April 10, 2006

London Latest To Leave Free FM; MAX Goes Jockless

John LondonI've been out of communication for the past few days and I haven't been paying too close attention to things, so I missed what happened until the emails came in last night asking about why John London was no longer at fledgling talker FreeFM 106.9 (KIFR).

As of this morning, London's picture is off the FreeFM website (link). The station's weekday lineup now shows "Free FM Programming" from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Darian O'Toole's former slot) and from 3 to 7 p.m. (London's former slot). In addition, London's blog — hosted on Blogspot.com — has suddenly gone missing; it had not been updated since March 30.

According to one helpful reader of this column, London had opened his show last Thursday (April 6) by offering a $5000 reward to anyone who would kill fellow FreeFMer Penn Jillette, with an increase to $7000 if the death was a painful one. Friday's scheduled broadcast was replaced by a "Best Of" show.

Filling in on Monday (April 10) was KTLK/Los Angeles weekender and LA Weekly columnist Johnny Wendell, a/k/a "Johnny Angel." Wendell, who previously worked the mike as a weekender at KFI in L.A., made certain to throw in plenty of Bay Area place names during his first show to let listeners know he was well-versed geographically.

London's "Inferno" sidekicks, Dennis Cruz and Chris Townsend, are also out, according to initial reports. The trio had previously teamed up on KNBR's ill-fated "Not Just Sports" show, which ran from 2001 until 2004. Townsend recently began a weekend gig with another KNBR refugee, Larry Krueger, at Sacramento's KHTK/1140.

London's career in San Francisco radio has so far taken him from CHR KMEL/106.1 (1985-1991) to Sports KNBR/680 (2001-2004) to, most recently, Talk KIFR/106.9, where he had toiled since the station launched last October.

MAX TAKES OFF ITS JOCKS — Bonneville's 95.7 MAX FM (KZBR) let go of its air team, reportedly deciding that listeners prefer to hear their music without being bothered by human voices.

Web Fingers (mornings), Dawson (middays) and Teri King (afternoons) have been taken off the air starting today. King, who is also Max's music director, has not decided whether she will stay with the station, according to a report in All Access.

Bill Lueth, who oversees Bonneville's group of stations in the Bay Area, also told All Access that the station may have new KMAX-FM call letters in place as early as next week.