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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

How John Richards’ Salary Compares, Part 2

Posted by on December 28 at 14:25 PM

Thanks to some help from Slog readers, I have another salary to compare against the $90,000/yr that’s being given to KEXP DJ John Richards.

Nic Harcourt, the big morning DJ at LA’s non-commercial indie music station, KCRW, made “a little over $100,000 last year,” according to the blog laist.

So, for those keeping score at home, here’s how it stands:

KCRW’s Nic Harcourt: Over $100,000 in 2004

KEXP’s John Richards: $90,000/yr (and $120,000 in 2004, thanks to bonuses and retroactive pay)

KUOW’s talk show hosts: From $35,000 to $60,000/yr

Don’t know what I’m talking about? See here, here, here, and here.

Want to suggest another salary for comparison? Put it in the comments…

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How about Johnny Horn and Don Slack.

or kevin cole? station manager... ask him.
he's in Seattle, not Los Angeles...

Damn. I made about 1/4 of Richards's salary despite having better musical taste and a finer radio voice. AND I'm an early riser. I really got in the wrong line of work…

I don't know if it's fair to compare John Richards and Nic Harcourt's salaries. Los Angeles and Seattle's costs of living are pretty different. It makes sense to me that Harcourt would make that much living in a city where a 2br house costs $800k.

Why this obsession with a single DJ's salary?

This is just part of a larger trend: the rich are getting way richer than the rest of us - while paying much less of it in taxes.

Time was, a corporate CEO would be embarrassed to be making 1,000 times more than their average worker. No more: now that's their goal. They all want to be Bill Gates (or Paul Allen).

In industries that depend heavily on talent and widely-recognizable personalities - music, sports, media - the most sought-after stars follow suit.

Where does that leave the rest of us? Holding the bag - the paper bag with our lunch in it.

It's time someone started a movement to equalize things again.

Economic equality - of result: now there's a concept worthy of a great democracy like America.

How about DJ No Name, before he got fired? He was in Seattle, doing a morning show, theoretically playing alternative music. I would be interested to see how much corporate DJs make- if he makes $200,000 a year, isn't Jon suffering for his craft?

Craft? John in the Morning is DJ, he picks out music to play on the radio. A drunk monkey could do that (a choice I prefer, at least I wouldn't have to listen to John's inane chatter).

His salary is excessive, mostly because I don't think John is any good. That's the problem with KEXP, there's not a single DJ that is good. The less they speak, the better.

If you are a DJ who can negotiate a salary in the $90k ballpark, then you don't question it. You throttle the reins with both hands and spur hard for the dotted line, pen ablazing.

If you are a DJ who can only negotiate a salary in the $30k range and you feel you're at the center of some more-than-meets-the-eye cabal, to you I say, "The world needs ditch diggers too, Danny."

A drunk monkey could do that

I suggest that if a drunk monkey could do as you suggest then drive time DJs could not command the salary they do.

Only 4.3% of the entire U.S. work force makes six figures or more (Census Bureau, 2001). Hey John, not bad for a public radio DJ to be in such an elite salary bracket. Oh and as for Nick Harcourt, I can't believe you would even compare a market like LA to a rinkydink market like Seattle. Maybe you've never been anywhere else and live in a bubble like the rest of the idiots in this town. In case you didn't notice, Seattle is small.


John's market isn't just Seattle, just as Nick's isn't just LA. Both are listened to nationally and draw funding from outside of their home towns. A bunch of tired old kcmu hacks are pissed about John actually having listeners. Wahhh!. Time to move on. KEXP is bigger, better and more popular than KCMU ever was and guess what, the people working there actually get paid. Oh no!

My problem with JR goes beyond his salary. He just doesn't know or seem to even like the music that makes KEXP unique in this or any other market. His biggest mark on Seattle music is probably that he bridges the playlist indie with other formats, like modern rock and alternative rock. You can hear it when he "reaches back" to the music he knows--it's usually Nine Inch Nails, the Feelies...modern rock from the 90s. IMO his "hard work" erodes what's good about KEXP.

KEXP is publically owned and member supported--it shouldn't "compete" with other radio stations or formats. It should provide a service, and traditionally it should provide an alternative to commercial radio. WFMU proves that it can be done well. KEXP is essentially taking advantage of independent artists--and the expertise of knowledgeable folks like Kevin Cole, Larry Rose and DJ Riz--and running a commercial enterprise that contradicts a lot of what they're about.

In any case, Nic Harcourt isn't a great comparison, because he's more professional--including the depth at which he knows his music--than John Richards, and that makes him more valuable to KCRW. Truthfully, it may be that JR is just that valuable to KEXP's direction; it's the direction that I don't like.

FWIW, today, January 3, the KEXP staff is still making "sensational efforts" to "program" KXOT. That reasonably translates to to paying the lease and sending the feed.

What about John Richards' antimatter twin: Delilah?

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