Insiders confirm longtime local rock jock Chris Cantore is replacing Kevin Acee as host of the weekday 6 to 9 p.m. time slot on Mighty 1090 beginning April 3.
Kevin Acee, the U-T sports columnist who was repeatedly scooped by L.A. Times sports scribes like Sam Farmer and ESPN’s Adam Schefter as the Charger’s move to L.A. was unfolding, is being told by Mighty 1090 his evening sports show is over. Acee replaced much-loved sports host “Coach” John Kentera in October, 2015.
Kentera went on to become general manager of the San Diego Sockers, and has since retired.
On his podcasts and on his DJ shows on 91X, KPRI and FM-94/9, surfer Cantore made references that he was not a fan of big league team sports. It is unclear how Mighty 1090 will approach the fact that a nonfan of traditional sports will host 15 hours a week on Mighty 1090 when all the other hosts keenly focus on baseball, football, and basketball.
The move may be traced to Mighty 1090’s decreasing relevance in the market. The station was not able to renew its Padres play-by-play contract, losing out to FM-94/9. And its ratings have tanked in the last year. Three years ago the station’s ratings showed its audience was often two-and-a-half times the size of its local competitor KLSD/”XTRA Sports 1360.” The latest ratings now show KLSD in 24th place, just behind Mighty 1090 which is in 23rd place. This, even as Mighty 1090 booms from Baja with 50,000 AM watts and KLSD’s poor AM signal barely serves many parts of the county.
The news that Cantore was replacing Acee broke three days after a curious article in Sunday’s U-T, “Will Radio Be Transformed By Podcasting?” In it, Cantore said he was concentrating on his Yew Media podcasts that he records at studios at Barrio Logan’s Iron Fist Brewing. He said he was done with traditional, terrestrial radio. “I look at radio as the antichrist. That’s where you go to die.”
Local attorney Dave Meyer, who has represented sports interests including Upper Deck, Super Shot Sports, and Cobra Golf, and has spent nine years representing the Oakland Alameda Coliseum, thinks Mighty 1090 may have made a big mistake by replacing Kentera with Acee in the first place.
“I think 1090 has been without a charismatic personality in their 6-9 time slot since John resigned in late 2015,” he tells the Reader. “I could never figure out what they were up to when they brought in Kevin to replace John.
“I think Kevin was always thought of as a Chargers insider and that everything he wrote came directly from owner Dean Spanos or former GM A.J. Smith, and later from Mark Fabiani,” says Meyer. “Fabiani was brought in just to protect the L.A. market exclusively for the Chargers. When that failed and the Rams beat the Chargers to L.A., maybe the writing was on the wall that the Chargers were leaving too. Perhaps 1090 and Kevin overestimated the appetite for more sports talk focused on a football team that showed little interest in its loyal fan base in San Diego.”
When it was announced that FM-94/9 was adding live Padres broadcasts, it was thought the station may give up on alternative rock and go all-in for sports and a male-based talk format. Its corporate owner Entercom has flipped a number of its FM stations around the country out of music and into sports. But the station says there are no such plans going forward.
Attempts to get a comment from Mighty 1090 vice president of programming Mike Shepard were not successful.
Cantore says he would not comment specifically on joining the Mighty 1090 on April 3, but that if he were to ever do such a thing, he would consider focusing on action sports figures like Rob Machado, Tony Hawk and Danny Way. He also said “If I ever to return to traditional radio,” it would not be done under the auspices of his Yew Media LLC, which oversees his podcasts.
Regarding the U-T story where he called traditional radio the “antichrist,” he said that was just one quote out of an hour-long conversation, and that he was simply trying to point out the juxtaposition between his former radio partner Steven Woods who “wants to put the farm on radio,” and himself who wants to incorporate radio with “other stuff I do like Yew online.”
“Why would I ever say no to a job opportunity,” he says about a prospect to get back on traditional radio.