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Brian Griffith Let Go From KRSH-FM; Bill Bowker to Take Over Morning Show

Posted by Gabe Meline on Aug 15, 2013 | Comments (41)

When listeners tune in to 95.9-FM tomorrow morning, they won’t hear Brian Griffith’s voice over the airwaves.

That’s because Griffith, who for six years has served as the morning host of the KRSH, was let go from the station today by general manager Debbie Morton in an early afternoon phone call.

“She said, ‘We’re making changes, and they don’t include you, and good luck, and we have a check for you, and we need your keys,’” Griffith said when I called him this afternoon.

This came as a surprise to the listeners who called me today, but did Griffith see it coming? “Sort of,” he told me. “The guy who owns the station, he doesn’t even live in the area. And the first time I met him, the first thing he said to me was, ‘I don’t get the KRSH.’”

According to Griffith, program changes were imposed that he didn’t agree with. “Over the last three months, they’ve just been yanking all my personality out of the show,” says Griffith, adding that he had “no input at all” in the music played on the show. He also lamented that the station playlist was recently cut down to just 800 songs by program director Andre DeChannes.

“The way that the playlist has been these last couple weeks,” he said, “I mean, I love Eric Clapton, but do we really need to hear ‘Lay Down Sally’ again? Do we really need to hear the Wallflowers again? Or the Counting Crows?”

Live segments and local bands were cut from mornings, too, he said. “And I complained,” the 20-year radio veteran told me. “I’ve been at it a long time, and I was vocal with my opinion.”

I sent Morton an email asking for an explanation about Griffith’s dismissal. She replied simply: “Management at Wine Country Radio felt that changes to The Krush morning show were long overdue.”

Morton also added that Bill Bowker would start as the host of the morning show early next week.

I called Bowker, who confirmed the upcoming move. “I haven’t done mornings for years,” he said. “Maybe it’s time for a little change here.”

Bowker will drop his afternoon time slot, which he’s held for as long as anyone can remember. As for morning show concepts, Bowker says he has some ideas percolating, “but this all just happened today,” he said, “so it’s too soon to say.”

No word on an afternoon replacement yet.

-

UPDATE — It’s 9:23 the next morning, and here’s what the KRSH is playing:


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41 comments

  1. j
    August 16, 2013

    As a very active music consumer who has heralded this station for 20 years this story just breaks my heart. 800 songs is not enough. and no, we dont need to hear Clapton and Adele all the time. Brian, you are one of the best DJs I have ever heard. Your morning show was the best way to get going . You will be very missed at shows, at events, and on the air.

    Reply
  2. Lydia
    August 16, 2013

    I hate to see this kind of thing happen to this radio station as I have been a devoted listener for decades. I have noticed the change in music and it has been disappointing! I feel for Brian because all he was doing was trying to keep his listeners happy by asking for what he knows they want and have come to expect from THEIR Sonoma County radio station. I hope the management gets a clue before they lose both listeners and advertisers!

    Reply
  3. Marisa
    August 16, 2013

    Bogus. Rehire him. Rehire his format.

    Reply
    • Elisa
      August 21, 2013

      I have been a morning listener for years. I felt like Brian was an old friend and loved his eclectic choice of great music. My sister from the East Coast streamed the KRSH after visiting and listening to Brian’s morning show. This is a HUGE loss and a HUGE mistake. KRSH will be losing me as a listener – Brian was the best!

      Reply
  4. Big "J"
    August 16, 2013

    Sad state. Sometimes things are better left unchanged. And in my opinion I think the morning and afternoon formats were great and effective as they are/were. Even in the small bucolic market of Sonoma County corporate greed plays its hand.

    Reply
  5. Genevieve
    August 16, 2013

    I am extremely disappointed. This will likely mean that KRSH as a whole is diminished, and the morning not as interesting (although Bowker is terrific). Keep KRSH vital, local, and unique. This 800 song list baloney and outside interests controlling the content is gonna be the death of KRSH as we know it. Brian will doubtless find greener pastures.

    Reply
  6. Yendog
    August 16, 2013

    Wow… totally lame… hopefully they wont ruin the best radio station in Nor. Cal

    Reply
  7. Folkmuse
    August 16, 2013

    This link was forwarded to me asking my opinion. I have been involved in Community Radio for over 25 years. Community radio are those stations which are non-profit in the FM frequencies 91.9 and below.

    Commercial stations such KRSH are often purchased by people who only are looking for a profit. There are very few which are still run by “radio” people. They are there to manage the profit for the station, not the product of old. Visionaries who love radio and what it represents have been disappearing in the last couple of decades replaced by managers whose only interest is in the bottom line even if that means lousy radio as long as it is run cheap and with a good profit.

    As Community radio rarely has a paid DJ those on the station have a passion for what they are doing and do bring new unheard music to their local area. It is tragic that professional DJ’s such Brian Griffith are going the way of the dinosaur to be replaced by a talking head who only goes on mic when directed and plays what he is told.

    Thus we are left with less than stellar radio DJ’s with no vision or interest in what they are playing. This has left the field to those Community Radio stations and their volunteers to bring you good quality programing. Unfortunately their are not enough of them but do look for one in your area and support it if you have one.

    Reply
  8. M M
    August 16, 2013

    KRSH will be losing this listener along with a fantastic DJ!

    Reply
  9. L F H
    August 16, 2013

    I was a KRSH devotee, but no more. I recently thought about how I haven’t been listening as much over the past year and realized that the programming has become increasing bland and generic. I’m done. Plenty of upstart internet radio stations that have rich libraries and passionate personalities. I’m sorry to see you go, Brian. Best of luck to you. Bill, my afternoons won’t be the same without you. Doug Smith, I miss your show more than ever.

    Reply
  10. Bob Meline
    August 16, 2013

    If the 800-song playlist is indeed etched in stone, that means the list turns over about every 2 3/4 days (based on an average of 12 songs an hour—about what they’re doing now). Sure, nobody listens all day and all night, but the richness of the KRSH format comes from the possibility of hearing almost anything at almost any time. Granted, there are (and must be) commercial aspects to radio these days, but the eclectic playlist and the in-depth attention to local music more than made up for that. I hope management listens to the listeners instead of just dollars.
    –Best of luck to you, Brian.–

    Reply
  11. Leslie Sproul
    August 16, 2013

    So sorry to hear that Brian will no longer be the morning guy and even sadder that the Krush is going down the wrong path. The reason alot of us switched to the Krush is becouse they were unique and played alot of non top 40 stuff. Enough with the same old same old.
    Good luck Brian! I’ll be listening for you somewhere else.

    Reply
  12. Rich Coad
    August 16, 2013

    I’ll miss Brian on my drive into work (already do, actually). Bowker is a good DJ too, but if the station is going to become less eclectic with no personality then I’ll end up playing CDs or subscribing to Sirius. I hope management sees their mistake very quickly.

    Reply
  13. Bruce Schmidt
    August 16, 2013

    Another one bites the dust… greed heads prevail. ‘Bye KRSH, I was only a part time listener but this behavior sucks… too bad, so sad…

    Reply
    • Cathy Rohm
      August 19, 2013

      “Another One Bites The Dust” was the last song played on Gilyou’s KFAT when the very same thing happened to in in January of 1983. Sad, sad, sad.

      Reply
  14. Gary Lindsay
    August 16, 2013

    Dumb move.
    Bye bye KRSH.

    Reply
  15. Bruce Bergen
    August 17, 2013

    The KRSH morning show died along with Doug Smith years ago.

    Reply
  16. Paul Firth
    August 17, 2013

    As part of the station management team here at KFOK in Georgetown, CA I sympathize with Brian in particular and the general loss of control over content and program creativity at KRSH. It’s a familiar theme; absentee owner with no passion for the music whose only interest in radio is the next quarterly report. It’s a corporate, profit-driven mindset that produces dumbed-down playlists designed to fit in between commercial setbreaks. This is an teachable moment that illustrates why so many, especially young listeners, are turning away from conventional radio and getting their content from online sources like Spotify and Pandora and corporate radio just doesn’t get it. Brian, I’d love to talk with you on the air about your perspectives on the future of radio in America. In the meantime, we’re in the midst of a live broadcast marathon here at KFOK and I’m playing John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme”; NOT Easy Listening. Keep the faith.

    Reply
  17. Kevin Hutchinson
    August 17, 2013

    I am very sad to see the direction the Krush is going. That it has been local and the DJ’s autonomous is what has made it worth listening to. Hearing live and local in the studio make it alive. If I want to hear the same old stuff I can listen to the oldies stations or CD’s.

    Reply
  18. Eileen
    August 17, 2013

    They have just wiped out a huge potion of their audience. Brian is a favorite and not replaceable. Bowker is great but not a good morning choice. They made a mistake when they dumped Davy and the UK Krush as well as Doug Jayne but I believe they just shot themselves in the foot with this bonehead move! Treating employees like disposable garbage generates bad karma… Management continues to rack up bad karma for the station. I am now a former KRUSH listener. Will follow Brian and listen to the station that is smart enough to recognize his talent and hire him.

    Reply
  19. Colette Keeney
    August 17, 2013

    I agree with all the previous comments. I listen to the crush online and in my car. If I have to listen to ‘Lay Down Sally’ one more time I am going to pull my hair out.(or change the station, as I have been doing) Bring Brian AND his format back. If you don’t I may have to change back to KHUM-Radio without the rules….Because I have already truly become bored by your 800 song playlist. Goodbye, KRSH.

    Reply
  20. JZ
    August 18, 2013

    Well KRSH management I hope you are taking a look at these replies and responses. If you notice there is not one that thinks your move is a positive one. Please no harm intended to Bill Bowker as he is an awesome player at the KRSH too. I feel as many of the previous responders have stated that losing Brian is a big mistake. Yes, I’m sure he’ll do just fine wherever he lands but we we will miss him here in Sonoma County radio. I hope there’s another station that springs up that is willing to live and play a little on the edge and not become your status quo station. KRSH you are becoming ORDINARY!!! It’s a sad thing! Brian, all the best to you. Maybe, hopefully the ratings of the KRSH will show them the error in their ways!

    Reply
  21. Really
    August 18, 2013

    It’s ok to be upset. But this is how the business works. The reality is that, even though you are a fan of KRSH, it has been underperforming for years from a ratings standpoint. When that happens, moves will be made.

    Reply
  22. Kim
    August 18, 2013

    What I totally cannot understand is the why. Why create this format of local deejays who introduce us to new music and showcase local bands, have them be very visible & always out in the community, even bring us all together literally in your backyard, create this whole vibe we all adore — and then literally topple it down like a house of cards?? You had a vision and it was LOCAL — a very good idea & the community was grateful and loyal. If the owner had lost his interest, perhaps he would be kind enough to sell the KRSH to a local entity, rather than hurt the very community the KRSH staff worked so hard to build.

    Reply
  23. Fred
    August 18, 2013

    So glad he’s gone!
    Lame D.J.

    Reply
  24. Yvonne Long
    August 19, 2013

    The letting go of Brian Griffith has tainted my feelings for KRSH. I think Brian is a great deejay. I loved the localness of KRSH; introducing us to local bands, Backyard Concerts, KRSH-sponsored performances at places like Lagunitas and Hopmonk Tavern, the appearance of KRSH deejays such as Brian or Bill Bowker at these events. Now an 800-song limit. Corporate greed is definitely happening. KRSH is going down the road of many for-profit stations, and is losing its unique flavor.

    Reply
  25. Constance
    August 21, 2013

    The almighty dollar wins again. Artistic judgment pushed away. I always loved hearing Brian’s take on the morning Change no always good. So Sorry

    Reply
  26. Pat
    August 21, 2013

    Brian is just the latest in the line of DJs with personalities, that have been let go from KRSH. With Brian I feel the immediate loss as I woke up to his show 5 days a week. There were still plenty of commercial breaks, so I don’t see how dropping him adds to the station’s coffers. I enjoyed his comments about the local scene and musicians. Time to switch off.

    Reply
  27. Terry S
    August 21, 2013

    This is horrible news. I have been a loyal listener for 12 years and I don’t like this mainstream direction at all. Brian was great and the KRSH is making a bad decision

    Reply
  28. Tom
    August 21, 2013

    To the owner of KRSH: WE DON’T GET YOU, EITHER. You just happen to have the $$ to buy a bunch of radio stations. Why don’t you go buy a race car and drive in the Indy 500 while you’re at it? After all, it’s only a matter of MONEY, right? No real skill necessary.
    I remember when I got PROMOTED to mornings from afternoon drive. This was major market radio, and decades ago. I was told it was MORNINGS OR THE STREET, and for the same pay. The guy who replaced me? His numbers in the next book were 1/3 mine, but the move was done, and I was STUCK in mornings. Oh yeah, and LATER came the tragic CUT to a once wonderful record library, and soon we were playing off of a computer printout made up by a guy in Boston. Good times!
    You can say mornings is the big shift, the foundation of the station, and it is…but when you leave a sweet AD shift for mornings, it’s like going from fighter jet pilot to coal miner. Go live it for a lot of years and get back to me.
    GOOD LUCK, BILL BOWKER. You know me, and I know that you will need all the LUCK and FRIENDS you can muster. You know where to find me.

    Reply
  29. Kerry
    August 21, 2013

    I’m super bummed about Brian being gone, while I’m a big Bill fan, overall, like most of you that have commented, KRSH appears to be losing it’s appeal. damn! I thought the KRSH was one of the BEST radio stations I had ever heard. I’m dejected as hell. Brian!!!!! Thank you for the boxes of CD’s during the fundraisers these past few years…and the great music you turned us onto, your mellow voice was just perfect, and I love love love your taste in music.

    Reply
  30. Bill Krimm
    August 29, 2013

    Sad to think that my only radio station is leaving me.

    Reply
  31. Dustin Rogge
    August 29, 2013

    sad news, I love the krsh and brian’s show. it sucks to question the direction and motives of an entity i’ve supported so enthusiastically for the past few years.

    Reply
  32. Robin Harrigan
    August 30, 2013

    SAD. I was a religious KRSH listener (especially during my morning commute). Brian will be missed greatly!!!

    Just not right having Bill in the morning and I’m not sure it was the best decision for the station — major turn off.

    Reply
  33. Shelly
    September 4, 2013

    I, like many others, have enjoyed Brians upbeat personality and his devotion to our local music tastes. Additionally, he often sent me to the computer to research a voice or a song I hadn’t heard before. His voice and delivery matched my morning energy just right. I miss him and his show. And I think it is foul how he was fired.
    So now we have “Blues for Breakfast”…no thanks. Bill Bowker and his music belong in a different time spot.
    As I listen to this mornings show…Steve Winwood, Kate Wolf, Natalie Merchant, nothing current, nothing interesting to me, just oldies.
    Bye bye KRUSH, you lost me.

    Reply
  34. Kim
    September 24, 2013

    Well KRSH, ready to cry uncle yet?

    I haven’t a single new song in weeks. I can’t even imagine how low the ratings are, since you engaged in new slash and burn programming.

    I miss my old radio station. It is so depressing.

    Reply
  35. Doug Jayne
    September 29, 2013

    Robin Pressman introduced Brian at the Summerfield Cinemas Thursday night as KRCB-FM’s new Music Director!

    Reply
  36. Kozmo
    September 30, 2013

    Have to confess I work for an uppity little radio station in West Marin but have been told by a KRSH staffer that we’re “sister” stations because of a mutual emphasis on Americana. Looks like the sisterhood is going the way of good radio. Sad. Lay Down Sally is not Americana. I enjoyed Brian and now…Too bad the Krush is not a true-blue community radio station. The dollar wouldn’t speak as loud.

    Reply
  37. Jan Sofie
    October 8, 2013

    I have been wondering, wondering, wondering, what was happening to KRSH and, of course, Brian. I finally had a moment to google this. WOW! What a ridiculous business decision. I have been interviewed several times by Doug Smith (in the old days) and by Brian Griffith more recently, about the arts magnet program that I direct, ArtQuest @ Santa Rosa High School, and have always been honored to appear on the station. The listeners that ArtQuest wants to connect with are aware, arts-supportive people who NOTICE what they are hearing and how and from whom. I am truly disappointed in this decision and it is much easier for me to change the station now. Bill Bowker is really great but I have to wonder, while on my longish commute, if he is really committed to morning radio…
    Anyhow, how sad that this previously (supposedly?) progressive and constantly evolving station has now succumbed to the pressure of mediocrity and, as many have already commented, the lure of financial gain, to the EXCLUSION of a vision and high standards. In my business, we strive to be always better and instill the best in our clients – aka – students. I hope that the Arts prevail somehow. This is a sad revelation to me.

    Reply
  38. Mike P
    November 19, 2013

    The very reason I listened to KRSH is to NOT hear the 800 songs. Sometimes when I’d hear a song I’d think what the hell is this. Then other times I’d hear something I’d never heard that was incredible. When you try and run a station by the #s you loose the very thing your trying to achieve which is a loyal following. I’ll be turning on the IPod more often and will look elsewhere for songs 801- ?????

    Reply
  39. Mike P
    November 25, 2013

    Sometimes when you serve a not so normal dish you get a smaller but dedicated customer. Then you decide to start serving more burgers and fries and are lost among all the other guys. This decision is not just a bad music decision it will be a bad business decision.

    Reply

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