Thursday, May 21, 2020

The continued cratering of the formerly World Famous KROQ

This article went up on Variety a couple days ago: It's the End of the World Famous KROQ as We Know It. It's laden with a boatload of business stuff that turns my brains to mush and lists of songs/artists that seem to go on forever, but a few things really stood out for me. First up (bold mine):

The decision to blow up the morning show brought severe consequences. In the past two months, according to Nielsen’s most recent L.A. report, KROQ has dropped more than a share point among listeners age 6 and up (from a 2.5 to a 1.4 share of the market) — placing the Entercom-owned station far behind its alternative rock competitor, iHeartRadio’s KYSR-FM Alt 98.7 (at a 2.2 share). What’s more, according to one metric, KROQ lost half of its listenership in the weeks following the decision to yank “Kevin the Morning with Allie & Jensen” off the air.

As I predicted in this post, Entercom's decision to trash the morning, especially the way they did it by unceremoniously booting Kevin Ryder, has had a devastating effect on KROQ's ratings.

But then came the decision to pull the plug on “Kevin in the Morning” during the early days of the COVID-19 stay-at-home quarantine. It left listeners who had formed a deep attachment over 30 years of “Kevin & Bean” without a familiar routine that would have mattered even more these days, and wound up demoralizing the staff that was left behind.

The reaction from KROQ’s most loyal audience was swift.  Two months later, the station is still constantly deleting angry comments on its social media posts (particularly on Facebook), while listeners en masse write how they’ve stopped tuning in.

“Many of these people on social media, they haven’t listened to KROQ in years,” says Kaplan defensively. “They just wanted to glom on.”

How the hell would he know if commenters have listened to the station recently or in years? It shows a breathtaking arrogance and disrespect for the station's longtime listeners. It also makes it clear he doesn't want to deal with the aftermath of Ryder's firing. Whether or not Kaplan or anyone else at KROQ or Entercom want admit it, they fucked up.

Ryder's contract was set to expire in November 2020 and the article offered a way management could have taken the high road, easing Ryder out in a way that would have been respectful to both Kevin and the listeners and could have made the loss easier to absorb:

Indeed, KROQ could have taken much of 2020 to celebrate the 30-year legacy of Ryder’s run — and perhaps even have reunited him with longtime partner Bean for a true farewell. KROQ’s sales team could have signed up sponsors and monetized it as an end of an era event. And management could have capitalized on the pomp and circumstance to spin a proper passing of the baton to new morning show “Stryker & Klein.”

That sounds like a fantastic idea, not to mention kind of obvious. How they didn't take that route and can keep their jobs is beyond me.

I guess what I personally take away from this article is that I was fortunate to be an Angeleno when KROQ was in its glory days, but unfortunately nothing lasts forever. KROQ will probably never be what it was to the L.A. of the 1970's - 1990's, but then again, Los Angeles has also changed and not for the better. In a way, the city and radio station may have peaked together. As a Southern Californian it just kind of sucks to see both move beyond their glory days. It was fun while it lasted.

The end of the world as we know it, indeed.

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