Hearne: Radio Exec says KCUR Should Have Stuck to Its Guns on Axing Walt Bodine

KXTR+polo+logoBeing in management is no walk in the park…

Sometimes you have to make difficult decisions based on your opinion of what’s right or wrong, and you need to have the courage of conviction to stick with those decisions when the going gets tough.

So says, longtime Kansas City radio chieftain Bob Zuroweste.

Not only has Zuroweste borne witness to some of the toughest calls in KC media history – like when former general manager Herndon Hasty blew up KY102 – he’s been smack in the middle of some of the biggest, baddest, most controversial radio controversies here of all time.

Knocking classical station KXTR off FM and onto an obscure AM signal, blowing up Smooth Jazz 106.5 FM and converting it to country music, axing Royals broadcaster Fred White – to name three.

To Zuroweste’s thinking, it wasn’t so much a case of Walt not deserving to be on the air as it was of KCUR general manger Patricia Cahill not having the gumption to stick to her guns and do what was right.

94009*280“In my opinion, Walt was only allowed to stay on the air because Cahill wasn’t strong enough to stick with her decision,” Zuroweste says. “When somebody in management makes their decision, they need to stick with it and not let the vocal minority or somebody’s friends pressure them into reversing their decision.

“Was it Walt Bodine‘s fault that he wanted to die by the radio mic? No, it was his passion and he loved what he was doing. You can’t blame Walt Bodine. He loved radio and he loved what he did.”

Nor was it KCUR or Cahill’s fault that Bodine sucked in his later years, their job was to act in the best interests of the station.

9000“Part of running a business is making unpopular decisions,” Zuroweste says. “Channel 9 fired news anchor Christine Craft in 1981 and got national news exposure and a lawsuit from her that cost the station a half million dollars, yet they still stuck to their guns and she didn’t get rehired.”

Kinda like Zuroweste’s decision on KXTR.

“Oh my god, you raked me over the coals in the Kansas City Star on that one,” Zuroweste says. “My wife even gave me grief on that one. She put a ‘Keep Out’ sign on the bedroom door – she studied classical piano as a child – and I even had a guy try to pick a fight with me at a restaurant on the Plaza in front of my family.

“I was with my wife and three young kids and some guy comes walking up to me and said, ‘Are you the fucking jerk that took KXTR off the air?’ Finally I stood up and put my face in his and looked down at him and he backed off. But I mean, he put his hands on my shoulders like he was pushing me and said, ‘You should be ashamed of yourself.’ And my son was 8 or 9 then and he said, ‘Dad, you almost got in a fight. Why?’

Murder-1“I had death threats. One guy said, ‘Somebody’s going to find you in an alley for doing this.’ So of course I can understand how difficult it was for Cahill, I’ve been there.”

Then again, Cahill may have had threats from financial backers of KCUR as well.

“We did too,” Zuroweste says. “We had a major, Kansas City-based insurance company call and cancel everything they had with us on all nine stations. It was a $100,000 plus hit and they didn’t even advertise on KXTR because they told us it didn’t fit their demo.

“Do I understand why Cahill bowed to the pressure? Yes, but you have to expect that and you have to deal with it and move on.”




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21 Responses to Hearne: Radio Exec says KCUR Should Have Stuck to Its Guns on Axing Walt Bodine

  1. TigerVIP says:

    Spare us the continued Walt Bodine redux! How’s this live, late breaking, scandal story coming along, Sperm?

    I’m not gonna spell it out for you guys right here, right now, but…

    Trust me on this, the alleged reason behind the Power & Light District’s bailing on the KC Strip trolly line, effectively hanging it out to dry and leading directly to its death, is one nasty, embarrassing, sordid tale.

    • admin says:

      Stay tuned, dogg.

      Do you see anybody scooping me on this one yet? Thought so.

      Good things come to those who wait.

      • MML says:

        Scoop? You couldn’t scoop a turd from a cat litter box. But you can certainly keep writing about one until it turns to dust

  2. the dude says:

    Horse, meet stick. Again and again.
    Come on Hearne, I know you have at least one or two more threads you could squeeze out of this dried up turd. 😉

    • Irishguy says:

      You bet he does. Hearne’s got to have a cellphone directory full of people he can call up to get the truth about the Bodine-Cahill fracas. After all, now that the old coot is gone, what better time to serve history on this critical saga in the history of Kansas City, nay, Western Civilization.

    • Mysterious J says:

      Hey, Hearne recently got two full columns out of Ikea meatballs, talking to stuffed shirt Bob Zuroweste about Walt Bodine has to be worth a book!

      • admin says:

        That reminds me…

        “Furniture retailer Ikea’s trademark meatballs are returning to the menu after last month’s horsemeat scare, with new supply chain controls “from farm to fork”, the company’s head of foods said on Thursday.”

        You’re welcome!

        • the dude says:

          Man, I don’t understand how people get so worked up over some horsemeat. I bet they tasted good, neigh, great.

  3. CG says:

    Whats most interesting here is not the call on Walt, but who Bob Z is!!!! I always liked the hell out of Bob. You asked me if I thought Walt was ever a cool guy and I said ‘no’ he is Joe Average. Not a bad thing. But Bad Bobby Z, another story. Bob was a black leather jacket guy in the 60’s and kept that cool all the way through being even Johnny Dare’s boss at 98.9 in the 90’s-2000’s. I hated to see Bob go. In fact we ran into each other often and he was always so funny and ‘cool.’ I think had Bob stayed on at Entercom, he might have had the guts to give me my own talk show on KMBZ. As a non right winger, would have been huge. I would have had Johnny on sometimes to heat it up. I think Bob would have liked me having that kinda show and been behind it. Hey KC is NOT A BRAVE city when it comes to making choices, we play it safe 100% of the time. Bob Z didn’t. Good for him. Glad you’re back Bob.

    • balbonis moleskine says:

      CG, you make good points. I would have liked to listen to you on AM radio.

      I know that sometimes you gotta move on so you are at TKC but I think the way they treat you in the comments are really one step too far. I always got the feeling that on here you gave out and much as you took from us and took it in the good fun it was intended.

      I don’t want to offend you in any way, but have you ever been checked out for vocal cord nodules? You obviously work in entertainment at the comedy club so talking, smoking, and drinking can kill your throat but I heard you on Dare recently and the problem appears to be getting worse.

      • the dude says:

        Yeah Galzer, I would tune in to hear ya on AM also.
        Let’s see if we can talk to Harlinator about pulling some magical strings to make it happen.

  4. balbonis moleskine says:

    Hey Hearne, any buzz to report on the Joseph Fulgenzi (aka Jardine’s hair dresser) story? He earned a trip to the farm last week and it hit the papers today.

    • smartman says:

      Maybe he’ll open up a Jizz Club in prison. On his Facebook page he advises people to, among other things, “be flexible and love others”. Good advice from someone getting ready to do “hard time”.

  5. CG says:

    What was it about, this guy going to prison? How much time and where.

    • Super Dave says:

      Fulgenzi pleaded guilty to tax evasion last August, admitting that “he owed substantial income tax that he avoided reporting

    • balbonis moleskine says:

      Criminal tax evasion (not simply owing the IRS money). 400k owed and not paid.

  6. Irishguy says:

    It would also help if Zurwoste had his facts straight. Christine Craft wasn’t fired, and KMBC didn’t “stick to its guns” by not re-hiring her.

    She was demoted from anchor to reporter and left for an anchor position in Santa Barbara.

    • admin says:

      And then sued…you are correct sir!

      That one memory blip however, does nothing to take away from Zuroweste’s larger point. Obviously.

  7. paulwilsonkc says:

    CG, he’s getting 3 & 3/4 years – destination unknown. Said most of the money went to cars and home renovation projects!

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