Hearne: The Rise, Fall & Unexplained Exit of Randy Miller @ 98.5 The Bar in Warrensburg

Randy-Miller-2013It’s not easy being Randy Miller these days…

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.

sphM5.St.81Until 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.”

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27 Responses to Hearne: The Rise, Fall & Unexplained Exit of Randy Miller @ 98.5 The Bar in Warrensburg

  1. hot harley says:

    in the radio business…randy is considered ancient. the only oneswho
    remember the guy are people in their 40/50/60’s.
    he had his time…he was funny….but the industry changed and
    they didn’t need the headaches and his salary.
    Some guys give him a fifth chance and he stiffs them.
    I thought he found jesus…I get it…you’re only faithful to your
    word if it is for selfish reasons.
    let this story go for god sakes hearne. Your portfolio is som slim on this
    site that you can’t appeal to a broader audience.
    After me /chuckles the sad clown/stomper/Wilson (who now writes half
    the comments on here…even on his own stories)…glaze/admin (who has to
    write comments becuae few ever comment on his stories)….lefty who
    get 5 ot 6 comments….possigner the german who is zzzzzzzzzzzzzz boring…
    now southerland who thinks he’s writing for ivy league grads….and fdw
    other who stop in now and then….hearne this deal is dying.
    Print this…then let us see what others say.
    randy miller? I mean the guy is from the 80’s….
    glaze and his haters…those stories are from the 70’s….
    your audience is like that of the star…dying off and getting older…
    then theres chuck….who’s comments are the most vile disgusting
    ones ever on any local blog…..he’s worst than fred phelps with his
    hate agenda…
    do something bold….besides teasing us on a big jewel heist that
    probably relates to some Italians we already know….then an article
    sequence of 5 about randy (including wilsons in depth article about randy
    quitting…which had already been posted here).
    this is the dead internet media…
    ten lookat tony getting all the national and local ink in the media
    with his stories. Of course y ou don’t want to run something like that
    but tony is making some huge waves across the nation and getting
    some seriousv eyeballs at his site….because he’s relevant and
    theres news you won’t find anywhere else.
    does anyone reallycare about randy miller outside of the 5 people who
    comments and you.
    you are now officially irrelevant….you have nothing to outline or say
    in the world.
    you’ve become lazy.
    I figure you don’t have the guts to publish this because its meant
    to wake you up….either get in the game or get on the sidelines.
    right now…you’re not even on the bench.
    Hoping you makesome need and wel thought out changes
    because we like kcc.
    hateto see it die the “dead tree” media death.
    and as poon tang said…tonys getting all the coverage ……
    you can do better than this…
    maybe get some young guy to pep this old site up…
    wishing you well

  2. rkcal says:

    Never listened to him. Must be his own worst enemy.

  3. chuck says:

    Wah!!!! Wah!!!! OH MY GOD!!! Up at 5:30 AM!! A WHOLE WEEK!!!

    Good grief, gimme a break.

    • admin says:

      Now, now, Chuck…

      Don’t forget the guy already had a full time job and work week running the station, holding down the afternoon drive time slot on the air and raising a 6 year-old daughter.

      And after three months of planning the strategy and hiring Miller he had to add the morning shift to his schedule on zero notice. Meaning he probably is getting up at like 4:30 a.m. to be there a half hour before the 6 a.m . show.

      I’d say that’s a bit of a hardship, doncha think?

  4. paulwilsonkc says:

    I don’t mean to scoop Hearne, but I just met with Randy. We both illegally parked on the Plaza in front of the coffee shop. He’s reopening Jardines WITH Mancow as his partner.

  5. paulwilsonkc says:

    My dear friend Harley; I was one of the analytics gurus in the country looking at Tonys washed numbers, once they are clean of false hits; we’ll see how that shakes out.
    As for “national eyes” and national attention, Id like to see an example of that.
    But if you compare comment for comment, Id rather read even the poorly written comments there, than an endless stream of N word comments, the “C” guy, a Polar Bear and Bryon…. and you want to talk repetitive comments? Thats all thats there.
    Each have their place, but I’d encourage you to look at them both, on balance. They are two different places. Tony is the Drudge of Kansas City, nothing original. You wanna talk old news; he’s linking old news.
    As I said, both have a place, both have their own and some shared readership, just a difficult comparison to make.
    As for my comments, I don’t care what the numbers are, I enjoy the interaction with, people like you and the regulars, who care enough to comment. I enjoy the back and forth. I couldn’t care less if a story had 4 or 104 comments.

    • mike t. says:

      you have to admit tho’ that someone coming up with the ‘Polar Bear’ identity was pretty clever. Bear might spew nonsense, but what do you expect of a bear?

    • Stomper says:

      + 2 Paul,

      I have gone there 2-3 times in the past, more as a result of something I read here that may have referenced TKC. I went there yesterday after Pootie Tang and Harley commented on Hearne’s jewelry piece that TKC was kicking ass on the Plaza Riot story. Guess I’m old school but I was disturbed by the excessive language and flagrant racism. It’s here as well but substantially more nuanced, and therefore, a bit more tolerable.

      Secondly, I appreciate Paul, as well as others, like Dwight and Hearne, that jump back in to respond to a comment. Obviously the comments can take the discourse in directions that Paul, Dwight, Hearne, Craig, etc. may not have intended or anticipated but by jumping back in, we commenters are further enlightened. Actually, I wish the esteemed counselor, DSW would do so more often. David, aren’t you due for a piece???

      • admin says:

        Tony’s main card is linking to other’s news stories, then putting his short spin on them and then unleashing them for comments to the unwashed.

        People who don’t want to read the Star, KCTV, etc can go there and get a clearinghouse bird’s eye view of local news with a heaping helping of cheesecake to wash it down with.

        That and oft-repeated phrases like “awesome TKC Tipsters”

        What’s not to like about all of that?

  6. STEVEN REED says:

    I know that Randy is the best in the radio business! If I had a station of my own, HE would be the morning guy with “personalities and personality”…he is NOT ancient. Randy..if you are reading this, remember what you told me back in ’89 “DONT give up, Die trying”..

    • admin says:

      I would not describe him as ancient either, Mr. Reed.

      Not in a world where Johnny Dare is like in his mid 40s and ruling the local headbanger roost.

      I’m not as enamored as you with his schtick anymore, but different strokes.

  7. chuck says:

    I did 3 or 4 remotes with Randy back in the 80’s. Always very professional, helpful with product and ideas for presentation etc etc. That was only 20 or 25 hours total, but he was no problem and very, very funny.

    Wasn’t it Randy that put blow up dolls in the Missouri River with their legs cut off?

    Nothing was sacred with that guy, I would think he might do even better in this more free-for-all media atmosphere.

  8. admin says:

    I think Randy’s stunts were his strength…

    But when you’re talking on-air for four hours a day you need more…a lot more.

    And that’s where he seemed to come up short in the end.

  9. Duke says:

    Short alright! The guy’s a “short person”. Que Randy Newman.

  10. snappietom says:

    What happened to the jewelry-drug bust story? Why is this story dead now?

    Randy Miller is great for Kansas City and I hope he gets another chance locally. The
    question on everyone’s mind, did he get to bang the Watson’s Pool Girl?

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