Kevin Ryder says he “lost his mind” last week after hearing that the entire KROQ morning show team was fired.
Ryder, along with former KROQ colleague Jimmy Kimmel, called in to fellow ex-KROQ personality Adam Corolla’s podcast, which posted Monday, to discuss last week’s mass firing. Ryder had tweeted on Wednesday that the entire morning show of the L.A.-based radio station had been fired, putting an end to an era on KROQ; he had been with the station for more than 30 years.
Ryder said on Corolla’s podcast that he’d gotten an uneasy feeling after KROQ management had canceled the morning show’s annual comedy showcase and fundraiser, April Foolishness.
“They didn’t tell me why, but then I found out as the days went on that they did it because ticket sales were poor — they said — but tickets were only on sale for nine days,” Ryder said. “We still had a month” before the show.
Management then told him “because of the coronavirus, no one will notice. Let’s just not mention it, and it will go away. [I thought], OK, that makes no sense.”
Then last Monday, his bosses asked him to come in and do the show by himself on Tuesday, and then “as soon as I got home at 10:30, they called me [and said], ‘Oh, by the way, you’re fired,’ and they hope to keep me in the family and I can do something.”
He was then asked if he wanted to come on and “say goodbye.”
He agreed to do so, and his plan, he said, was to “not say anything and go away quietly.” But then, later that night, he’d learned that the entire morning show team and been fired. “Then I went crazy — I just lost my mind,” he said, noting that he’d written out what he was going to say in advance.
Ryder told Corolla and Kimmel he became “angry” upon learning about everyone else who’d been fired.
“I was not as angry for myself as I was for the people who were working by the hour who now have to go out with businesses closing down [due to the coronavirus pandemic] and look for jobs,” Ryder said. “Strangely, I made peace with [losing my job]. It was a really crappy way to handle things, but what about the people who were working hour to and hour and there was no reason to fire them. It made no sense to me. I made a decent amount of money and had a good living, but those people are literally out on their asses for no reason, and I don’t get that.”
As listeners heard, Ryder went on the air and slammed the station’s management.
“Along the way, the one criticism I’ve had about the station from day one is that they’ve always treated me, along with everybody else here, like we’re lucky to have jobs,” he said on Wednesday’s show, at times sounding choked up. “The management of the station uses that, at times, to be incredibly cruel to people. Some of the more higher-profile ones have been Lisa May, Ralph Garman — you guys know those stories all too well. There’s a lot of people who left, because of the toxicity of what was going on here.”
Ryder added on the air that, over the years, several fellow KROQ staffers “who made huge contributions were discarded like they were trash or left the station because, like I said, it was toxic.”
Meanwhile, Kimmel also had harsh words for the station management, questioning why Ryder had to be escorted out of the building, as Ryder had revealed on Twitter: “It’s not like you’re some loose cannon.” He then went on to station management “scumbags.”
“The fact that they fired these low-paid people just as this horrible plague descends upon us — that is horrible and I hope they have enough integrity they they are ashamed of themselves,” Kimmel said.
The Hollywood Reporter has reached out to the station for comment.
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