Skip to comments.Peter Boyles on his firing and return Monday on 710 KNUS
Posted on 06/28/2013 6:13:26 AM PDT by A.A. Cunningham
Earlier this month, KHOW talk-show host Peter Boyles was fired after an incident involving his longtime producer.
Since then, Boyles has been uncharacteristically remained silent about exactly what happened. But he's talking now, and in detail, about his ouster, as well as his return to the Denver airwaves.
Beginning at 6 a.m. on Monday, July 1, he'll be back behind the microphone, this time at 710 KNUS.
"The day I was let go, I was contacted by Salem," says Boyles in reference to Salem Media of Colorado, KNUS' owner. "That was my first meeting, and it was a question of making a change in their lineup and what I could do."
At the time Boyles was let go, veteran host Steve Kelley manned the early shift at KNUS with his Kelley and Company program. But rather than giving Kelley the heave-ho, KNUS management subsequently decided to move Kelley and Company to afternoons in order to make room for Boyles.
"We've been talking, in some cases daily, for about ten working days -- two weeks," Boyles continues. "We came to an agreement on Monday and have spent this week ironing out the details. And I feel great about it. I'm just pumped up -- really excited."
Part of his enthusiasm has to do with the opportunity to go up against his old employer, Clear Channel Denver, which owns KHOW.
"There's a line I use -- 'the fish that swallowed the whale,'" Boyles notes. "It comes from Zen Buddhism. And we have the opportunity to be the fish."
In broadcasting, it's exceedingly rare for anyone to speak ill publicly about one's former company. But Boyles gleefully breaks that maxim.
"Just listening to KHOW and Clear Channel in general, they seem to be in total disarray," he allows. "I don't know if you're listening to the people who've been filling in during the mornings at KHOW, but they're pretty rough.
"It was hard going in there," he says about his last months at Clear Channel. "I describe it as like going to the Kremlin. You never knew if you were going to be purged. That's how Clear Channel works. It's pretty brutal."
The same term could be applied to his version of the events that led to his departure from KHOW, which he recently shared in a self-written column for the Glendale/Cherry Creek Chronicle. In conversation, he confirms the broad outlines of the account we reported earlier this month.
At around 8 a.m. on May 23, when a 9News crew was in the studio to witness Tom Tancredo declaring his candidacy for governor in 2014, Boyles says he and producer Greg Hollenback, nicknamed the Sheik of Cherry Creek, got into an argument that led to Boyles yanking him by a lanyard around his neck. Hollenback wound up with red marks on his neck. Afterward, the dust-up was reported to KHOW supervisors, who suspended Boyles that day before firing him just over a week later.
The timing of his axing doesn't strike Boyles as coincidental.
At the time of the confrontation with Hollenback, Boyles and Clear Channel had been involved in protracted contract negotiations that had stalled -- and he was kicked to the curb immediately after the pact expired. In his view, the suspension over the lanyard-grabbing was seized upon as an opportunity by the corporation. "If they were going to fire me because of what happened with Sheik, they would have done it that day," he maintains. "When they heard about it, some guys in Texas or New York or wherever the hell just thought, 'We'll fire his ass after his contract's up and we won't have to pay him any money.'
"No one talked to me for something like ten days," he goes on. "I would have expected them to at least call me at home and see how I was, but they never did. And then, on the day the contract ran out, a good friend from the building called and said, 'One of the big bosses told an advertiser, 'Good news. We're going to bring Peter in, sign papers and bring him back on Monday.' And I got really excited. But then I waited and waited and waited, and no one called. So I called the boss on his cell phone and he wouldn't take my call, so I left a message. And he texted me back and said, 'Nothing will be settled today.'
"Then, on Monday, I got a call to come in and wait in the lobby -- and that's when I knew it was over. They took me down into the basement and told me I was being fired without severance, and if I filed for unemployment, they would fight it, because they claimed workplace violence."
No question Boyles took the sacking hard. A day or so later, he was talking about the circumstances of his dismissal in the parking lot of a restaurant when he vomited from the emotion.
Now, however, Boyles says, "I'm not angry. I mean, this is how companies like Bane Capital exist: 'We've got to take care of Mrs. Romney's horses for another six months.' And I know this wasn't done by anybody in Denver. These guys here are so afraid for their jobs; there's a culture of fear in that building. So even though the local guys fired me, they didn't make the decision. The guys at headquarters did -- and they don't know this business. All they know is shrinking profits and getting rid of people."
In contrast, he's found Salem executives to be "really human. They way they dealt with Steve Kelley really told me something. He didn't read about it in Westword like he would've done if it had been Clear Channel. They worked something out and I think it's going to be great for everybody.
"Radio hosts are like head coaches. They hire you because some day they're going to fire you." He laughs before adding, "George Karl getting fired by the Nuggets knocked me off the front page of the Denver Post. George Karl getting fired was bigger than me getting fired."
Keeping mum until the new deal with Salem was ready to be unveiled hasn't been easy for someone as loquacious as Boyles. "I've been getting all kinds of really good social-media support, but I didn't want to spend that capital and get people's hopes up -- I didn't want to say, 'Something good's going to happen,' because I wasn't sure. But now it's come true. I hope it will give people a place to be with the radio show again. And in some ways, I'm glad about what happened at KHOW. It's really renewed my energy for the business."
According to Boyles, he hasn't been given a do-and-don't list by his new supervisors, meaning he has the freedom to discuss anything and everything that strikes his fancy -- and he can't wait for Monday. "It's like that novel The Last Hurrah. And I didn't know if I was going to get it. I didn't get a last moment at KHOW -- but now, I'm going to get a first moment."
Who is doing the morning drive at KIMN ?
And so, as I was saying on the radio before I was abruptly interrupted. Its not much of a secret in Denver, Colorado, or across the United States of America, or all the ships at sea as we go to press because I made national news. I got canned, tapped out, knocked out, booted, clipped, excused, asked to leave, dumped, Bain Capitaled (Bain Capital is the owner of Clear Channel radio for those who dont know). Bain is now fondly known as the Mack the Knife corporation with a pink slip. Recently across America, Bain Capital has made more hits than the mafia.
So as I was saying, they asked me to go home like I was the kid who drew the picture of the handgun in the third grade. I had the inexcusable behavior of grabbing a lifelong friend and co-worker, who I really do see as a son, by the lanyard. I do own this, I did this; I grabbed his lanyard and pulled him to me. That act has been declared by Bain as workplace violence. Does anyone have any idea how much sadness Bain Capital, as a venture capitalist firm, has brought to the world? The destruction of families, family incomes, housing losses and everything that goes with it. These people now have the right to deem me as reportedly violent.
The producer who I grabbed and I had breakfast together the next morning at Zaidys. He was also not allowed back in the building. If I was the kid who drew the gun, he pretended he was a superhero. And thus that part of the story ends.
It took Bain Capital 10 days to decide my fate, and I now believe that they were waiting for my contract to expire. (And remember from The Godfather, Tessio was always smarter I was Luca Brasi and got to sleep with the fishes). I had been in negotiations about my contract, which happened to expire a week after the incident, and they were trying to hand me a drastic reduction in pay. The day my contract expired I received a phone call from a fellow employee who had been told by one of the top senior supervisors at Clear Channel that I was about to be brought back that day to sign papers and go back to the job on Monday morning.
Then after waiting three hours for that phone call that never came I called the senior supervisors cell phone. He did not answer his phone so I left him a message and right before end of business on Friday he sent me a simple text message that read, Everything is on hold until Monday.
And then of course everything went black. On that Friday night at midnight my contract expired and on the next Monday afternoon I got a phone call to go into the lobby of Clear Channel and waited there to be escorted to the basement where I was fired after 26 years with zero severance pay and a months health benefits. I was told that if I filed for unemployment it would be denied because I was fired for workplace violence. That was the last Ive ever heard from Clear Channel.
As Kurt Vonnegut said, And so it goes. I requested that no one walk me out of the building and the HR woman who I absolutely love walked with me to my car and I gave her my pass so I could never re-enter the building. I was never allowed to go back to my desk to pick up anything that was mine. Instead Bain Channel boxed up everything and sent it to my house. Unbelievable and a very unnecessary expense.
So lets recap. I OWN WHAT I DID BY GRABBING THE SHEIKS LANYARD. Im not a victim, Ive never been a victim and dont plan on being a victim now. And before anyone starts feeling sorry for me or have a sorrowful thought about me, please dont. Instead feel sorry for people who Bain Capital destroyed when they crushed their jobs in industrial communities all over America. Bain destroyed their futures, their retirements and the lives of their children. Those are the people who deserve your sadness it sure as hell isnt me.
I dont put fault on anyone at the Colorado headquarters of Clear Channel. These are really good people who are just doing their job. (Remember in Cool Hand Luke when the guard is walking Luke to the hot box and he says, Luke Im just doing my job. To which Luke responds, If that makes you feel better.) The owners of Bain Capital sleep with baggies of their native soil in New York, California, and of course Texas.
Inside of Bain Channel radio exists a culture of fear. The people in that building who are in charge are scared to death and the people they are in charge of have been made to fear that their jobs could disappear as well at any moment. And the people who are in charge of the people outside of Bain Channel are also scared to death because the handful of bosses, the oligarchs of Bain, are scared to death. These are the robber barons of their own empire.
They really are afraid of a handful of people who have no idea what radio is about but they know the billions of dollars of debt that they burdened Clear Channel with will eventually destroy whats left of the radio landscape. Bain has no idea what love of the radio business can give to people and what people can give that business in return. I loved doing radio. For me it was not work doing a radio show four hours a day, five days a week, 50 weeks a year.
American business is now in the hands of malefactors like Bain Capital, massive banking firms, Wall Street, the oil businesses and multi-national companies. Our government has become truly frightening. If you are wondering how your government views you just look at all the recent scandals. Look at 12 years of senseless wars that have taken the lives of so many fine young Americans. And politicians claim Richard Snowden is the enemy? Oh my God.
What happened to me was peanuts. Im fine.
Im not done yet. Ive had some people whisper in my ear about jobs. In the words of Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Terminator Ill be back.
See you on the radio.
....At around 8 a.m. on May 23, when a 9News crew was in the studio to witness Tom Tancredo declaring his candidacy for governor in 2014, Boyles says he and producer Greg Hollenback, nicknamed the Sheik of Cherry Creek, got into an argument that led to Boyles yanking him by a lanyard around his neck. Hollenback wound up with red marks on his neck. Afterward, the dust-up was reported to KHOW supervisors, who suspended Boyles that day before firing him just over a week later...At the time of the confrontation with Hollenback, Boyles and Clear Channel had been involved in protracted contract negotiations that had stalled...
Denver has one of the largest concentrations of local radio outlets in the country. I'm not surprised that Boyles found a new gig so quickly. The now-former morning jock Steve Kelley may want to update his resume.
I’m sure Bain was not influenced to release Boyles when they had an opportunity because of his broadcasting of interviews with “birfers”...
Kelley has a lengthy resume in Denver radio that is equal to that of Boyles without all of the firings.
That was my thought exactly. I have listened to Peter for years when I could get the signal from Denver. Recently went to listening on the podcasts. Went to download the next show and his show was missing and I was shocked. He is a fixture in Denver Radio. I love his show. Glad to hear he will be back and hope his show will be available on podcast because I can’t pick up KNUS here.
KNUS needs a stronger signal though, I hear a lot of intermittent static on my way to work.
Salem’s Medved and Hewitt ridicule us.
KOA and KHOW in comparison.
If Pete's show proves to be a rating hit can they apply to increase their coverage??
KNUS has a Class B license thus their max power is restricted by the FCC. Someone who is more familiar with CFR 47 can correct me but I think each market is restricted to the number of Class A; 50KW, stations they can have and in Denver KOA is it.
I don’t know who this guy is, but it sounds like he was at fault here.
Which Boyles admits. Clear Channel was going to dump Boyles anyway. It was just very convenient for the incident between him and his producer to occur just prior to the end of his contract.
It would be interesting to get Hollenback on the witness stand and find out exactly what his role in the whole event was. Incidentally, he's still an employee at KHOW.
With all the guest hosts they've been having, I thought he and Todd Shephard had a good show. I do hope they keep it local, even though I'm going to be listening to Pete. ;)
Is Pogo Pouge still around Denver ?
I’m not familiar with that name. A DJ??
Good to hear. Peter isn’t perfect in all his views but he is a standup guy that will tell it to you straight.