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In a move that’s sure to please alternative-rock radio listeners — and likely activate a pissed-off “M-1 army” — FM 94/9’s senior V.P. and general manager Rick Jackson announced this morning at 8 a.m. via a taped statement that its morning-talk Mikey Show would no longer be a part of the station’s morning drive-time lineup. The M-1s are what Mike Esparza, the show’s host, dubbed his loyal listeners.

Esparza, a straightedge Christian — the cleaned-up, born-again kind — has been on the air in San Diego since 2004 and joined FM 94/9 in January of 2010, when he signed a three-year deal. Which raises the question: why was the Mikey Show cut with ten months left on its contract? As the Reader reported last month, 94/9 was taking a drubbing in the ratings from a reinvigorated 91X, which carried a 3 share over 94/9’s 1.6.

Until the station determines what it’s going to do with the morning slot, program director Garett Michaels will move from his afternoon slot to mornings.

Jackson’s statement indicated that the station wants to hear from its listeners regarding what they want to hear from 6 to 10 a.m.

Just follow the motto written on your wall, Mr. Jackson: “It’s about the music.” You want a playlist?

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Comments

Gail Powell March 8, 2012 @ 11:59 a.m.

Sorry to hear this news. I really liked Mikey & he is a good guy. Hopefully, he & his crew got a juicy payout from 94.9 to vacate the morning slot with 10 months left to go on his contract. Maybe 94.9 should hire some of the old goats that are left who are not already "revitalizing" 91X's ratings? If any of them are still alive?

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BookwormKM March 8, 2012 @ 1:45 p.m.

It's M1 Nation, not M1 Army. And it would be really great if you could take the snarky tone out of your story. Mikey is a bastion for a lot of San Diego listeners, including "straightedge Christians" - especially the cleaned-up, born-again kind. A little compassion would be appreciated.

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David Dodd March 8, 2012 @ 2:20 p.m.

"Which begs the question: why was the Mikey Show cut with ten months left on its contract?"

Ratings, sure, but it was a nice thing for them to do. Esparza gets paid for 10 months and has the opportunity to use all of that time lining up his next gig.

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sageofsantee March 8, 2012 @ 3:12 p.m.

To refried - If he was fired with cause, Mikey does not get paid for the rest of his contract. It is my impression the station found what they thought was a legitimate excuse to fire him and ignore the rest of the contract. Don't know what it is but watch...This will come out eventually.

To bookworm - I guess being a "straight-edged Christian" gives you the right to go after people on the air? Give me a ------- break. But you are right about the compassion thing. It might be that Mikey had some kind of a "health" setback as they say.

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David Dodd March 8, 2012 @ 3:47 p.m.

It's really difficult to prove cause with radio and television talent. Usually, the station doesn't bother with it. I would be surprised if that were the case here. XX1090 fired Scott Kaplan last month, for example, over comments he made on air. You would think there was cause, but I'm fairly certain that his contract is being paid until it's finished.

There's another possible reason for continuing to pay talent after pulling their program, it's so they can't immediately go to the competition and take ratings away. Loyal listeners (as you're noting above) can often find no fault with the talent and they blame the station. Usually, time numbs this.

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jenjen March 8, 2012 @ 3:29 p.m.

This is probably the best news I have heard all day. I used to be a very loyal 94/9 listener but that show? Drove me away. So I'm one of the folks who went back to 91X. I would rather listen to 91X's robot DJ alternate Offspring and Sublime over and over and over than that have to hear that bunch of self-indulgent yakking. MUSIC. Play MUSIC in the morning. And OK, sure, the occasional traffic report or headlines. But please not a "crew." No more crews. UGH.

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Facebook March 8, 2012 @ 3:39 p.m.

Pablo G. says: Maybe he can join his former crew at rock 105.3, they sure need the help.. I dont forsee that show lasting much longer either.. hehe

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Facebook March 8, 2012 @ 3:40 p.m.

Chris Cantore says: This story is wrong. Yes, mikey is gone, but the show remains. Wish them all well ...

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Facebook March 8, 2012 @ 3:41 p.m.

Kim K. says: I only listened because I'd have 94.9 on at work for the music. If this means more music, then fine by me!

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ScottH March 8, 2012 @ 3:42 p.m.

Regardless of his beliefs or what he meant to his followers, that show was a drag on that station's resources from Day One. His show was mildly, adolescent-ly entertaining at his previous station, but at 949, it was a boring, lifeless, trite, derivative, and insipid reason to tune out to a CD or...silence.

What's sad is that the nimrods that run that station took over two years to see that. Musta been the beer-ear-goggles. Who, besides the general listeners, couldn't see this station being run into the ground by that flatline morning show? It was actually pretty insulting for us listeners for them to replace the upbeat variety of the previous morning show with the It's-NOT-About-the-Music 4 hour dead zone.

Maybe they can afford to rehire the established local talent (Halloran, Hough, etc) that they had to cut loose to bankroll the daily lesson in How To Ruin A Rock&Roll Radio Station. Aw dang...they still owe ten months of BIG pay to someone who doesn't even work there anymore. Oh well... Maybe in a year when this station re-emerges with a lite-Jazz format, they can again draw listeners...

Sayanara, 949.

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Facebook March 8, 2012 @ 3:43 p.m.

Emily N. says: Thank god! I can listen to 94.9 again.

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Facebook March 8, 2012 @ 3:45 p.m.

Mike S. says: I will continue to skip the morning talk "shows", in favor of less dumb entertainment. One can only take so much fake laughter and gossip about people I do not know or care to know. I control my airwaves, thank you very much.

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runmelyrun March 8, 2012 @ 3:48 p.m.

I'm with jenjen. I stopped listening to 94/9 when the Mikey Show came on in the mornings. Except I didn't convert over to 91X (God, no!). I just jumped over to good ol' NPR.

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jenjen March 8, 2012 @ 4:19 p.m.

NPR simply will not wake me up. Too soothing. Want music!

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sageofsantee March 8, 2012 @ 3:56 p.m.

It took 91X years to come back after Clear Channel drug them into the toilet. I wonder how long it will take 949 to rebound from its Mikey Hell. I'm not sure the rest of the crew will be back. Hate to tell you but I don't think Chris Cantore knows what's up.

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Facebook March 8, 2012 @ 4:10 p.m.

Lily R. says: ‎94.9 had their heads up their asses when they let Chris Cantore go. I do like talk radio that has it's finger on the pulse of contemporary culture and is smart and entertaining. Mikey was none of these.

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Facebook March 8, 2012 @ 4:11 p.m.

Julie S. says: Sorry for the morning show team, but I was not a fan. I much prefer the music they play on 91x. Hope they follow suit!

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Facebook March 8, 2012 @ 4:11 p.m.

Carmen R. says: I'm glad. Now it's really " It's about the MUSIC" again. No offense Mike.

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Daniel27 March 8, 2012 @ 4:33 p.m.

I always hated the Mikey show. It was so fake! Fake arguments, fake prank phone calls. The war of the roses fake prank , they do the exact same thing on the Ryan seacrest show!! If they replace him, get somebody good! 1053 didn't find a good replacement, and that show is unlistenable!! They should Hire Dangerous Dick from 1037 their show seemed real, and it was really funny. I listened for hours. Make it LOCAL! And not automated like 91X

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Facebook March 8, 2012 @ 4:55 p.m.

Rob B. says: As a musician in San Diego, I always condone MORE MUSIC! However, of all the morning talk shows, The Mikey Show was the best (to me). The only lame thing to happen now is that us listeners will just have 4 more hours of the SAME over-played music we've heard for years! The radio station needs better ratings...Okay, how bout deleting all music over 5yrs old from the playlist and broaden the spectrum of artists and genres! New new new!

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Facebook March 8, 2012 @ 5:23 p.m.

Shane P. says: I started listening to NPR in the mornings after 94.9 switched to the Mikey Show so I guess I have him to thank for that. But then I basically stopped listening to the station entirely.

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Daniel27 March 9, 2012 @ 2:17 a.m.

I heard this is all just a hoax, I hope not.

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ckar March 9, 2012 @ 10:39 a.m.

The Mikey Show was LAME! I listened for the past year or so, and recently it just became one lame "bit" after the next. Nearly every time I would tune in the hosts were doing a trivia quiz challenge between themselves. The DSC are in a class by themselves in SD.

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sdrockfan March 9, 2012 @ 1:15 p.m.

This is great news for the station and fans of good music.

I don't personally dislike Mikey, but he's trying so hard to be something that doesn't work on a secular rock station. He wants to come on the air and talk about how great having Jesus in his life is, that is fine, but would be much more appropriate for a Christian or Faith based station. I think he could find a great home at one of those and be very fulfilled.

He has to realize that if he does broadcast on a secular rock station, many, if not most, of people who listen will have different beliefs than him. Even the Christian listeners probably do not align with his brand of Christianity. It has obviously helped him with his low self esteem and other challenges that life has thrown at him (relationship issues mainly, some career). I think its great he can use his own personal experience as an example for others, but at the same time he speaks in such certain and absolute terms about things that are far from certain and absolute for many (if not most) people.

The Rock 105.3 show got much better after Mikey left it because everything wasn't framed in terms of his personal relationship with Jesus, it was just relate-able people talking about relate-able and interesting topics with no agenda.

I wish Mikey and the others on that show the best with their careers, they are not without talent, but their talent needs to be applied in the appropriate areas and directed at the right audience in order to be a success.

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Gail Powell March 9, 2012 @ 7:13 p.m.

A little birdie told me that Mikey's next incarnation may not involve radio or unfunny crew shows at all. Mikey would make a fantastic pastor or youth minister. He has charisma, knows his Bible, and has that cool look about him that makes the young Christians take him seriously as a righteous role model. Mikey should use this (hopefully) paid 10 months off as a sabbatical opportunity to go get a pastoral degree. I am sure Mikey's pal from the Rock Church, Pastor Miles McPherson, would certainly welcome Mikey into the Pastor flock, as Mikey is well-respected and well-liked big time over there at Liberty Station.

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mtnwaves March 12, 2012 @ 6:47 a.m.

Hear this loud and clear... Cantore NEEDS to get back on the local air and to be heard by the masses. His on air personality was one of the few that were real and genuine and one that came from the heart. No need for fake, canned laughter, made up skits, sound effects.. none of that. Chris - you're missed.

So long Mikey, though I don't necessarily appreciate your show, I wish you the best.

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DogMom March 12, 2012 @ 7:36 a.m.

I second @mtnwaves entirely.

I listened to the Mikey show since there really were no other alternatives in the morning, but lately all they'd been doing was on-air Catch Phrase every time I tuned in. I guess that shoulda been a clue something was up.

The first thing I thought when I heard about Mikey being gone was "that would be a perfect spot for Cantore"!

Since Cantore just left KPRI......hmmmm?!?!?!

Radio has not been the same since Cantore left 91X, he was the last of the great ones from a bygone era.

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deadbeatdave March 12, 2012 @ 11:19 a.m.

The Mikey Show was NEVER a good fit for 94/9... so good riddance to them. Chris Cantore would be a killer guy to bring 94/9 a solid listening base in the mornings.

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birrrdy March 13, 2012 @ 8:40 a.m.

Many of the bashers here should be ashamed of themselves. Mikey is a true radio talent, who we were lucky to have within our local San Diego airwaves. If you really want a robotic monkey clicking the random button on a playlist you've heard before on your morning commute, then knock yourselves out. Don't you own an iPod, though?

I've listened to Mikey from waaay back, sadly when he was deep into drugs and a shock-jock lifestyle (remember his evening program on one of the rock stations?) to his two incarnations here in San Diego as a reformed born again. Throughout his career, he has proven to be mercilessly funny, with a true gift for characters and putting a unique perspective on people of all types. ("Barbara" the fake caller from his 105.3 show was pure gold... pure gold I tell you.)

I agree with Bookworm. The snarky tone of the author is offensive, and misses the point on Mikey's true influence in our community. A lot of people may have not liked the current radio lineup, as it probably stilted all of those involved, but there are many, many people that care a great deal about Mikey.

He laid his heart out on the show, no matter which lineup, no matter which stage of his life's journey he was at. I remember a particularly disturbing program back in the day when he was getting high on the air with a stripper (or two) that were getting naked in the studio. Then, fast forward to recent years, I would listen to his Friday morning "Testimonies", right at 9:55am, and could not help but be moved. To tears many times at what, in a truly revolutionary manner, he was trying to accomplish on air with his life's work and journey.

This man is a radio genius, as far as I'm concerned. I've lived in major radio markets on the East Coast, been a diehard Howard Stern listener since I was a middle schooler in the DC area, and been exposed to tons of high-end, cutting edge radio programming. Mikey, however, stands alone as a true talent, and a fine, gracious, honest man on an incredible life's journey. I only wish I could find some way to continue sharing mornings with him, as he will be deeply, and sorely, missed.

Peace be with you, Mikey!!! Keep up the good fight!!!!!

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lunchbox23 March 18, 2012 @ 3:26 a.m.

You have something brown, all over your face from being so far up his ass lol

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sageofsantee March 13, 2012 @ 1:14 p.m.

Birrdy...did you even listen to the Mikey Show. All they did was laugh out loud at things that were just not funny, and get overly excited about nothing, and have these contests with each to try to guess a a word. He did bring some new ears to 949, but he pushed many more fprmerly loyal listeners away. His net value to that station was very, very negative. You maintain he was some great talent. To me it sounded like he was phoning it in...reading bits given to him by these morning show prep services. I just hope that he didn't do so much damage that the management of 94/9 would change format. Mikey is gone, but the nice dookie he left in the punchbowl is still there.

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birrrdy March 13, 2012 @ 9:37 p.m.

@sageofsantee, just because you post over and over again to the same thread doesn't make your voice or opinion any more valid by sheer virtue of quantity (or mean it is shared by the majority of others). Yes, clearly I have listened to Mikey's program, obviously for far many more years than you. Right back atcha -- Did you even read my message?

We get it. You don't like what he did to your precious morning music format. You don't like word games. Got it. Thrice over. But while you are focusing on 2 measly share points of morning ratings as ruining the "net value" of a radio station in a tiny San Diego media market, you are missing what I believe to be the much larger perspective of what a larger-scale talent Mikey is. He's not your cup of tea. Got it. But the only "dookie in the punchbowl" is perhaps your myopic and provincial take on a really unique radio personality.

Don't get me wrong. I love the music on 94.9. I moved to San Diego in part due to Halloran's programming masterpiece that was 91X in the early mid 90s. I slept on Tim Pyles' couch (94.9's local music guru) when I was moving to town (before he was in radio). I worked for 6 years at a cutting-edge local music company during the digital revolution. I think I've got some chops in the space to have an opinion myself in this field that's hopefully worth hearing.

And Mikey is, and was, far more ground-breaking on the national radio landscape than you are even giving one iota of credit. Sure his crew was getting a bit stale at times lately. Woods and Jay should not have been given the lion share of on-air responsibilities of late. (personal opinion) But Mikey's been gutted of co-workers, talent and friends multiple times over the years by the radio powers that be, and he is making do with what he's got, all the while trying to remain loyal to what may be considered underperformers around him. He was also the #1 radio program in San Diego just 2 years ago. Yet he is always the one that is getting stabbed in the back. For laying it all bare, and sticking it out with others.

I've never met the guy, but I am not overstating the truth when I say I consider him a profound influence on my life, simply through his broadcasts. At least let some of us that care THANK HIM for what he has given to the narrow little boundaries that we call home in San Diego, and recognize his gifts and abilities beyond perhaps your provincial radio format change concerns.

Per my opening, this will obviously be my last say on the topic, but I would urge other Mikey supporters to speak their mind should they find the opinions expressed in this forum non-representiative (or downright disrespectful) of their thoughts and feelings on the matter.

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David Dodd March 13, 2012 @ 11:13 p.m.

I think he sucked after he left 105.3 afternoons. You can write as many words of praise as you wish about Jesus, err... Mikey, inviting us to feel "ashamed of ourselves", but then, I can get that in church on any Sunday. See the parallel you're inviting here? Mikey is talent, and talent is a commodity, not a savior. Talent is like a loaf of bread, it expires eventually and becomes something else. You're worshiping the wrong thing.

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lunchbox23 March 18, 2012 @ 3:29 a.m.

you're really just over exaggerating this whole thing.

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MrSanDiegoPlayNicePlayFair April 9, 2012 @ 7:26 a.m.

I am extremely pleased! Probably not for reasons that you are -- but pleased nonetheless. If Mikey's ego had gotten any larger, he would have imploded and his mean-spirited antics would have eventually littered San Diego radio waves with no hope of redemption.

Mikey reminds me of ian benardo meets perez hilton wanna-be, but since Mikey was OUT LOUD about his non-loving (AKA- anti-christian) stance for homosexuals -- he wouldn't truly be able to take on that caliber of competition of being the wittiest cultural voices. In between Mikey's weekly rants about his testimony and what a great Christian role-model he is, he would jab at homosexuals and anyone who favored marijuana in society. It was a case of the pot calling the kettle black!

He'd get you to warm up to him one minute by parading his families journey with autism -- so you might think he is a nice guy. BUTTT!!!! He is not a nice guy. I wonder if that is why they got rid of him. I hope some higher ups with Lincoln put the kabosh on him FOR GOOD.

GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER MIKEY! You are funny, but not a nice or respectful person by any stretch of the imagination.

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liketolisten April 19, 2012 @ 6:43 p.m.

Mikey's show kept me going in the am in 2010-11. I had been laid off for a whole year, my house burned down and was not rebuilt yet , then I get a job...and its was most horrific hostile place ever. I cried nearly every morning as I got in my car. But 1/2 way there I started to smile from the Mikey Show. Changed up my brain chemicals enough to survive one more day in hell. I'm grateful the crew was there. Today I went to my current better job early enough to hear the Mikey Show. I was sooooo bummed it was not there. Sure hope this job stays cool..cu otherwise I'll have to find Mikey. thanks Mikey and the crew for helping me cope.

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captain_pogi May 25, 2012 @ 1:23 a.m.

Whatever.. SD radio is lame anyways.. I'd rather hear the wind hit my wind shield

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