Thursday, February 04, 2010

There used to be two big reasons to listen to KRLD-AM

But they fired weather guy Brad Barton last year and now they're getting rid of gardening expert Neil Sperry.

I imagine that, to someone in the executive suites, weathermen seem interchangeable and gardening sounds so quaint. But those two guys made KRLD unique. Barton made 1080 the go-to station in bad weather, which here means every day, all day long -- "God knows how many times we've listened to the man warn of impending doom when the power's gone out or during a suddenly darkened drive home." And since my drive home is often 50 miles, that's at least one solid hour of listening that the station has lost. Another station has snapped Barton up and I tune in over there in the mornings just to hear him.

But getting rid of Neil Sperry appears even more clueless, if that's possible. Right when more and more people try to grow their own vegetables or care for their own lawns in order to save money, KRLD is firing the one guy who knows how to keep plants alive in North Texas. In a drought. In soil which is not soil but clay. And KRLD will probably replace Sperry with paid programming featuring financial advisors and fake callers. Such a stupid, out-of-touch, unimaginative move.

ADDED: According to this, Sperry "bought his time block from KRLD, then sold ads to support the show." He never seemed to lack for sponsors so maybe the station wants to sell the time to a higher bidder or maybe they're pursuing a younger audience. In either case, I think someone's missing something. Sperry may not be a champion of huggy-feely, organic gardening but as someone who can help you choose the right plants and avoid expensive mistakes, he is spectacularly on-trend.

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