More upheaval at KPTL | NevadaAppeal.com

More upheaval at KPTL

by Sally J. Taylor, Appeal Staff Writer

KPTL-AM is shaking again, and it’s not to the beat of its rock ‘n’ roll music.

This week, new general manager Ron Cheney made an abrupt exit from the station after less than two months on the job.

Ken Haskins, known on-air as “Rockin’ Rev,” followed suit.

“I made a personal decision based on my personal principles,” said Haskins, whose popular doo-wop classics show ran for 14 years and had just returned in August. “It has nothing to do with the way I was treated.”

Cheney said his departure was due to an “unjust firing,” but would not provide any details.

Bruce Dewing, president of station-owner Holder Hospitality Group, declined to discuss “personnel matters.”

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Dewing did say Ron Harrison would begin Monday as general manager. Information about Harrison’s experience and plans for the station will be released once he was on the job, Dewing said.

Holder Hospitality Group purchased the troubled station along with KZZF-FM in March from Silverado Broadcasting, which had owned it for less than two years. Silverado originally purchased the stations from Moon Broadcasting in July 2000 a day after Moon bought the stations from local real estate developer Dwight Millard.

Modesto-based Holder Hospitality Group hired Cheney, who has 29 years of broadcast experience, to lead the station forward with more of a local flavor. Cheney took the helm Aug. 2, the same day the Holder group took possession of the station following federal approval.

Haskins liked the direction the station was headed while under the management of Cheney, a friend and Haskins’ former agent.

“When I looked around, we were selling the station (to advertisers), getting around in the community,” he said. “I know the station was going forward with an increase in audience and an increase in ad sales.”

Dewing said the station will continue to move ahead.

“We are working real hard to upgrade that radio station,” Dewing said. “We’re very proud to be in Carson City. We hope the listeners can hear the difference in what we’ve already done to upgrade the station.

“We’ve improved the quality of the music, put some disc jockeys on, which it didn’t have before (Holder purchased the station) other than a news guy,” Dewing said. “We now have on-air personalities Scott (Gahagen) and Denis (Butler).”

Other plans include an increase in wattage to reach a broader area, especially at night, Dewing said.

The station will begin broadcasting local high school football games this weekend.

Dewing said Holder plans to renew the contract for “Imus in the Morning” when its contract is up in a couple months.

That’s not good news for some people who have criticized the offensive content of the syndicated program from New York.

“I personally dislike it,” Haskins said. “I don’t think it fits an oldies station format. I don’t think it’s the type of image that KPTL would want to promote in the community.”