Friday, July 22, 2011

KGO Radio: Cut off old callers; Strange new faces on KPIX; Shooting story saturation; Friday Media rundown

Even in its heyday, KGO Radio's main demo was, (and is,) considerably older--always has been, although the station would have you believe it's right up Gen Y, hence the hirings of has-beens like Karel, (yawn) and Brian Copeland.

And now this word hits the rounds--something I have talked about for years and now know for a fact.

KGO hosts, particularly Ronn Owens, routinely are short with older, senior callers. Notice how Owens cuts off older folks almost on a daily basis? Just listen, (between the gazillion minutes of ads and news;) it's no secret that younger, (read: A25-54) cute-sounding housewives from, say, Walnut Creek or Burlingame are given far more time than the old geezer from the outer avenues. Sounds harsh, but it's true and its entirely consistent with KGO's almost obscene over-embracement of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. Talk about unclear on the concept, not to mention paying attention to your base listener.

That core audience makes KGO considerable money, albeit with a station that caters to the AARP crowd that is trying damn hard to cultivate the Maroon 5 demo, yeah, good luck with that, keep those silly contest winners, (like tix to U2,) coming and thumbing your nose at 67 year-old Roy from Livermore.

*As a friend noted to me the other day, on KPIX's ever-changing morning news presentation, "there's a bunch of new faces that I don't recognize." That's par for the course over at 855 Battery where no one knows what the hell is going on. The much ballyhooed Frank Mallicoat hire, (mystery man missing,) has been met with swift negative viewer reaction even though the numbers aren't that smaller since the Kessler-Kohara departures. Take note, people: never grow affection for your favorite morning TV and radio talent, they most likely will leave the building anytime soon.

*The saturation coverage of the Bayview shooting by the SFPD, (although now it's reported that the guy may have killed himself,) as big a story as it is, has absolutely no traction outside the city limits of SF and Oakland. You think any of this is a water-cooler topic in Pleasanton, Walnut Creek, or even San Jose. If that sounds cynical, so be it, but its the truth and you and they know it.

*The Karel game plan: use 50% of the show to plug various appearances, books, websites and openly bitch about having no money to pay for ailing dogs and his own health coverage. Hey Karel, everyone in this world has issues. Breaking News: using your radio show to hawk cash is pathetic even by your standards.

*That new FM sports station has hired a bunch of KNBR retreads and NY nothings. Little do they know that what's big and popular in NYC doesn't really work in SF. And the latest ratings and A's free fall isn't helping matters.

*Greg Papa has been noticeably absent from his hosting duties at Comcast SportsNet Bay Area's "Chronicle Live", of late. It's no secret that Papa is far more comfortable doing play-by-play, (as he does for the Raiders,) as opposed to the studio where he's forced to pretend he's interested in asking Ann Killion, Damon Bruce and Lowell Cohn about the Giants' lack of bunting. It could be worse: he could be forced to co-host with Rick Tittle.

*Today's KGO-TV '7Live' topic of the day: Can gentiles handle circumcision?

*During an interview this morning on the KGO Radio "Morning News", a military magazine guy kept referring to co-anchor, Jennifer Jones-Lee as "Chris." I'm not trying to pile on, but there's a story there, hello KGO news brass. Figure it out.

*Ah, the sheer pleasure of big-market morning news radio: traffic reports, weather, traffic, weather, commercials, traffic, weather, giggles, traffic, weather, sports, blah-blah-blah....(hello satellite radio, can you hear me now?)

*Follow me on Twitter

*Tips-Memos: (all confidentiality assured)


  1. The KPIX hiring of Frank Mallicoat is another blunder by news director Dan Rosenheim. He has no eye for talent.

  2. A couple thoughts - If anything, I think KGO's call screeners are too lax. Too often people get through with a point that is based on bad information or sound like they just want to rant about something. The rule should be that no caller gets on unless they have something to add to the discussion.

    The thing about the Bayview shooting speaks to a larger point. Used to be the Bay Area was pretty much a single entity - now it's split into more clearly defined sub-groups (East Bay, Contra Costa, North Bay, South Bay...) with their own issues that affect as many if not more people than what goes on in SF or Oakland. It makes for a tricky media environment when everyone wants "their news" from a source that has a wider area of coverage such as TV or radio.

  3. From a journalism conference a couple of years ago at UC Berkeley... one news director put it best when he said... Local news is irrelevant! It came in with the boomer and will die with them!
    but it doesn't have to be that way, take the Field of Dreams approach.. make it interesting and they will watch. Bean counters and lack o talent plus a young demo that doesn't want to wait to see what they want are part of the issue.
    oh yes.. one more thing.. if the past is any indication, an anchor talent takes about 3 years to grow on an audience, if, in fact, he or she has the ability and talent to do so...
    have a great weekend.

  4. Rich, I was wondering how that Frank Mallicoat warrants a vacation already, since he only started working at KPIX in early Spring. I mean, who gets a vacation after only working for a couple of months? While I am at it, I always like it when you post salaries of local media types, so what do the new people like Elizabeth Wenger, Grace Lee, Frank Mallicoat, Kristy Siefken, and Erika Martin make? It would be interesting to find out, in comparison to those who they replaced. Thanks Rich, for all you do!
    --Bob Smith on Facebook

  5. Elizabeth Cook,is a little stiff. I was suprised to find you posted about her in Januuary when I Googled,Rich. She's like a very young ,but dull,Terry Lowery.
    Kate Scott zinger= to,Radnich's "You wouldnt work with somebody who you thought was a phony?" She answered "no comment" or the like. He did his best to ignore what his ears heard!-lol.

    KTRB is catching 95.7 in the ratings since they went all spanish in sports.
    KNBR and 95.7 ignore the most rabid sports fans in the bay area-so live on Giant crumbs or meager ratings. It's what you deserve.
    signed, the masked S

  6. "Cutting off old callers"
    They ask the age of callers?
    To keep the show moving and their listeners awake I'm sure some callers are rushed, young and old. Maybe the callers taking forever to make a point or stumble on their words make you think that they are old, and if so deserve to be cut off. Boring radio comes in all ages.

  7. I beg to differ with you regarding your thoughts about the Bayview incident. I grew up in the East Bay (Hercules, Concord, WC) and this has been a major discussion with all of my friends whom I grew up with who are dispersed all over the country. Us "Bay Area Natives" are just that and see any event in this entire region affecting the place where we grew up in!

  8. You're so bitter over Chronicle Live kicking you off that you take potshots at the people who have more talent than you. Yawn.

  9. @ July 22, 2011 9:43 AM Last time I checked, Contra Costa was a part of the East Bay. I get your overall point though.

  10. "KTRB is catching 95.7 in the ratings since they went all spanish in sports."
    Where do you see that? KTRB didn't show up in the June book.

  11. Speaking of cutting off callers, Bill Wattenberg is the leader of the pack. He is just an old fart. Proudly proclaiming the open line to the West Coast blah blah blah ... call ... I or the audience will answer... blah blah blah...

    And he receives a question in a tone he doesn't like, or a question he senses is from someone against his POV, and they're history. He talks over them... and... adios.

    I know he and his "brains" have a big following here, but count me out.

  12. PA @ 4:42 Someone said something in an earlier RL post comment about foolish consistency and little minds, Wattenburg is no fool and he doesn't suffer them very well. He is a chauvinist though, he'll jump down a male callers throat in a heartbeat but you rarely hear him cross on the other gender.

    What Rich says about Owens is correct. Plays well with those Walnut Creek babes. Office gossip water cooler types. But could Ronn fall a tree or change a tire? Bill could do that in his business suit without even getting his hands dirty.

  13. No matter whether it's SF, Eastbay, North Bay, Peninsula, Wine Country, or the Silicon Valley, it's more official than ever before: viewers consider him Malliprop!

  14. Cutting off older callers? Agreed about Bill Watterburg, for sure! Another nasty one is Ray Taliaferro. It's just too painful to listen to either of them berate and humiliate their callers. I stopped listening to Ray when he savaged poor Sheldon, a frequent caller to KGO. Cruelty ain't my bag.

  15. Much better Rich! No whining, just sticking to tidbits and opinions. That's what makes this blog interesting to read.

  16. Bill Wattenburg gets a lot of arrogant prick callers from the left these days that wouldn't have dared call him a few years ago because he would have skewered them. he's slipping a little bit lately though so they like to try their b.s. now and they typically have that disrespectful condescending tone so i don't blame him one bit if he tells them to take a hike. Ray Taliaferro wouldn't put up with that crap either, nor would Christine Craft - its just a basic level of respect and civility that the host is entitled to, in order to run the show. Whatever you think of Dr. Bill, there is no denying that he is/was a hell of an intellect and 99% of the turds on here that criticize him aren't even in the same league.

  17. Hey Rich, will you call out your fellow Jew Michael Savage for erroneously blaming the Oslo massacre on Muslims today on his show? We now find out the culprit is a blue eyed, right wing Christian who Savage is enamored with; or do you only save your indignation for A's broadcasters who make a mistake during a game in Texas?

  18. I've always wondered if Ray Taliaferro planted those callers throughout the evening to spice up his program.

    Bay Area radio has "devolved" since the days of Ira Blue at the Hungry I and Don Mozely hosting "Music till Dawn" on KCBS.

    For me, KQED is the last bastion of dignified radio program (except during the pledge period).

  19. Agree with you on Karel, he opened a show a few weeks ago with a litany of his personal problems: no health insurance, when he lost his job at KGO it meant a $102,000 drop in income. I got so tired of it I had to turn it off. I used to listen somewhat for his take on the issues, but please, give your personal problems a rest! Like the old Dodger manager, Tommy Lasorda used to say, 90% of the people don't care about your problems, the other 10% are glad you have them. He should do what he was hired to do: a talk radio show!

  20. KGO needs to do what it does and concentrate on doing it the best. This trying to rope in younger listeners is making them look like a Dad at his teenage daughters party saying "I listen to (insert cool band name here)" Make sure you let the news people gather actual news that people care about and is relevant to how we live today. Get enough staff to show up where younger people are and that could help. OH and get rid of the voice guy , who they have voice topics (out of date and irrelevant to what is begin discussed by the host) with the smarmy delivery thinking that is a fresh sound. Its not done well at all. They make him say stuff about "us" or use phrases like he's from here. He couldn't sound more like a poseur (from the Bay, young etc). Just stop pretending and be who you are. X and Y can't stand that.

  21. Let me get this straight. You call out Karel and Jan Wahl for trying to make a living in a shitty economy. You call out Brian Copeland because he did not invite you on 7-Live. You call out the A's broadcasters in 3 blog entries for "laughing" when a dumb fan tries to catch a $7 baseball and falls to his death. And yet, as a previous poster indicated, when Michael Savage (a guy who used and abused you and then withdrew a lunch date with you) comes out and blames Muslims for the Oslo massacre for 2 hours on Friday you remain silent. You say nothing. Are you a closet right winger in love with blond, blue eyed Scandinavians killers like Savage? Or is it that you are just too afraid to take on a "powerful" Jewish talk show host? Are you a hands-off kind of guy when it comes to Jews in the media? I've been reading you for a while and I can not recall a single instance when you criticized a Jew. I'm sure it is just a coincidence right tough guy?

  22. Man....lighten up! Life is too short for this kind of nonsense. This guy obviously has some sort of persecution complex!

  23. Karel is nothing but an infomercial for himself.

    By accident, I turned on KGO last night and right out of the gate he was hawking tickets to his show, then promoting his website, then giving a shout out to the sponsors of his bike trip to Ireland.

    Does anyone in management actually listen to this man?

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  25. Sure agree with you re: Mallicoat. he came in as the vaunted prodigal son (from the east bay) returning to the bay area after years away, in Boston.

    yet he acts as if he's never lived here, even though he keeps bragging about growing up here. Mispronounced Jean Quan's name first day on the job, STILL calls the Guadalupe River the "Guad A LOOP River." It's ok to come into the bay area as a transplant from Boston. Not ok to brag about coming home and acting like a transplant from Boston.

    And what's with his "I'll take it" comment when the location reporter obviously hands it back to him with a "back to you Frank?" Frank Mallicoat, such a commanding captain of the KIPX morning new desk...that must be it, right?