When Country Folk Up 'n Quit

In an August 31 article titled "Given the Boot: Country Music Is Out in L.A.," the U-T pointed out that L.A./Orange County lost its only country radio station and considered whether one of San Diego's two country stations may follow suit.

According to Arbitron, KSON (simulcast on 97.3 and 92.1 FM) is the second-most-listened-to station in San Diego; KUSS (95.7 FM), meanwhile, is ranked 17th.

In June, while on the air, KUSS morning DJs Tony Randall and Kris Rochester suggested that maybe their station would be dropping the country-music format. Randall read a listener's letter in support of the Tony and Kris show. Rochester responded: "We get those letters all the time, but yet we're still getting our ass kicked by everybody in town.... We're going to be out of business soon, and just so you know, you heard it here first."

Randall and Rochester did the morning show on KSON for 11 years before being wooed to Clear Channel--owned KUSS in January 2004; insiders say the five-year contract guaranteed the duo $2.5 million each.

"Our old home [KSON] spends $2 million a year on [contests to attract listeners]," continued Rochester. "So if you punch back and forth, you're gonna put us out of business and you've got [KSON]. So I hope you really enjoy that show...."

"I'm a little ticked off," Randall responded.

"Well, I'm not ticked off," says Rochester. "I would rather just quit and get my next two and a half years paid out and be done."

Randall then took a dig at the three-person Cliff and Company morning show that replaced them on KSON.

"If I'm being beaten by that show, man, I don't deserve to be in the business."

Last week, Cliff and Company was nominated for the "Major Market Radio Personalities of the Year" award by the Country Music Association.

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