Harry Shearer, the actor and multi-platform talent (and ex-reporter for Newsweek) whose weekly "Le Show" started on KCRW in 1983, has posted his version of how he learned the show was dropped this week from the station's Sunday lineup. KCRW says it will continue to syndicate the program but has replaced it on the Sunday morning air. Excerpt of his post at HarryShearer.com:
Some relationships endure; some end. I’ve just finished celebrating the 20th anniversary of my wedding to Judith Owen. We’re staying together.
On the other hand, Le Show is leaving KCRW Radio. Not of my volition.
On Monday, April 15, I had an Income Tax Day to remember. I was invited to hear a “proposal” from the general manager of KCRW. The proposal was, in fact, a notice of a fait accompli. Le Show was being cancelled from the airwaves–something I had suspected might be the nature of the proposal, but the surprise was the timing: “effective immediately”. Thus does public radio, in one more small way, come to resemble ever more closely commercial radio’s way of doing business.
In fairness, KCRW gave me a weekly hour for nearly 30 years, and our deal was simple: they got my program for free, and they left me completely alone. That deal is over.
Le Show will continue to air on the many wonderful affiliated radio stations around the country, and on our outlets overseas. It will continue as a podcast, as well. And I’m in the process of seeking an alternative broadcast outlet in Los Angeles.
Shearer noted that Tom Schnabel, the former KCRW music director, was allowed to do a final show on the air after being cancelled — and that he was not.
* 1 p.m. update: Shearer elaborates on his reaction in an interview with rival station KPCC. The station also posts a statement from KCRW general manager Jennifer Ferro:
These were tough decisions, and disappointing Harry was never my intention.
It's in our mission to bring new voices to our audience. We wanted to bring in new voices while at the same time serving our audience with the great programming and talented people we've been lucky enough to host at KCRW these many years. We feel like we're finally at a place — with podcasting, streaming on phones, tables and computers — where we can give more KCRW, not less.
Harry isn't stopping his great work, but to hear him in Southern California you'll need to use a device other than the radio.
I know change is difficult. But we think we've found a way to bring the good aspects of change while minimizing the bad aspects.