Al Guerra began hosting local-music radio shows 16 years ago at Rock 102 (105.3's predecessor). During the past 3 years, he's been the talent behind Loudspeaker, the all-local two-hour program on 91X. Last week his last show aired.
"It's a toxic environment at 91X right now," says Guerra. "[Management] completely destroyed the brand 91X. The station I grew up with is no longer there."
Guerra says he quit because of differences between him and 91X program director Phil Manning, who came to the station ten months ago from Seattle. Guerra says Manning's decision last summer to move Loudspeaker from 6--8 p.m. Sunday to 1--3 a.m. Monday was a slap in the face to local musicians. Guerra says Manning would not return phone calls or emails.
Manning does not deny the charge that he did not communicate well with Guerra, but he says local musicians shouldn't write off 91X because Guerra is no longer hosting Loudspeaker.
"How can he say 91X has a toxic environment when he was never here?" says Manning. Guerra went to the studio once a week for his Loudspeaker broadcasts.
Manning says the next version of the program will feature more than one host and perhaps include afternoon DJ Capone and "eager young people in the promotion department" to cohost.
"We needed a more neutral host," says Manning. "From what I heard, Al was a little narrow." Manning says the new Loudspeaker will include electronic and "non-bling hip-hop."
"If he listened, he would realize it's one of the most diverse local shows around," says Guerra. He points out that he played electronic artists such as Buddy Akai, the Album Leaf, and Goddamn Electric Bill; hip-hop artists included MC Flow, the Knee Highs, and Timz.
When asked what he would do if he ran 91X, Guerra says, "I would play Christmas music for the rest of the year, blow up the station, and hire a program director who cares."
Chris Cantore, host of the 91X morning show for 11 years, signed off on December 14, saying he was not sure if he would be coming back after a two-week vacation.
When asked, Manning did not deny looking into replacing Cantore with a nationally syndicated morning show; however, he says the next 91X morning show will be live and local. But, Manning says he is looking "outside San Diego" for morning-show talent.