While KHOW talk-show host Peter Boyles is best known for his takes on immigration policy and the JonBenét Ramsey case, he is also a motorcycle enthusiast so passionate that he launched USA Biker Nation in 2007 as a way of paying weekly tribute to hogs and their riders. But that's all over now. On July 21, he was informed by execs that the program, which aired locally on AM 760 Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., had been deep-sixed. "They didn't cancel it because it was shitty, or because of bad performance," Boyles says. "They canceled it because a new broom sweeps clean."
Boyles refers to the June sale of Jones Media Group, a locally based firm that included his original syndicator, Jones Radio Networks, to Triton Radio Networks, a subsidiary of Triton Media Group; the latter is described on its website as "a portfolio company of Oaktree Capital -- a Los Angeles-based investment firm with nearly $60 billion under management." New ownership often brings changes to existing operations, and USA Biker Nation made an inviting target given its relatively modest size and scope. Sixteen months after its debut, the show was being heard in just thirteen markets across the country. But these locales included major cities such as Boston, Oakland and San Francisco, and Boyles says outlets in Miami and Washington, D.C. were expected to join in August.
The timing was poor in another respect, too, Boyles argues. "With the price of gas and all the motorcycles and scooters you're seeing all over, the United States of America is about to become a two-wheeled country," he maintains. "In fact, I was even thinking about renaming the show Two-Wheeled Country, because that's the way things seem to be going."
In other respects, however, Boyles almost sounds relieved by Triton's move. "In a normal radio station, somebody writes the copy, somebody does the commercials, somebody collects the money, somebody produces, somebody goes on the air," he notes. "But for this show, I was doing all those jobs." As a result, the program ate up an awful lot of hours, making it difficult for him to enjoy his hobby as he once did. "A dear friend of mine had a great line about loving skiing so much that he opened up a ski shop -- and after he opened the shop, he never skied again," he allows. "And, well, I think I opened up a ski shop."
When viewed from this perspective, the shuttering of the show will have an immediate benefit for Boyles; instead of just talking about riding, he'll have more opportunities to actually do it. But he'll miss his citizenship in USA Biker Nation. In his words, "It was fun while it lasted." -- Michael Roberts