Kevin Metheny, a career radio executive who recently joined San Francisco’s KGO-AM and KSFO Radio, suffered a fatal heart attack Friday afternoon.
Metheny was 60.
Rumors began circulating about a health episode on Friday. His death was confirmed by the station and its parent company, Cumulus Media, on Saturday. A source at the station said news of his death was withheld pending notification of his family.
“Kevin Metheny’s sudden passing…is a devastating personal and professional loss for his broadcasting family at Cumulus, and for the entire radio industry,” Cumulus executive John Dickey said in a statement. “Kevin was a legendary broadcasting talent who touched many lives in his remarkable 44-year career, and whose successes made an indelible mark on radio.”
Metheny started in the radio industry at the age of 14, according to reports. He enjoyed a brief stint as a disc jockey before becoming a radio programmer — a title that would carry through his entire career.
His career brought him to several major radio markets in the country, among them New York City, Philadelphia and Chicago. His time as a programmer at New York’s WNBC (660 AM, now defunct) was embodied in Howard Stern’s best-selling book “Private Parts,” which was later turned into a blockbuster film.
Metheny and Stern often quarreled over his landmark show, which can now be heard across the country on satellite radio. Stern was not alone in pushing back from Metheny’s ideas: During his time at WGN-AM, two prominent radio personalities abruptly left the station due to irreconcilable creative differences.
Though his time at KGO and KSFO were short — his hiring was announced just this past summer — his impact on the stations could be heard in the audibly-solemn tone in which anchors at the all-news station announced his death early Saturday morning.
“Kevin passed away, even as he was working yesterday afternoon at his desk, working to make KGO Radio even better,” the anchor said. “Kevin Metheny will be missed.”
Metheny is survived by two daughters.