I’ve been listening to Casey since the 1990s on the alternative M99.5, the urban U92.7 and most recently the “real rock” 93.7 FM. He’s been the one morning personality I could count on to scour the local news and say what was ludicrous. Like Jon Stewart, he’d deliver the news by telling us how ridiculous it was. Local television broadcasters can breathe easier now because there is now no one to lampoon them when they promote a big news story that turns out to be an interview with a ghost.
I can relax a little bit myself. Casey used to trash me so much while my kids were car pooling to high school, I realized I had to do something to protect my reputation with my sons. So I went on his radio show and brought him donuts and we’ve been friends ever since.
He’d still zing me, but we at least got to know each other and a respect grew from that. I used to really enjoy going on his show because he never kowtowed. The last time I was in the Desert Radio Group offices to do an interview with Bill Feingold, I e-mailed him an apology for not stopping by his pod and saying hello. He e-mailed me back a word I can’t repeat on this website, starting with “A.”
His general manager, Jay White, said he had to let Casey and Kristen go for budgetary reasons. They were just named the valley’s second most popular radio personalities in Desert Magazine’s Best of the Valley readers poll, but KCLB can get a nationally syndicated show that’s much cheaper that someone who can talk about what’s happening here. So “Free Beer and Hot Wings,” a group of four or five guys from the Midwest who do a show that is “man-centric,” will replace Casey and the tempering voice of Kristen on Jan. 6. Until then, there will be canned music on KCLB in the morning.
Scores of Facebook friends aren’t happy about this change. Laura Binninger said, “Desert radio is all about getting rid of the people we want to hear.” Monica Valenzuela Aguilar said, “Whatttttttttt????? Whyyyyyyy????? The only funny show that’s on in the morning. That’s bullcrap!!!!! I say we all picket the station!!!!!!!” David Certified Villarreal said, “Best radio program in the desert. Now we are stuck with Big Boy (the U92 syndicated morning man) and his repeated programming.”
Casey, for once in his life, took the polite route. He posted on Facebook, “It has been a great ride for us over the years and I wanted to thank each and every one of you for listening and all of your support. Also, thank you to the entire staff (past and present) at The Desert Radio Group for giving us the opportunity to do what we love on a daily basis.”
But the real Casey came out after he told me he didn’t know what he was going to do next. He’s not even sure if he’ll stay in radio. I told him I wanted to do a little story, but my editors thought it was better suited for our website than our newspaper.
So when I asked him for his age, he replied, “I only give my age for the print edition.”
There has to be a place in the desert for a guy with his kind of wit.