MEDIA : This Time He Got Fired for All the Right Reasons

Bryan Jones was joking about the latest twist in his radio career, his dismissal last week from XHTZ (Z90), when he suddenly thought of a positive aspect of the scenario that cost him his morning-show job.

“At least it has nothing to do with the past,” he said.

Jones twice lost the morning show job with XTRA-FM (91X) due to his drug-related problems. This time it was something far simpler.

Within a period of a few days, Jones found himself working for a new general manager and a new program director, for a station that had dumped rock music. Almost every veteran of the business has been through a similar scenario at least once.


Jones was a rock ‘n’ roll guy--preferring the Sex Pistols and David Letterman to Paula Abdul and Pee-wee Herman--at the new Jammin’ Z90, a station making a play for the hip young Madonna fan.

He was off the air the day the format change went into effect, but he thought there might be a chance he would be kept around. A puff piece in the Escondido Times Advocate newspaper a few days later raved about his future with the station, even though most industry observers were taking bets that Jones wouldn’t last more than a few days at the station.

“I’ve been unleashed,” Jones told the Times Advocate, sounding upbeat.

But last Monday was his last day on the air. He was assigned to a job as “production director,” which lasted a couple of days, before Jones and the station came to an “amicable” parting of the ways. Translation: They settled his contract.

“He really didn’t fit what we were doing,” said new program director Rick Thomas. “He’s a great jock in his own format.”

Z90 has given the morning show to Kimo Jensen, who worked at XHRM-FM (92.5) for several years.

Jones was not surprised, nor bitter about his dismissal. A Public Enemy fan, he would have liked a chance to do an “urban” format, programming rap and R & B hits. But he feels the Jammin’ Z90 is going in a different direction to compete with KKLQ (Q106).

“They call it ‘churban’ (a combination of contemporary hits and urban),” Jones said. “They’re passing off a teen dance party thing as a black format.”

After his past drug problems, at least when Jones starts looking for a new job he can proudly point to his stint at Z90 as a trouble-free year of employment. And he can say this time he was fired for all the right reasons. He simply is not a “jammin’ ” kind of guy.

KGTV (Channel 10) owes much of its current success to consistency. While channels 8 and 39 have played musical chairs, Channel 10 has managed to keep together its little well-dressed family.

With this in mind, the selection of Stephen Clark to succeed Michael Tuck as one of the station’s main anchors is a logical step. Clark certainly seems qualified for the job, i.e. he looks the part and has no noticeable speech impediments.

He reportedly had the support of weatherman Mike Ambrose and sports guy Larry Sacknoff, which also helped his cause. And Channel 10’s audience already is familiar with the youthful Clark, the personification of the yuppie in his suspenders and rounded glasses, through his role as weekend anchor for the past two years.

Some at the station felt Clark, who reportedly lobbied heavily for the job, probably would have left if he didn’t get it. But News Director Paul Sands said Clark’s contract as weekend anchor was not due to expire until August, 1991.

As for Tuck, don’t expect him to be around until his contract expires in September. Sands said he wants to have a transition period, with both Clark and Tuck on the air, but that doesn’t necessarily have to last until September. Tuck says KCBS-TV (Channel 2) would like him to start as soon as possible, and it’s understandable that he might be eager to start his new job.

“Will I hold (Tuck) to the absolute letter of his contract? No,” Sands said.

It was strange, hearing a television Sports Guy use the phrase “according to my sources.” But that was KNSD-TV’s (Channel 39) Jim Laslavic breaking the story Wednesday night about the Chargers trading Jamie Holland. It was hardly a big scoop, and maybe they’re simply going through a little posturing, acting as if they are doing something more than reading the local papers. But it’s nice to have a television sports department at least attempting to do something more than reading the scores. . . .

It must be a sweeps ratings period. Channel 8 has once again rolled out the ubiquitous “People Make the Difference” ads. . . .

Channel 39 newscasts are sounding more and more like commercials. The sports and weather segments are sponsored, and last week’s “Crime Watch” segments plugged a real estate company. . . .

“L.A. Law” viewers Thursday night were repeatedly teased to stay up and watch the Channel 39 news for an interview with series co-star Diana Muldaur. Those that chose to miss “Arsenio” were treated to Susan Farrell discussing the “image of the vixen” with Muldaur, and exhorting Channel 39 news junkies to “as always, stay tuned” to “L.A. Law.” It is common practice for late night news shows to try to play parasite to its network programming--Channel 10 is the master of the game--but that makes it no less cheesy. . . .

In the way the world works department, Channel 8 didn’t take out a single noticeable print ad for its hour-long special on Lindbergh Field, but it has spent two weeks incessantly promoting Larry Mendte’s trip to Disney World. . . .

Somehow the advertisements for KIFM (98.1), featuring a woman who looks like she is about to fall asleep, seem an appropriate and truthful promotion for the station’s “Lite’s Out” music. . . .

It’s hard to parody a subject that parodies itself. Case in point is the Sally Jessy Raphael Show, which is taping shows today through Wednesday. Among the topics to be discussed: “Celebrities Exploited By Tabloids,” “She Stole My Husband/He Stole My Wife” and, of course, “Bikini Madness.” . . .

Channel 10 presented an interesting sweeps-period series on pollution caused by the oil industry, “Crude Legacy,” but it’s not exactly getting high brow. Later this month it is planning a “San Diego’s Funniest Home Videos” series. . . .

The “experiment” with former NFL kicker Benny Ricardo, who has been doing sports for KGMG-FM (Magic 102), is over, according to station program director Greg Stevens. There are no plans to replace Ricardo, Stevens said. “After six months on the air and promoting it aggressively, all the feedback we could get from the audience was that they liked it better when we played more music,” Stevens said. Sounds like excellent advice for all disc jockeys, especially the gabby Magic 102 morning team. . . .

Call it the Fresno connection. Bryan Jones, Cookie (Chainsaw) Randolph (KGB), Sue Delaney (KGB), Pat Gaffey (B100), Katy Manor (formerly of 91X) and Peter Napoli (promotions, 91X), all worked at KKDJ-FM in Fresno before heading to San Diego. B100’s Mike Novak and Danny Romero worked for another Fresno station, where Romero was known as “Disco Danny.”