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The Evolution of a Show P1

I hated when Kevin & Bean left KROQ/Los Angeles in 2020 after over 30 years. They had been a part of my mornings for years. While I did work with them in 2018-19, my affinity for them was as a listener, not a coach. They made me laugh and I preferred their conversations, topics, games and bits to the four songs an hour. 

After a short term replacement, KROQ put together a new team, Klein & Ally. 

As a coach, I wanted to give them a chance, but as a listener, I was going through my own stages of morning show transition grief. 

  1. Anger: I can’t listen to the new show. I’m still mad at how the company handled the departure. 
  2. Frustration: I miss my routine. I try the new show but I don’t like the new lead. I find him too cynical, too east-coast sounding. I don’t know the cohost. So I never listen for long. 
  3. Bargaining: Hmm, I kind of like their ADD News, a conversational update on local and pop culture news. The segment is timely, local and at times, funny. And I start to feel that they are SoCal people. When I hear this bit is coming up next, I don’t change the station.  
  4. Acceptance: Last week, they are giving away Killers tickets with a contest called “Mr. Brightside.” The team surprises Klein with the idea. He has to be positive (Mr. Brightside) about everything. As soon as he says anything negative, the first caller gets the tickets.

A light bulb goes off for me. Klein knows he’s negative yet he’s in balance with the other players who make fun of him for being jaded. Each player tries to break him, by playing country music, etc. but he stays positive (which sounds weird). It’s only when Ally tells a long story about her musical theater middle school experience that he finally snaps. It was laugh-out-loud funny. 

The listener texts that immediately came in demonstrate that they are also in on the joke. They feel his pain; they tease him; they tease Ally. The volume and organic tone of the texts made me think they were real, not made up. 

  1. Affinity: I finally get the show. I like them. I know them better and stick around not just for content but also for personal stories and conversations. I know Klein is married with two young daughters who are often on the show. Ally is a cheapskate. Vanessa, the phone screener, once worked for NASA.

This is how connection is built, one day at a time, one segment at a time, with consistently well prepped shows and clear characters. Not overnight but eventually. The process takes patience from higher-ups and white knuckles from the team itself to hold on. 

If you’re a new show, lean on interesting and engaging information that is relevant to your audience while staying on brand for your style of humor. They will come to know you by your opinions on topical stories. And be clear on your character definition so listeners can “get” you. Be true to who you are. Embrace your flaws and most importantly, be able to laugh at yourself. 

Keep showing up!