Monday, September 24, 2012

KGO Radio's Owens Set to Retire



Ronn Owens --The Latest Word...

After almost four decades at KGO Radio, Ronn Owens, (9- Noon, Monday-Friday), has told close friends that he is set to retire in the coming months, probably in December.

Owen's contract expires January 1, 2013, in a deal that was signed in 2006, (under then owner, Disney.) Owen's deal at the time, at a shade north of a million bucks, made him the highest-paid Bay Area media personality.

Through a variety of media sources, (all of whom spoke on condition of anonymity), a consensus has been reached. Among the items:

*Owens and current KGO owner, Cumulus, are ready to move on. There had been speculation, (from this corner), that Cumulus was ready to buy out Owens's existing last months and hire a new morning host. That plan now appears to have been shelved. Word is that KGO is set to fill Owen's slot with more news, a format it switched to completely, (except weekends), when it dumped newstalk altogether in December of last year.

*More speculation: Owen's agent, Don Buchwald, (Owens has a new agent, but Buchwald negotiated the existing contract), has been shopping him to other outlets in NY. At 66 and both his social and personal life firmly entrenched here in the city, would he suddenly embrace Gotham? I highly doubt it. (There's other personal issues too.)

*A move to another local station: Owens recently told a local, veteran broadcast exec that "my ego wouldn't allow me to work for $300, 000 a year." That other station, probably, KKSF-AM, (910 AM, owned by ClearChannel), would conceivably be a player, but I doubt they could step to the plate with a higher figure, (if that), and besides, Owens is right: his ego wouldn't allow for such a monetary pittance.

One thing is for certain: Owen's tenure at KGO; a celebrated time where he has won numerous industry awards, (a Marconi, for example), is nearing an end. Probably by the beginning of December or Dec 31 at the latest.. Cumulus is hardly the jovial place to work in radio and its reputation is well-deserved. That said, I can't imagine even the Atlanta corporate Dickey brothers not allowing Owens an audio victory tour. Then again, it's Cumulus--don't assume anything.

Either way, Owen's imminent departure from the 810 AM dial figures to be a culture shock for Bay Area radio listeners--even those still leftover from this current flavor of KGO, (derisively, now KGOne, an albatross whose ratings have all but disappeared post format change.)

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41 comments:

  1. The way he talks about his ego, you would think ego is a good thing.... later man

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  2. It probably keeps Lew Dickey awake at night -- the very idea that he is paying a talk show host a million bucks a year. A talk show host! ! Can't sleep!!

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    1. LOL I'm sure Dickie can use that million to pay down on the leverage buyout of KGO. It might even show a profit bounce for a quarter year.

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  3. Doesn't hurt my feelings a bit! Good riddance! He is SO full of himself & he's sold himself out so many times that he's a joke to me! Maybe they ought to think about bringing back the LAWYAH!!!

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  4. "Word is that KGO is set to fill Owen's slot with more news, a format"
    This should have been done last December.
    Now if they could only change the weekend format to 24hr news.
    Ronn Owens style is done, over, no more.
    I never believed his "voice of reason" tag.
    That stance was phony.
    He was always freighten to offend the liberal establishment in San Francisco.

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    1. I have to disagree with you. There are many people that would take KGO back the way it was before the massacre.
      Talk radio is lacking and news is prevalent. You can get news anywhere. But the ability to call a talk show and express your opinion on a topic is diminishing in the bay area.
      Ronn's stance was/is that he looks at each topic individually and does not stick to the party line.
      Did you mean "frightened" to offend liberal establishment?
      Do you have an example? Don't know what you mean.

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  5. I keep thinking Dickey and Ronn on the air for a fairwell firefight would be as entertaining as the Burt Reynolds interview when Owens let somebody with an even bigger ego hang himself. That was magic!

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  6. I don't think any of the 910ers would want him. He was such a dick after the December massacre. With the contract he had at the time, he could have told his producer to allow more than one caller that day on the subject. Good riddance.

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  7. If this is true - then I'm totally and completely done with KGO. Ronn is the reason I tune into that sorry excuse of a station anymore. I've listened to Ronn and respected him his entire time on KGO and would miss him terribly. I hope he can go wherever makes him happy.

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    1. you are right Owens is very good, and like most people I don't agree with everything he says. Like Lee Rogers his best point is when interviewing he always asks the questions I want asked. He is a solid pro and had been excellent for many years. He just does not fit in the new climate of get the cheapest help available.

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  8. Rich:

    Didn't you tell us earlier this year that Brian Copeland was going to replace Ron?

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  9. The Lawyah is on 910, with the most of the people that used to be on KGO. We swithched to 910 when the change happened and have been happy ever since!

    While we like Ron, he is replaceable.

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  10. I hate the way Ronn reacted/didn't react to the December massacre. However, I've been listening to him and KGO (pre Dec) for 35 years, so the whole situation is still sad.

    I remember going through a pretty good size earthquake in the 80s. It was during Bernie's show (yes, that Bernie). He immediately opened the lines to callers who just wanted to hear a known, reassuring voice, calm down, share stories, and commiserate. Then his producer got Bruce Bolt from Berkeley seismic on the line and we received reliable information. It was times like this that KGO really shined.

    A while back I walked into a "take n bake" pizza place. A young man (around 22) was holding down the fort. He had a little radio on, tuned to KGO. I asked him "why do you like KGO?" and he replied "because it's good company".

    and it was.

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    1. Amen. KGO was a major part of my life for... what... 30 years? I go back to Owen Spann, Jim Eason, Russ Coughlin and Ronn from 7 to 10 at nights. I miss Bernie, Dwayne, Michael and the others who were fired. Now up in Idaho I listen to these people online. I know it is all about money, but these people were my friends.

      And I miss them...

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    2. Your boss fires everyone at your company -- except you. Your contract stipulates that you (1) do your job, (2) don't bitch about your job, and (3) don't talk about people who don't have jobs there any longer.

      The bottom line: you shut up about it and do your job. Cumulus isn't paying Ronn to complain about the conditions at KGO, and why people were let go. He's paid to entertain, period.

      Tell me, fair Anonymous, when someone is fired at your job, does your boss mind if you sit on the phone during your shift and talk with the customers about how bad things are at work, and what a crummy deal it was for those that got shown the door?

      Betcha not so much.

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    3. David Jackson - I totally agree with everything you wrote. Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!

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    4. Anonymous 9:58 PM - They were my friends and I miss them too.

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  11. Lowenstein aka Matress Man aka Mr. Softie aka The Eternal Middle of The Roader aka The Voice of Treason's name will forever live in infamy. The ”man” lacks a spine, always presented himself as principled, tough law and order guy, willing to take the gloves off vs Jimmy Carter but the pussy could not even stand up to Jared Hart when it counted. Go into that sweet good night and take Copey with you PLEAAAAASE!!!

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    1. who is jared hart?

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    2. Agree. Mr principled was weak when it counted.

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  12. I will miss Ronn, but if they've made a commitment to all news then, um, well, they should, probably go ALL NEWS. (I don't like it, but that's another story...if they put Brian in the spot it makes no sense and no one looks good.)

    I don't think we'll see Ronn resurface in this market...no one can afford him and Anon@2:23, you are, sadly (in my opinion) right, "His style is done." If someone wants him in NYC would they, really, insist he move there? I don't think so...good talk radio can be done from anywhere these days.

    Anyone have thoughts on Ronn as a podcaster and/or Internet broadcaster? I don't think it's really "his thing" but I do think he will still want to be heard.

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  13. nothing lasts forever neither a radio station, nor radio talent. you can quote me on that.

    kingpin of all media

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  14. Ronn had a good run and it is over. He is in his mid 60's and should think of retiring while he still has his health. He must be worn out kissing all the San Francisco Liberal Ass all these years. If his slot goes all news, so be it. Brian Copeland is a real loser and to give the slot to him would be a total step backward.

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  15. I don't get why anybody would listen to an all news radio station when news is available online 24/7. I don't listen for more than 3 minutes after Ronn goes off at noon. I'd rather listen to newbies run talk shows than the drone of news that blights KGO now.
    KGO: hire some cheapie hosts. Bring talk back. Because right now, your station is really boring.

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  16. KGO has a solid news format and some very reliable and professional reporters. If you find real news coverage boring, then maybe you've got some attention deficeit problems, like half of the rest of the nation.

    It seems as if everyone under age 30, and half of the people over 30 are now spending most of their waking hours staring into tiny screens, oblivious to their surroundings as their fingers dance over the keys while they text, tweet, and surf the internet.

    In the meantime, they're getting fleeced by these big electronic firms and big internet companies who give them cheap
    equipment that needs to be upgraded every year.

    And people also don't seem to realize that most of these companies treat their employees with disdain, expecting them to work 60-80 hours and then putting the fear of god into them that their jobs will be gone if they don't. I know several friends and relatives who work for these bloodless cretins at places like Auto Desk and Google and I've heard the horror stories.

    Yet virtually everyone seems to bow down to them, even though they're the worst kind of capitalists. The rest of the business world has taken its cue from these internet companies and are now, for the most part, also treating their employees terribly. So when you buy their products, remember that you're basically supporting a company who is setting a bad standard for it's ill treatment of employees, a shameful legacy.

    But that doesn't seem to bother anyone who has an i-phone, a smart phone or an i-pad. They're little kids with their new toys, completely pouring themselves into the new technology and cutting themselves off to human communication. No wonder people are such brainless twits today! They don't know how to carry on a simple conversation and they don't know have the patience anymore to even read more than a couple of paragraphs at a time.

    I predict that in the future, humans will have enormous eyes so they don't have to squint at those tiny screens, and they'll grow two extra fingers for quicker texting. Of course there will also be more auto accidents because no one will have time for real sex anymore, so everyone will be 'sexting' from their cars so there will be plenty of wrecks. Perhaps there is one consolation to all of this... with all of the crashes, we'll cut down on the growing population!

    What kind of a crazy world is this?

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  17. Uh oh. There goes 40% of your material, Rich.

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    1. Not bad poster at 12:09am.
      That was worth a touchdown and the two point conversion.

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  18. 6:02 PM, I agree with you. I will also miss Ronn. It was a matter of time, given the changes at KGone, but it is still somewhat sad. I commute from the Monterey area to Silicon Valley most days and in years past I greatly enjoyed Ray before 5AM and Ronn after 9AM. On the return trip it could have been Len, Gil or Gene depending when I left. Wow, great energy. I never fully appreciated at the time how good all this was, now that it is almost all gone. It is probably appropriate though, as in years past when people disagreed there was civil discourse with points and counter points. Now it is all vial hate speech and made up "facts". I always respected Bill Clinton as he could cross the aisles, like Ronald Reagan, to get things done for the folks. They were true leaders. Now screw the folks. This is the *ME* generation and if you don't agree with me you need to die. Sad, but in this context it is appropriate for the once mightly KGO to fade into KGone. Ronn's "passing" will complete this transition.

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  19. Karel in the Morning!!! Fresh from the Red Carpet!!! Let the complaining begin!!!

    Seriously, the Bay Area's best watercooler is out of water...RIP.

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  20. Ronn, retire and accept that professionally you are a fraction of your formal self. Be glad for the good years you and KGO had. Be nice to people. Be more humble. Volunteer. Offer your expertise to those that could benefit from it. Don't go around saying "I used to be"... Try to do good, try to do better.

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  21. I agree with so many of the comments on this blog. KGO was good radio and good company, the hosts were like family, they presented a variety of views and personality (just think Bernie, Ronn, Gene, John and Ray)some I liked more than others, but most of these hosts were way above what you hear on many stations. Ray was the host I rarely listened to, mostly because of the hours, but also because of his rants and raves were quite predictible, but being a huge jazz fan, whenever he did something on jazz I would listen. All news gets to be boring, and no I don't have ADD, one reason I liked Gene so much, was that he really got deep into the subject, and let his callers talk at length so you got more than a soundbit. News get boring, it repeats,many of the stories are about things that is petty and don't affect most of us. i.e. housefires (not chevron fire) burglaries, etc. I want opinion, analysis and I want to find out what others are thinking, you don't get that from news, you get that from good talk show hosts. Yes, I do think Ronn is good and he will be missed, especially if KGO does all news instead.

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  22. I miss the Ronn Owens who had that great show 10+ years ago.
    He jumped the shark after his attempt at syndication failed. After that he lost "it". Sad.

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  23. "The bottom line: you shut up about it and do your job. Cumulus isn't paying Ronn to complain about the conditions at KGO, and why people were let go. He's paid to entertain, period.

    Tell me, fair Anonymous, when someone is fired at your job, does your boss mind if you sit on the phone during your shift and talk with the customers about how bad things are at work, and what a crummy deal it was for those that got shown the door?

    Betcha not so much."

    Anonymous probably doesn't have a personal services contract that allowed for such segments as "Up to 30" and even the joke hour. Ronn did in fact state that he would take calls about the change from the shell shocked listeners. Then abruptly cut them off. He wouldn't have to say a word about his company or his opinion. Instead "I'm excited for the new format".

    Ronn's contract and the average hourly worker - apples and oranges.

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  24. Ronn was never syndicated he was simulcast there's a difference. Ronn will be doing a daily two hour podcast once he leaves KGO.

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  25. Ronn likes the new format? Have you seen the ratings on his hourly lead in from the KGO Morning News? I'm sure he is still loving that new format. I wonder if ratings are ever discussed at KGOne. I wonder if anyone over there even knows how to get ratings, or has ever gotten ratings at another station. Who is running the show there? Now they're going to dump Ronn, and go all news all the time? Why is there a second news station (third if you consider KCBS x 2) in a city that is likely more digitally connected than any other city in America? More people have immediate access via their phones, ipads, and computers than ever before, but it's not as if there's available radio talent.

    These people really don't have a freaking clue what they are doing. I am not sure if this is merely top down incompetence, or if it's from within Cumulus SF, but whatever the case is they really don't know what they are doing.

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  26. KGO lost the button on my car radio with the format switch last December. Ronn Ownens is Bay Area radio institution and deserves the plaudits he gets from all quarters.

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  27. Admit it Ronn, it is over.

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  28. The only chance Ronn would have had in NYC is at Sirius, but there's no reason for them to take him and they'd never pay him. If Don Buchwald had been on better terms with Sirius (by that I mean, if he and Howard Stern weren't in a lawsuit against them) maybe Ronn would have a chance of landing there. That's not happening.

    As for the idea that Ronn will do a podcast, that is also not happening for a variety of reasons.

    He'll sail off into retirement, hopefully with a nice nest egg.

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  29. Ronn will not go to NYC for the same reason he will not take a low salary, his ego.

    Ronn is a big fish in a decent sized pod in the bay area, he has a following, Ronn has no following in NYC and it's a vastly bigger pond. Ronn shows up a a restaurant here he gets seated right away, in NYC, not so much.

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  30. KGO is horrible , nothing but commercials and Owens should have retired ten years ago, should have kept Jimmy Eason. Owens couldn't make it on national radio only in liberal bay area. Dwayne Garrett , Ward, Karel, Owens fits right in with the weirdos at KGO....

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  31. Spoken like a true Jew.

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