Radio host may resurface in Las Vegas

Mark DiCiero is hinting he plans to stick around Las Vegas and possibly compete against his former morning show partners.

DiCiero’s nearly 18-year run on the powerhouse “Mark &Mercedes in the Morning” show on KMXB-FM, 94.1, ended last Wednesday without any mention of his decision.

He broke the news Thursday on his Facebook page, saying, “change is never easy, but your instincts know when its time to make a change, and, for me, that time is now. I have decided to move on, and I am extremely excited about what the future holds.”

In a Facebook post on Friday, DiCiero made it clear he’s not leaving the market, adding “so don’t be surprised if you hear me on the air again very soon.”

That could mean a head-to-head ratings rivalry with his longtime partner, Mercedes Martinez, and the show’s veteran producer J.C. Fernandez, who joins Martinez on Jan. 5.

The parting appears to be amicable, with both sides saying all the right things.

DiCiero and Martinez have been on-air partners since they were a duo in Denver.

Three years ago, it was announced that they had signed a multiyear deal in December. Fernandez was included in that announcement.

Responding to a fan’s post on Friday, DiCiero said, “I can see how you could put two and two today based on that (press release) from three year ago, but I can tell you truthfully, that money was never an issue.”

He added, “I have been ready for a change for a while, but I would never quit in the middle of a contract cycle leaving CBS and my team in a bind.”

Fernandez has been producing the KMXB morning show since 1997, with the exception of a four-year stint in Washington.

“Mercedes was the one person I stayed in touch with,” Fernandez said. “We’re best friends. She was key in getting me back here. There’s a great chemistry there.”

He will continue in his executive producer role, he said.

Asked about DiCiero’s sudden move, Fernandez said “there was no blowup. I saw his Facebook post. He was ready for a change. He said he has options in and out of radio.”

It’s been a year of change in local radio.

In January, the KSNE-FM 106.5 morning team of Melanie and Zach was let go after 2½ years. Melanie was a local fixture for two decades.

Jim Tofte was part of a staff reduction at KKLZ-FM 96.3 that dropped him from Mike O’Brian’s morning show. Carlos Diaz recently teamed with Dayna Roselli and Nate Tannenbaum on the KXNT morning show (840 AM, 100.5 FM).

In other media happenings:

Chet Buchanan, host of “The Morning Zoo” on KLUC-FM, 98.5, was singled out for a moment of recognition Saturday during the MGM Grand Showcase, a benefit for Coaches vs. Cancer. Buchanan, the event’s on-court emcee, was honored for heading KLUC’s 16th toy drive. The drive ended Monday with record hauls: 29 tractor trailers full of toys, 5,126 bicycles, and $327,000 in cash and gift cards. …

Local radio deejay Ken Johnson was among the 100 couples who were married on the High Roller on The Linq at 10:11 a.m. on Dec. 13, or, for you numerologists, 10-11-12-13-14. “If that doesn’t line up our stars and numbers, I don’t know what will,” said Johnson, a member of the “Foxx and McKenzie” morning team at KXPT-FM, 97.1 for five years. Johnson and Lori Kenney met 2½ years ago at a remote broadcast at Tivoli Village. “What’s really cool is that everytime I drive down Flamingo, I can see our wedding chapel,” Johnson said.

THE NEXT SHOE TO DROP

With all of his recent issues with the Nevada Gaming Commission, it seems unlikely that Sam Nazarian’s Hyde Bellagio nightclub deal with MGM Resorts International can survive.

Look for a buyout.

Nazarian has been on the hot seat with the Nevada Gaming Commission over several issues.

He was approved on Thursday as a part-owner of SLS Las Vegas, but not before being grilled about his past use of illegal drugs and for allegedly being extorted out of $3 million with a friend and convicted felon from Los Angeles.

SIGHTINGS

University of Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger, recruiting at the Tarkanian Classic at Bishop Gorman on Friday. He was in town for the MGM Grand Showcase. … Luxor headliner Criss Angel, celebrating his 47th birthday Friday with rapper Lil Jon and comedian Eddie Griffin at Surrender nightclub (Encore at Wynn) and later at Crazy Horse III men’s club.

THE PUNCH LINE

“The Kris and Bruce Jenner divorce was made official today. They ask only that the media allow them to handle this family matter publicly.” — Seth Meyers

Norm Clarke’s column appears Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Reach him at 702-383-0244 or norm@reviewjournal.com. Find more at normclarke.com. Follow @Norm_Clarke on Twitter.

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