)
Rick Dees to Open Street-Level Radio Studio (February 2007)
BREAKING NEWS: KZLA Dumps Country and Goes Dance/Rick Dees (August 2006)
Dees Sleaze (February 2006)
Dees-Nied (February 2004)
And here's my Variety piece from 2006 on Dees, who was candid in how upset he was over what happened at KIIS in 2004. A clip:
"It was a nightmare," Dees says. "It's one thing to retire. It's another thing to have to stay off radio involuntarily."
Dees' contract at KIIS-FM was up, and although both sides were negotiating a new deal, the San Antonio-based owners at Clear Channel had other ideas. The company had been grooming "American Idol" host Ryan Seacrest to eventually fill Dees' KIIS-FM chair. And although it came sooner than expected, KIIS and Clear Channel ultimately opted to part ways with the man who helped put that station on the map.
For Dees, it was a surreal moment. Seacrest, who patterned his radio career after Dees', was not just taking over his gig; everything else about the show -- even Dees' sidekick Ellen K -- was remaining.
"I heard my show being taken over, but still with all the players who I had hired," Dees says. "To take me out, stab me in the back and stick someone else on there because he's on a TV show ... it felt horrible. But I got over it.
"I slashed their tires," he quips. "But I got over it."