Additional content was added to this story on 7/27/11. – Ed.
(Lori Piotrowski) – Change is good. Right?
Not for many in the Las Vegas radio listening audience. Last Thursday, as they were waking up with their first cup of joe, they read that one of their favorite radio talk show hosts had been dismissed the night before.
Alan Stock, formerly with CBS’s KXNT 840 AM finished his Wednesday show and then left the studio for the last time.
Listeners were stunned.
Stock, who had been in radio for more than 20 years, had been a fixture on the radio dial for many commuters. (A petition to get Stock back on the air is now circulating.)
But the outrage among listeners isn’t solely the loss of a beloved host, rather, it extends to the loss of conservative programming in the Las Vegas area.
Ellen Herr, a longtime listener, said, “One thing I really enjoy about Las Vegas is being able to listen to people like Beck, Stock, Levin, and they [stations] are taking them off the air! My friends in Oregon are envious because they cannot get conservative shows to listen to. To lose conservative voices…we must fight to keep them here in Las Vegas.”
Rita Hickey, who acknowledged that she hadn’t listened to Stock’s program, said, “I was shocked that he was let go. It frightens me that another conservative talk show host has been canceled.”
Ms. Herr, continued, “I used to listened to Alan Stock every morning going to work when he was on the morning show, way back in the day when he was with Heidi Harris. When he moved to afternoon, I listened then. I’ve been with him since he started. He connected with people in the community.”
Assemblyman John Ellison, from Elko, said, “When I’m in the area (at least once a month), it was great to have a station that tells it like it is and that is what Alan Stock does, he tells it like it is. We have become too politically correct and lost the meaning of our rights; Alan has away with words and could express them in a meaning we could all understand. I hope the station has a change of heart or Alan gets a new station. What I love to see is Alan on XM. (Wow!)”
Stock wasn’t just a faceless voice coming over the radio waves. In fact, living in Las Vegas meant seeing Stock at different events. He has hosted Citizen Outreach’s First Friday event for two years, yet that was not his only out-on-the-town venue.
Ms. Herr explained, “Being part of the Jewish community, he was also a great spokesperson…a great part of the community. He would advertise events that wouldn’t be found elsewhere. He has built up the Jewish community in a great way, but because he was known nationally for being on Fox News (national), he also built up the Las Vegas community.”
Ellison added, “The City of Las Vegas is waking up slowly to the facts that there is no free lunch. Someone has to pay the bill and Alan was good at telling them that.”
Bettye Gilmour, another longtime listener, agreed: “His focus was local yet he brought national issues into relevant perspective for Nevada and Clark County.”
Stock has always been deeply involved in the Las Vegas community. He and Jay Casey, KXNT’s morning host at the time, were part of the drive to get the Clark County Commission to rescind an ordinance banning Wal-Mart Supercenters from being built. The United Food and Commercial Workers union “helped” the commission draft the ordinance.
This union influence was problematic to many residents, but they also felt strongly that the county had no right to pre-determine where they could shop.
Stock and Casey aired live programs across the Las Vegas valley several times per week in an effort to gather enough signatures to repeal the ordinance. Their persistence paid off, and the commissioners repealed their own ordinance. If you ever shop at a Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, or Costco you need to thank Alan.
This sense of camaraderie and community that Stock built with his listeners was evident to those who would listen on a regular basis. Stock’s call-in sections gave a voice to citizens who may not otherwise be recognized for their opinions.
Stock was known to be a conservative, but that never interfered with his coverage of events. He was one of the first to call for Senator Ensign’s resignation, and during every election cycle, listeners could count on Stock for balanced coverage of candidates.
Barry Herr, who ran for State Controller in the 2010 elections, said, “I enjoyed listening to him. He’s known as a conservative talk show host, but he was always fair. He gave me an opportunity to speak, and never forced his opinion on his guests. I found him to be friendly, open, and respectful of people’s opinion.”
Herr continued, “He would interview people with many different opinions. He would have candidates from both sides on air.”
Listeners may remember earlier this year when Stock gave air time to every mayoral candidate—all 13 of them! No other media outlet, print or otherwise, provided this outlet for the candidates, which gave each one a platform from which to build their name recognition.
Ms. Gilmour lamented Stock’s dismissal. “It is too bad that KNXT had the wrong-headed notion to let Alan Stock go. He is smart, funny, relevant…not to mention a Vegas icon! I listened to him because he had interesting guests and, while always courteous, he asked tough questions.”
Listeners are writing CBS and letting them know of their disappointment. An online petition is being circulated to let CBS know how much Stock is missed. (You may sign the petition here.)
Herr thought that perhaps the Las Vegas community could band together. “With his leaving CBS, it might be an opportunity for other conservatives to get together and start another station. Bring people like Alan on and replace CBS with a stronger station.”
He continued, “Let’s regroup before the 2012 election is out there. We have some great voices here. I’m hoping that Alan stays in town.”
Ms. Gilmour wanted to end on a positive note. “He won’t be missed long because someone will grab him up and his spotlight will be bigger and brighter.”
Ms. Herr continued, “I want to reiterate that this is a great loss to the conservative community as well as the entire community. Much like how Oscar Goodman as mayor was a great representative of the city to the country, Alan is a close second in representing the community.”
She concluded, “I listen to Heidi Harris on the other station [KDWN 720AM], and I like her. But there is no one else to listen to on KXNT. People will move on to listen to other stations. CBS will go down. CBS needs to understand what the Las Vegas community is all about and understand what the listeners are like.”
“Good luck in the future, Alan, hope to hear you on XM,” Ellison added.
Change isn’t always good, but perhaps we can modify the outcome. Write CBS, write KXNT, sign the petition.