Peter Boyles reportedly out at KHOW after incident with producer

Update below: As we've noted, KHOW morning-drive staple Peter Boyles has been off the air since an incident involving longtime producer Greg Hollenback on May 23. Yesterday marked the beginning of the second full week without a Boyles appearance on the station, and sans an explanation about his future.

Now, we've got one. Boyles has reportedly been fired, and his absence is confirmed by a stripping of his image from the station's website. But we still lack details about what happened from Boyles himself.

Westword placed multiple calls to Boyles yesterday, as well as another one this morning. Thus far, we haven't received a response. When we do, we'll update.

In the meantime, however, 9News announced last night that Boyles is no longer with KHOW. Included is a quote from KHOW program director Dan Mandis, who confirmed that Clear Channel and Boyles have parted company.

We left a message for Mandis, too, and moments ago (update), he shared the brief official Clear Channel statement. It reads: "Peter Boyles is no longer with the company. The KHOW morning show will continue to provide quality news talk programming and serve our loyal listeners."

On the topic of a successor for Boyles, Mandis says, "We have fill-in hosts right now, and it will be fill-in-host du jour while the search begins." He adds, "This is important, and we're going to take our time. We have a lot of talented hosts here in this city and elsewhere. We'll keep looking until we find the right person."

It's appropriate that 9News would break this news, since station personnel were on hand when the happening that sealed Boyles's fate took place.

About 8 a.m. on the 23rd, as we've reported, a TV crew was in the studio to witness former Congressman Tom Tancredo announce that he's running for governor when Boyles and producer Greg Hollenback got into a high-volume disagreement.

Afterward, Hollenback had red marks on his neck. Sources tell us they were caused by Boyles yanking the producer toward him by a lanyard. In response to this action, Hollenback is said to have thrown his hat at Boyles.

The program continued after that, but the dust-up was subsequently reported to KHOW management, with overseers from Clear Channel, the station's corporate owner, getting involved that same day. Since then, fill-in hosts -- most often the Independence Institute's Jon Caldara, whose evening KOA show was axed in a cost-cutting move circa January 2012 -- have been heard during Boyles's time slot. But the station didn't address the Boyles situation on the air.

This morning's program isn't devoted to Boyles, either. Moments ago, Caldara, who's behind the microphone again, was talking about U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's blistering dissent in a DNA ruling, not the subject that's no doubt on many listener's minds.

KHOW's Facebook page has also avoided l'affaire Boyles. But plenty of listeners haven't.

Continue for more about Peter Boyles's reported ouster from KHOW. Yesterday, KHOW updated its Facebook profile pic -- not the kind of action that usually attracts lotsa comments. But right now, more than forty people have weighed in at this spot about the Boyles canning. Some posts are of the good-riddance variety, including this one:
Birther radio could not sustain peter's rage. He was a tool for extreme right wing candidates while at the same time claiming to support gay rights and unions, he just couldn't put a happy face on swift boated birthers with a blue dress on. As a host he could not handle real debate from a progressive. His most common debate tactic when he was loosing would be to ask the caller to answer history questions. If they didn't he would hang up and declare victory.

baa baaa radio bye bye Pete...

But the following responses are more representative of the whole:
not sure what went on but mornings wont be the same with out peter not much else to listen to that is not boring or stupied

No more KHOW for me. Sorry Brownie, I will miss your show. Hope Pete comes back on the air somewhere else. Or maybe he will just ride, ski and enjoy his grandkid. I will miss him; we had a lot of views in common. I love the fact he just can't stand both parties which is exactly what I feel.

I'll be having "radio withdraws" in the morning. I guess Pete can hang that mistletoe now. I learned a lot from him, him being a reader and me being a listener. Love the history guest and the monetary guy. I didn't agree with Pete on everything, but if you did it means you can't think for yourself. And Pete wouldn't like that.

There is no excuse for what I understand about "the incident". That said, nobody but nobody told the truth more consistently about uncomfortable subjects than Pete did and I wish him nothing but the best and I look forward to hearing from him again very soon. As for KHOW, been good to know you but there really isn't any "there, there" anymore. What's the point in listening if I can't have my Imaginary Thanksgiving Parade, White Trash Christmas or interviews with professional wrasslers...

Now that you have removed the only talk show host in Denver that had passion about his beliefs, what are you gonna do for an encore? Might as well hire an idiot like Denise Spencer or maybe bring Sirota back, who knows he may last another few weeks. Clear Channel and KHOW has made a mistake with this move. I can't wait to see where Pete lands so that we can get back to business. I hope for our sake that he gets a huge raise with plenty of perks. I am also anxious to see how long it takes for the KHOW managers to get canned. You have lost a twenty plus year listener and I am sure most of the sponsors. I like Jon Caldara, as a substitute but he can not hold a candle to Mr. Boyles, he has already been missed.

Was Boyles let go because of what happened between him and Hollenback? Or were dollars and cents a big part of the picture? A lot of radio observers believe the latter played a role. From the beginning, they've been speculating that Clear Channel might seize on the Boyles-Hollenback matter to sack the veteran yakker.

Why? While Boyles was unquestionably the face of KHOW, and its biggest revenue generator, he was almost certainly the highest paid person on the payroll -- and the embattled corporation has been on a major cost-cutting mission. Last December, for instance, numerous Clear Channel employees were let go across the country in what became known euphemistically as "National Firing Day." In light of the tight times, the lanyard escapade might have struck bean counters as an opportunity for savings.

Whatever the case, Denver's most recognizable talk-show voice has been stilled for now, and given the current economics of broadcast radio, there aren't a lot of places for him to land. What will the future hold? Stay tuned.

More from our Media archive: "Peter Boyles begins another week off the air, radio silence about his fate."

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts