Wednesday, July 4, 2012

SF Talk Legend Jim Eason Chimes in with a Thought about KGO

Remember me? I used to work at a major San Francisco radio station...and one that was almost "major."

Someone tipped me to your site...I had almost forgotten about Bay Area radio - I never, never listen
anymore - and I really enjoyed catching up on all your rantings. I love it.

As I frequently tell my (few) friends, "I hope KGO and KSFO sink beneath the waves and are forgotten."

I had a pretty good run there ( My time slot was ALWAYS number one, look it up ), but the final few months
were miserable. Not as bad as things there are now, but bad enough.

And, I never tell anyone which stations I worked for, just "I used to work in radio in the Bay Area."How have the mighty fallen.

Keep up the good work.




Jim Eason




*Follow me on Twitter

57 comments:

  1. Whoa...what a delight. Mr. Eason was the absolute best. He's right. The demise of KGO began with the purchase of KSFO and everything changed. Jim's shows got me through many a day ( and overnight, when he first started). Heck, he taught me to LOVE Mel Torme with the obvious joy they both had when Torme was on his show whenever he performed in SF. Hello, Jim. So glad to know you're alive and kicking

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  2. The fact that Jim Eason said he has very few friends doesn't surprise me one bit. Alex Bennett was right- KSFO was once a great station but it now has become a repository for a bunch of right-wing jack-offs. A sad end to a once great tradition.

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    1. People worth knowing usually don't have tons o' friends. Usually they have one or two at most. True friendship is very rare. People who think they have all kinds of friendsy wiendsies....really don't.

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    2. Bay Area jack offs like you could learn a lot from Mark Levin on KSFO 3P-6P. Listen and learn fool.

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    3. Isn't Mark Levin the guy who Michael Savage says: "sounds like Groucho Marx getting a hysterectomy without anesthesia"?
      Sorry, never heard that guy's show...

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    4. KSFO currently is in the vetting process of trying to get extremists to come forth. There is a plan to make the world more interconnected so that fewer wars will take place, and the nut cases you heard on KSFO were part of that effort.

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  3. Jim, we miss you!

    Although our politics only overlapped partially, we always found you to be thoughtful and pleasant to listen to.

    As have hundreds of thousands, we have removed KGO from our radio buttons and listen to NPR instead.

    We used to stream KGO into our lives from many places in the world. I just removed the link today from our browser. It's a sad reminder of the rise of corporate radio.

    Old fans,

    in Otavalo, Ecuador

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  4. I rarely agreed with Jim Eason, but I did listen to his show because he demonstrated the characteristics that anyone would enjoy in a radio host: smarts, being informed and entertaining. I haven't listened to KGO in more than six months, and though I miss it, I know that I'm missing the old KGO not the current deck of dreck and yahoos.

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  5. I though old Jim was dead.

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    1. speaking of old, is Savage still spouting his Islamo ignorance: "What has Islam contributed to science" bullshit? What a laugh. Love Savage when he's the old uncle, but his politics are as strange as his, ah, em, rise to radio prominence. He and Karel would make a great couple.

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  6. Hey Jim....you were a fine talk show host and even though I didn't agree with your politics, your show was entertaining and informative.

    But your bitterness and the acid-like comments you made shows that you haven't been able to move on. Many of us have been fired before, but that's the 'nature of the beast.' You were lucky to have a good job for many years at a top station. You should at least feel fortunate that you didn't have to hop-scotch all over the country, or move from station to station in SF.

    I hope your retirement is enjoyable and relaxing, and that you aren't 'stewing in the juices,' about the bad times you might have gone through at the end of your tenure at KGO. Plus you were allowed by management to broadcast your program from your house back east. How many folks in radio get that kind of a deal?

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    1. Just because he's right doesn't mean he shouldn't tell it like it is. Attacking him with the word "bitter" is just poop.

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    2. Maybe 9:22 hasn't had a job that wasn't like a "job." Maybe this person was doing something they didn't like. When you do something you love and have passion for and then get unceremoniously dumped or are forced to make a career decision, you can't help but be bitter. If you're not, you have damage of the brain. Or are a heartless, gutless swine. Maybe 9:22 cuts grass for a living...makes the double espresso grande with a lemon twist for the MILFs who go to Starbucks during the day...or just sits at home smoking cigarettes and watching Captain Kangaroo.

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  7. Meh... all you commenters, whatever you thought of Jim, his politics, or his bitterness... it's irrefutable that Jim was a "real" radio professional, back when there was actually a high bar of entry for such a position. In Jim's day, just to be on the air at all one had to study up and pass a rigorous FCC exam to get a license (which the FCC required to be on display). One had to adhere to broadcast standards. One had to be consistently and reliably informed and present for your shift, which meant being up on current events, and a lot of old-fashioned pre-Internet show prep. Those who were really good at it -- like Jim -- were popular and successful and were accorded a certain amount of respect and gravitas in the industry.

    In these times, NONE of the above is necessary: you can take any schlub off the street and put him on the air, the FCC doesn't care as long as there are no nip-slips or swear words. Show prep? Ask Barbieri about that. Nor is there much left in the way of building and supporting gravitas around a show host; we just change them out if they get cranky or pricey. The theory goes along the lines of, "studies show that people only listen to a portion of the hour and move on," and we program with the hopes of putting something on the air that's shocking enough to keep people on our channel long enough for the people meter to count it (that would be 7 minutes). Developing and presenting world-class talent like Jim Eason or Don Sherwood or whomever else you want to single out as a past great, that doesn't happen any more. Unless you're a potty-mouth like Howard Stern, perhaps. Or you own your network like Rush Limpjaw. But even that kind of empire can crumble quickly, just ask "Dr Laura."

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    1. All valid points mentioned at 10:12.
      Here is my evaluation of how talk radio has gone. As in down hill.
      These are attributes of quality talk show hosts (speak the english language and do not use teenage slang)

      Examples of good talk show hosts:
      Owen Spann
      Jim Eason
      Ronn Owens

      Examples of bad talk show hosts:
      Anyone at KNBR 680.

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    2. So much for "theories!" Who invented that one?

      Truth is, I used to keep KGO on most of the day (my job involves driving all day). But I'd shop around at the top of the hour to see what the next hour of talk would be...I'd even suffer through the lengthy commercials in order to catch Dr. Dean.

      Dr. Dean was the first casualty for modern day KGO and I have pretty much become faithful to Fresh Air at 1 on KQED.


      To tell the truth, given the endless irritating commercials elsewhere, and after the KGOne hair kari, KQED stays pretty much on the dial all day now. I have come to enjoy even their pledge breaks! The announcer's voice is so soothing and they will often feature a celeb with some interesting commentary. I joined at the monthly level last spring. KGO can take its damn theories and choke on them! In order to support superior programming without endless Cars for Kids, etc., the faithful public will open our wallets!

      --A tale of one listener, and probably more than one

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  8. Thats some high praise Rich. Seriously. He Was The Man at the time. No question. Very few have a foundation of right and wrong upon which to build a life philosophy that does not fluctuate based on focus groups.

    It you talk straight shit, they will listen. If you don't you're just another disposable pair of wax lips like the ones we are inundated with now.

    @Joeneverleft

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  9. I listened to KGO daily back in the early to mid-80's. It was "must listen" radio, and was always on in my truck while I tooled around The City making deliveries.
    KGO was THE major force in town - an influencer, and Eason's show was appointment radio.
    KGO now is irrelevant and an afterthought. If I need news - I go to KCBS and KQED.

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  10. I grew up listening to Jim Eason, via my dad.... Miss both men.

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  11. every election season i remember to take Jim's advice with me to the polling place...DRIP "don't return incumbent politicians"...

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    1. Vote the rascals out!

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  12. Jim had such a likable, pleasant voice. He always introduced himself to callers, "Hi this is Jim Eason, KGO". He seemed like he was most popular from around 1972 to 1978. His interviews and topics were very good and obviously cut from those times. I don't recall him interjecting his political beliefs very much during this period. Didn't that come later in the 1980's? Something changed by then for him, ratings, society, radio? It was a strange transformation for him from mid '70's icon to early '80's right winger. What happened?

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  13. I rarely agreed with Mr. Easons politics but listened to him regularly. He always displayed traits I respected, like the other hosts I liked; Mr. Eason had knowledge of the subject matter being discussed, he was eloquent and well spoken, he allowed opposing views to be developed by the caller, he was usually respectful to the callers and his show was truly a dialogue on a subject.
    Can you imagine Karel, Pat Thurston or ‘Monty” displaying any of these traits?
    I rarely listen to KGO anymore and I share Mr. Easons desire to she KGO and Cumulis as a whole sink beneath the waves

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  14. Great to see Eason is still alive and cooking! Loved his show.
    His North Carolina charm always came through. Once I phoned him to
    tell me about North Carolina. My brother lived there and Jim gave
    me a wonderful description. Always loved his sendoff, "Do what you
    can, but behave yourself!" Miss you on the radio, Jim.

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  15. A real coup there Rich. Jim Eason was one the originals in Bay Area Radio.

    Interesting that his last year at KGO was difficult. I wish he had elaborated on that point.

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    1. That was the "Issue" with "The Savage" Weiner giving his daughter a "Hard Time" I heard it bordered on sexual harassment.

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  16. Re: 11:18 AM.... I was thinking about Karel, Thurston and Monty and then I reminisced about some of Jim's programs: professional, prepared and informative, irregardless of his politics. Quickest way to lose an audience is to disrespect them....KGO has succeeded beyond their wildest expectations.

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    1. I completely agree. I've called all the hosts at some point and the current trend seems to be to allow the caller a few seconds to state their point, then totally cut them off so ha the host can rant on with their own pppsition/agenda

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    2. Disrespect. Perfect way to describe the way KGO has treated its once loyal audience, especially with the clowns they've been putting on Sunday nights and weekend mornings. Loud, boorish, obnoxious, uninformed fools the lot of them.

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    3. Eason spent an entire show teaching his listeners how to shave a beard once. Even took callers. You think Karel lacks substance?

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  17. Thanks for digging up Jim Eason. I enjoyed his show always.

    Is there an update on Bernnie Ward?

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  18. Didn't Eason "discover" this blog 6 mos. ago ago? I remember bitter comments then too.

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    1. I, too, seem to remember Mr. Eason previously writing into this blog at least once or twice. At that time he also said he recently "discovered" this site, and said he enjoyed the criticism of his former Bay Area employers. He must be getting forgetful.

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  19. Don't understand his bitterness regarding previous employers, Jim had a good run. He did earn it, but they compensated him, too. And, as another poster noted, Jim was allowed the last year or so to remote from his home. Back then, that was a luxury, relatively unheard of. KGO is pretty much gone. Pat Thurston still interviews authors, and converses, mostly, with her callers. Karel has been on a depressive tear lately, probably mostly due to watching the deck chairs being re-arranged as KGO slips beneath the waves. KSFO has mostly flown the coop, with Sussman possessing little if any ability to have a decent conversation. John Batchelor can be informative for foreign affairs, but toes the party line on domestic concerns. As for ex-KGO hosts, I miss Gene Burns the most, he at least allowed callers to expand their thoughts, unlike Taliaferro, who ranted and played moldy jazz. Gill Gross has an awkward laugh, hard to pin down, but hear it just too much. At least he and Rothman can get air time. Beats KNBR any day of the week. But back to Jim. For him to be such a sour puss this late in the game? Well, that's just uncalled for.

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    1. Taliaferro-"moldy jazz"?
      you have no taste.

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  20. I seem to recall that Jim's problems with KSFO had to do with the off mic staff who he believed were sabotaging his show for political differences.

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  21. Hey 8:29, troll for your boy somewhere else.

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  22. Hey Rich, Do you know the back story between Eason's daughter and Savage?

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  23. Good grief, I used to listen to Jim Eason in the 1970's. Couldn't continue listening in the ensuing decades with college and work. KGO in the 70's was a great station with Jim, Owen Spann, Art Finley, Ronn Owens, Bob Trebor, and Al "Jazzbeaux" Collins. Michael Krasny was the occasional fill-in.

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  24. The smug, arrogance, ego slobs and so called radio talent at KGO, that all got shit canned just shows that your never so high up you can not drop like a led ballon. I'll never forget Gene Burns telling a caller, he and his colleagues were untouchable. Demographics, economics,etc. would not affect the great Gene Burns ,or his colleagues. Never listened to a more smug group of clowns my whole life.We all know Mr. Burns predictions never came true.

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    1. Oh, and I suppose Michael Savage is the epitome of humble, eh? No one's perfect. Just remember that, you gnat.

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  25. I remember Jim Eason! The fianl few months at KSFO back in 2000 seemed like very unhappy days for him. So I guess he either retired or went to bigger and better things. If memory serves me correctly, he left KSFO a few months before Election 2000. He should have stuck around just a little longer for all that Election 2000 controversy. He would have loved discussing the butterfly ballots no matter what part of the political spectrum he was on!!!

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  26. thanks jim eason for entertaining me home to santa rosa from san francisco daily after work for many years back in the day...

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  27. I can't even tell you how much I miss KGO. It truly is like an old friend passed away.

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    1. I was a faithful listener of KGO for 20 years. My hobby is woodworking and I started listening to Duane Garrett back in the day in my shop at night.

      I stopped listening at the end of the year as repeating the same things over and over did not entertain me. It was more interesting when a news event happened and you could listen to people discussing "Issues if the Day."

      I now bounce around the dial looking for something as background but nothing compares to the old KGO.

      It it very sad!

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  28. In the 70's I was a meter reader for PG&E and took to carrying a little transistor radio (remember those?) in my pocket. I would tune around for entertainment (reading meters is really not very intellectually stimulating) and I came across KGO one morning; Jim Dunbar was on the air at the time, he caught my ear, and I was hooked on 810 for the next couple of decades. I read meters for about eight years and loved being outdoors - and the education I received from KGO while listening to the hosts (well prepared, interesting topics, spirited debate, nothing "dumbed down" about them) and the best of guests (authors, actors, comedians, local celebrity, musical talent - I particularly remember Maya Angelou guesting with Owen Spann on a regular basis when she lived in the Bay Area) was worth more than the college education I never received. And Jim Eason, when not challenging me to THINK, how he could make me laugh! From the stories of his babies crawling across the floor eating whatever had been dropped (I can't remember the specific details of that story) to his "Friday Follies" (never on Friday, of course) when folks would call in with their "talent"...everything from card tricks to Scotty Plummer, the amazing young banjo player. Jim would ask the callers how they'd like the "stage lights" adjusted and the "act" would proceed as though we were all watching, some so painful they were funny, many truly gifted. Such joy!

    Oh, how we miss the pros!! Thanks for the memories, Jim.

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  29. Jim was a pro and missed. Way back when....when spots ran for Michael Krazney he would utter the term "get out." Jim if you read this why did you do that? FYI, your exit via KSFO was crap, you deserved a better send off. Good to hear from you!

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  30. Jim, you were my first radio love. Afternoons have never, ever been the same since. You were the best.

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  31. Like others, I too miss the old KGO radio. Started listening about 1987 consistently, my brother had listened before and would mention Spahn, Owens, etc. I had started my talk radio listening days before as a teenager with KABC in Southern California - Dr. Toni Grant (shrink), Michael Jackson, and others.

    Yes, Jim Eason was good, the little I heard, but boy he comes off now as a bonafide through-and-through sourpuss. In fact, didn't KGO (810 AM) have another good 10-12 years *after* he left?

    Indeed, he was given the rare privilege of broadcasting from his new home in North Carolina!

    Additionally, KSFO has had a good run up until recent times, so is this more sour grapes? Didn't GM Mickey Luckoff go from one super solid station - KGO - to two very good stations, KGO and KSFO? (Splitting one to be liberal, and the other conservative.)??

    Furthermore, I thought Eason's dream was to go to North Carolina and make furniture? I guess that didn't pan out, eh? I don't recall how he ended his tenure at KSFO, but when you try to continue to be the king from 3,000 miles away, that's tough. And I bet he still wanted San Francisco money.

    You'd figure after all of that money, at a job many would covet, he'd be a little more gracious and circumspect.

    I do miss Gene Burns terribly, but he wasn't perfect, either. I called him on ocassion. My gripe with him was that he would suffer fools gladly... keep them on the line for 5, 7, 10 minutes (he'd even miss commercial breaks for these fools!!), while logical callers were often just given a minute or two. And recent revelations here that Gene had a much younger lovers / hangers on, smacks as so superficial - compared to the eloquent, intelligent man we all loved.

    And please, Taliaferro was a bore, Ward an angry soon-to-be-convicted criminal. Did the slow downfall start with Duane Garrett's suicide?

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    1. I think the evening sagged when Bernie took over for Duane but it picked up again when they moved Gene from afternoons to the 7-10 slot. Gene may have been one of the top hosts in the US.

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  32. I recall an interview that Jim did with Douglas Adams. It was the funniest, most entertaining hour I recall ever hearing on radio.

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    1. Jim Eason also would interview a SF comedian who did a knockout Ray Taliaferro impersonation.
      Do not remember the comedian's name but his routine was one of the best.

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  33. I was listening to Mr. Eason while still a teenager in the mid 1970's until he left the air. Mr. Rodger's was a good "replacement" for him when he left. There are times I wish i could call them both as if they were both personal friends of mine.

    They didn't tell us what to think but taught me how to think. I do enjoy Barbara Simpson on the weekends but for me, weekday radio hasn't been the same.

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  34. We loved Jim's show on KGO, we didn't always agree but he was one of the best ever.
    Hope he is enjoying a great retirement .

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  35. jim helped educate me and made my job far more enjoyable.



    Thanks a bunch, Jim.


    Keep out of trouble.

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  36. My Dad was an insomniac,and KGO played in the house all night in the 60s and 70s,I love d Jim,when in 1991,he would talk about the coming war,and would suddenly say-listen to this,and play Kate Smith God Bless America. Still makes my hair stand.

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  37. I don't think ego had anything to do with Jim's souring on management. As for considering the station "allowing" him to broadcast from Asheville - no radio station is involved in charity work. It was profitable for them to to have him on or they would not have done it.

    At the time of Duane Garett's death from the Golden Gate Bridge, Jim expressed some skepticism related to "suicide" on air and my recollection is that he even once said that management had told him to shut down on the subject.

    If I were Jim Eason, a true radio professional and the station I worked for hired that trash mouth, nutritionist who calls himself a doctor and calls himself MIke Savage when his name is really Weiner or Weenie - - if you want a laugh - google his bio. Anyhow, if I were Jim Eason, that would have put the skunk in the garden party for me Savage got a time slot right after Jim's - maybe even got part of his time slot. I remember about busting a knuckle more than once trying to turn Savage off before his spewing filth through my car radio.

    Jim Eason is a gentleman expressing his opinion about the decline of radio. Radio has sunk to serving up the likes of MIke Savage. For that matter, listen some day to Sean Hannity. His show could be cut to 15 minutes if you deleted all the "In other words. . ." and the endless "I means.. " and his crass, "Let not your heart be troubled"

    Jim had class then and he has it now. His low opinion of talk radio today is shared by many.

    I am not really anonymous - I am Diane - Long time listener, as we used to say. Jim never cut Roger off.

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