Was a time Miller ruled Kansas City’s radio roost. And to this day he remains a legend. He was what Erich “Mancow” Muller and Johnny Dare aspired to become…within reason. He cashed the town’s fattest radio paychecks – paychecks now dwarfed by Dare – and could do no wrong.
Hold it, scratch that.
Miller could do all kinds of wrong, but even when his on-air misdeeds rose to fireable offenses, another station in another market would come a calling with more money, resulting in more fame. Then another firing – yet more money – and on and on.
Make no mistake, Randy Miller was a certifiable radio “bad boy,” but at the same time he was bankable. So yeah, he could do plenty of wrong, but come pay day, somebody was always there to make things right.
Until Miller pissed off enough advertisers, generated too many legal bills and or FCC complaints and his ratings began to go south a dozen or so years back.
Next thing anyone knew, Miller was out to pasture, clinging to a handful of advertisers he hadn’t completely pissed off and eking out a living doing small time advertising, apart from the glitzy limelight he’d bathed in throughout the ’80s and ’90s.
Until last week when he resurfaced at a small country music station called 98.5 The Bar in good, old Warrensburg, Mo. The station had bumped its power to 44,000 Watts and was sporting “a pretty big stick” at 499 feet tall.
Miller had moved from JOCO to not far away, so it was doable. And if one thing lead to another, he could maybe syndicate his show to other small stations and tap back into those six-figure paychecks of the past.
However after only one week Miller shocked the station and tossed in the towel.
“I was surprised it only lasted five days,” says station owner Greg Hassler. “I thought it was a long term deal. Now I’ve got to go to Plan B -and I don’t have a Plan B – but I’m trying to get one.”
What passes for Plan B at the moment is that Hassler – who hosts afternoons on the station – has to get up at the crack, drag to work at 5:30 a.m. every weekday and do the morning show himself until a replacement for Miller can be found. Right now he’s looking at a couple of syndicated shows out of Nashville and hopes to have a deal by week’s end.
“You know, this morning I said on the radio that it kind of left me in a bad position,” Hassler says of Miller’s unexpected exit. “Because I have to scamble for my next move, and because I spent the last couple of months planning for all this. It started around Thanksgiving – but I wasn’t prepared for a five day deal.”
So what exactly happened? Who the heck knows?
“The thing Randy loved about us was that we were not corporate and we had a good signal,” Hassler muses. “But I think that’s also what he didn’t like about us. We don’t have a big office and a lot of phone lines – we’re just on a hill in Warrensburg, Mo. Our building’s pretty nice, but it’s just not what Randy was used to. He just told me that sometimes you build things up in your mind and sometimes it just doesn’t come through.”
Did Hassler try to get Miller to stay?
“No, I did not,” he says. “I learned a long time ago that if somebody doesn’t want to do something, there’s no sense trying to talk them into doing it. That’s not good for anybody. But I thought things were going pretty good, so it’s unfortunate.”
Asked if he might consider returning to The Bar miller responded: “Not sure.”
Hassler has another take.
“I’ll answer that one for you, Uh-Uh. I’ll tell you right now, he’s not coming back. We have parted company; there’s no chance. It’s put me in a position where I have to get here in the morning at 5:30 a.m. and fill in for him. It’s taken away from my family life and my 6 year-old daughter.”