A longtime radio powerhouse was unceremoniously escorted out the door after nearly 30 years as a top-rated local morning show.
According to insiders, the Jeff and the Showgram ensemble were told they needed to attend a KYXY sales meeting immediately after their Tuesday, June 27 morning show.
That sales meeting ended up being something completely different. Jeff and the Showgram featuring namesake Jeff Detrow and sidekicks Emily Griffiths, Laura Cain and Tommy Sablan were fired. Insiders say the crew asked if they could at least tell their listeners goodbye on the air, but that the KYXY management told them that their show that morning would be their last.
KYXY has since been talk-free in the mornings except for traffic and weather reports.
The Jeff & Jer morning show notched solid ratings soon after it showed up on the local airwaves on the now defunct “Y-95” (KKYY-FM) in 1988. Known for its low key, female-friendly repartee, the ensemble led by namesakes Detrow and Jerry Cesak notched solid ratings as it migrated on to other stations (and bigger salaries) at Q-106, B-100, Star 100.7 and Star 94.1 FM. Cesak said in 1998 that he and partner Detrow were each pulling down $1-million a year.
But their big salaries apparently got to be a problem when their market dominance slid. Star 94.1 fired the six person Jeff and Jer Show in 2009. The crew created its own podcast from Detrow’s garage until being rehired by KYXY in 2011.
Two years ago the “Showgram” was pared down to a party of four when Cesak and sidekick Randy Hoag left the team. Now the rest of the show is radio silent.
“This one hurt,” Detrow told his fans on Friday on social media. “We didn’t see this coming…I’m afraid.”
Will the Jeff and the Showgram resurface?
Showgram member Tommy Sablan told KUSI-TV, “We’re looking forward to opportunities that are already coming our way.” KUSI reporter Brandi Williams said: “Those [new station] opportunities started rolling in almost immediately after the news broke.”
But radio insiders say those local offers simply don’t exist at present.
The latest Nielsen ratings for the month of May in the most desired 25-54 age range indicate Jeff and the Showgram came in 12th place in the mornings with a 2.8 market share. By comparison, KFMB-FM’s first place Dave Shelly and Chainsaw had a 10.1 share with that demographic. It is not clear that Jeff and Showgram’s current market share substantiated their total talent expense which was estimated to have been at least $500,000 yearly between all four cast members.
The Showgram layoff was seen to be at least partly due to the upcoming merger of two major radio groups, CBS and Entercom. When that merger is completed later this year or early next year, two local CBS stations, KYXY and Energy 103.7 will be folded into the Entercom station group which includes KSON, Sunny 98.1 and FM 94.9. All five stations will work out of one Entercom studio complex which is currently being constructed in Kearny Mesa on Granite Ridge Road.
“Entercom promised Wall Street that this merger would save like $30 million once it's all done,” says one insider. “CBS Radio has been making all kind of cuts in personnel across the country in anticipation of this merger. Axing Jeff and his Showgram is in keeping with other recent cuts at CBS stations in L.A. and Philadelphia.”
The longtime KYXY building on Linda Vista Road overlooking the 163 freeway will be sold once the CBS/Entercom is complete. The current Entercom complex on the eighth floor of a Mission Valley high-rise near Friars Road will be abandoned.
Insiders say they hear that longtime morning man A. J. Machado, currently heard on Energy 103.7, would eventually segue over to KYXY taking over the slot formerly held by Jeff and the Showgram.
The Entercom radio complex currently being constructed in Kearny Mesa happens to be across the street from the iHeart radio headquarters that houses seven local stations, KGB, Star 94.1, Channel 9-3-3, Rock 105, Jammin 95.7, KOGO, XTRA Sports 1360.