This might be the final nail in the coffin of a long, slow, agonizing death spiral at least two years in the making. Conservative talk radio in Las Vegas, which used to foster multiple quality stations, is all but gone.
In recent weeks, Heidi Harris was given the boot by local AM station KDWN. Harris had been a fixture of radio here for over a decade and, for a while, was the “last man standing” in the market.
The first big mistake local radio execs made was two years ago when KXNT fired local wunderkinds Heather Kydd and Casey Hendrickson. Hendrickson, especially, had a gift for hosting talk radio, and it’s not surprising that he has landed on his feet elsewhere. Even when I didn’t agree with him, his shows were fast and furious, full of variety and depth. He’s a consummate performer and has a great career ahead of him.
Not long after, the area Fox radio affiliate went to an all-music format–an oldies station. Too bad. They used to air BYU football games on Saturday.
KXNT even went to the lengths of replacing local morning talk shows all together and putting in a “Headline News”-style traffic and weather report, with generic wire reporting.
I can’t find ratings right now, but I can’t believe these format shifts have brought in more listeners or revenue for these stations.
But in what might be the worst move of all, Alan Stock, who was fired by KXNT a while back, has been brought in to replace Heidi Harris at KDWN. Where Harris was a firebrand, a brisk splash of cold water in the face on the way to work, Stock is the epitome of what’s wrong in the current mindset of Las Vegas talk radio. He’s safe.
Stock is old school. His shows are a well-oiled machine of staid, complacent management of the status quo. His on-air persona is one of a master M.C. going through the motions of a polished procedure. He’s the establishment candidate who’s been grandfathered in to put things on autopilot while the more promising younger, upstart candidates have been told that they are not welcome in the smoke-filled back room meetings.
I always imagine that Stock is talking exclusively to the blue-haired old ladies playing the nickel slots at the El Cortez.
But I can’t imagine to what further depths the ruins of Las Vegas talk radio might sink.