Tuesday, April 11, 2006

London Calling

San Francisco's FREE FM station, 106.9 KFIR, has a big empty hole in its line up after firing John London this past weekend. The San Jose Mercury News reports that London was fired for "offering a reward on the air to have talk host Penn Jillette killed."

I think Don Imus would have been fired about 10 years ago (or more, but I think he really was fired back then!) if such on-air stunts were to be taken seriously every time a DJ says such a thing. Soooo, the only thing I can figure is either London's ratings sucked and they were looking for an excuse to fire him, or perhaps he made similar comments while off-the-air, thus making his on-air "threats" convincing to some. I think the money is in the former choice rather than the latter, and the company is afraid of ticking off poor ol' Jillette.

Obviously, London claimed his death-for-hire comments were simply satire and were sarcastic; that was probably the case.

In typical radio station fashion, the website is silent on the episode as if the DJ never existed (which is why THIS website does exist!)

There are so many "cool" links in San Francisco, that I decided to try to find 3 that aren't. It turns out they actually are cool:
Commanders Club/San Francisco
Puppets on the Pier
Tenderloin.net (not safe for work)


Anonymous said...

The Arbitron ratings for Londons show came out a couple of weeks ago. They were talking about it on the air. Their show was number one in listener retention for their main demographic. That speaks huge volumes for a show that was only a few months old. John also has a very loyal audience in the bay area as he has been broadcasting here for a number of years.

I listened to his show and I thought it was great. I heard him utter those comments about Jillette and I knew it to be a joke and satirical in nature. I think everyone listening knew it was a joke, just like the time he jokingly asked a former mob hit man, on the air, to "take care" of his ex-wife.

Now contrast Londons ratings to Jillettes ratings. There is no comparison as to who was making the station money. Jillettes ratings have been super low and he has a very low retention rate.

Over all though the Arbitron ratings for KIFR have been pretty bad. They hold a .4 rating which isn't exactly rocketing to the top of the charts. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt since they are a new station with a "new" format but I honestly think they are shooting themselves in the foot with this firing.

They need someone that is controversial. They need someone that can not only pull in an audience but can keep them. Their two "flagships" are not doing that. Carolla is just a cheap Stern rip off, right down to the format that he uses. His ratings have shown that people tire of him quickly but the only thing saving his job is that Roth is doing a worse job on the other side of the country. Jillette is a snooze on the radio, he should stick to Showtime and his magic as they are interesting and good. Why management keeps Jillette on the air I will never know. I'm not saying this because I am a John London fan (which I am) but I'm saying this as a listener of the station. Jillette is killing them and will be the albatross on the neck of the station until the day it dies if this keeps up.

DJ-M said...

Thanks for checking in John London!
(just kidding).
Seriously, it's comments like this that help our visitors - real radio listeners - understand what the heck is going on behind the scenes when DJs like john london get axed (er, fired).
Thank you for the informative and intelligent post, mr. anonymous!

Anonymous said...

The thing I find interesting is that anyone who says they are a fan of John London always says how they knew him putting a hit on Penn Jillette was a joke. So that would mean that all the hate and venom he spewed out about Penn Jillette's show was a joke every day? He had a history of talking about how much he hated him and his show.

For someone who talked about how terrible Penn was and rotten his show was he certainly gave him a lot of credit by talking about him. Usually people talk that way about something that is to far over their head for them to understand and be able to talk intelligently about. They resort to name calling and such "stunts" as putting out a hit on them.

John London knew he couldn't compete in an intellectual conversation with Penn and it frustrated him.

As to how Penn is killing the station when he is on the air for just 1 hour that doesn't really seem to make much sense. Penn's show was syndicated to many different FreeFM stations so despite his lower ratings, he was probably making just as much money for the station, if not more, than London's show with 3 high priced salaries.

Anonymous said...

I wasn't a big fan of John London but I hate the way radio hosts "disappear" with no explanation to the listeners. I enjoyed listening to John London berate Penn but I thought his obsession with it was a little over the top. After he stopped, then we'd have to listen to talk about women in sleazy lingerie and that really bored me. Sorry guys. I know this whole radio station isn't marketed to me (a smart woman) but I've always loved radio.

Anonymous said...

The dj's that free continues to trot out there are killing this station softly. The one time slot i listened to was john london and this retread they trot out sucks ass bring back the inferno crew and give me back my radio station.

Anonymous said...

Greetings, I'm glad I found this site. I LOVED the inferno when it was on .I miss John,Chris, and Dennis very much, I knew they were only joking about Penn.It's really a shame what happened to them. I loved the whole phone bitch trivia too. Where are they now?! I was unable to ascertain their whereabouts through this site. Does anyone know ? I am in the SF Bay Area , and I want them back!!! my name is Jon R. Peace.

John London said...

Just stumbled across this site. Very impressive. To those that are interested I have begun syndication of my show with the help of a couple of companies who believe in it. Dennis will again be at my side and although I would love to have had Chris as well, he will pursue opportunities in sports (radio and TV).

The three of us are together, however, in our continuing law suits with CBS Radio and Jillette. Obviously, I can't comment too much on the situation, but it is truly amazing how I can be condemned by some who know absolutely NOTHING about the situation or Federal law or anything else pertinent to the case.

If you actually believe that an offer of 5 grand to kill Jillette was a legitimate attempt at murder then please for God's sake never pick-up a copy of The Onion or listen to, read or watch anything that employs satire or "black comedy.” It will just make your ears bleed.

More importantly, those who support the position of CBS Pres Joel Hollander should congratulate themselves on being a free speech suppressing corporate whore that wants to make radio subject to the personal whims of its current management as opposed to allowing for true diversity of thought and expression. After all the station was called Free for shit's sakes.

CBS can fire whomever they wish...but they still have to honor the contracts they entered into...unless you believe that corporations should be exempt from the restricting nuisance of State, Federal and Constitutional law.

If I truly was making a legitimate offer for murder then I should be fired (like I'd really trust my audience to pull off a hit on Jillette...please… they probably would've killed Teller or someone from the Blue Man Group), but if I wasn't and I was merely exercising my right to satirical speech then you should be appalled at CBS's censorship along with Jillette's hypocrisy and the cronyism behind it all.

Making a legitimate death threat is a serious felony. Shouldn't I have been arrested? I was conspiring to have someone killed...right? Why didn't the FCC fine me? Why didn't management who could have dumped the segment with their in-office delay system do so? I can't give you the answers to those questions because I am too frustrated by my inability to measure up to Jillette's intellectual level (btw, whoever wrote that YOU’RE NEXT!). Oh, was I kidding there? Did I make an actual threat? I guess in Joel Hollander's world that kind of humor (like it or not) should be whispered only at clandestine meetings with other "satire deviants.”

Finally, the station lost over two thirds of their afternoon drive audience in the first 3 months of the show's firing. The station no longer even shows up in the Arbitron ratings (which is remarkable given their huge promotional budget). They went from the fastest rising station in S.F. to beyond dead last. When other stations run commercials they run station promos. It's sickening because we were really onto something interesting there. Local management fought hard for the show but Joel bought Jillette's lies and manipulations (he's a magician you know). But thank God we have a forum to prove it and reclaim some of our rep.

Final final: hate my show...that's totally understandable (I hate it a third of the time myself) but don't throw-in with people who narrow the freedom of the airways. We already have too much FCC for that. Don't you think?

I truly, appreciate the interest some of you have expressed in the show. I’m humbled (even though I sounded like an arrogant ass in much of the above!). Thank you.
John London

Anonymous said...

Hey, John. I hope you read this. I read about your show being picked up nation wide. Where can it be heard in Los Angeles?? It would be great to hear you and Dennis on the air again. I hope you find somewhere you can get in where you fit in.

You boy in the LBC


Anonymous said...

john london, you threatened to kill sombody on national air. if you say that your bound to get fired from any job. not to mention that penn has recognition from howard stern and you don't. if penn can appear on howard, then he has something good. you suck, period.

Anonymous said...

Hey anonymous do you write like a retard because you are retarded or is it because it's difficult to post with Howard's dick in your mouth?

What's up T-Bone!! Great hearing from you. We don't have a station yet in the L.A. area, but the company is working on it. Please send me your email address and I'll update you when something breaks.
John London

San Jose Mike said...

Hey John,

I'm really looking forward to your return to Bay Area radio. The first time I listened to him, the guy FreeFM replaced you with did a half hour segment on the hidden bisexual meaning of a B-52s song. A 25 fucking year old song.

I just hope I can hear you in drive time again.

double d said...

if anyone still reads this, i am glad that they finally moved tom leykus to his live time, but i think they oughta get rid of the grey area and bring london and his crew back for that time slot, or even the morningsbecause the even as good as corolla was on loveline he just can't handle his morning show. what are some of the radio stations london is on now...i dont get the player through his website and would love to hear him through some other source...

mike said...

i wonder if someone actually killed penn if they would come to john expecting their 5 grand. now that would be hilarious. john if u read this please just start your own podcast or switch to satellite we miss you in the bay, nothing compares.

Jason said...

I cannot believe John London has managed to find other radio DJ jobs even though he has been fired so many times from city to city. He used to DJ a morning radio show in LA in the early to mid '90s and he was a flat out RACIST. I remember a particular comment he made on the airwaves after Tiger Woods hit the PGA scene and he said that all black men should hook up with Korean women (despite the fact that Tiger Woods' mom is not Korean) and produce more Tiger Woods-like kids. And then when he found out Tiger's mom wasn't Korean, he said "oh sorry, go back to your dry cleaners and liquor stores then". A very unfunny racist. Any radio station that hires him is either desperate or looking to cut costs by paying a low-rated morning DJ, if you can call him that.

Anonymous said...

Is anyone still out there?

I've missed John, Dennis, and Chris since I moved up to Portland back in the days of "Schmidt, Schmidt, Schmidt, Schmidt, Schmidt, Schmidt, Schmidt, Schmidt, Schmidt, Schmidt, Schmidt, Schmiiiiiidt" (which I hated both because of my allegiance to the Dodgers and the annoyance of the song itself)

It's taken my two weeks to burn through the Inferno pods (wak, wak) that I found on that radio station's website, now I'm scouring the interweb at four in the morning, grasping at straws in two-year old threads.

Will someone please point me toward anything involving John London's voice that I might be able to receive via radio or download to a portable listening device? ...or if John could set up a daily conference call with Dennis around seven or eight in the morning so we could just shoot the shit while I walk my dog?

Anything would help.


I need my fix.


Anonymous said...

I had the pleasure of listening to John London while in Los Angeles, his show made me feel like I belonged to an actual community. If you are familiar with the sprawl of the Los Angeles,Orange County,Inland Empire area you know what a feat it is to make listeners feel like they belonged. John London's shows showed creativity in the segments that they did. Before Tiger Woods graduated from high school, John London called him up and challenged him to a match. The show could get serious and discuss the serious events of the time...John London was the only on air personality in L.A. media who predicted the O.J. Simpson verdict. He said that he looked at the jury, and could see that they wanted to find him guilty, but there wasn't enough evidence..I thought he missed the boat on that call...There were also times when the music stopped playing, and his show became a call in forum for the audience to talk about racial unrest in Los Angeles, and he(and his crew) were able to handle these calls with objectivity and understanding. I don't want people to read the one statement posted by Jason and take it for the unquestioned truth, because I'm sure that there are many people who were sad when KKBT was bought out by the parent company of the less popular station KPWR and turned into an oldies station(the beginning of the end of the radio community) and would disagree with what Jason posted.

Anonymous said...

John, i really miss your show. military at the time so i could not stay. if they wern't there, they can't even begin to appreciate what you and the hous party brought to the air waves. i bought your cd. best of the house party. damn, lil crackh... was funny as hell. peace man.