I’m almost a month late on this one, but without Tom Taylor or Al Peterson, following the radio industry’s day-to-day isn’t quite as easy.
I was surprised to learn this afternoon (by accident while researching a separate radio story) that KIRO Radio in Seattle abruptly ended the popular Ron and Don Show. Even though I have spent my entire life in the Chicago area and have no ties to Seattle, I came across their show around 2009 or 2010 and became a quick fan. It was around that time I began listening to news/talk radio stations in other parts of the country, quickly developing an appreciation for learning about the issues and happenings taking place in different cities.
Ron and Don did a fantastic job discussing the news of the day around Seattle and nationally. They were informative, entertaining, and came across as genuine nice guys. They were also often extremely generous with the use of air time promoting various charitable causes and events intended to help people. In some ways, their personas and brand of talk radio reminded me of Roe Conn and Garry Meier, who hosted afternoons together in the late 1990s and early 2000s on WLS in Chicago.
As routines in life change, it unfortunately had been a while since I’ve listened to their show to any significant extent. As a matter of fact, my last time listening to them may possibly have been during my one and only visit to Seattle back in March 2017. I was listening to their show while driving on I-5 while caught in the afternoon rush hour. While annoyed with the continued start-and-stop, the radio nerd in me was no doubt excited to be listening to them and the iconic radio station via terrestrial for the first time.
As for their departure, though no elaborate explanation has been given by either KIRO management or by either Ron and Don, that sadly isn’t all too surprising in today’s radio business. It’s a shame that more often then not, radio management doesn’t allow departing talent to say goodbye on air as long as they are decent people who are trusted not to trash the station on the way out.
Such situations serve as a reminder of just how brutal the radio and broadcasting business is. Far too often, broadcast executives think solely abut ratings and revenue at the expense of the listeners. Such instances, while jarring for the personalities receiving the bad news, are unfair to the show’s many listeners, whom deserve a better explanation from those who made the decision.
I hope there is a radio future for Ron and Don. I have no idea what the talk radio scene in Seattle looks like asides from KIRO, so I don’t know if any opportunities might exist there or if they have the aspirations to move to another city.
Either way, I hope it isn’t long before they resurface some place else.