A year after KROQ owner Entercom shocked the radio biz by yanking the station’s morning program, “Kevin in the Morning with Allie & Jensen” (the successor program to three-decade staple “Kevin & Bean”), host Kevin Ryder is prepping a return to the Los Angeles airwaves.
Ryder announced this morning that he’ll be joining Doug “Sluggo” Roberts to co-host the afternoon drive shift on crosstown rival KLOS, owned by Meruelo Media, starting this Thursday. The daily 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. shift will be in addition to the new daily show he launched last month with Mike Catherwood, “Great News! With Kevin & Mike,” which will continue to be produced weekdays as both a YouTube video and podcast.
“I’m excited, I’ve known Sluggo for 33 years, so we’ve always been friends,” Ryder said. “[He] was one of the first people to call me when I was let go.”
The pairing of Ryder and Roberts is a KROQ reunion of sorts, as Roberts spent decades doing shifts at KROQ (as “Doug the Slug,” “Sluggo” and various variations of his persona) while Ryder and Gene “Bean” Baxter joined KROQ in the mornings at the start of 1990. “Kevin & Bean” eventually led as No. 1 in the L.A. market during part of the 2000s, and the duo was inducted into both the NAB Hall of Fame and Radio Hall of Fame.
Baxter left the show at the end of 2019 to move to London, but a rebranded “Kevin the Morning With Allie & Jensen” continued until KROQ decided to pull the show last March 18, at the very start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ryder has known Roberts for years, even before their time at KROQ. They both also worked in the 1980s at Phoenix’s top 40 KZZP (where Baxter and former longtime KROQ program director Kevin Weatherly also worked). At KZZP, Roberts ran the board while Ryder and Baxter hosted the “Saturday Night Party Patrol.”
Roberts has been with KLOS since summer 2019, joining the station as assistant PD and music director.
Ryder has been free to pursue other opportunities since the end of November, when his contract with Entercom officially expired. Besides KLOS and “Great News,” he’s also putting the finishing touches on a book that recounts some of the wild moments that took place during his 30 years at KROQ.
“I’m happy KLOS has lowered their standards just enough for me to slip in,” Ryder said of the new “Kevin & Sluggo Show.” “Everyone at the station, starting with Heidi and Frank in the morning, are having fun, and love the music they’re playing. I’m happy to be working in the afternoon, with my longtime friend Sluggo, because one of us needs to be able to use the English language sufficiently. Plus, I need my beauty sleep to remain at the top of the modeling game. I’m looking forward to reconnecting with listeners and having fun on the air in L.A. again!”
KLOS announced the hire on Tuesday morning during “The Heidi and Frank Show.” The rock station also recently hired Matt Pinfield to host a new Sunday show, “KLOS New & Approved.”
KLOS PD Keith Cunningham described the new afternoon show as “Maxim meets Rolling Stone meets ESPN meets Comedy Central,” and said he’d been looking at putting together a personality-driven show on the station for several years. “Great talent and content are king. If we’re not providing both, we’ll become irrelevant. Kevin is laugh-out-loud funny, an A-List content creator, hall of famer, this market loves him, and adding him to the team and partnering him with Sluggo completes what I consider to be the most powerful and entertaining on-air lineup in all of Southern California.”
Added Otto Padron, Meruelo Media President and CEO: “Bringing Kevin Ryder on-board was a no-brainer, as this is the type of bold and disruptive move that delivers compelling voices and relevant content to our very deserving listeners. We welcome Kevin and his legion of loyal fans to the KLOS Meruelo Media family.”