Kevin Ryder, a staple of morning radio on L.A. station KROQ for the past 30 years, says he has been fired from the station and escorted from the building by security guards.
Jimmy Kimmel, an alumnus of the “Kevin & Bean Show,” was among those weighing in on Twitter with dismay. “Shame on you KROQ ‘management’ for caring so little about the people who gave you so much,” tweeted the late-night host. “Especially now.”
The surprise move follows by four months the departure of Ryder’s longtime “Kevin & Bean Show” co-host, Gene “Bean” Baxter, who resigned from the show — and was given a sentimental sendoff on his final day — to make good on his desire to move to England. More recently, longtime program director Kevin Weatherly departed for a Spotify gig.
Ryder did not enjoy such a sweet farewell.
“Hey party people!” he tweeted Wednesday morning. “Not sure how to say this, so here it is: Yesterday, @kroq called every one of us on the morning show and told us we were fired. Me. @alliemackay, @JensenKarp, @kroqkom, @kroqbeermug, @Old_Man_Ruben and @destinymlopez.”
He continued, “Why did @kroq fire all of us on the morning show? I assume it’s the ratings, which were down. The economy because it’s down. But it’s a pretty crappy way to treat people. We’re humbled by you spending any time w us. THANK YOU. (Going to sleep for about a week :)”
The show had been re-branded as “Kevin in the Morning With Allie & Jensen” after Bean’s departure in November.
Later, Ryder tweeted, “One last thing. There are 3 guys here to throw me out of the building. (I couldn’t make this up) Not necessary. Leaving. :) Love all of you…”
From England, his former partner weighed in with words of disapproval over the move.
Tweeted “Bean” Baxter, “I am so sad for my talented wonderful friends at @. Mornings in SoCal are much worse off without them and I can’t wrap my head around it being done by phone during a pandemic. That’s no way to treat a Hall Of Fame show, @ @.”
An Entercom spokesperson responded to Variety‘s request for comment with a statement: “As one of the most iconic stations in Los Angeles, our commitment is to provide our consumers with the most compelling content and best listening experience that we know they expect from us. We’ve taken a deep look at our station, and have made some recent changes. Today, we announced the launch of a new morning show that we believe will deliver what our fans are asking for and take our station into the future. While change is always hard, we are excited about our new programming lineup and look forward to engaging with our fans across the city. Thank you Kevin and Bean for 30 entertaining years!”
Ryder and his morning team are being replaced by “Stryker and Klein,” to be hosted by KROQ’s Ted Stryker and Kevin Klein, from 5-10 a.m.
Stryker, another longtime KROQ DJ, tweeted a series of messages with his largely apologetic “conflicted feelings” about replacing the exiting morning team.
“I have so many mixed emotions right now,” he wrote. “I love KROQ and my coworkers. I found out yesterday on a phone call that the Kevin in the Morning team was being let go. Seven seconds later I was told I’m no longer on afternoons, I’m being moved to mornings. I don’t like letting people down, i want the best for everyone. I have the best coworkers a guy could ask for and they are being let go while I’m being told I’m starting mornings soon with Klein. Stryker and Klein on KROQ — I had no idea this was happening. I’m feeling sad, anxious, nervous, upset and frustrated… so many conflicting feelings. I love the relationship I have with you the listeners, we’ve been thru a lot. I 100% understand what everyone is feeling.”
Kevin & Bean were inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters’ Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 2015. Last year, just after “Bean” left, they were inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame.
According to the Orange County Register, Ryder and his staff were allowed to do one last broadcast Tuesday, during which he laid into management — which could help explain the escort by security Wednesday.
“Along the way, the one criticism of the station I’ve had since day one is that they’ve always treated me, along with everybody else here, like we’re lucky to have jobs,” he was reported to have said on-air. “The management of the station uses that at times to be incredibly cruel to people… ” He said other employees had been “discarded like trash” or departed voluntarily because the atmosphere at the station was “toxic.”
After Weatherly’s departure as program director, oversight of KROQ had been assigned to “Alt 92.3” WNYL New York PD Mike Kaplan.