Fans of the “Mark & Brian” show on KLOS-FM (95.5) have steeled themselves for weeks that Mark Thompson planned to retire after 25 years; during Friday’s show — the duo’s last together — they found out Brian Phelps is leaving as well.
Phelps had been in talks with the station’s parent company, Cumulus Media Inc., but said he broke those off Thursday when the sides hadn’t come to terms. He announced during the farewell morning show that instead he’s launching a podcast with actress and comedian Jill Whelan, known from “Airplane!” and “The Love Boat.” She also recently hosted a radio talk show on WPHT-AM (1210) in Philadelphia.
“She’s hilarious. We’ve known each other for years. We’re comedy soul mates,” Phelps told listeners. He said he and Whelan had already agreed to do the podcast, even before talks with KLOS fell through.
“I just felt it was time to stop,” Phelps said. “I want to take a year. And I want to kind of recharge. I might return. I don’t know. But for now, I want to leave and go have fun on a podcast with my dear friend Jill.”
He said he wants to take a few weeks off before launching the podcast, at brianandjillshow.com. With a podcast, fans can either hear it online or download the show and listen at their leisure. The format is flexible for the hosts as well — Phelps said he’s looking forward to not getting up at 3 a.m. every weekday to work on the live radio show.
“I just can’t wait. It’s going to be an incredible blast, as painful as this is,” he said, during his tearful last show with Thompson.
As it happens, Thompson is starting his own podcast with his wife of 30 years and their three grown children at markandlynda.us.
“Mark & Brian” fans won’t have to go through withdrawal just yet, though. Starting Monday, the duo is officially on vacation until Sept. 4, and between now and then KLOS will be airing “best of” shows, said Bill Huning, the station’s assistant program director. Station officials haven’t announced their plans for a new morning show.
The pair depart just short of their 25th anniversary, ending the current longest-running morning show in the Los Angeles-Orange County market.