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,
*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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