At the beginning of March, Entercom announced the launch of 97.3 The Machine, a new San Diego-based station with talk shows and sports programming. It’s not even the end of the month, and The Machine has already been involved in a feud and a fuckup that might jeopardize its relationship with the Padres.
Sports radio host Dan Sileo, who was fired from a Tampa station after he said something dumb and racist and fired from a Miami station for placing a bounty on a Florida State football player, will host his new show from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on 97.3. Last weekend, he mashed his keyboard and picked a fight with his previous coworkers at San Diego’s The Mighty 1090 AM, a place he miraculously left on his own terms, while boasting about his new gig:
Darren Smith, who still works at 1090, unleashed on Sileo:
A couple of 1090 producers said they had proof of Sileo being a scumbag (drop a line at email@example.com if you’d like to talk):
Sileo slunk back to his cave and used the attention to promote a goofy photo of himself. The San Diego Union-Tribune pulled up a fantastic quote from him, when he first joined The Mighty 1090 in 2014, that might explain why he’s allegedly so popular:
“I’ve stepped on my(self) so many times in this business,” Sileo told the Union-Tribune in an interview that year. “But I also think that’s what makes me somebody that people want to tune in to. That wonder of, what will he say next? Will he get fired for something today?”
Now, for the (unrelated) fuckup. Kevin Klein, who was scheduled to debut his 6-10 a.m. morning show Kevin Klein Live today, and was also the radio host involved in the 2012 “golf tee in butt” stunt which left a model with a severely bruised ass and concluded with a settlement, had been promoting his show hard, since his time slot made him The Machine’s No. 1 starter, to utilize a tacky metaphor. (Which 2018 Padres pitcher would be the equivalent? Uh, not applicable.) The Kevin Klein Live account sent this puppy out on March 26:
That’s San Diego’s Coronado Bridge, which has one of the highest numbers of suicides in the nation. The full tweet from Kevin Klein Live had three photos with the word “Jump,” but San Diegans were pissed about the Coronado image:
Clarification (3:33 p.m. ET): A few helpful readers have pointed out that the tweet with all three images was done later in the day than the original “Jump” tweet, which only had the photo of the Coronado Bridge. One reader was nice enough to provide screencaps of the two tweets, which be found here and here.
Klein and his show’s account mocked and preened at the outrage, though the image was later deleted from both places:
This was more significant than Sileo’s tantrum, because one of the main draws of the new 97.3 The Machine is that it’ll be airing Padres games this season. The people who didn’t like the Coronado tweet applied pressure to the Padres, which caused them to issue a statement Tuesday and also prompted team chairman Ron Fowler to openly consider cutting ties with the station before the season even started.
“We’re going to get through this first home stand, then sit down and evaluate it,” Ron Fowler told the Union-Tribune in his Petco Park office Tuesday. “We’re going to assess our legal obligations. We just want a good radio partner that’s not offensive to the community.
Worth noting is Fowler’s mention of “legal obligations” as well as the Padres’ inclusion of the sentence, “It’s important for our fans to know that our agreement with Entercom to move to 97.3 was an opportunity to expand our pre and postgame coverage and it was done well before we knew the format, the tone or the talent lineup.” The team made this deal a couple of years ago—hence “well before we knew”—and the guy who oversaw it no longer works there. In October of 2016, after a 68-94 season, the Padres fired team president Mike Dee, whose contract lasted through 2018, with very little explanation. (Again, that’s firstname.lastname@example.org.) Dee was in charge when the Padres signed a deal in August of that year to move game broadcasts from The Mighty 1090 to Entercom, starting with the 2017 season and running through 2021.
In May of 2017, Dee was hired as president of Entercom Sports. This year, the Padres games switched from Entercom-owned 94.9 FM to—you guessed it—Entercom-owned 97.3 The Machine, the new network that had just figured out its programming schedule this month. The result of all those business decisions is why the Padres are now trying to figure out ways to get out of a deal—supervised by their former employee who is now in charge of the other side of that deal—that made a lot of fans unhappy because the new radio station hosting the games also employs some unlikeable clowns. The team had to expressly say in January that Dan Sileo would do nothing with them.
In an effort to keep this seemingly toxic relationship intact, Klein and 97.3 The Machine gave carefully worded, empty apologies on Tuesday.
That might not have worked. Kevin Klein Live was supposed to debut today at 6 a.m. PT, but tuning in shortly thereafter brought a soundtrack of Tom Petty and Bon Jovi. Judging from listeners on Twitter, this was not a unique experience—Klein’s show hasn’t aired yet. We’ve sent messages to Entercom and Kevin Klein Live, and will update if we hear back.