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They Didn’t Get to Say Goodbye: the Abrupt End of the Ron and Don Show

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By Seattle Times staff reporter

Sometimes in the radio biz you never know if your last shift really is your last shift.

After nearly 13 years on drive time KIRO-FM, “The Ron & Don Show” was abruptly, and without explanation, canceled on Thursday. The staff was notified 11 minutes after the show ended that day at 7 p.m.

The management email said in its totality:

“A decision was finalized this evening between Bonneville Seattle and Ron Upshaw & Don O’Neill to end their 13 years at the station. Today was their last show on KIRO Radio. We want to thank them both for their service and contribution to the station, our company and to the communities we serve. They both have left long legacies on KIRO Radio and we wish them only the best.

“We will have an all staff meeting at 9 a.m. tomorrow on the Garden Level. We will announce the new afternoon show on KIRO at that time.”

It caught employees by surprise, and it caught listeners by surprise.

Neither the two hosts, nor management, offered details.

When contacted, Dave Pridemore, vice president and market manager for Bonneville Seattle, texted back, “I don’t have any comments for you regarding Ron and Don.”

In an email, the longtime friends who bantered about relationships, their lives and the news, wrote, “Life is not about what you got, it’s what you give. We are very appreciative to all our great advertisers and everyone in the Ron and Don Nation for giving so much of your time, your energy, and your resources over the last 22 years. Together we raised over 11 million dollars for causes in the community we all care about. From our families to yours, Thank You Seattle, Tacoma, Fife, and Fremont … ron and don.”

By Saturday afternoon, the show’s official Facebook page was at over 1,000 postings about the cancellation. The “Ron and Don Nation” wasn’t happy.

TO READ THOSE LISTENER REACTIONS CLICK  HERE  FOR THE REST OF THIS SEATTLE TIMES STORY

14 COMMENTS

  1. Although Ive never heard of these two men I feel the disgust that their audience is enduring. Having been listening to NW tanking for the past 20 years my heart goes out to the listeners in Seattle . Perhaps its some hidden reason with KIRO the NW story is just plain simple cheapskate ownership. Get rid of any on air talent that has any senority. Get rid of your live sports coverage. Get rid of your entire sports department. Get rid of your news web page because you dont approve of the listeners input. Get rid of any semblance of original production. Repeat one show as breaking news on the next show. Get rid of a huge overnight hit Coast to Coast and replace it with a second failed shift. First Eck shift now Drex shift. Give the listeners a call in buzz line to leave messages and hope that the listener is stupid enough to think that it still talk radio.
    I cant wait to hear why KIRO cancelled what seems to be a long running hit show

  2. Hey 13 I feel your pain. I just want all the Program Directors & advertisers who read on this site know that dropping shows like Coast and bringing in horrible shows like Drexit was initially a big shock to me. I haven’t been able to stomach the so called overnight show on “Global” or whatever you brand yourselves as. I suspect the overnight is still comp’ed advertising space in the reach packages anyways.

    Company owners, your advertising dollars are not well spent on sinking radio stations who refuse to offer what the listeners wants. We now get beige and boring morning shows with lame no talent talking heads so as to not offend anyone. If only I could find a morning person these days that would make me say….. “ohhhh my” ……. once in a while. Remember the talent that was actually talented?

    Now as a result of the misguided bozo changes to local “Global radio” I discovered Internet Radio. Now I can listen to Coast at whatever time I choose. East Coast – West Coast. What a wonderful world of radio I have discovered and I owe it all to those bozo decision makers who must change what was working at the cost of their listeners. Hey I hear SEARS has some large open empty spaces perfect for combined radio and TV studios. With any luck they will have left their operations manuals behind for the PD’s to skim for new idea’s. Lots of space to set up cup and ball illusion tables to keep everyone guessing where the ratings are. Keep telling yourselves that inter-web thing is just a fad- your expert consultants have told you so.

  3. I listen to the show regularly. Never thought there was a sign that the show would be canceled. Would love to know why or a little more on the reasoning to just cancel

  4. The Ron and Don show is why my radio was turned off on my drive home. Though not a fan (in any way whatsoever) of that show, I can understand the consternation of those who are. From what I understand, there is a pretty large number of you! I’m a bit puzzled about why KIRO would dump a popular show with a loyal listener base. But hey, the NEW show is pretty good, in my opinion – and my radio is back on, driving home.

  5. Loved the show. Listened every afternoon on the way home from work. Now my radio is on npr. New afternoon show is horrible.

  6. If the radio station you listen to wont listen to you then get a pencil, a piece of paper and spend a few hours making a list of their advertisers.
    CALL the advertisers and complain to them. They might listen to you and maybe the radio station will listen to them

  7. The new replacement show “the Candy, Mike & Todd show” is awful. No other way to put that. I have tried to listen, but just cant get a true interest in this program. They all seem like loud personalities that try and talk over each other. Just causes agitation on the way home. I will need to find another source of entertainment on the drive home.

  8. The action by KIRO to cancel the Ron and Don Show smells like something that came down from Bonneville (the Mormons). The replacement is boring, which means that from 3PM to 4AM KIRO is just a waste of time. And then comes Coast to Coast, hawking Carnivora and all other kinds of useless over the counter crap, by one of the worst interviewers on the radio. Makes about as much sense as when some idiot at KIRO made the decision to have John Curley do the news at 6AM.

  9. I was on my drive home and had not heard the R & D show in awhile because my commute was different for the last several months. I couldn’t find the R & D show. Found out that they cancelled it. Can’t believe it. You just don’t cancel a show unless something happened. If they were retiring, they would allow for a graceful exit. I tried to listen to the new show, but unfortunately, there is no chemistry with the trio. That’s why it is hard to listen. Unfortunately, they are stuck having to do the mop up job for which they are going to get hated on.

    I wonder how much advertising dollars they are losing? Whatever it was must have been worth it to loose the amount of Marketing dollars generated by the show.

    My regards R & D.

  10. Can’t imagine any excuse for the rude, disrespectful and graceless firing of our beloved Ron and Don. Replacement show is boring, I can’t get into it. They just fight and talk over ter each other and hash over the same topics. Poor way to go, KIRO . If you drop Coast or Dory Monson, I’ll never turn you on again.

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