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X’ed Out

During his 25 years on local radio, deejay Steve West has survived prostate cancer, at least 16 different program directors and general managers, and a market-wide takeover by the Clear Channel conglomerate. Last week, West was fired from 91X.

Finest City Broadcasting owns 91X, rhythmic oldies station Magic 92.5, and urban/pop Z-90. On the day they fired West, the company let go of three other employees, including Sherry Knight, who had a midday shift on Magic 92.5.

“Instead of paying a salary [to a live deejay], they’ll now pay someone $20 to voice-track those shifts,” says a radio insider who does not work for Finest City.

Three weeks ago, Finest City general manager Trip Reeb fired Phil Manning, who had been the 91X program director for almost two years. “Budgetary cuts” were cited for Manning’s dismissal. Reeb says West’s and Knight’s terminations were for budgetary reasons.

All local radio stations are feeling a 10 to 20 percent decrease in revenues compared to last year. Insiders say the three Finest City stations were purchased in 2005 with a $105 million loan put up by venture capitalists. That loan plus debt service must be paid in spite of the economic downturn.

Regarding Finest City being in trouble, Reeb said last week, “We had a staff meeting yesterday to reaffirm with everybody that we are in absolutely no problems with us staying in business.” He says that necessary arrangements were recently made to “take care of obligations.”

Reeb says that Resurrection Sunday, which West hosted for ten years, will continue on 91X “for now.”

West continues to operate radionigel.com from his home. His webcasts feature the ’70s and ’80s bands that made 91X a success during its first decade of operation – Blondie, the Cure, the Ramones…

– Ken Leighton

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Let the wine make itself

“Let’s get cracking. It’s time for racking!”

During his 25 years on local radio, deejay Steve West has survived prostate cancer, at least 16 different program directors and general managers, and a market-wide takeover by the Clear Channel conglomerate. Last week, West was fired from 91X.

Finest City Broadcasting owns 91X, rhythmic oldies station Magic 92.5, and urban/pop Z-90. On the day they fired West, the company let go of three other employees, including Sherry Knight, who had a midday shift on Magic 92.5.

“Instead of paying a salary [to a live deejay], they’ll now pay someone $20 to voice-track those shifts,” says a radio insider who does not work for Finest City.

Three weeks ago, Finest City general manager Trip Reeb fired Phil Manning, who had been the 91X program director for almost two years. “Budgetary cuts” were cited for Manning’s dismissal. Reeb says West’s and Knight’s terminations were for budgetary reasons.

All local radio stations are feeling a 10 to 20 percent decrease in revenues compared to last year. Insiders say the three Finest City stations were purchased in 2005 with a $105 million loan put up by venture capitalists. That loan plus debt service must be paid in spite of the economic downturn.

Regarding Finest City being in trouble, Reeb said last week, “We had a staff meeting yesterday to reaffirm with everybody that we are in absolutely no problems with us staying in business.” He says that necessary arrangements were recently made to “take care of obligations.”

Reeb says that Resurrection Sunday, which West hosted for ten years, will continue on 91X “for now.”

West continues to operate radionigel.com from his home. His webcasts feature the ’70s and ’80s bands that made 91X a success during its first decade of operation – Blondie, the Cure, the Ramones…

– Ken Leighton

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Comments
19

91X has been so irrelevant for so long that they've gone past laughable, blasted through pathetic and are now approaching laughable again. I can't say that I've turned the nob to their useless station in the last few years (unless it's for Resurrection Sunday) but they better not still be using that catch phrase "The Cutting Edge of Rock." Maybe the cutting edge of Rap Rock and testosterone driven drivel at best. Not that they ever had a snowball's chance of being worth a darn anyway, firing Steve West is the final nail in their coffin. They're doomed. Steve is one of the best DJ's San Diego has ever heard and is an icon as far as I'm concerned. If anyone from 94.9 is reading and it's not already in the works (and this message actually makes it through whoever filters this junk), I urge you to hire Steve immediately! Great job Ken!

Nov. 12, 2008

Steve West is the coolest guy. He once gave me tickets to the 91X Fest with Pato Banton, and some other bands from the early 90s. In a parking lot, no less. He was getting into the 91X van and I was going to my car, and we started talking. He mentioned the concert, I said I did not have tickets. He produced a pair right there. 91X used to be cool, and Steve West was the only thing that gave it even a whiff of dignity the last couple of years. They are officially off my pre-sets. Nuff said.

Nov. 12, 2008

I second what MsGrant stated! I met Steve in August of 2002 when I won Street Scene tickets from him. I was lucky to be the 9th caller! I was so excited to have won as I had never been to Street Scene. Through all of my excitement of "going off", Steve managed to stay calm, professional and get through obtaining my address info. Steve is such a genuine, nice guy. And, he has a HUGE heart. And not to mention that Steve has the best "radio voice" in ALL OF SAN DIEGO!!! C'mon ladies, you KNOW what I am talking about. And, you cannot get from any station, any other member on the 91X team ever, to produce the knowledge that Steve does. Every Sunday on every Resurrection show, he tells you so much about the music, the songs, the artists, so many things that we would not have known. It is so much more than just hearing the music. It was worth it to me to listen to him just "to see what he was going to come up with this week". He really knows his stuff. 91X made a HUGE mistake by letting him go. Steve is 91X. I can't even tell you who else is on the air at that station. Oh yeah, I forgot...who are the two morning guys that really suck? I mean, I try to turn them on and listen...but who really cares or gives a rats ass about whether or not they are sleeping in a tent in their back yard and eating space food? I mean c'mon....and you let Steve go? Ha....91X just let go of the only person that was 91X....the only person that could have ever made 91X anything! Whomever is in charge does not know what they are doing.....AT ALL. 91X has gone down the tubes, was going down the tubes...and then they do this, let Steve go. I guess if you thought your station was really sucking, then why not really suck? Things always happen for a reason, and I am sure that Steve, with his talent, will do just fine. I pity 91X....because you have no key players anymore. You have suceeded in getting rid of all of them. Hillary was great...she is gone. Robin was great...she is gone...and you had to go in for the big finale! Well, you better think of other ways to cut your budget, because you are really going to need it! And to Steve, c'mon babe...you KNOW you are admired by the whole entire city of San Diego....and BEYOND!!! You have fans nationwide!!! And I am talking men AND women. You know you have "got somethng special" when both sexes love to listen to you and learn everything from you that you know about music, artists, and your experiences! What a great man!

Nov. 12, 2008

They fire Steve West but keep those two idiots from the morning show? Ridiculous. 91X, you officially suck now.

Nov. 13, 2008

Having shared a broadcasting path with Steve in the past, I can also say he's the genuine article, one of the few that's left in the business. 94-9: Get out of your New Wave Nation obligation and bring in Steve for Sunday mornings.

Nov. 13, 2008

The talent on 91X now is a direct reflection of their pay... the jocks all work for next to nothing....and they ALL sound like it now... You get what you pay for..and if you pay little to nothing, you get little to no talent.

Nov. 13, 2008

When 91X let Robin Roth go, I couldn't believe it. I thought they couldn't sink any lower. But now Steve West . . . he's one of the Founding Fathers of 91X! Resurrection Sunday was the one and only time during the week that I would listen to 91X for more than one song's worth of time. Now, there is absolutely no reason to tune in. We have truly reached an end of an era in San Diego radio-and it's freaking sad.

Yea, yea, budget-so fire your weakest assest: like any other DJ, except for Steve they are all inter-changeable.

At least we still have 94.9-Halloran, please find a niche for Steve!

Nov. 13, 2008

I’ve had the opportunity to work with Steve at 91X in the 80’s, 90’s & 00’s and he is a pro – dedicated to the music, and loyal to 91X. Unfortunately, 91X, like any other commercial radio station, is not loyal to anyone or anything other than the bottom line. Quality programming does not count. Community does not count. Long time employees, who have busted their asses for the common goal, do not count. Eventually everyone will be “X’d Out.” I’m not bitter, that’s just the way radio is. I wish Steve the best of luck and am actually happy for him that this has happened – now maybe he can focus his energy on something that will pay off and bring him stability and success. I can’t be mad at 91X, they have no other option than to be lame. Anyways, in three years they will probably be playing Ranchero music under the moniker, “Radio Puta.” Trip Reeb, get out your Pancho Villa mustache, the investors are here!

Nov. 13, 2008

91X HAS OFFICIALLY DIED!! I will mourn for the awesome memories that it left us........Resurrection Sundays, featuring Mr. Steve West, the only DJ that can get my ass up at 6am ON Sundays just to listen to the voice of music wisdom and the songs that soothed me since 1985. That 91X sticker that I used to proudly show on my cars...have also disappeared.

p.s. GARRETT @ 94/9 FM - you're missing an important link to your station.......then it would be REALLY about the music.

Nov. 13, 2008

Having Steve West on 91X, especially on Sunday for the Resurrection Sunday show, was the BEST part that remained of 91X. Steve West brings AUTHENTICITY to radio. His voice, musical knowledge(current and past), upbeat personality and community connection are irreplaceable. He is an icon credited with helping to shape and promote the true alternative (music) movement that began to take shape in the early 80s, which 91X was founded on. Steve West is that genuine treasure that helped to make 91X so awesome, for so long. Without Steve West 91X will NEVER be the same. My listening loyalty will no longer be to 91X. Again, I know I speak for a HUGE part of the SD and OC community with these sentiments. I'm sure it won't be long before another local station snatches him right up!

Nov. 14, 2008

91X is history with the loss of Steve West. That man was the heart and soul of 91X and whatever money they were spending on his salary that they think they've 'saved'? will come back to bite them in their 'arse'. San Diego stations would be lucky to snap up Mr. West. There's never been anyone like him and there won't ever be anyone like him ever again. He could read the phone book on air and I'd tune in.

Nov. 14, 2008

I grew up in Orange County and now live in Phoenix. With these qualifications, one may conclude that I am not qualified to speak about this travesty. If you think this, you would be mistaken.

Some of my earliest memories of New Wave music are from 91X. I can remember trying to tune it in while partying around Orange County. 91X was so much better that KROQ in LA.

Fast Forward 20 years or so when I was lucky enough to find what has become radionigel.com. Steve has brought his unique musical programming talents and knowledge of our music to the airwaves. Since finding this station, I can say that Mr. West has become a “friend” of sorts. We have had many conversations (most via email). I tuned in to 91X via the web every Sunday to hear Resurrection Sunday. I was even lucky enough to be on his “Hey Mom” show a few years back. All of these things are what make Steve great. It’s not where he works, it is the person. Steve West is the voice of my generation.

While I am sorry to see has been fired, I do not really care about 91X. That station can now go where so many have gone before. What a stupid, stupid thing they did. 91X was an icon. It is now a distant memory of “the old days”.

My loyalty (and dollars) are with Steve @ radionigel. I encourage anyone who is upset about this travesty to turn off their radio, log on and start listening. Steve’s talent and programming gift make THIS the place to be. The end of an era means the beginning of a new one. I have no doubt Steve will land on his feet somewhere. In the meantime, New Wave is alive and well (and currently playing Duran Duran - Secret Oktober). How great is that?

Nov. 14, 2008

I agree with the general sentiment of the posters to date. Steve West is the heart of new wave in SD/SoCal. I am pissed at 91X for firing him not because the station is worthless now but because it's degrading to be fired. And being an outstanding deejay, Steve West deserves better than that. I listened to Resurrection Sunday when I lived in San Diego years ago and up until today I listened to it online in Boston. Fortunately there is nigelradio and I hope that with enough support it will take off and I can hear Steve live again. sigh.

Nov. 16, 2008

Well you can't turn him into a company man You can't turn him into a whore And the boys upstairs just don't understand anymore

Well the top brass don't like him talking so much And he won't play what they say to play And he don't want to change what don't need to change

And there goes the last DJ Who plays what he wants to play And says what he wants to say Hey, hey, hey And there goes your freedom of choice There goes the last human voice There goes the last DJ

Well some folks say they're gonna hang him so high Because you just can't do what he did There's some things you just can't put in the minds of those kids

As we celebrate mediocrity all the boys upstairs want to see How much you'll pay for what you used to get for free

Well he got him a station down in Mexico And sometimes it will kinda come in And I'll bust a move and remember how it was back then

There goes the last DJ Who plays what he wants to play And says what he wants to say Hey, hey, hey And there goes your freedom of choice There goes the last human voice And there goes the last DJ

Nov. 18, 2008

i concur with all of the above postings.

special nod to TomPerry. he gets it.

steve, a legend and an icon, will be back. i admire him dearly (always have.)

ken, nice piece.

www.radionigel.com

Nov. 20, 2008

STEVE WEST WAS THE HINGE THAT KEPT 91X'S DOOR OPEN TO SAN DIEGO AND THE INTERNET WORLD AT LARGE!!

WITH HIM GONE-THEY DID HIM A FAVOR BY FRREEING HIM FROM THE CONTINUAL GUT-FEAR HE MUSTV'E FELT EVERYTIME A COFFEE-STAINED SUIT SLITHERED BY HIS OFFICE.

THEY ALSO DID 94.9 AND US A FAVOR BY HAVING HIM FINE TUNE HIS EXPERTISE AND LEGENDARY KNOWLEDGE OF BEING THE NEW WAVE GURU OF THE WEST COAST TO TAKE OVER SUNDAY MORNINGS AGAIN.

OK MAT AND MA HONEY-DO YOU FEEL THE AXE BEING SHARPENED?

LIKE TURKEYS BEFORE THANKSGIVING....

DR. FEVER

Nov. 20, 2008

91X is now a station that caters to emo-punk kids nowadays. They play what "tests well." Steve truly was the last good thing 91X had going. I hope to hear you on another station soon Steve.

Nov. 20, 2008

Everyone has nailed it. It makes me smile to know that so many respect and love Steve's work.

I've watched Steve play in front of dance crowd many, many times. As good as he is on the radio, he really let's loose when he's got a dance floor in front of him. The guy really knows his music like no other. He's a master.

Nov. 20, 2008

I started listening to 91x in the early 80's. Even though I lived in O.C., I braved the static because 91x was real radio, it was entertaining, & a pleasure to listen to. Over the past few years, their format started to change. Resurrection Sunday was the only thing that still stayed true to the values of "quality radio". Steve was, & still is interested in what his listeners want to hear. Not just what record execs want to pay the station to play. I've know Steve personally for a few years, & deeply miss his voice at 6am on a sunday morning. I would always call in & request something, sure enough, he would play it! I realize I am posting this a little late, but it has to be said "radio in San Diego will NEVER be the same" Thank god for radionigel.com. 24/7 resurrection sunday! Steve's next move should be to satellite. I can only imagine how awsome that would be. Watch out Richard Blade, Steve West is coming, & he plays more than just the go-go's & duran duran! Thank you Steve, & best wishes. BIGMIKE.

March 10, 2009

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