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Airwaves: March 6, 2015

Kevin and Bean Fire Lisa May

The ink had barely dried on last weekÕs column regarding cutbacks at local stations when it was announced that KROQ (106.7 FM) -- the station that showed newsman Boyd R. Britton (Doc on the Roq) 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 donÕt necessarily think too much of their listeners. Or at least their listenerÕs 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 didnÕt realize she wasnÕt in the studio with the boys. Of course the boys themselves arenÕt 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 itÕs inception, back in 1990. SheÕs 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 Ònew directionÓ 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 ÒBoycott KROQ until Lisa May Comes BackÓ 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 ÒWeÕre Out Without Lisa MayÓ ... #WOWLisaMay.

MayÕs own Facebook page has been swamped with posts from fans offering support, while posts on KROQÕs 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, IÕm 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, IÕm old-school. Kevin and Bean donÕt want old-school ... they want young. They want increased ratings. Will it work? Time will tell. In the meantime, what are your thoughts?


Copyright © 2015 Richard Wagoner and Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

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