Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Long Sad Tale of Croissantgate

April Winchell is an actress, writer, comedian, talk radio host, and blogger. She is best known of all those things for her blog which about 5 years ago pulled off a very clever satire of Etsy titled Regretsy which evnetually culminated in a very successful book deal in 2010. The blog has since been closed but April Winchell lives on. More here.

Besides her fairly famous bloggery, her radio career was the next most fame-inducing act of her career.  She hosted a radio talk show program on 640 KFI-AM  in Los Angeles radio station. Her program ran for three years and had a growing audience by all accounts. But according to some sources her "irreverent" sense of humor rubbed stuffy Clear Channel executives the wrong way. There was never a clear explanation of what went down. They say she "rubbed people the wrong way" and even Los Angeles Magazine glosses over the topic in saying she was "irreverent and naughty, " but says no more. Her program was cut in November of 2002 when Clear Channel was hard-charging right-wing political talk. Her program was strictly humor. I suspect they wanted more politicking, and less giggling.

After her KFI gig ended, she began to appear the Ask Mr. KABC program, on 790 KABC-AM. By 2005 Winchell was in negotiations with HBO to develop and host a show on Sirius Satellite Radio. But it didnt' go anywhere. After years of negotiating, in May of 2006 she announced on her website that negotiations had stalled out between HBO and Sirius, leaving her would-be satellite program on a demo reel.

Ask Mr. KABC ended in 2007 leading Winchell to begin guesting on the Marc "Mr. K" Germain Show on KTLK-AM. Marc Germain was Mr. KABC on that prior program. So many saw it as the duo continuing on together. But it was something Winchell said that March that got her banned for life from KABC

You may be aware that the Bill O'Reilly program airs locally in L.A. on KABC-AM. Working at the station Winchell had some great first-hand O'Reilly stories. The man is infamously hot-tempered, and badly behaved. So here his prima-donna behavior made for more comedic fodder. She described an incident she called "Croissantgate." Bill took it poorly because he's a petty and arrogant twat. For this act, Bill got her banned from KABC for life. Rather than describe the event I'll just quote her blog:
"Apparently, there is no room for store bought baked goods in the No Spin Zone. They must be from a bakery. And they must be baked fresh, very fresh. Which is why he insisted that a baker in Beverly Hills be summoned to create a fresh batch, just for him. Post haste. Because Bill is just folks, you know. A regular guy. He followed that up by demanding that a helicopter take him to Orange County for his next appearance, because he didn't want to spend an hour in the limousine the station had arranged for him. That was too much to ask."

The story isn't that bad, kind of common if he was a grandstanding celebutante. Instead, vengeance makes O'Reilly look even more like a tool then the story ever could. More here and here. It might be coincidental, but Germain's stint with KTLK was cancelled in December 2007 bringing that run to and end. Germain tried skype-casting, a bit of fill-in work at KGO-AM and a side-kick spot on Red Eye Radio out of WBAP, but that washed out in 2011. Winchell did not go with him on that adventure. She had plenty of work back in comedy writing and in her voice-over work.  I don't get too excited about radio ads but Adweek still gushes over her, once writing “April Winchell has almost single-handedly reinvented Radio as a red-hot genre.” Sad that just a few years later she'd be banned on one station and cancelled on another. She has not returned to radio since.