Sunday, December 4, 2011

How to get even with Cumulus/KGO Radio: Hit 'em where it count$; Occupy KGO too; UPDATE

Former listeners of KGO Radio Newstalk 810

The reaction and disgust is evident. They hear you. They are all the talk hosts, producers, various personnel from KGO Radio who were summarily dismissed last Thursday.

I've talked to a few hosts. They're doing fine considering the circumstances. I can't talk about certain things, but I've been told there could be something potentially positive coming out of all of this. More on that in a future posting. Stay tuned, as they say.

Moving on, I've been repeatedly asked what can be done. People have e-mailed and expressed anger and want to vent. I've been thinking a lot, (for a change). Seldom has such a move caused this much outrage among people who have expressed shock, anger and yes, again, outrage.

Here are some VITAL things you, (and others), your friends on Facebook and Twitter, and other social-networking sites can do that at the very least will let the powers that be know your displeasure.

1. Go to the KGO Radio website and make a list of all the sponsors. Two of the biggest advertisers are Sleeptrain and Dr. Scott Hyver Vision Care. There are more, but these two accounts alone spend a lot of money at KGO and Cumulus. Inundate them with e-mails telling them that you will BOYCOTT their products if they continue to buy time on KGO Radio. Have your friends do the same. Believe me, advertisers will be wary of spending money if they get enough of a response. They DO NOT like controversy.

An aside: It is my understanding that C Crane Radio has pulled their ads from KGO already. (UPDATE: Just Remnants and Burgermeister have also pulled their ads, 2: 09 PM)

Karel, who somehow was retained by the Cumulus snots, has a seminar planned this Wednesday with financial guru and big advertiser, Pat Vitucci. BOYCOTT IT! DO NOT GO and tell your friends not to attend. And yes, send e-mails to Vitucci and tell him you will not do business with him and/or his company if he advertises on KGO.

ITEM: Amazingly, it was told to me by a friend that Karel did an entire hour on Saturday night plugging his show with Vitucci. More on that in a future post.

2. OCCUPY KGO RALLY: Several people have asked me about the idea of staging a rally outside the KGO studios on 900 Front Street. All of you who are angry and want to plan a rally? This type of protest, at least symbolically, can be effective and I'm sure, draw media attention.

Those of you who have created anti-KGO Twitter and Facebook accounts can form a union. Pick a date and time, weekday preferably and bring lots of signs and tell 'em how you feel. Speak your mind and truth. That will no doubt hit them hard too and I'm sure, allow you all to channel your anger and energy in a positive manner. Again, it can't hurt.

Any of you who have other suggestions, yes, feel free to offer up ideas and I'll be happy to spread the word. Obviously I will report on any planned rally.


That's enough for now. Check back periodically for any news.

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

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  1. i think its wrong to boycott an advertiser for this reason...

    if the ratings go down...they will pull their advertising anyway

    if you write to the advertiser and say that you are no longer listening to kgo, and wont return with the current format...that will work in the same way that a boycott does

    its unfair to treat the advertiser as an evil entity

    forget the on air are the support staff doing...if many havent been layed sure they will be soon

  2. Another idea is to call/email/write/boycott/occupy Cumulus headquarters and express outrage.


  3. The advertisers are not the "evil entity". I would be more likely to buy a mattress at Sleeptrain if they stopped advertising with KGO. And, I am planning on buying a mattress after the holidays. Pat Vitucci worked with Len Tillem for years. If he has any loyalty he will reconsider his relationship with KGO. If he is still working with KGO in the future, I will not work with him. I value loyalty. It's my choice. Flying to Atlanta to Occupy Cumulus is not an option.

  4. A poster on where there are over 1,000 comments on this debacle reported this: "The advertisers for Just Remnants and Burgermeister emailed me to say they have suspended their advertising with KGO in light of this debacle..."

    It's a start.

    To bacci40, I disagree that it is wrong to boycott an advertiser for this reason. Advertisers put their own good names on the line when they place their advertising dollars. That's why mainstream companies don't advertise in Playboy. If they did, you can believe they would be the subject of boycotts.

  5. Burgermeister? I was not aware that beer was still being sold here in Northern CA.
    Any word on Falstaff?

  6. Calll Cumulus directly at 404-949-0700, then, use the company directory and type in DICKY (Lew) to leave a message for the president of Cumulus directly, Lew Dicky. It is the least we can do. Especially complain about how he and Paul Hosley treated the hosts and insulted us, the BAY AREA (listeners).

  7. I just emailed SleepTrain to remind them the Bay Area has been very good to the and they owe us there support to help reverse this travesty perpetuated by out of the Bay Area interests.

  8. Burgermesiter sells hamburgers. There's one on Columbus St close to Washington Square among other places.

  9. KGO has many outraged listeners who live a considerable distance from San Francisco. What can we do that will produce positive results?

  10. I'm sure advertisers will go to yelp to read/check reviews, so feel free to write something there too. KGO Radio had 4 stars last monday, now it's bouncing between 1 in a half to two stars. If you are new to yelp, try to write at least 5 mix reviews, yelp has been accused of filtering 1 star reviews for the "first review"

  11. Can someone tell me WHO the host was last night who talked UFO's and other stuff...


  12. I must say I just looked at the website..program schedule for next week and I was TOTALLY STOKED to see the fabulous KIM FOSTER on the roster from 12-2... Kim Foster, a former world class swimmer and mother of another is a veteran newswoman with a voice like velvet..I'm very happy for her and will be listening.

  13. If you stop listening, the advertisers will walk. If you keep listening, they won't. No need to engage in a secondary boycott against the advertisers. Or maybe you just want to screw the people who work at SleepTrain! Just like the Occupy people in Oakland wrecking the livelihoods of small business owners and workers in the name of power to the people. How noble! JW

  14. I'll bet if you asked Gene or Gil, they would be opposed to this kind of silliness. I'm not a Karel fan, but I listened to him Saturday night. He choked up telling how, after being fired, Gene had reached out to him and offered Karel encouragement, not resentment.


    Sorry for the long link. Found this article on other recent Cumulus firings.

  16. Anon @ 2:39: I think the Burger Meister referred to here is the chain of burger restaurants in the Bay Area ( that Gene Burns did live reads for, and not good ol' "Burgie." Word on the street, though, is that Cumulus' crack sales staff is this close to signing up Hamm's, Oly and Rainier.

    I wonder how many more of the advertisers Gene did reads for, like Don Francisco Coffee, will go out the door with him. I don't think I've heard a host do better, more organic-sounding reads than Gene.

  17. Steve Moskowitz must stop advertising on KGO pronto! If he alone stopped advertising it would send the goons at Cumulus a strong message.

  18. Here is another take I have on this sad, sad event, which I think is really stupid. (I mean, where do I go to get news now? I already turn to sfgate.comn,,, ft. com and then even CNN and other sources. And we've already got an all-news station I don't listen to!!)

    1) Does Mickey Luckoff have any fight left in him? Does he have a lot of children he needs to set up, or does he have some of the dough needed to bankroll a new organization, and start a new all-talk radio station?

    2) Could Jim Gabbert join the fray? He has deep pockets. Millions.

    3) 49ers. How long is there KGO contract? This could be HUGE!!

  19. Yes, Karel did do a bit with Pat Vitucci (Pat, lay off the heavy breathing in the phone there, buddy!) and it did smack of an infomercial but the seminar might still have some useful information. Sometimes you gotta keep those advertisers happy even if it wasn't a paid for segment like those odds makers on the sports stations. Karel's position yesterday was more of a "support the KGO advertisers or there will be more layoffs" approach though.

    Good for C Crain for pulling out. They were to Dr. Bill what Amichi's is to Ralph on KNBR.

    Both Kristine and Karel took some heat yesterday from the listeners. They let the people vent and Kristine, the pragmatist, knocked down those fringe callers who thought these firings were a conspiracy to limit free speech, or whatever. They had to say goodbye to their friends too so I don't think they are going to spew too much of the company line. And Karel's choked up reaction talking about Gene was heart felt.

    We can bitch and moan and, yes, morn the loss of our favorite hosts during the regular week but you can still hear pockets of the old KGO on the weekend. I don't like the firings (but understand them) and I'll miss my favorites in Gene and John but perhaps another way to let Cumulus know how you feel is to boycott the all news parts, the piped in syndicated over night crap, but STILL support the local (or semi-local with Karel) original talk shows on the weekends.

    Can anyone out there tell me if the ratings numbers are detailed enough to distinguish between the weekend shows and the other time slots? Would this work?

    Here's hoping that the positive thing Rich can't talk about is a NEW FM talk and news radio station locally owned and run.

  20. Gabbert and Rothmann could buy an fm...talker..with Mickey managing.

  21. Thank you, C Crane Co. I will be placing an order with your company tomorrow and will personally express my appreciation to you for standing with the KGO employees.

  22. I agree with those of you who said we should boycott current KGO advertisers. This will send a strong message. Also, an organized protest outside KGO offices, letter-writing and phoning Cumulus will have an impact. Also, letters to the editors of Bay Area papers will draw attention. We should also pressure local tv stations to cover this story. It's still evolving. My guess is a lot of people won't learn of this travesty until tomorrow or the next day. And remember, don't blame Karel and the others who are still there. They are as in as much shock and bewilderment as we are. Odds are they are feeling heavy pressure. It's not like Karel to do an informercial. His back must be against the wall. And Ron going on vacation for two weeks suggests he's trying to get out of the field of fire.

  23. Would someone please explain how they find the money to re-up Ralph but on the other hand, this grand switch/commitment to news does not include Gil Gross, who came from the ABC Network as a newsman. Wouldn't he have been perfect to lead the charge? They have no stars left. If they were serious about doing news, why would they have not made an attempt showcase their most seasoned news veteran?

  24. This might be a dumb question, but what is happening with KSFO? We know about KGO, did I miss the KSFO bloodbath?

  25. @7:24pm great point. If they want to go all news, then why get rid of a great news man like Gil Gross? Watching 60 minutes this evening I was thinking so much of Gil. He covered the issue of the lack of a single prosecution by the Justice Department recently. Look, it is obvious the Cumulus move was strictly a financial one. They retain airhead in chief Jennifer Lee Jones and throw Gil Gross under the bus? That's the genius Dickey at work. Maybe we are underestimating the hardhitting TMZ angle, which Jones Lee seems to enjoy thoroughly.

  26. Someone mentions the legendary Jim Gabbert, what about the other big names in the KGO audience? Come on Clint Eastwood, Margrit Mondavi and many others, how about showing support for Bill, Gene, John and the rest of the KGO family? We know you are out there. My goodness, no cookie exchange? Why not? Make lemonaid out of the Cumulus lemon tree.

  27. I'm guessing that Cumulus bought the radio station because it has tax loss carryforwards that they can use to offset profits from other sources. They probably plan to use the tax benefits then kill the station; at least they are certainly moving towards killing the station.

  28. @7:54PM, Cumulus probably opted to keep Jones-Lee over the veteran newsman Gil Gross because she is younger (appealing to a younger demographic) and probably earns less than Gil. And not only is she a huge fan of TMZ, but she loves NASCAR and country music. Gil, probably not so much.

  29. Pat V. preys on people's fears. Constantly telling folks that they are too stupid to invest their money. He's only in it to charge his 1% of your net worth.

  30. Anon@5:22, Gabbert/Rothmann/Luckoff could buy KGO!

  31. Join us on Facebook, like Occupy KGO

  32. Don't know if I wasted my time, but I did email Cumulus' webmaster about the KGO firing of good people. I told them that SF Bay Area is not like Atlanta and that they would end up losing many listeners.

  33. Maureen Bradley-LazoDecember 5, 2011 at 10:58 AM

    Long time listener of KGO. No more. Sad.Love you Gene, John.

  34. They're still playing the Gil Gross Segale Bros. ad, at least on the internet stream.

  35. This is how the people live on the lower half of the bell-curve.

    On Sunday night, 12/4, there were three calls that tipped the scales:

    1 - A woman arguing with voices in her head;
    2 - a 13 year-old girl discussing her sex life - Child Porn!
    3- A loonie demanding Obama's long-form birth certificate.

    KCS FM has great jazz. 91.

  36. Swamp KGO telephone lines with call ins to the talk show remaining and then hang up. This will tie up their lines so the remaining scabs that are calling in can't get through. Call or email KGO sponsors and request that they pull their adds, I have already received a response from C Crane and they indicated that they are very upset by what has happened at KGO and have put their adds on hold. BOYCOTT KGO!!!!!!!!!!

  37. I am one who is in agreement with "those fringe callers who thought these firings were a conspiracy to limit free speech":

    Losing KGO as it exists is much like losing a good friend. And having it replaced by a redundant style of news that already exists at KCBS and by a far, far right radio host at 12 midnight (Red Hot Radio) is a shot in the heart. There are few radio stations in the US with moderate/moderately liberal radio hosts, and it appears corporations want to get rid of them all, replacing them by red wing hosts.

    I listened to the new radio host at midnight and someone called in about environmentalists and polluters. The host said they were exactly alike, they both held their positions because they each made a lot of money–He gave an example of Al Gore as an environmentalist making a lot of money. The listener said there is no comparison between the two; there are lots of corporations who make huge amounts of money from polluting, and there are only a few environmentalists that make any money. The host responded by saying, “Are you contradicting me? Who let you call in?”

    KGO, I am sure, was making a lot of money with its current format. KGO’s new redundant format will, I predict, lose lots of money. Corporations DO NOT CARE ABOUT PEOPLE, they most often do things only to make money. But I think Cumulus DID NOT change format primarily to make money–-They did it to stifle OTHER points of view than theirs, those of big corporations who want America to become an oligarchy run by the big corporations.

    Call me a cynic, but I think the takeover of KGO is part of a larger conspiracy by corporations in the US

  38. This is the response I receive from Sleep Train, BOYCOTT SLEEP TRAIN AND KGO!!!!!!
    "Thank you for your comments regarding KGO-AM changing format. We recognize that this change has affected many listeners like you. KGO's senior management has assured us that they are committed to making the station better. While we do not have control over KGO's decision, we still support Ronn Owens, Jon Bristo and Jennifer Jones Lee and want them to succeed under the new format. We are forwarding your feedback to KGO's senior management in the hope that it's incorporated into their programming decisions. We appreciate your support and wish you the best this Holiday season."


    George Trent
    Customer Service Manager

  39. Consumers have only one weapon: their dollars. Not only can you withhold your dollars, but you can tell businesses that you are going to withhold your dollars. They will put up a brave front at first, but eventually, if consumers continue to tell them that they will withhold their dollars, and then do it, the business will cave. It is important that the Boycott become known. Writing letters to the Editor helps. Telling your friends helps.

    Take the case of Glenn Beck. As he became increasingly hysterical, anti-Semitic, racist and threatening, organizations and individuals began to write advertisers telling them that they were not going to buy their products anymore, and then they backed up their threats with actions. Others who heard about the boycott also joined the boycott, because while they agreed, they had been afraid to boycott. In the end, Beck had only one advertiser and his contract was not renewed. It took a year.

    The point of owning a business, and KGO is a business, is to make money. If they make less money with this format than they made with the old format, management will be unhappy with whomever made the decision to make the change. We have to make him know he has bought an ounce of copper with an ounce of silver.


    1. Unfortunately, Glenn Beck has found a new radio home on 9:10 am radio in San Francisco.