'Bean' Baxter Exiting KROQ Morning Show 'Kevin & Bean' After 30 Years
Baxter, who has hosted the show alongside Kevin Ryder since it launched in 1989, made the surprise announcement Wednesday morning.
Gene "Bean" Baxter is leaving KROQ's morning show Kevin & Bean after 30 years.
Baxter, who has hosted the show alongside Kevin Ryder since it launched in 1989, made the surprise announcement on the program at the top of the 7 a.m. hour Wednesday morning.
He also tweeted the news, explaining his decision to depart: "Just announced on the @KevinAndBean Show, after 30 years I am leaving the show at the end of the year to move back home to England, the ninth largest island in the world. Much more to come on this."
On the air, he noted that he is a British citizen, having been born there, and visits England quite often given he has friends and family there. He said he's been mulling this decision over with his wife, fashion designer Donna Baxter, for years, and decided it was the right time to make the move. He added that Luke Perry's death Monday at age 52 from a massive stroke was a wake-up call.
"It's another reminder that tomorrow is not guaranteed for anybody, and we have been talking about moving to Europe for years," he said. "But at what point are we going to do it? It can't always be a spot on the horizon. When you're young and healthy enough to enjoy it, you can't put off things that you've been looking forward to in life forever."
Baxter indicated that he'll be looking for a radio gig in the U.K., adding that he believes "the odds are stacked against me because of my age and my dumb American accent." He added that he felt that "30 years makes sense to me."
He also cited President Donald Trump, calling him the "monster" in the White House, as part of the reason he wants to leave.
"Thirty percent of the reason I want to go now is I feel like civil war is coming," he said. "I'm not exaggerating when I say that. We are literally watching democracy die in front of our eyes. You can turn on the news and see examples of that happening.... It breaks my heart to see what is happening to our country right now."
It's unclear what the direction of the show will be after Baxter departs, though he said that it "will continue.... I'm just not going to be a part of it." He also noted that there are months ahead where the hosts will be talking about the "history of the show and the future of the show" on the air.
The Hollywood Reporter has reached out to KROQ for more information.
The program currently features a lineup of comedy bits, interviews with stars and other personalities, and other segments in which the hosts talk about what's going on in their lives, the news of the day and, often, tease each other about everything from various flubs made live on air to the cringe-inducing jokes also made on the show.
Over the years, Baxter's on-air colleagues often lovingly mocked him for his random tweets, his "bad example" choices and what they deemed his questionable tastes, hobbies and interests, ranging from singers Gordon LIghtfoot and Taylor Swift to the former planet Pluto and Clyde Tombaugh — the astronomer who discovered it — to the U.S. Postal Service, to his intense desire to be chosen to serve on a jury.
Baxter famously has not worked out of the station's Los Angeles area home base for years. He moved to Seattle for 17 years, broadcasting out of his home there, before relocating to New Orleans in 2016, where he continued to work out of his home.
Still, he would travel back to Los Angeles to attend major KROQ events including stand-up comedy showcase April Foolishness, benefiting charity, as well as the Weenie Roast and Almost Acoustic Christmas concert events featuring a lineup of rock and alternative bands that the station plays on air.
He said on the air that he'd considered doing the show out of the U.K., but felt "logistically, there are too many roadblocks."
In spring 2018, Baxter took several weeks off, citing medical reasons. When he returned to the air, he explained that he'd taken the leave to seek help for his mental health. He also urged listeners to seek help and take time to recover if they ever experience something similar.
Baxter and Ryder were inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2015.
Baxter's departure marks the latest in a series of on-air personnel changes for the morning show in recent years.
In early 2015, KROQ management fired longtime Kevin & Bean personalities Lisa May and Doc on the Roq (aka Boyd Britton) from the show. May had reported on traffic for years and also become essentially a co-host to Ryder and Baxter, while Britton reported on the day's news. KROQ brass were widely criticized for their handling of the news on-air — failing to give either a chance to say goodbye to fans.
Two years later, in another move that rankled listeners, the station let go of its 18-year veteran Ralph Garman, who has since launched a successful daily entertainment-focused podcast, The Ralph Report.
Meanwhile, the show added former KTLA reporter Allie Mac Kay to replace May in 2015, while author and comedian Jensen Karp joined in October as another on-air voice.
In his announcement on the air, Bean noted the departures of other on-air personalities, saying, "lots of people come and go." To which Ryder quipped: "This is the first time voluntarily." (Baxter was quick to note that Jimmy Kimmel proves that isn't actually true.)
Just announced on the @KevinAndBean Show, after 30 years I am leaving the show at the end of the year to move back home to England, the ninth largest island in the world. Much more to come on this. pic.twitter.com/XjPfasWwJw— KROQ's Bean (@clydetombaugh) March 6, 2019