SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS – It’s been a couple of months since the trademark “Peter Gunn” theme closed the last edition of the Lisle and Hahn show on 99.5 KISS FM in San Antonio. Since they were unexpectedly yanked off air on October 24, no one has heard a peep out of either one of them publicly. The Digital Texan has made several efforts to reach the two, but to no avail.
We’ve also tried to reach out to sidekick Kelly Kendall. Kendall told us she would pass on the word to Lisle and Hahn, but she wasn’t interested in talking either. It’s possible that all involved are prohibited from speaking publicly about the show’s demise, especially Kendall, who still holds a job at KISS FM.
The morning radio show was one of the longest-running local radio shows in the country, and the station’s sudden firing of the popular radio hosts sparked a lot of angry backlash among longtime listeners. In fact, some of those listeners have even started a Facebook page titled, “Bring Back Lisle and Hahn“.
John Lisle, Steve Hahn and (later) Kelly Kendall made up the morning on-air team for two decades. Kendall is still with KISS FM, though she isn’t a part of the replacement program, “The Billy Madison Show,” which debuted Nov. 28.
Corporate suits at Cox Media, which owns KISS FM, cited poor ratings for their decision to fire Lisle and Hahn. It isn’t clear how “Billy Madison” is in a position to do any better, though. No one ever accused Lisle and Hahn of being overly serious, but the new show makes “Jackass” look like “60 Minutes.” (The “Billy Madison” Facebook page offers fans such news items as “Girls put poop in cake” and “See the baby born with two heads.”)
Unlike the Billy Madison boys, Lisle and Hahn were local. Hahn was a graduate of San Antonio’s Jefferson High, and though Lisle was from the East Coast, he had been with KISS FM since the ’80s.
The firing was a surprise not only to listeners. On their last show (Oct. 24) Lisle and Hahn talked about their plans for upcoming shows, so apparently they didn’t know they were about to get the axe.
KISS FM has been getting a lot of hate for the decision. Here are some of the PG-rated comments on the “Bring Back Lisle and Hahn” Facebook page:
“Even if their departure was inevitable, Lisle and Hahn more than deserved a last show for a proper send off. Especially given their awesome history. I’ve listened to these guys for years, such a shame they got the finger. ”
“I think everyone wants Lisle and Hahn back. The guys on the show now aren’t as down to earth and laid back as Lisle and Hahn and they’re not nearly as entertaining. If I wanted to listen to that, I’d go back to middle school. ”
“People always want to fix whats not broke!!!! Lisle and Hahn can out-rock ‘em all….your new young guns… ain’t shootin so good. ”
“I have listened to KISS since 1983 and Lisle and Hahn since the early ’90′s. Cox/Kiss got stupid on this. Ratings for the replacements will not any better and they won’t last that long, guaranteed. After 20 years they deserve a better send-off. Wish them both well. ”
This wasn’t the first time KISS FM told the duo to kiss off. Back in 1990 the station switched to a “golden oldies” format and kicked Lisle and Hahn to the curb. Ratings tanked, KISS FM backpedaled, and soon the classic rock format—and the morning team—was back.
Virgil Thompson, vice president of programming for Cox’s San Antonio division, told The San Antonio Express-News that personnel decisions are “always a balance of business and human beings.”
This time, the human beings lost out, and whether or not business improves remains to be seen.