Andy Warhol got his 15 minutes of fame, and KROQ gave me six minutes. In a remarkable twist of fate, I was back on KROQ Nov. 7 for the first time in 26 years … for a brief six minutes. The Poorman’s return to their airwaves was short, bittersweet and explosive. It was unexpected and reactive. My emotional appearance happened on the last day on KROQ for The Kevin & Bean Show’s Gene “Bean” Baxter. As you recall from my previous articles here in OC Weekly, he was responsible for my firing in 1993. The on-air participants in possibly the most impactful live six minutes in LA radio history read like a who’s who in KROQ radio and pop culture lore. They were Bean, his soon-to-be-former partner Kevin Ryder, Jimmy Kimmel, Adam Corolla and myself.
My appearance on the KROQ airwaves that Thursday morning went down quickly and organically while I was on the air live doing my own weekday morning show Poorman’s Morning Rush on Orange County’s 101.5 KOCI FM. When I awoke that day, I had no idea that I’d be back on KROQ, let alone in less than three hours. I’m on the air each day from 7 to 10 a.m. On that day, Eric Poehlman, webmaster of my website www.Poorman.com, set the wheels in motion.
“I called Poorman at 7:20,” Poehlman says. “I was monitoring Bean’s last day on KROQ and listening to Poorman’s show at the same time. After they interviewed ‘Doc on the ROQ’ [the former KROQ newsman], I couldn’t believe my ears! Bean said jokingly, ‘Who’s going to call in next, The Poorman?’ I immediately picked up the phone and called [Poorman] at the studio and told him, ‘Oh my God, they mentioned your name on KROQ. You have to call in! It’s Bean’s last day on the show. It would be amazing if you could call and give him a farewell.’ Then Poorman said, ‘Oh my God, should I?’ He was reluctant, and then said, “OK, maybe I should call in live at 7:45.’ Then Poorman asked me, ‘Do you think I could get through?’ I said I think so, because I just called and it rang. I got right through.”
I asked Eric for the request line number with honestly a horrible feeling of dread. I knew it would be good radio, but I was miserable thinking about it. Around 7:48, I put in a call to the KROQ Request Line and I, too, got right through. I couldn’t believe that on Bean’s last day on the air, the lines weren’t packed with callers. I thought for sure I’d get a busy signal.
A guy named Dave answered the phone. I asked, “Can you let Kevin and Bean know that the Poorman’s on the line?”
“What’s your name, dude?” he responded.
“Ugh, Poorman, like a guy with no money.”
“Right, I understand that,” he replied. What’s your first name?”
“Ugh, Poorman, that’s my name. What’s your name?”
“Alright hold on one second, dude.”
He slammed me on hold, and I waited about four minutes and even went into a song while waiting for Dave to hopefully come back on the line. Dave finally returned.
“Bean doesn’t want to talk to you,” he informed.
“Hey man, we’re in the middle of the show. We’re just going to continue on with Jimmy [Kimmel] and Adam [Corolla].”
“Did you say Poorman was on the phone?” I asked.
Suddenly, Dave changed course.
“You’re going to have to hold on man if you want to talk to him.”
“I can’t hold on,” I explained. “I’m in the middle of my show.”
“Ummm, hold on.”
Dave then came back on a minute and a half later and said: “THEY’RE GOING TO PUT YOU ON.”
While on hold, I heard the KROQ feed. Kevin, Bean, Corolla and Kimmel were in studio taking a vote on whether they should put me on the air. Props go out to the new morning co-host of Kevin & Bean, Jensen Karp, who said, “As a longtime KROQ listener, I have to vote ‘yes.’ It’s what the people want.”
After Jensen’s remarks, he kind of springboarded the rest of the studio. Jimmy said, “Of course,” Adam said, “Yes” and Kevin abstained. So then, Bean OK’d me going back on the air after they played commercials. I had roughly three minutes to think, while I was live on my show at the same time, of what I would say in my first appearance on KROQ in 26 years. It felt awful. I knew that I wanted to bury the hatchet with Bean. After 26 years, it just seemed ridiculous to hold a grudge any longer. What a time to do it … on his last show. Honestly, I felt we both needed closure. Beyond that, I had no idea what else I was going to say.
At 8 a.m., I was punched up live on KROQ and on my show on KOCI at the same time. Daily Variety described what transpired next as “six of the tensest minutes you could ever hope to hear on the radio.”
Bean introduced me as being “on the Mount Rushmore of KROQ personalities” and “one of the greats who helped build this radio station into the icon it is today. He did not leave under great circumstances, though …”
I responded, “Hey, Kevin and Bean, it’s the first time I’ve been on KROQ in 26 years.” Then we got into it bigtime. It was like eight (Corolla, Kimmel, Kevin, Bean and their morning show crew) against one (me). There were some heavyweight salvos. The whole thing was so surreal.
Bean and I got into it about my firing when I took 500 listeners to his front lawn at midnight for my birthday party in 1993. I hadn’t spoken to him since then. He said, “Your listeners showed up, and it was clear that you were mad that night, (and) that (is why) you sent people—they kind of looked at you being mad at me and thought they were going to get even with me. We had to pack up and move out of that house as a result of what you did on the radio that night.”
I let Bean know that he started everything: “I truly am sorry about that, but you realize what precipitated that was in the morning, you sent ‘Michael the Maintenance Man’ and ‘Ed the Intern,’ who knew where the key to my house was hidden, and they broke and entered into my house, and I woke up with them in my bedroom. So you started it, dude, and I was just doing a return prank.”
Kevin jumped to his partner’s defense: “Let me just say this: They were coworkers and you knew them, and they had the key to your place. It’s different than bringing 500 listeners to somebody’s house. But Poorman, just for context here, weren’t you fired at KIIS-FM? Weren’t you fired at Star 98.7? Weren’t you fired at Power 106? Like almost every radio station you’ve ever worked at, you’ve been fired for doing something dumb. I mean, you kind of have a history of making poor choices.”
The stations I was fired from that he listed are accurate. The firings were not always for dumb reasons. I had no time to respond before Carolla jumped in. I had revealed earlier in the conversation that I lost $180,000 a year in salary when I was fired. “Poorman, you got a buck-eighty?” Carolla asked. “They started me at 65!” He demanded to get the former program director on the phone. “He told me Poorman was making 60!”
“Hey, Adam,” I responded, “you’ve always been terrible in comedy, I must tell you.”
“I know, I know,” Carolla replied. “That’s why I’m coming on 30 years, because that’s how it works.”
“Your voice is so annoying, you could shatter glass,” I interjected, “but other than that, you’re great.”
The intense six minutes concluded with one of the hosts asking, “Poorman, why are you still so bitter? Why have you not moved on? By your own admission, you’re very talented; you have another radio show. Why can’t you be happy?”
At that point, my gut told me the moment of truth had arrived. I made a split second decision to quit debating an incident that happened a quarter century earlier. Instead, I extended Bean an olive branch. I wanted to end the feud. In thinking back a week later, I truly believe if I hadn’t acted at this moment, my window of redemption would have been gone forever. They probably would have hung up on me.
“No, I just wanted to wish Bean a goodbye on the air, on KROQ, and on my station KOCI 101.5 FM,” I said. “Bean, let’s bury the hatchet. I absolutely agree. It’s stupid. Honestly, I have moved on, I honestly have. And I wanted to call in and wish you all the best in England, dude. Seriously, congrats on being in the [Radio] Hall of Fame and also 25, 30 years on the air. Any radio guy that can go on the air that long deserves accommodation, regardless. So I’m over it.”
“If you’re being serious about that,” Bean responded, “then I accept your congratulations, and I am very happy to bury the hatchet. I certainly do not want to go through life being mad at anybody. I mean, it was an awkward, uncomfortable thing for both of us at the time. And I wish you success, Poorman.”
“Yeah, and back at you, my man,” I said. “And you have an invitation to come on my radio show.”
There was so much more I wanted to say about many untruths. I felt horrible afterwards. I was in shock. I thought I had “gooned” it, and struggled to concentrate while continuing my radio show. What happened next was beyond my wildest expectation. Basically, this tiny six-minute segment became the entire narrative of Bean’s last day on KROQ. Variety picked up the story within hours, and transcribed the entire six minutes in a lengthy article. The internet went nuts, and Channel 5’s KTLA Morning News did stories on my return to KROQ that morning, the next day and on Nov. 11. The really cool thing is Bean and I closed this chapter of both of our lives for good. It was awesome to see Kevin and Bean thanking me on Instagram and Facebook for appearing on their last show, as well as Bean personally thanking me on Twitter. I reciprocated on all my social media. Additionally, my appreciation goes to KROQ for transcribing my on-air communication with Bean to make amends and bury the hatchet, as well as congratulating him on his 30 years in radio, admittance to the Radio Hall Of Fame and success in his future in England. Today, I am at peace with the decision, and feel a huge sense of relief and satisfaction for taking the high road.
When Poorman doesn’t have his feet in the sand, you can find him on the air Monday-Friday 7am-10am at KOCI hosting Poorman’s Morning Rush – Orange County’s only morning drive show. His show brings plenty of excitement, and of course, the Poorman’s aura of unpredictability – both good and bad – that has defined his legend! Email Jim “Poorman” Trenton at firstname.lastname@example.org to request a song or submit music.