Monday, December 12, 2011

Flash: Luckoff in negotiations to make radio deal involving ex-KGO hosts; Rich Lieberman 415 Media Exclusive


*Rich Lieberman 415 Media Exclusive.

Mickey Luckoff, the venerable SF broadcast figure that was a key exec with KGO Radio for over four decades, is in the midst of negotiating a deal with a radio property that would reunite some of the hosts dismissed on November 30.

Among the talk hosts working in line with Luckoff include Len Tillem, John Rothmann, and Gene Burns, local industry observers confirm to me.

Chief targets include a CBS FM property in SF, (probably "Live 105", which currently has an Alternative Rock format) and possibly, the 860 AM frequency, (right smack next to KGO; 860 AM is now broadcasting in Spanish and is an ESPN Desportes affiliate).

The Luckoff negotiations are in the very early stages, but given his multitude of broadcast experience and his laundry list of several monied interests, any potential deal has significant traction.

Specific elements of the deal being pitched are not known, but at least two of the hosts are known to be involved in any possible transaction down the road. Several insiders have told me that Luckoff has the wherewithal and "local juice" to pull "all of this off."

Format? Yes, probably news-talk dominated.

Stay tuned.

**Developing story...
*Tips/E-Mail: Rich.Lieberman@GMAIL.COM

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83 comments:

  1. I wouldn't listen to any of these guys. I'm not saying the do-over of KGO is a good thing but the talking heads listed above were not people I listened to. I don't get what it is about Gene Burns that generates such excitement. I couldn't listen to the guy. I would like to see some real liberal talk radio but the fact is, liverals won't support it. Recall Al Gore's failure in liberal talk radio.

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  2. I WOULD listen... and be eternally grateful.

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  3. Al Gore did radio? I thought it was tv? Go for it Mickey!!!

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  4. I'm right of center (some think far right), but an intelligent, local, common-sense station would get my support. And yes, Burns, Dr. Bill, and Gil Gross would be on my list I'd listen to. Even John Rothman. I'd even listen to a Michael Krasny type, as well as Lee Rogers. Maybe even Bob Brinker?? And I would listen to them 4-to-1 over Rush, due to the *local* aspect.

    Ray T., Bernie, Christine Craft, et al.? Ugh. I tried Karel, but too much sophomoric stuff for me. Tired. Played out.

    I hope that with the changing face of radio, some of these chaps will even consider a pay package that might be part incentive-based (i.e., based on listenership).

    I think they'd have an instant listenership, and advertising within weeks, as well as social media galore.

    GREAT news!

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  5. Holy Toledo!!!!! I'd love to see this happen!

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  6. This would be amazing. Go Mickey!

    @12:46, you probably weren't a KGO listener in the first place.

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  7. They're gonna have to get on FM to make a go of it. Gene still has legs, and Tillem certainly. But some younger skewed programming will be key, as well as a digital strategy.

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  8. Good news. We need listening choices!

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  9. Hey Anon @12:46

    Obviously you are Cumulus hackey. Thousands and thousands will go to 860 am in a heartbeat.

    Now, get back to your regular scheduled programming on Fox News.

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  10. Great news! If he can get Gil, Len, Christine and Dr. Bill Id listen!

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  11. @12:46pm, you make absolutely no sense. You read this media blog and you pipe in that you think the KGO move was wrong yet you bash every one of the fired hosts and tell us that you won't listen. So if you were no fan of Mr. Burns and have no plans to listen to Mr. Burns then why the heck do you opine about something you have no interest in? KGO was and is not Liberal. Never claimed to be. If you want liberal go to KPFA. I do hope there is something to this Luckoff move. Keep up the great work Rich!

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  12. Brilliant! What we had at KGO transcends frequencies and call letters. Haven't tuned into KGO at all since Black Thursday.

    Wow, CBS in THe Bay will rule if this is true. KCBS and Kxxx.....

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  13. in this economy, if luckoff makes this work...he deserves a medal of honor

    to the anon at at 1246, thanks for spewing your idiocy...as gore had no broadcasting xp and there is no comparison

    these hosts have a built in audience

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  14. Why is FM important?

    Please have the power to reach the WHOLE Bay Area!

    Oh Jesus, I just thought of this... imagine the whole crew goes over to the "new station", 80-90% of listeners flip over... and Ronn is over at KGO, few callers, no Sleep Train, no Alaskan cruise, and he is stuck over there with Uncle Matty... !!! ROTFLMAO.

    Funny scenario 2: Luckoff offers Ronn a job, at 1/5th the salary. Talk about a tough choice!

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  15. Rich...target stations could also include either of the Clear Channel AM talk stations...perhaps even pair that with the hopeless CHR station KREV (the former Energy)...while it's not the greatest signal, it generates close to 400,00 cume...add that to an AM & it could be something...back to flipping Live 105, that could utilize the resources of KCBS... also providing news updates, reporters for stories,etc and CBS is into synergies (See CBSSF.com for example).

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  16. Mickey Luckoff is a truly decent man with lots of integrity. I hoe this works out. I'll stay posted.

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  17. The only one I would listen is Tillmen. But will probably forget when he is on.

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  18. If Mickey can pull this off, it would be the best Christmas present he could possibly give to all of us.

    My wish list for ideal line up would have to include Gene Burns, John Rothmann, Lee Rodgers (good luck on this one)and Bernie Ward (in a couple of years). What diversity this would be and what great talk radio!

    Keeping our fingers crossed for you Mickey,
    Good Luck!!!

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  19. As we kids used to say in the sixties, "Grooovy!"

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  20. Please make this happen!! The dismissal of the KGO hosts has left a big void in many of our lives!! Please bring them back!!!

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  21. I'd listen at the beginning, but if the other station followed KGO's business plan of incessant commercials, so that each hour of "conversation" consisted half of commercials and half of disjointed call snippets, I'd soon stop.

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  22. 12:46
    Facts have a liberal bias.

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  23. Ken Dito can pick right up where he left off.

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  24. Mickey is a douche bag. F*ck him and the horse he road in on.

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  25. FM talk radio has been very successful in Seattle. I hope this works out. Is Ray T. retiring now? Anyone know?

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  26. As much as we've been dogging Ronn, Luckoff would grab him in a hot minute once his contract expires. He is, as the suits say, a rain maker.

    I liked Bernie's show but I really think he's done. The porn thing will follow him everywhere and taint any show. It would be nice to believe in Redemption but I just don't see it happening with talk radio.

    Any station with Rothmann and maybe Gene and I'm there!! Intelligent discussion of the issues regardless of where you sit politically. With that in mind, no need to hire Ray.

    Although they have good intentions, I don't think the KSCO thing is going to work out for most of the former KGO hosts. I doubt the money is there, they aren't as polished as the bigger stations, and now some of their regular listeners have been calling in not wanting any one to come into their or the owner's house and change things.

    If Luckoff makes a grab for LIVE 105, I would love it! They were my station of choice in the 80s and early 90s but I left when the music changed, Alex Bennett (local) got the boot and Stern (syndicated) came in. They stopped being a local radio station with their own personality and more of a distribution center for product out of LA and NYC. A once great station.

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  27. Pinch me!
    I hope this is more than wishful thinking. If it's true, Mr. Luckoff, you can count me in!

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  28. How great that would be...go for the FM! And doing it on the CBS side, if successful, would be only sweeter still. Really miss Gene. That voice would sound incredible on the FM dial.

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  29. If you can't join 'em, BEAT 'EM!

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  30. Same Len Tillem who writes the Prime Life advertisement in the Chronicle? Is Burns the libertarian & food guy?

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  31. If he can pull this off, he'll be a local hero to many talk radio fans in the Bay Area.

    I hope they don't pull KITS off the air, because it's the only station that plays alternative music. There are so many stations playing crappy music (99.7) that should go first.

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  32. @2:14 When KGO started doing that is when I stopped listening religiously. I have a feeling when the started upping the amount of commercials is when their ratings started to plummet.

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  33. FANTASTIC NEWS!

    I am a huge of Gene Burns, but the guy is around 70 years old, so one must accept that he is going to eventually retire and who could possibly replace Gene? Still, Rothman, Len and others would be sweet. I would even be willing to forgive Ronnnnnn when he could come over and accept that he will not be driving a new big white Lexus every year.

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  34. I always enjoyed the career coach Marty Nemko on the weekend, talking about issues related to employment and how to get a job, write a resume etc. Another useful service to the local community. That was what made KGO so interesting - lots of variety, something for everyone.

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  35. 860 (still Modesto based transmitter?) would open up several markets---so I hope they're successful with this endeavor.

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  36. If Mickey can pull this off, he will be a hero to tens of thousands of former KGO listeners.

    He did a fantastic job at KGO, and I would love to see a new station with John Rothmann, Gene Burns, Len Tillem, and other talented hosts. It would be even better if this station could be locally owned and not subject to the whims of a corporate overlord who treats its hundreds of radio stations like pawns on a chessboard.

    There are lots of radio stations that sound like lots of other radio stations. KGO provided a unique voice to the Bay Area, and its demise leaves a huge hole in local radio. Mickey Luckoff knows this business better than anybody else, and I wish him success in this venture.

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  37. this we would the best thing to happen to radio in a long time. mickey please pull it off i going through withdrawal and need the local flavor you bring.

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  38. What a Coup d'├ętat against Cumulus! I hope this happens.

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  39. Brings Us the same basic model as KGO ... thats what We all enjoyed ...
    a little news, weather, sports, traffic and lots of Local talk .... That's what
    kept them #1 for so long ... and so many, many of Us informed and entertained.

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  40. Uh, 12:46 is someone who used to listen to KGO years ago and quit when Bernie Ward was justifiably taken off the air. There is no diversity at KGO, it's a place for white men to go and opine about whatever their itch is. Sometimes Copeland makes a difference, sometimes he doesn't. He has dialed back any ethnic point of view on his Sunday show which is why I quite listening. Copeland does a much better job subbing for Owens. I'm not intersted in white bread talk radio. When issues about race ethnicity come up, it's just nauseating to listen to self satisfied hosts and callers talking out of their backside. The women on this station are horrid.

    I AM opposed to corporate scorched earth changes that cost people jobs. But this station was moribund and decaying.

    As for KPFA, same as above except self styled "progressives' are worse than conservatives.

    I have to laugh at all the folks here who aren't missing any mortgage payments or meals jumping up and down because those left behind, did not quit in protest. Delusional.

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  41. OMG, I so hope they got to 860 because I can get that station clearly up in Santa Rosa. Is there any way to contact Luckoff and encourage him? I miss Gene so much.

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  42. Best news in quite a while. What a cherry on top of the legacy for Michael Luckoff.

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  43. Must have a primo signal to make it work. Directionals need not apply.

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  44. Don't mess with Live 105. That's one of the three or four stations I listen to.

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  45. Ever since KGO talk radio was destroyed,I've had the hope that a White Knight would appear and do exactly what Mickey wants to do but I felt it was just wishful thinking. It would be fantastic if it happens. I didn't realize until KGO was no more, how much I depended upon certain talk shows. As stupid as it might sound, I've felt depressed because I've lost people who added to my life, Gene Burns,Len Tillem, Leo Laporte, Michael Finney, Gil Gross etc. I find it strange that it's now all about the news when that's exactly what Gene Burns discusssed in his sage and erudite manner. I tried listening to the new KGO but had to turn it off when I had heard the same news stories more than 3 times. Len,Leo, Michael and Bob Brinker provided me and thousands of others with valuable information that we would otherwise not have known. Suffice to say that Leo Ciolino is greatly missed. He was the weather and not the canned report Sandia Patel provides. The only time I will listen to KGO is the news from 2 to 7 p.m. because of Chris Burhart and Chris Bretcher who have maintained the comraderie that KGO was known for. I keep expecting to tune in and find them gone too. Bob S. said it best and I too wish Mickey Luckoff success.

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  46. A new news-talk FM may surface, but it will not be KGO junior. And it SHOULD NOT be KGO junior. Take the best elements of KGO, make sure they're up-to-date, and put them on FM. But don't just put the old KGO on FM. It will not work, because it will simply be keeping the patient on life support. The patient needs transplants, transfusions, and medical miracles to have a new lease on life. Accept that the KGO-AM you once knew is gone. Yet elements of it may resurface on a new frequency...embrace that and move on. You must.....

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  47. If anyone can do it, it would be Mickey. I wish him much Luck. I've been a KGO listener since 1988, spending anywhere from 40-60 hours a week listening to them. I'm very left, but tune into all shows, even the blowhard Dr.Bill. Since this changeover, I bet I listened to less than 10 hours all last week. A little bit of Brian and Karel and that's it. Stacey's okay on weekends. Can't stand that Spencer guy and Redeye is the worst show I've ever heard. The news totally sucks too. I may be down to 5 hours this week and maybe none after that.

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  48. This is likely not gonna happen.

    CBS will not sell Live 105 to anyone.

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  49. All I want for Christmas is...

    My KGO hosts back! Oh how I miss Gene and John! Len Tillem was live during my work hours so I missed that program but listened for years and referred others, and often listened on Sundays.

    Dining Around had the loveliest sound, and while I didn't listen every week, I did often and couldn't wait for the Cookie Bakeoff. And the fun between Gene and Chef Marc-it was sad he missed the Thanksgiving Eve program this year, though they made up brilliantly.

    And Gene's Christmas readings? I am in tears thinking we will not hear him read to us on his last program before we go to music for the Holiday. Thank goodness I found a download of a prior year's readings on my hard drive. It's still not the same as sharing it with others out there in real time.

    Gil Gross has become a hero to the community by taking up the flame for the Thanksgiving Charities. I love listening to him, whether he is providing news or presenting a topic for discussion.

    Gentlemen all. Mr. Luckoff was the genius to bring it all together, and may he and Mr. Swanson reign again.

    Can you imagine getting all that back and more? I can, and do :).

    aw

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  50. Great news! I sincerely hope Mickey Luckoff can do this. Intelligent talk is now sorely lacking in the Bay Area. There is talent to fill that empty space. Let's hope it happens.

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  51. Hot-diggity! Sounds so smart! Tres cool!

    I wish you lots of luck, Mickey Luckoff! You are a hero for even trying!

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  52. Michael Luckoff whatever you do, do not under any circumstances buy an FM radio station. Period.
    Any station on FM loses listeners very fast.
    Try listening to a station just 30 miles away at night. Good luck. (our next caller from down the street)
    To establish credibility, Luckoff must buy an AM station. AM signals reach all corners of the Western US. Prime listening audience.
    As other posters have indicated; AM 860/KTRB would be a perfect fit.
    Make them an offer Mickey.

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  53. Don't Touch LIVE 105. they are still a great station to get local bands on the air

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  54. Things MUST be bad at KGO these days if those people want to work for that prick Luckoff again!

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  55. F Ray T stealing money for years listened 1985 same shit 2011 is he piping something Down?

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  56. Wow.... If this happens I'll be there!!!! I think with some of the KGO hosts and so new faces it could be the best radio station. Mickey is the man to do this and I believe that these other stations will be very interested. How many times do you have a built-in audience all ready and willing to tune in.

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  57. You'd have my ears.

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  58. If anyone can do it..It's Mickey..get together the investors and do it..If ever there was a good reason for John Rothmann to invest some of his philanthropic family money in an important cause in San Francisco..this is it.. John..we would get to hear you again every night..and your money would eventually grow from this venture..GO FOR IT!!

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  59. It'll be C Crane all day long!

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  60. Anon at 1:09 wrote: "...KGO was and is not Liberal. Never claimed to be."

    *coughs*

    Let's see, who was conservative? Dr. Bill (2 nights a week), and maybe Bob Brinker (also weekends).

    No, they didn't claim to be, why push away 10-20% of your listener base? (Moderates and those on the right.)

    Wake up.

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  61. Gene is too old at 70 to do talk radio? While I have concerns for his medical issues, this is exactly the kind of technology needed to spread his knowledge and experience. Same with Dr. Bill, who is now 72 or 73 (with several very young children). This will sound dopey ... buit at one time we had village elders, cranky uncles, and knowledgeable neighbors. I think that talk radio has filled that void.

    And per Luckoff, Rothman, Dr. Bill, et al ... and money they might be able to invest in such a venture... they can't take it ($$$) with them!!! That's why you see Larry Ellison spending $100 Million on a boat ... it's his passion, and he won't be able to enjoy those $$$ when he's 82 in a rest home.

    P.S. How about a crazy idea... instead of retreads like Christine Craft or Bernie (no way, never), ... why not cherry pick well-spoken callers for radio tryouts? Let "Bill from Stockton" or "Nancy from Concord", after checking their background out a little, give them a try one weekend? You may find a new gem there.

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  62. All I can say is "Go, MICKEY, GO!"

    You're one of the last living examples of radio programming excellence.

    I can just see Mickey thinking now, "Ah! Revenge is SO sweet!"

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  63. This is a good thing that Mickey is thinking about. Mickey, how can we help make it happen? Let us know.

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  64. Hmmmm..how about at a new proposed radio station venture, putting together a volunteer staff to help out do misc things to help the paid folks. this would provide work experience in the radio field to people interested. and it would help get this new station kick started. And to go along with that, provide some time slot of on air time that is hosted by a representative of the volunteers (one of the volunteers) to be a voice of people with similar interests.

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  65. Oh, God, could this miracle actually occur? Go, Mickey, GO!! Lots of good suggestions here, but overall I'd be an INSTANT listener (esp. if Tillem, Burns, Gross, Rothman, Brinker, LaPorte came back. - Drag Dr. Dean out of retirement if poss!!!! We can dream, can't we?-)

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  66. I'm pulling for Mickey to pull this off. I just hope the signal will reach the North Bay. It's just plain boring driving around now with nothing intelligent to listen to.

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  67. Frank said...

    "Facts have a liberal bias."

    Leftists confuse their opinions with facts...

    Anyway... back on topic good luck Mickey.

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  68. How many of you trust fund babies are willing to pay for the new station that Mickey is putting together? All of you jackasses want something for free, but most of you are not willing to f--king pay for it.

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  69. So, read through all of these posts and no one mentioned why Mickey left KGO... I thought he was retiring - I have no idea why he left. Is this idea even realistic? Rich must know why he left and still thinks this 'insider' rumor is credible? Please!-I hope this is more than just a rumor and can come true! ...And, I would LOVE to have Bernie back! No one yet has filled his place. But we also need to get Pat Thurston out of there - I would rank her third after Bernie and Gene as my favorites. I really miss all of them, each one had something unique and special about them - even DOCTOR bill, who stuck up for Ray when callers bad mouthed him. And Ray is an absolute sweetheart. John Rothman whose perpetual theme sometimes got tiresome, was interesting when he talked history. Lloyd Linsey Young, Len Tillham, etc, etc....

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  70. I'm rooting for Mickey! I'd love to hear Gil Gross doing what he does best (anchoring news) in morning drive with a female co-anchor. Also, a CBS partnership would be a glorious way to help sink the new KGO.

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  71. Why Mickey left KGO: http://articles.sfgate.com/2010-10-31/entertainment/24545588_1_mickey-luckoff-citadel-broadcasting-farid-suleman

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  72. Whatever happened to Chris Clarke - The Slimey Limey? He was fun, controversial and extremely energetic. I remember he could talk for hours filling in from one show to the next and into his own. I remember he did 10 hours straight once and got a baker to bake him pies and deliver them to the station. He would be a great addition to Mickey's new/old line up.

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  73. Wow, this is great news. Can't wait to hear more!

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  74. Thank you, 6:36 AM post - I always wondered why Mickey left.

    Mickey, if you're reading this, get Pat Thurston and Jennifer Jones-Lee for your new station. And please let Bernie come back.

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  75. I hope Mickey can make this happen. I really miss these hosts. Keep us informed!

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  76. I liked Chris Clarke too and Pat Thurston is great! Bernie, yes! Get Bernie back.

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  77. Why would anyone want to see that scumbag Bernie Ward on the air? He is even worse than Cumulus! With Cumulus everyone pretty much knew what to expect, but Bernie was a fraud. I never liked the guy anyways because God forbid you disagree with him he could never have an intelligent debate about it (same thing with Pat Thurston and Christine Craft, the female versions of Bernie). Oh yea speaking about God, he was doing a show called God Talk? Give me an F'n break. As shitty as I think Ronn has handled this at least he's not a pervert like Bernie. I don't understand how any of you who would want him back could value his opinion.

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  78. Take it from an old Radio guy who has BEEN there! When the out of town (and out of touch) "suits" take a great notion to buy and ,then, to change the operation of a station in a local market NOTHING will dissuade them! Not the pleas of the listeners, not the longevity nor the loyalty of the staff, not the simple knowledge that "fine-tuning", not destruction, is the probable solution to the problems at hand. And, one year down the road,the ratings will be in the toilet, revenues will be way down, a great staff will be scattered to other market winds and a once-proud, and proven Radio station will be forgotten or, at best, little remembered. This is the way of all flash.

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  79. Is the next Occupy KGO rally Dec 30, 5:00, at 900 Front St? Or will it be someplace else? I want to be there. I missed the first one. Thanks.

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  80. I happened to be home a year ago October when it was announced that Mickey Luckoff had finally resigned after disclosing his letter of resignation had been in his desk for a year due to his feelings about KGO's new owners and I knew the death knell for the station I called home for the past 40 years was in danger of what has now come true. Mickey put KGO on the map and made it the top talk station in the nation by attracting the spectrum of talent that we enjoyed. Thus, I have been waiting and hoping to hear this news knowing that Mickey is the one genius that could possibly rectify this horrendous turn of events and give us back the station we have loved for so long--me since I was 11 years old. Go, Mickey! Perform your magic--we need a little right now-we need you. Your leaving KGO was instantly felt by me-and ultimately all of us.

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  81. It's great to have 910 newstalk take the place of KGO. I'd love to see Christine Craft on 910. What was wrong with these people. Best station ever and they wrecked it.Fight back talk radio fans

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