Thursday, September 27, 2012

Being Rich Lieberman

Q. Why do you do this?
Because I thought it would be interesting to write about Bay Area media. People in this area seem to want a place to talk about the biz, see what's going on, shoot the shit, you know, a place like home.

Q. Isn't it hard to be critical, sometimes, about people that you know? Great question. Yeah, of course. But most of the people get it. They understand that in order to be taken seriously, yes, of course, you have to rip every now and then. But I'm fairly consistent, I think. You'd have to read my material.

Who are your sources? I'm not telling you. But most are people in the business. Some who used to work at places and are now working at other places. Some know people. Some don't. Mostly people that are in the know. You'd be surprised who I talk to, really, you would.

You know, a lot of people hate you--think you're a prick. That's cool. I didn't do this to be loved, believe me. On the other hand, who doesn't want to be liked? I mean, I'm not looking for enemies, but every now and then, yes, you're gonna piss people off. But that's OK--they have huge egos and think their shit doesn't stink, so there.

Do you have fans? Sure. See the woman at the top of the page?

Talk about the business here. I think the Bay Area is a great place. The talent is huge and we got some really good people here. Some are great, some suck, some are just OK and some couldn't make it in Bakersfield. But that's the state of the world. Mediocrity rules. Just take a look at the boob tube and see what I mean.

What's the infatuation with certain people here. Why do you concentrate on them? Fair question. Look, they are concentrated on for a reason. They get paid a lot of money and they reached a certain status so they're fair game. Some people delight in me picking on them, but I don't see it that way. I don't have an agenda, really don't. I had my day in the sun, believe me, I have no regrets because I've been there and done that. I started out at 18, got to travel, and so I know that inertia you get. It's sort of intoxicating. But back to you question...Just because you've reached a certain status doesn't mean your bullet-proof. You have to have an ego to make it, sure, but you also have to check it at the door occasionally.

Come on man, relax. No, you relax. I hate that word, relax. I am who I am. And some of my worst habits are my best attributes. I interrupt a lot because I'm impatient and because I can't stand phonies and I can spot them a mile away. They really piss me off. Then there's people, get this, that I think are going to be pure assholes that are just great people. Try to munch on that.

Give me an example. Well, I picked on, (good natured, of course), Dan Ashley of KGO-TV about his hair. The constant changes, this and, one day, I get an e-mail from him--I'm thinking, this guy has some courage. He says he wants to meet me and have lunch. We meet. He's cool. And we've become good friends. He's a real nice guy. Total pro and I like his work. He gets it.

Are there people out there in the business you're friends with that you don't rip? Yes and no. Look, I'm human. There's people that I know that I'm not thrilled with on the air that, sure, at times, make me want to puke, but I tend to back off a bit. I don't think I'm alone. In order to get some of the information that I get, I have to be careful, but then again, they also know I'm fair. That's the key thing here: being fair. Am I perfect? No, but tell me who is.

Now don't go off on a rant, but seriously, the KGO Radio deal and KNBR. The venom. What venom? Yeah, I called out the Cumulus bastards on KGO. Big deal. Nobody else did or does. I was angry that they ran a truly great station into the ground. Instead of tweaking and adjusting, they took the dog out in the backyard and shot him. That's the problem with the de-regulation of the radio business. These companies come in and buy up the market and we're left with this shit that we've got now. KGO is a mess. KNBR too, but they got the Giants and 49ers to save them. But that's terrestrial radio. Everybody has gone to satellite or the Internet. It stinks. But I don't blame people, the content is the shits for the most part.

You lose any of your friends over stuff you write? Sure, and does it hurt? You bet. But I'm honest. I try, and I'm gonna use that word again, "consistent." At least I'm consistent...for the most part. And when I go off, it's my name behind it. I don't use some fake name nor do I hide. That's not to say because of that I'm not immune to being ripped myself--it's human nature. Look, some of these people? I've broke bread with and had them in my home and vice-versa. One guy in particular I grew up listening to. He's been a huge disappointment.

You mean Ronn Owens? Yeah. It's frustrating because deep down, I know Ronn is a good person. A real pro. And I know he's not happy with what's transpired but I also took it personally how he acted on the air the day after the shit hit the fan at KGO. He sold out his friends. He sold out himself, and he sold out the bond that he developed there with the listeners. Believe me when I tell you that I still get people who send me e-mail that are still upset. They relied on Ronn and I agree with them. He handled the whole thing terribly. And I'm being kind.

What was he supposed to do-- quit his job? Get real. No, ass, you get real. First off, a very,very respected broadcast person told me that Ronn should have never been on the air that day. Whoever put him on the air should have been tarred and feathered. He was going on vacation the next day anyway for two weeks and by the time he got back, the whole thing would have blown over...But not only does he go on the air, but he does fucking twenty minutes and has the audacity to say that the new format is gonna be great! That's what got me and everybody else. Nobody expected him to quit his job. REPEAT: Nobody expected him to quit. That would never happen. He had/has an existing contract that pays him a lot of money to pay the bills, I get it.

You're really boiling over, dude. Well, consider this: Pat Thurston, the following Saturday on her show, handled the whole situation with complete professionalism. She took calls and devoted an entire hour and let people vent. It was not flattering to KGO or Cumulus, but she did her job, and that's the point...Ronn didn't have to become the male Evita. He has a contract. And a job, again, I get it. But he sold out his friends, his colleagues, his brethren, his industry. And you know what? I'm not in the minority on that one, it's pretty much the same feeling inside the industry.

Can we move on? Damn, I was just getting started.

Tell us something we don't know about you. Well, I'm hurting a bit. I lost an uncle recently and my brother and father. I didn't realize how much I loved my brother because he was the dad that I never had. He was my rock. And when he died, at first, it was a state of denial. Then gradually, more depression and hurt which I feel today. Because my mom took it so hard. Still does. No parent wants to bury their child. It still haunts me.

Anything else? Yeah, I'm grateful to have people here who read me and have donated money to me to keep this site going. I took a lot of heat for asking for donations but this takes a lot of time and I need to pay my bills. I never expected to make money off this, but I also didn't want to lose any either. This labor of love requires a ton of time and so, yeah, god forbid, I requested donations, (still do, thank you), and many stepped to the plate. I have much respect for my readers. They care. They're passionate. We've developed a bond here and that's pretty cool.

What's for lunch? I like turkey on rye with just a smidgen of mayo. I need to lose a lot of weight. My blood sugars suck and I'm really neurotic. So I need to take a lot of lbs off...and damn, it's hard. I love pasta and bread and wine. I'm sure you're thrilled I told you that.

OK, we done? No, I'm looking for a woman. Know any out there? I'm not a smoker, but everything else is negotiable.

*Follow me on Twitter and read my national blog at Radio Ink.



  1. I get it. Many of us do. Keep up the muchly needed dialogue. :)

  2. Hey,I can find you a wife..and unlike those Russian brides..they wont leave you the moment they get a green card. Many beautiful Asian woman and with strong convictions towards marriage..

  3. There you go. The Richie Lieberman we all know and love! As I said before Rich, you've found a nice niche. Keep stirring it up,
    as we'll all be reading!

  4. Give them hell Rich and no need to apologize for your columns.
    Steve Kroner used to do a media column in the Chronicle. It was very good.
    Enjoyed reading his column but he went away.
    And forget about the guy on Sundays, he still thinks he is covering the George Harrison tour of 1974.
    Media 415 is the only place for media commentary and news.

  5. I can't read this whole thing. Not really interested in you personally, but did you conduct this interview with yourself?

  6. Ben Dung Torres needs to hang it up. It's so transparent the way he kisses up to everyone in the radio business that he comes across as if he secretly wishes someone would give him an on-air gig. That dude is hung up on some clown from the sixties man. Rich on the other hand should have that hacks job. And talk about egos... C'mon Fonger... Your glory days were 40 years ago. You are no longer relevant...just like the paper you write for... And I use the word "write" loosely.

  7. BIGGER question....WHAT's HER name????

  8. So when is RONN's Million $$$ contract UP?? Soon I hope! WHEN does he get thrown under the BUS like his...Ah...friends & colleges?

  9. Question Rich...who would you nominate for greatest all-time bay area sportscaster? I think it would be a pretty easy choice. There's only one name at the top of the list: The late, great Bill King.

    From 1959 through 2005 he broadcast for: Cal Basketball, SF Giants baseball, San Francisco Seals Minor League Hockey, the Oakland/LA Raiders, the Oakland A's, and of course, perhaps his favorite assignment, the San Francisco/Golden State Warriors. A true 'wordsmith' and one of a kind!

  10. So Rich is neurotic, overweight, and looking for a woman.
    Wow, that's a shock!

  11. Rich, we could use a good interrupter to take on all of the fat mouth pundits whose impact on society and this upcoming election is way too much to stomach in more ways than one. If you can't take them, could you find a few who can keep it even for everyone to decide for themselves based on facts and NOT 'how it ought to be'. I'm including eco-extremists and zealoted preachers as well here, and not just the fringe commentators that hurt our clarity.

  12. Nice blog. Appreciate the personal disclosure. Those who don't get it aren't worth worrying about. Keep up the good work.

  13. Keep up the great work. It's great to see a person be critical of the media as the normal viewer doesn't really hear the "real" stuff that happens. Also, the normal viewer probably can't tell the difference between Channel 5 being CBS owned and Channel 2 being only a Fox affiliate (humongous difference). But it's great to have Rich tell all.

  14. I know it's a sucking cliche, probably born in the seventies, but...thanks for sharing, Rich. I can't think of any line here that I would disagree with. Yeah, you get it. And those who might disagree with one or more of your thoughts can only respect your opinions and the experience that shaped them. Right on. Please keep up your wonderful work.

    And shit, man--you ain't the only guy who loves pasta, bread, and wine and is looking for a woman.