Indie-103 FM listeners got a surprise Monday when morning host Dicky Barrett wasn’t on the air for his usual Boston-baked punk rock wake-up call wingding. According to a press release sent out Friday, March 24, by his publicist, Barrett was fired from Indie “without an honest explanation,” despite the apparent popularity of his show. In the typo-riddled release, Barrett makes a number of incendiary claims, including — ouch! — that he was scolded for complaining on-air about a Morrissey single he didn’t want to play. Further, Barrett says he was told to “say the time and call letters till your [sic] blue in the face.”
The warmly irascible Barrett — lead singer for the Mighty Mighty Bosstones — is one of many punk rock elder statesmen who have found second careers as Indie personalities. Indie — a new-breed niche station aimed at listeners stuck between mainstream juggernaut KROQ and yuppie oulet KCRW — hosts a menu of boutique shows by Henry Rollins, Sex Pistol Steve Jones, Dave Navarro and Rob Zombie, among others.
Apparently, though, something went uniquely sour between Barrett and his bosses — including the station’s “hard right leaning Clear Channel program director,” Michael Steele. A little background: Steele was hired from Clear Channel–owned KIIS-FM to get Indie up and running. Clear Channel Communications — considered the schoolyard bully of the radio world — originally handled all of Indie’s advertising in an eyebrow-raising arrangement with the station’s owner, Spanish-language broadcaster Entravision. (Clear Channel was ordered by the FCC to sever its ties with Indie last year.)
Barrett believes his politics contributed to the firing, and further complains that Steele and station manager Dawn Girocco wanted to format his show too tightly and oversee Barrett’s choice of guests. (“Dawn Girocco [is] Dick Cheney, Steele’s George Bush.”)
Indie reps confirm the firing but remain tightlipped on details, which seems to be the station’s perennial M.O. As quoted in Barrett’s release, Girocco told the industry journal Hits that, in essence, Barrett had not been willing to put in the time and effort the show required, and was focused on his nightly gig on the Jimmy Kimmel show. In an e-mail statement, she declined to discuss the matter further, wishing Barrett “the best of luck,” etc. Music director Mark Sovel is also mum on the subject, and Steele hasn’t responded yet to an inquiry from the Weekly.
Girocco says Indie will use guest hosts for several weeks, including Navarro (who regularly hosts Saturday evening’s Camp Freddy Radio) until a replacement is hired.