One Tweet That Changed An Entire Format


Entercom has finally announced that Kevin Klein broke ‘The Machine.’ His one tweet caused his company to have to spend over two weeks apologizing, negotiating, repairing relationships and changing the entire direction of a station. The format ‘Talk that Rocks’ died an ugly death last night, never really getting off the ground. KEGY-FM became All Sports Talk this morning.

Klein’s now infamous bridge tweet is the reason the format is dumping rock music for a mix of local and syndicated sports talk, and the reason cost Klein his job. He was set to go on as the host of the morning show just days before he fired up his laptop, logged on to Twitter, and asked his followers to “jump to a new morning show.” That probably would have been fine if he didn’t include a photo (without permission by the way) of the Coronado bridge, where 400 people have jumped to their death.

The flip also makes the San Diego Padres very happy. Here’s what Entercom’s market manager had to say, as well as the Padres President.

Entercom San Diego Market Manager Bob Bolinger broke his two weeks of silence in a corporate press release last night. “After a recent off-air tweet, we took the opportunity to step back, listen to the important feedback from the community and our partners, the Padres, and reevaluate the path forward. The station was always going to be largely about sports and we determined the right thing to do was to go 100% all-in. We look forward to building 97.3 THE FAN into San Diego’s best sports station, delivering the highest quality content and listening experience for the people of this great community.”

The new line-up begins today. Gone are Klein and “The Men’s Room,” which Entercom was piping in from KISW in Seattle in the 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m slot. Dan Sileo moves from middays to mornings.

The new line-up will be:
Dan Sileo 5 a.m. to 9 a.m.
Jim Rome from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Doug Gottlieb 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. PT,
Chris Ello with Tony Gwynn Jr. from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT.

It’s clear the rocky relationship Klein caused with the Padres played a role and Entercom had to spend the past two weeks mending that fence. San Diego Padres Executive Chairman Ron Fowler released the following statement. “We have had numerous discussions over the last two weeks with Entercom’s local and national management about our expectations for the radio home of the San Diego Padres. They have assured us that the challenges we faced with 97.3 FM at the beginning of this season have been addressed and that steps have been taken to make sure they are not repeated. We believe that their new format better reflects the values of the Padres and the San Diego community as a whole, and we appreciate Entercom’s willingness to listen to our concerns and adjust their content.”

After the tweet by Klein caused an uproar in the community, the Padres did not allow players to go on the station as the club worked with Entercom to get the format changed. That will change now that the Padres are comfortable with the new direction of the station.

This one turned out to be a big lesson for managers. Make sure you have a solid social media policy in place and everyone is crystal clear on the consequences.

Read Radio Ink Publisher Deborah Parenti’s recent editorial on the Kevin Klein controversy HERE


  1. Bob Ray, the heart of the problem isn’t anything to do with a joke about suicide, its the position radio has put itself in over the past 20 years. The bigger problem is that now, due to the homogenization of broadcast radio, when someone says something even barely edgy, the world freaks out because what broadcast radio has provided the listener over the past 20 years is a steady stream of boring, voice-tracked, milk toast radio.

    This all started once the May brothers overpaid for all the radio stations, and eventually brought corporate finance and suits into the mix. Now when you listen to radio in almost every market, you can’t tell the difference between a “local” (and I use that term VERY loosely) and a satellite radio station.

    When you write, “Repercussions across social media create a firestorm from a spark, especially a tasteless, classless tweet like Mr. Klein’s,” I don’t disagree with that stance. But again social media’s power over radio is a symptom of the bigger problem, which is in many cases radio today sucks. So Mr. Klein is an easy target, because so many other on-air announcers are only reading liner cards, live commercial reads and that’s it. There is no personality in radio any longer, so when someone dares to show personality, its easy for a bunch of behind-the-screen moral warriors to make noise.

    “Back-in-the-day,” when radio offered hundreds of personality-driven on-air talent across the country, Mr. Klein’s remarks would have generated some attention locally, but that’s it, because there would have been attention-grabbing talent in most every other market.

    If ever, and until, the industry breaks away from the boring, plain piped-in talent, model that it is currently using, the industry will continue to falter and will continue to lose revenue and influence, and will open itself up to being managed by social media warriors.

  2. The responses in this thread are a great read, confirming so many who were in the business clearly cannot fathom that the ‘good old days’ of promotion – offending to get attention – are long gone.

    Radio talent – a subject I know well from nearly 30 years of performance and management – must, today more than ever, realize there are lines not to cross and there’s a dire price to pay if you cross them. Repercussions across social media create a firestorm from a spark, especially a tasteless, classless tweet like Mr. Klein’s.

    This is the world we live in. Clearly Entercom was more concerned with their cash-cow client – the San Diego Padres – than Mr. Klein or their station’s new format. Both went down the drain to save the business.

    Two weeks of silence from Entercom is shameful corporate performance but they obviously do not care. They did everything – anything – to save the business. Everything – on-the-air talent and the station’s format – were expendable.

    Wake up to 2018’s reality and quit lamenting what was. It ain’t no more and, frankly, Mr. Klein’s actions were not up to that back-in-the-day standard of attracting attention and eliciting street talk.

    There is nothing gained by making fun of suicide. End of story.

  3. this was a non issue that became an issue. should he be allowed on the air? absolutely. id say in my 30 plus years this was one of the best pre show launch promotions ever. I can’t even believe we are all still talking about this. the station got all of the attention buy didn’t stick around long enough for the payoff. like sitting on a savings bond for 15 years and then ripping it up.

  4. McQ, the only reason social media changed anything is because now 1 upset person can appear to be 50 upset people. The radio stations should know this and support their talent as opposed to faceless most likely fake “people” on twitter who complain just to complain or in this particular case, because they worked for the radio station who wanted the Padres back but couldn’t afford them. Do you know how many complaint calls came into the station? ZERO. Do you know how many complaints happened on their Facebook or Instagram (where it’s much harder to hide behind a fake identity) ZERO! This was nothing more than a corridinated social media smear job that cost a hardworking and talented radio guy his job. It’s a real shame.

  5. I feel like the comments on this reflect a complete misunderstanding of how social media has changed everything. I worked at WJFK and WNEW during the “shock jock” days, Kevin has always come off as someone who desperately wanted to be on back then. Radio has changed, saying dumb shit to get a response is no longer rewarded. It wasn’t the tweet that was as bad as his response to the people who were offended and his digging in his heals on it. Anyone who works in radio today need to understand that this isn’t like the old days when making fun of callers and hanging up on them was a valid response. You have to be smarter and more savvy. A lot of the comments on here seem like old men shaking their fists at clouds because radio isn’t like the old days. It’s not like the old days, he should have known better.

  6. on a 1-10 scale of not bad to horrible…
    what klein did was a 2.
    the backlash was a 3.
    the media coverage was a 6.
    the outrage caused by the media coverage was an 8.
    the handling of it by the radio station and the padres was a 10.
    basic math. but keep in mind, what Kevin did was a 2 at worst.

  7. and look who he’s being replaced with. Didn’t Dan get fired a few years back for some racist comments ? Entercom, get ready for another format flip. Christian radio maybe?

  8. wrong. what he did, like actually did, was write “JUMP to a new morning show.” it was not shocking, edgy maybe, but far from shocking. he used a picture of a bridge that far more people drive over while listening to the radio every day than ever jumped off of. people can react to even the most lame dad joke with outrage but it doesn’t make that joke outrages. everyone has the right to respond to this in their own way. I spoke about this with our entire on-air staff. 80% found it funny. 10% found it unfunny but not offensive. 10% said they saw how somebody could be offended by it, but personally were not. it is the would of people being offended for other people that is slowly ruining radio. that is a fact. I used to hear Kevin on back in NYC years ago, and always thought he had a great delivery. too bad he is now being served up as a poster child for content that needs to be offensive to none or

  9. It’s official, shock talk on BROADCAST radio is dead. The cycle is complete and it’s a new day. All you old farts lamenting this situation need to realize times have changed and STFU. Bye Felicia.

  10. Talk (radio) is cheap when mixed with outrage. Joe Pyne is dead but hundreds like him are still with us. And now, one of them occupies the White House. This is why the public dialogue is down while public radio’s ratings are up. It is among the few that has chosen to take the high road. Outrage always needs something more outrageous that what came before. It’s like a drug… you have to keep increasing the dose to get the result you want. Then, in the end, you get a result that hurts rather than helps. Am I the only one that feels this way?

  11. when is the last time a radio guy has dominated the headlines for the better part of 2 weeks for something that is clearly being received both good and bad. Polarizing the masses is the key. This guy is the most well known radio personality in all of SD radio history, and he never cracked a mic. I am impressed. I am also over 50, and find the most offensive thing about the=is whole situation, how it was handled by local/national management. Hope for the sake of our industry that Kevin lands on his feet. radio needs more people like this now more than ever.

  12. This is the kind of notoriety we used to live for in the radio business. The industry has way too many wussies and not enough Klines.

    Sorry I’m not in the industry any longer, Kevin.

    I’d hire you in a Manhattan millisecond.

  13. Any broadcaster who doesn’t support Klein here, plublicly or otherwise is not a true broadcaster. This was not a dumb radio bit where somebody got injured, this was not a threat or attack on a group of people, this was not even a blip on the offensive scale. Any host who pushes the envelope on an/or off the air needs to understand that the general public can find what they say funny, dumb, offensive, etc, but just as people have the right to feel however they want, the host should have the right to say/do it, and expect his employer to defend them. I read this situation as Klein getting blamed for lots of public complains that the Padres had about Entercom (including signal strength, other hosts, station imagining, etc.) I agree with the last post that Klein could/should sue and he would win.

  14. Ms Glick hits the nail on the head. There are a ton of stations that would die for this kind of publicity. Klein did his job even before he started on air. His job was to be controversial and provocative. Entercom knew that going in. I hope Klein and his lawyers go after them for breach of contract. Include the Padres for interference in an employment agreement. Betcha Entercom didn’t even make clear the line in the sand.

    I agree that personal and identifiable attacks are verboten. This wasn’t a personal attack. A couple of little babies who were far removed from anything having to do with the subject of the tweet got their feelings hurt. Suck it up, it’s called life.

    We unfortunately live in a society of infantile thought processes and knee-jerk reactions of large organizations to the perceived wants and needs of a few. Defense of employees no longer exists – including union employees. In this day and age, all things being equal, if Howard Stern or Steve Dahl were just starting out, they wouldn’t last a week. How sad.

  15. This is a sad reflection of outrage feeeding outrage. Klein’s tweet was all things a station could want; thought provoking, attention getting, defendable, even humorous in a dark way. He has been vilified in this case, and if any lesson should be taken from this it’s is that stations should defend talent and not throw them under the bus the moment things get a little bumpy. Kline will get hired again because he has proven that he can do what so many radio people have forgotten how to do; be talked about.


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