Greg Kihn, the rock star turned morning DJ, is out at Bay Area FM radio station KFOX.
"I am unemployed, along with a large percentage of my fellow Americans, but I am an optimist," Kihn said in a statement Friday. "I believe for every door that closes others open ... and I'll be back on the air soon doing what I love to do most; entertaining my loyal fans."
Exactly why the door at KUFX-FM (better known as KFOX) is closing on Kihn, however, was not abundantly clear Friday. Both the DJ and the San Jose-based classic rock station acknowledged that KFOX is "going in a different direction" in its weekday morning show. Dwight Walker, the general manager and vice president of the Bay Area radio stations owned by communications giant Entercom, would not say what the new direction entailed, but invited listeners to tune in Monday morning and find out.
In a radio landscape often dominated by frequent and sudden changes in personnel and formats, Kihn had been a rare symbol of stability, having recently noted his 16th year at the station. He claimed to have been one of the longest-tenured radio morning personalities West of the Mississippi.
And while the move was clearly not voluntary on Kihn's part, The Contra Costa County resident, who has lived in the Bay Area for 40 years, says he's not upset about the station's decision.
"After 16 years, they wanted to try something new. I can understand that," the 63-year-old Baltimore native says.
Kihn, who first came to fame as the leader of the chart-topping Greg Kihn Band, was notified after his show on Wednesday that he was being replaced.
Walker declined to get into the specifics behind the move.
"We salute Greg on his 16 years of contributions to KFOX and the community and wish him only the best," he said.
Walker wouldn't address Kihn's ratings or contractual issues. Kihn said that he believed his ratings were solid (the most recent Arbitron ratings for the station's morning show were not available Friday). Kihn said he remains under contract with the station. His longtime manager, Joel Turtle, said however Kihn's contract was coming up for renewal soon, and that KFOX (found at 98.5 on the dial in San Jose and 102.1 in San Francisco) apparently decided against committing to a new long-term deal.
Kihn is perhaps still best known for recording the smash hits "The Breakup Song (They Don't Write 'em Like That)" and "Jeopardy" in the early 1980s.
He has also released four novels and one book of short stories. His fifth novel, "Rubber Soul," is due out before year's end.
Kihn said he hopes to find work at another radio station, but in the meantime, "I have some sleep to catch up on."
On Oct. 6, he will be inducted into the Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame.
Follow Jim Harrington at http://twitter.com/jimthecritic, www.facebook.com/jim.bayareanews and http://blogs.mercurynews.com/aei/category/concerts.