Monday, June 21, 2010

Pig Virus Kevin Metheny

People don't hire Kevin Metheny because he's charming. The hire him because he's kind of an asshole. He's an ax man. You could have had the morning slot for 40 years. He'll fire you and your co-host. He'd fire your mom, he'd probably fire his own mom. He is so merciless, and operates with such impunity that he's really in a class of his own.

His moves at WGN in the last few months have gotten a lot of attention.  He's doing what he's always done, remaking a radio station.  He's  firing long-time staff, consolidating operations and cutting costs.  But this time he's making changes at a #1 station. There's nowhere to go but down. Robert Feder has been taking him to task on his hatchet job. For example:
"Unhappy staffers describe his management style as bipolar. 'He has these bizarre mood swings where he’ll be incredibly vicious and mean one minute and then shut down and not talk to anyone' said one insider. What some resent most is Metheny’s micromanaging, second-guessing and hectoring"
The irony of all this is that his fame came from being wrong. Kevin Metheny hated Stern. He micromanaged and tried to change Stern. He failed to see the rise of Stern while he was on the upswing.  he displayed total cognitive dissonance.  He wanted things his way whether he was right or wrong.  History i.e. Stern's success tell us that  Metheny  was totally wrong.  His failure to break Stern made him into a caricature of himself in many ways. Stern nicknamed him "Pig Virus" and Metheny took it in stride as it made him only more of a legendary moody prick. More here.  It's an interesting turning point in Metheny's career as as he continues to portray the viscous exchanges between them as disingenuous.  Stern continues to plainly say that he hates Metheny's guts. 

But Metheny did have a career before Stern. He was named Program Director at the Clear channel Cluster in New York in 1980. He was there for four years and left only to take a job at MTV as the VP Programming.  (Did he ruin MTV too?)  He lasted at MTV for 2 years, leaving for a gig at KTKS in Dallas in 1986. After it failed to take off he was briefly banished to a podunk Savannah GM gig programming at WSOK and WEAV. He briefly stopped at KFRC in 1991 in San Francisco to PD.  The following year he moved to KQOL in Minneapolis to do the same. It was an oldies station that took him to the Jaycor gig in Jacksonville, FL. That's   what brought him back to the majors. He was running their cluster WSOL, WJGR, WZAZ, WQIK and WJBT while Jaycor was on its meteoric rise into the Clear Channel conglomerate. He stayed there for a decade. Then he was brought to Cleveland to be an ax-man, slashing costs and consolidating at the WTAM, WGAR, WMMS Clear Channel Cluster.

But what was he before 1980? Before he was nick-named Pig Virus?  His dad was Terrell Metheny, a radio man who worked at WKLO in Louisville, WKDA in Nashville, WOKY Milwaukee and more. Terrell was genuinely talented. Reel radio has some clips here. For Kevin that made radio a family business. He started out at KWHP in 1970. He too began as on air talent but within 7 years had quickly moved behind a desk at 990 WZZD-AM in Philadelphia. His big move there was to drop Top-40 for Disco. He barely lasted a year and then moved to WXKX in Pittsburgh, then WSLQ in St. Louis. It's boggling that such a novice would rise so quickly to a PD's desk in the number one market in 3 years. He did, and I have no idea how.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I worked under this idiot at WGN. I've seen clueless management before, but this guy takes the cake. He knows nothing about radio. A complete phony and lowlife jerkoff.

Jose Fritz said...

That's pretty much what everyone tells me. Any good anecdotes?

Anonymous said...

Can you imagine what would have happened to this tard if Stern hadn't run the ratings he did. He'd be where he belonged, the drive thru window at Taco Bell

Anonymous said...

Your portrayal of Kevin is grossly one-sided. He may have screwed up with Stern, but he's been very successful otherwise.

Btw -- the station cluster in NYC in the 80s was not owned by CC at the time.

jose fritz said...

Hi Kevin.