Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Clear Channel Shake-Up: OM Alan Eisenson Gone; And More Coming

It's been rumors galore: Clear Channel has mounting layoffs coming.

Including this one.

Only the beginning, I'm told. Ah, lovely business.


  1. What are the implications for programming? Could Armstrong & Getty and Gill Gross (aka Cabinet Man) be on the way out?

  2. In a word: Yes.

    Eisenson has been, as operations manager, the sacrificial lamb for the last year, since the KGO blowup debacle. The reason - no money. Clear Channel handed him enough rope in retooling 910 with the addition of Gene Burns (which didn't happen,) Len Tillem, Gil Gross and part-time, John Rothman. No money and no revenue or audience "bounce". The restrictions continued and got tighter with fill-ins and shuffles that included Rosie Allan, Ed Baxter and Enid Goldstein.

    The restrictions were equally tightened on KNEW with the mix up of pulling Alan Colmes with the pairing of Tom Sullivan. The news presentation was not authoritative, the weekend programming horrible and the lack of traction for KFBK-FM in taking the Sacramento combo beyond where the AM had stood at the top of the market for decades, now down to #3.

    KSTE - talk (and home of Armstrong and Getty) has languished with a 3 share and has been flat way down the ratings list and KNEW has been a no-show, essentially, with the lack of climb of both KKSF and 'NEW AM in SF.

    He wasn't supported with funds from Clear Channel because there has been so little coming into the coffers. As a result, Eisenson's experiemen(s) failed and after a year of trying, the spigot has been cut off.

    The future? Back to more syndication from Fox on KKSF and lower expectations for KNEW. More cuts? Certainly. The first quarter is radio's fiscal cliff and money, when you're rated 25+ becomes thinner and thinner.

    Signal coverage certainly hurt on 910. and 960 is and has been a vaste wasteland for years. Clear Channel has been cutting back on "progressive talk" in markets of late, including Portland, OR and other markets to save money and to try to stop the hemmoraging. The problem, so little "qualified" progressive talk and the ratings prove that. Limbaugh cand and will stay, as a wholly-owned entity of Clear Channel / Premiere Networks. Sullivan, too. And Colmes (a Fox product distributed by Clear Channel.)

    Local talent? Quite probably not a good time for local talkers there.

    What to do? Anyone's guess. However, playing it cheap will be the buzzword on the Bay Area "alternative" talkers for now.

    It's about making money and poor directional and/or low power stations like 910 and 960 are just the first to feel the punch.

    1. The thing that's killing AM radio faster than any other factor is the "RFI", radio frequency interference, that's become ubiquitous in the modern environment. Computers generate noise in the AM band, as do compact fluorescent light bulbs, halogen lamps, dimmer switches and a bunch of other modern conveniences. So it takes a lot of punch to overcome that natural disadvantage. KGO, KCBS and KNBR have that punch with their 50Kwatt signals, but KKSF/910 doesn't, and KNEW/960 is a comparative peashooter. (There are places on the peninsula where KFI Los Angeles sounds more local than KNEW after sunset.)

      I think the long-term trend will be that the peashooters will get shut down or moved to an expanded FM band below 88 Mhz (where TV channel 6 currently is) as low-power stations, and AM will exist only as a service for those relatively few high powered legacy AM's (like the aforementioned KGO, KCBS, KNBR and KFI) to provide information services to a wide regional area which includes rural areas that get no other service at night.

  3. Ok, according to Gil, he'll be off on Friday and heading to Los Angeles...have to do with shake up? But worse yet, Armstrong and Getty are filling in for him...LIVE...horror or horrors, know where I won't be listening on Friday.

    I have not cared as much for Gil since he has been on this station. I still remember the real old days when he used to fill in for Ronn and would say how he wanted to really continue the conversation, have everyone meet and talk...and although I like Gil, the monologue and no calls has become extremely annoying. I would really like to hear THAT Gil on any station, and would again schedule my day around his program.
    One of his best shows was on KGONE and probably not one any but a few of us remember. He was interviewing a reporter from KGO radio who had been going through severe depression and had checked into treatment centers on more than one occasion. It was not something that was done very often and it was a very moving program, that would have probably led to much discussion, callers had started calling in and were really relating to the plight of this reporter. However, it all came to a stop, because it happened to be the day that Michael Jackson's death was discovered, followed, or whatever....but there was no more to be said about the reporter. I don't know what happened to that reporter, I've often thought of him. But Gil did a fantastic job, and need more Gil like that, and wish he had been present doing that for the last almost a year, and hope that he has the opportunity to do that here someplace..
    And, sorry to say, I like Rhoda, but she has been way too much of the wrong thing. When he used to do the shows from his home in Los Angeles and she would pop in with a comment that was good...this is in no way, no how, good....and I have no idea why she hasn't picked up on that and bowed out. Maybe sleepy Novato hasn't been enough for her, coming from her own career and Los Angeles. I don't think if she were performing, singing, she would really appreciate if Gil started on a monologue. It's been too strange, and kind of sad, they may have killed each other off...LC