For more than 20 years, thousands of people across the Spokane area tuned in to KKZX-FM on weekday mornings to listen to the Radio Men.
But just after Halloween, the popular duo of Jim Arnold and C. Foster Kane suddenly went off the air – to the dismay of many who commented on the classic rock station’s Facebook page and website:
“Been listening to the Radio Men since I was 6. Think I’m done with 98.9 … sad.”
“No Radio Men? I will move on and never speak this station’s call letters again.”
“I listened to Radio Men with my father and those were great memories. How could you let all the loyal fans down like that without even a word?”
It was a matter of money, said Cal Hall, Spokane market manager for Clear Channel Communications. The Texas-based media giant owns KKZX and several other local stations.
“We were working with the Radio Men, trying to come to an agreement financially,” Hall said Thursday. “Unfortunately, we were not able to come to an agreement with C. Foster Kane, so we decided to part ways.”
Arnold remains with the station, taking over the afternoon show from 3 to 7 p.m.
“Putting him on in the morning by himself didn’t make sense,” Hall said. “That doesn’t mean he won’t be back in the morning. We’re looking for a good morning show, and that may include Jim.”
There’s no timetable for launching the new show, he added: “I’m going to take as long as it takes to find the best fit for that station.”
Spokane-born Arnold, 59, and native Californian Kane, 61, worked in markets across the country before teaming up on KKZX in 1992. Their show, typically among the top-rated local morning offerings, was a mixture of music and offbeat banter.
Kane could not be reached for comment. Arnold said Thursday that he’s taking it all in stride.
“If afternoons is where they think I fit in best, that’s where I’m going to work. It’s not the same, but it gives me the opportunity to do some different things,” he said.
“Getting up at 2, 3, 4 a.m. for 35 years, whatever it took, I’m kind of glad to have that behind me for now. We’ll see what the future holds.”
Arnold said he appreciates all the support from fans over the years, and sympathizes with their concerns.
“It’s understandable that people are hurt, disappointed, angry about what’s going on,” he said. “I would just say, give the radio station a chance to prove that there’s something on the way that they hopefully will find entertaining.”
The bottom line, he said, is that radio stations simply are paying more attention to their bottom lines these days.
“It’s not the business I got into 40 years ago,” Arnold said. “Things have changed tremendously. Radio is in that place, just like newspapers, where you’re struggling to find an audience.
“The way things are, I’m just grateful that I have a place to go to work today and ply my trade.”
Other radio news
“Business Talk,” which launched 11 months ago on KTW AM 630, is moving in 2014.
Beginning Jan. 4, the show, hosted by Kent Adams and Tom McArthur, will be heard from 8 to 10 a.m. Saturdays on KEYF AM 1050, which is the No. 3 AM station in the region.
Through November, the show will be heard at its usual times, 12:30 p.m. Wednesday and 10 a.m. Saturday on KTW. The show will take December off before switching stations, according to a news release.