"You can't imagine the atmosphere here. The situation inside is bad. Real bad. We're being over-worked. We're all stressed out and morale is at an all-time low."
That's what its like inside the newsroom at KGO 810, according to another staffer who called me out of the blue to say it's bad, real bad.
Moreover, the source, who wanted to remain anonymous, said that "news managers", in order to "cram in" twelve hours of content, are over-working a short staff. Tension is high, stress is overwhelming, and many people are just trying to cope.
Said the staffer, "simply coming to work is a chore." And yes, many inside are completely aware of the anger and vitriol from listeners who were blindsided by the sudden format switch. Like the other news staffer that I spoke to, this person also stated management should have conducted dry runs to make it sound better.
Some other items: Peter Finch, the 7-10 PM anchor, is being lampooned by virtually all the staffers. I don't know Finch, but heard him periodically on KFOG. Finch sounds lost in space indeed. And yes, on Wednesday night, he said, mistakenly "This is KFOG, uh, I mean, KGO..." Nervous laughter and unseemly giggling. Sounded like a frat house party. And his partner, Mindy Madori, or whatever, sounds about 19 on the air. Never heard of her, only that she's from Sacramento. I hope they looked at her driver's licence.
I purposely tried hard to listen last night. All they're doing is re-hashing old news and playing old actualities. There's a lot of traffic reports, inane chatter between anchors and occasional sports and weather folks. There's also extended re-plays of prior bits from the morning and afternoon news. It's mostly forced, old, and severely contrived. There's no there there.
Yeah, it sounds brutal on the air. No wonder everybody feels like crap and the mood is awful. Morale is bad? No shit, Sherlock. Maybe they should call Dr. Edell and se if he still does house calls.
*A few things to get off my chest:
One, yes, to those who have called me out for my anti-KGO and perceived about-face. I had issues mostly with news. I never figured they'd blow the building up and go all-news. Most of the talk hosts were favorites of mine, except Taliaferro, (who was close to retiring) and Karel, for whom I at first, liked, but later on, found his show predictable and annoying...I wrote extensively that Gene Burns was probably going to be forced out, (what with health issues, etc), but that I found him to be an exceptional broadcaster.
Ronn Owens is another story. I respect Ronn for his professionalism and commended him on his first-rate interview technique, his master of politics, the Middle East, pop culture and garnering A-rate guests.
How do you find fault with a guy who's been at the same station for almost 37 years? Hello!
That said, I think his comments about the "elephant in the room" was a disgrace. I think, yeah, he OWED his colleagues more. I found fault with his disingenuous statements. It was false "shock." It sounded like Ronn was ill-prepared and frankly, he should have never been forced to do a show on the air that day. Even Jack Swanson said that.
So yeah, I have issues with Ronn. I think his Sleeptrain schtick is embarrassing and unseemly for a broadcaster who won a Marconi and is in the Radio Hall of Fame. And I have called him out on that. I also had issues with Gil Gross too, really wasn't a huge fan of him as a host, but loved his work as an ABC Radio news anchor. They could really use him now.
So yes, I've ripped KGO pretty good. But I've also been complimentary too. That's pretty much my MO with all the outlets locally. I think I've been fairly consistent, but you can't please everyone.
*Even at its worst, KGO, contrary to a lot of thinking, made a ton of money. While definitely in need of some tweaking and programming change, the idea that a bunch of out-of-town corporate raiders invaded a community and stole a valuable listener entity, is revolting to me and thousands of others.
I know a lot of people who work inside that building. Some are friends. Some are not, personally and professionally. I don't wish anyone ill will--there is, after all, far more important things in life. I don't need to spell it out, you know what I'm talking about.
That said, no one, even the lackeys, deserve the angst, the undue stress, the sheer madness apparently taking place inside the building. Someone, some organization, needs to be accountable. I believe the operative word is karma.
And karma is a bitch, you know.
UPCOMING: I'll be sharing with you my conversation with Len Tillem. Check back periodically for the latest news.
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