In an August 7 blog, I wrote about Reggie McDaniel, a ten-year veteran of KOA-AM/850 who mysteriously vanished from the outlet's airwaves despite his continuing presence on its website -- and at this writing, his web page is still there. In the earlier piece, Kris Olinger, director of AM programming for KOA and the other signals in Clear Channel's Denver cluster, explained that McDaniel left the station because he had to retire in order to access his 401K. She added that he might return to KOA at some point in the future.
Maybe so -- but not right away. The Saturday after the blog was published, McDaniel's trademark entertainment roundup debuted on contemporary Christian broadcaster KLZ-AM/560 -- and he'll be on the air for his second KLZ session from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. tomorrow, August 16. As for the real reason for his departure, McDaniel concedes that it was all about the money.
"I've been at KOA for ten years, and for the last six years, I've been asking for a raise -- and I've been getting told, 'No raise,'" he says. "No raise, no bonus, nothing. And I was an hourly worker. I used to do four hours on Saturday and four hours on Sunday. Then they cut me back to four hours on Saturday, and then two hours -- and I was constantly being moved back and forth. Some of the movement I understood, because of the Broncos, and I know the Broncos are the priority. [KOA is the market's official Broncos station.] But my show brought in ratings and it also brought in revenue -- and since I couldn't get a set time and a set number of hours, I couldn't get a raise."
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What part did the 401K play in the story? "I told Kris, 'If I can't get a raise, I need to come up with some money,'" he recalls. "I had a company before I started there, and I just couldn't survive on the amount of money they were paying. And if I quit, I could get my 401K and start my business again. That's what I told her I was going to do, and she said, 'Would you come back?' And I said, 'Yeah -- but not for the same money I was getting."
McDaniel hasn't entirely cut his ties with the Clear Channel empire. He's no longer appearing as a regular guest on The Ride Home, co-hosted by Dave Logan and Lois Melkonian, or Mike Rosen's signature talk show, but he continues to pop up on The Fox/103.5 FM during the program helmed by Rick Lewis and Michael Floorwax. On top of that, he's a featured presence on a handful of radio stations around the country, in markets such as St. Louis, Baltimore and Champaign, Illinois. But right now, his main priority is KLZ. His production company, Silver Lining, pays for the time on the station and then sells advertising to support the show -- and McDaniel is optimistic that the system will work. "I have been so blessed that it's kind of appropriate that I'm on a Christian station now," he says.
In regard to KOA, he still has great fondness for the people there and remains grateful to the signal for giving him his start on radio. Still, he felt it was time to move on. In his words, "Everything reaches a culmination. Even Lazarus died." -- Michael Roberts