Friday, March 24, 2006

I'm so sad.

I just found out something both sad and troubling. Dicky Barrett has been fired from the Mighty Morning Show on LA's Indie 103.1.

For those of you who don't live in Los Angeles and are wondering, "Wait. Dicky Barrett from the Mighty Mighty Bosstones was hosting a radio morning show?" Yes. Yes, he was. And doing a really amazing job.

Listening to the Mighty Morning Show with Dicky and Liz and Stacey and Chuck was like listening to your cooler-than-you older siblings talk with their cooler-than-you friends about rock music you wanted access to, movies you'd never heard of, books you hoped to read someday, politics you never thought you'd understand, and parties you desperately wanted to go to. Only, brilliantly, they did all of this in a way that was intelligent, warm, funny and totally accessible.

I especially loved their interviews. Dicky treats his guests with respect while asking exactly the kinds of questions fans would want to know, as well as many we hadn't thought of. He sold me on many a movie I otherwise hadn't even heard of.

I loved it when Liz would try to do the news. I don't know why Dicky hated the news so much, but he would never let her just get straight through it. He'd mock the news and Liz herself without mercy, and Liz, bless her, would just power straight through. They perfectly captured the "we're siblings and we bug each other but really we totally love each other" vibe. It was awesome.

And, of course, I loved it when Dicky would tell stories. He'd regale his coworkers and, by extension, us listeners, with stories about his mom or his band or how he and Pavarotti once selected the same flavor of pie. It sounds so mundane, but his delivery is just so charming.

I could go on. I've been known to sit with my friends and just talk and talk about how much we love listening to the Mighty Morning Show. I once spent a good 45 minutes explaining to my husband why I think Dicky does better interviews than anyone else on the radio. I actually sent the show a love letter of sorts on Valentine's Day, because mAc and I once met Dicky and it was a cute story and I thought they'd get a kick out of it. And they did. They sent me a thank you.

So what went wrong? Well, I'm looking into it. So far, this is what I know, from hitsdailydouble.com.

Influential L.A. radio station Indie 103.1, the English-language alternative outlet owned by leading Hispanic broadcast company Entravision, has fired its morning show host, the Mighty Mighty Bosstones' Dicky Barrett, who has been off the air for the past three days. His spokesperson reports that his "unexplained disappearance comes just a few days after the station's powers-that-be called him into their office and told him to refrain from making any political or controversial comments on the air."

L.A. Indie 103.1 station GM Dawn Girocco on the firing of morning man Dicky Barrett: "We have been working with Dicky for the past five months trying to get the show to the next level.. We invested a lot into not only the show, but in promoting and coaching him. Unfortunately it takes a lot of work to build and grow a morning show as well as develop interesting, compelling content. This was not Dicky's priority, as he had other commitments with Jimmy Kimmel Live, which was, in his words, 'his bread and butter.' Everyone at Indie has a tremendous commitment to the station and to the audience. We need to have a morning show that is able to make Indie their #1 priority. We wish Dicky the best in the future and appreciate his contributions to the station."

Former Indie 103.1 morning show host Dicky Barrett gives his side of his firing by Entravision from the influential L.A. station: "Jimmy Kimmel is a great guy who supported the Mighty Morning Show, and loved it, even though he helped to build the Kevin and Bean Show on KROQ and is the Producer of the Adam Carolla Morning Radio Show. The man hired to 'coach' me in 'trying to get the show to the next level',' Dan Kieley, said: 'Dicky is a true talent and a radio star' and 'It's a great Morning Show'.' I was fired for being unwilling to be, in Dawn Girocco's words 'more mainstream.' It was a great morning show. It is unfair to let people think I walked away to put more work into loudly reading 20-30 words a night on Jimmy's TV show. I worked hard on the Mighty Morning Show. I along with Stacey, Chuck and Liz, built and grew it to what it was. You could count on it (for the most part) to provide you with interesting, compelling content and better music then any other show on the air in the morning."

I checked Indie's web site to see if they had anything on the Mighty Morning Show's page. It's...not even there anymore. Other sites have some additional bits & pieces, and LAVoice.org is also looking into it pretty thoroughly. One comment in particular said that Dicky was fired because he wanted to play the music he wanted, and was in a fight with Girocco, so she fired him. (Until an official spokesperson says it, however, I'm counting it as "unconfirmed" but will keep you posted.)

I'm so sad. And, in truth, I don't know what makes me sadder--the idea that he was fired after making "political and controversial comments" or the fact that he's just not going to be on the air in the morning anymore. Actually, I'm pretty sure it's the latter. The idea that he got fired for saying the wrong thing mostly just really pisses me off.

It's a discussion for another time, as this entry is already really long and I'm in mourning, but what, specifically, did he say? How "bad" was it? Why was he fired, and not fined? What happened to free speech? How does someone get fired for talking, when they were essentially hired to talk? And, seriously, WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON IN OUR COUNTRY AND WHEN ARE WE GOING TO START PAYING ATTENTION AND FIGHTING BACK, PEOPLE?!?!?

Further, political rage aside, why is a radio station whose name is "Indie" trying to coach someone on how to be more mainstream? Counterintuitive much? Oh, no, wait. That's just your basic flat-out bullshit.

Dicky, I'm so sorry you're gone. If I could, I'd put you back on the air right now, and I hope that someone figures out a way to do just that. In the meantime, I want you and the rest of the crew to know that you were truly Great, and you will be missed.

3 comments:

LATaurus said...

GREAT post.... and I am 100% convinced that Dicky's firing had nothing to do with anything he said on air. This is about corporate radio bullshit, as evidenced by the "mainstream" comment. Indie is supposed to be the ANTI-mainstream. That's what turned me on about the station to begin with.

Thank you for all of this info!!

Tigerpants said...

See, I actually like Kevin and Bean better for the mornings, but Dicky was never bad. Just not for me. I much prefer him to Jonesy, though, who drives me insane. I think that probably makes me a bad Indie listener, but whatever. It does seem counterproductive of them to fire him from an indie station, when he so perfectly meshed with the format. I wonder if the other shows will soon experience some sort of housecleaning. There are so many great shows.

Anonymous said...

Dawn Girocco

Station Manager | Indie 103.1
Entravision Communications
5700 Wilshire | Suite 250 | Los Angeles, CA 90036
323-900-6264 Direct | 323-900-6271 fax | 323-839-0119 cell


LET HER KNOW HOW YOU FEEL!