Right after his last morning show on modern-rock KPRI September 28, Chris Cantore and 20 co-workers were told their jobs were over. Cantore, an SDSU grad who has been on the local airwaves for two decades, was best known for anchoring the 91X morning show from 1996 to 2007.
Three days after the KPRI bloodbath, Cantore spilled his guts on Mighty 1090 jock-talker Scott Kaplan’s podcast. After Kaplan fawned over Cantore, saying he was San Diego’s number-one alternative DJ, Cantore opened up about how tough it can be for a local radio personality.
“We’ve all been fired,” he said of his post-91X financial hardships. “My wife had breast cancer...we’ve lost our home, lost our savings... Until my late 30s, I lived a privileged life. I didn’t struggle like I have for the past seven years.”
Then Cantore recalled that Monday-morning massacre.
“The [two] owners of the radio station were doing this whole conference-room thing. They’re both crying... Those aren’t real tears. I had a wife with breast cancer. Those are real man tears.”
Cantore said the KPRI employees were riddled with anxiety in the weeks before the sale.
“We knew this was coming. They got us all in the conference room and made us read the same press release. In the middle where it said we were sold to a Christian radio group I shout out at the top of my lungs, ‘Jesus!’ The front-desk lady who is kinder than a laundry basket full of kittens says, ‘What do we tell the people who show up at the front desk looking for their prizes?’ I said that they should hand out rosary beads. That joke didn’t go over so well.”
“That’s because of the two Jews who owned the station,” Kaplan joked.
Cantore maintained that KPRI’s $12-million sale price to a Sacramento-based contemporary Christian radio chain was twice what KPRI was worth. Insiders agree that if KPRI had been sold to a traditional broadcaster, its value would have been in the $6- to $8-million range.
Cantore says he’s keeping the KPRI switch in perspective. “When I lost my job at 91X I was this whiny little bitch. I lost my mind. I went on a sympathy tour. This time, my wife is healthy, my kids are happy, life is good.”
Insiders say Cantore would most likely end up on the morning show of FM 94/9. “I’ve got two prospects,” he said. But as of press time, no announcement of Cantore’s next radio gig had been made.
You can hear the entire Kaplan/Cantore podcast right here.