The Maddening Mystery Of The KROQ-FM Radio Station Murder “Confession”
Just a few months after the “Kevin and Bean” morning show debuted in 1990 on KROQ-FM in Los Angeles, ratings were on the decline. In an effort to pump up the slumping ratings, the show launched a new segment called “Confess Your Crime.” The segment was a hit, and many callers regaled the city of Los Angeles with tales of harmless debauchery. But on June 13, 1990, the show took a dark turn, according to the Orange County Register.
An anonymous man called in and went into great detail about the savage beating he had given his girlfriend after he caught her with another man. The caller even said that he may have beaten his girlfriend to death. “I don’t know if she made it through, actually,” he added. When hosts Kevin Ryder and Gene “Bean” Baxter asked the caller for more details, he hung up.
The call triggered a media frenzy, especially once it was revealed that just two months before the call, a local 19-year-old named Angela Cummings had been found shot to death in her boyfriend’s apartment. Police believed that there may have been a connection between the call into the morning show and the Cummings murder. And that’s why the “KROQ Confession” case appeared on an episode of Unsolved Mysteries on October 10, 1990.
Many viewers — including Cummings’ grieving family members — believed that finding the caller would be key to cracking the case. Unfortunately, while Unsolved Mysteries helped solve one part of this chilling crime, it didn’t have a happy ending — or a full explanation of Cummings’ murder.
After a nine-month investigation by the LAPD that yielded no results, KROQ-FM intern Dan Feliz revealed that the “confession” was all a hoax perpetrated by DJ Doug Roberts — who had been the “murderer” who called into the show — and that hosts Ryder and Baxter were both in on the ruse.
According to the Greensboro News & Record, the radio show hosts apologized for the hoax, but they were ultimately suspended, sentenced to community service, and forced to pay more than $12,000 in fines.
Despite this fiasco, Ryder and Baxter remained co-hosts of the KROQ-FM morning show until 2019, according to Variety. Then, Baxter resigned from the show and moved to England. Four months later, Ryder was fired alongside his remaining colleagues shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
And tragically, to this day, Angela Cummings’ murder remains unsolved.