Saturday, March 30, 2013

Rothmann and Baxter also dismissed from NewsTalk 910; Update: Both will continue to Fill in; Baxter Statement

Add John Rothmann and Ed Baxter to the list of those dismissed by Clear Channel's NewsTalk 910.

Rothmann, whose astute political commentaries has made him a Bay Area radio favorite, will continue to fill in for Gil Gross, (3-7 PM, M-F) and still function as the station's political analyst. Gross' added hour was made possible by Len Tillem's firing on Thursday.

"I'm disappointed, but this will not be my last rodeo, " Rothmann told me, "I'm going to still pursue a full-time radio position in the Bay Area." Rothmann confided to me that he had an offer from a station out of the market but isn't interested in leaving San Francisco. Rothmann is married and has one son in college and another in high school.

Clear Channel's financial problems have been the talk of the industry as it faces several debt issues confronting it in the coming years.

UPDATE: 12: 49 PM PT:

Just received this e-mail from Ed Baxter:

For me now, this is a very small part of my business.  I enjoyed having  my "Making Sense" commentaries on their air, but I had been doing the podcasts and posting them on my website for months before they asked if they could use them.   I just wrote two more is up, the other will go up later.  Management has  pulled what it views as features and wants to streamline.  They have told me they want me to continue filling in.  I love the News/Talk format and wish for its success where it still exists....

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  1. Armstrong & Getty's show in the morning (6 am - 9 am) runs a lot of public service announcements.

    A few weeks back, KKSF preempted Len's show to have Gil sit in and do an extra hour on the new or old pope. Really? I guess KKSF was trying to squeeze a few bucks by not having to pay Len for his show and they probably get Gil for free for that extra hour. Then KKSF was running a lot of "best of" Len shows. I guess they don't have to pay for those.

    In hindsight, I think the writing is on the wall that KKSF is not in the best financial shape.

    I want John Rothman to find a new gig. He deserves better than this shabby treatment from "Newstalk 910."

    (By the way --I downloaded all of Len's podcasts before the link from iTunes disappeared, and his shows range from 32 - 36 minutes long. That's a lot of fluff time for news and traffic and public service announcements.)

    1. If margins are so low that the station needs to cut the occasional Len Tillem show to survive, then it isn't a viable business.

    2. You're right. That's why AM radio only attracts 20% of today's radio audience. Honest. Look it up. FM get's 80% of listeners to radio. It's only a matter of time. AM will be so dead, as in Canada and Mexico. There are too many radio station in the US and not enough money to support them in large or small cities anymore like they used to.

      Ask Rich. It isn't easy getting those sponsors.

  2. Well, now there will be no reason whatsoever to tune in to "Newstalk 910." Such high hopes I had when they hired some of the old KGO crew. John Rothmann is a rock star in my book and I wish him and Ed Baxter all the best.

    Let's hope they will get picked up at a station that is more solid.

    1. Colmes doesn't have the ratings for radio. Very few affiliates and harely a top 20 rated host. (#16 according to No sign of Christine or Karel in the Top 100. Or thousand.

  3. Do you think Gil will be the next to go and they will move Alan Colmes' show to the 3-6 slot (which will be live since Alan's time got moved to 6-9pm eastern)? Obviously they aren't very interested in having much local content. Gil broadcasts locally but many of his topics are national politics and the economy, talking to "experts" from all over the country. With few local calls and few local guests, it isn't really all that local of a show.

    A&G aren't really local to SF either since they broadcast out of Sacramento and originated there. Not totally syndicated, but sort of.

    Didn't KKSF fire their program director recently (the one who hired the ex-KGO hosts)? That maybe explains the moves. Whoever is in charge of programming now goes the easy route -- get some syndicated shows and just push the buttons.

    1. KKSF hasn't had a de facto Program Director for the the past four years. It has either been "watched" by someone out of Sacramento or by in-house Operations Manager Don Parker. It's an afterthought in the Clear Channel building.

  4. You make some good points, I'm sorry to see John Rothman go, but he was on for 80 seconds, it did not compare to what he use to do overnite on KGO or a full 2 or 3 hour show, it often wasen't possible for me to have the radio on just at that time, so I will look forward to hearing him filling in, and hope he gets a full time show somewhere in the Bay Area. One thing is for certain I will not listen to Gil for 4 hours. I keep hearing how people don't have the attention span they use to, and that is why hosts keep jumping from one subject to another, and then they want to subject us to 4 hours of a host, who by all accounts is a very, very nice man, but frankly is boring most of the time. I think Gil did better when he did news and filled in for Paul Harvey, his voice, delivery etc. was well suited for that, I don't think he is a natural as a talk show host.

  5. Rothmann is a warmonger, salivating at the prospects of the United States bombing Iran. Delighted about his departure.

  6. The broadcast industry, as well as the newspaper industry have been turned upside down by deregulation. For sure, there HAS been a drop off in both ratings and advertising revenue, but not enough to warrant massive cutbacks and downsizing by these mega-media companies who are more about
    'the bottom line' and what the shareholders want, than being responsible and providing a public service.

    Despite what these monster mega companies say, the airwaves are NOT their private property but belong to the people of U.S. Unfortunately the FCC was made toothless when the Communication Act was signed into law by President Clinton back in 1995 (his worst mistake as President), and now, not only are a lot of good people out of work, but the public is getting less reliable information than ever.

    And please, no B.S. about how the internet is filling the void. So much of what is written on the internet is based on opinion by non-professional wanna-be journalists who have ZERO credibility and just want to rattle cages, make noise and get attention. And a good deal is just wire stories that have been copied or an edited version of what was in the newspaper.

    America is a distracted nation and if you look at the sorry state of our young people, it doesn't bode well for the future. Yes, they are just as smart as the older generations but they don't do nearly as much reading, and they certainly don't know how to communicate face to face very well either.

    A couple of about 25 years of age was sitting across from me at a restaurant the other night, and I glanced over several times to see what they were doing...they hadn't spoken a word to each other the entire time, but instead they were totally engrossed in the cyber world. They were staring down at tiny screens while their fingers were flitting over the keys as they texted their buds on Facebook, or checked their messages.

    So many people in this country spend time living in this artificial cyber world, as they seem to have completely shut off the entire 'real world,' and it's almost as if they've decided to enter another dimension. Don't get me wrong; I Facebook and even Twitter, but I don't spend HOURS completely tuning out the rest of the world. And don't get me started about the abomidable idiots who text while driving. They should have their drivers licenses suspended permanently!

    And the messages they leave? Hyphenated sentences, misspelled words, and gossip about dysfunctional celebrities. LOL, and HAHAHA! HOW ABOUT USING THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE PEOPLE! What the heck is the matter with people these days!

    1. 11:29, I agree that your observations are accurate and well stated. BUT whether we like it or not, the world is changing.

      All the things you mention: death of newspapers, people's with short attention spans sitting at restaurants ignoring each other eyes glued to the electronic devices in their hands, this is the new reality. This is the world we live in today.

      You may not like it, neither do I, but we are stuck in the world we live in today. If you are waiting for things to snap back to the way they used to be, that's not going to happen.

  7. Tillem, too. He has a remote system right in his office. Been doaing it that way for years. Could do it "remotely" for any station that will have him.

    All three may be too "old" for Clear Channel's taste. Also, Clear Channel owns the most profitable programming network in Premier Networks. They are saving bucks before Cumulus goes all syndication on KKSF. They don't need "local" when they can go syndicated with their own programming.

    They could care less about "local". The ratings show that neither is doing well and the corporates don't care. They are making money and that's all that counts.

  8. Sorry about your mom...hope all turns out well (My mother in law, here in Placer County, is 92 - and healthier than I).

    Just read your item about Tillem and Baxter. That place just keeps digging, and digging, in a hole they can't get out of.

    I repeat what others have said, DELIGHTED to be outta there.

    Best to you..... from Jim Eason

  9. Hope your mom does well.

    As for Tillem, Baxter, et al.....
    When you're in a deep hole, KGO, stop digging.
    As many others have said, "Glad to be outta there, thanks."

    Best to you.

  10. There is very little room for ultra-lib talk in the Bay Area to begin with. tTalent is just not that good today. Same for right wing nuts.

    Money wise, it's a dark hole. Advertisers have gotten the message. Most don't spebd nibe ib controversial, ego-maniacal left or right talk these days. It costs them customers who are tired of poor talent and dumbed down issues.

    Plus, the "I'm right, you're wrong" snot spewers like Christine, Karel and others who don't get it and refuse to see things from opposite sides. It's part of their ego and insecuritiei schtick.

    If it worked, KGO, KSFO, KKSF and KNEW would be making more money -- not less. Then, the cutting of staff might stop. Clear Channel is $20-billion in debt, Cumulus not much better and the ratings show low to mid-2 shares while "talent" brags at how good they think they are. Such is the case with so many in this market. If they were, today (not 20 years ago, Christine, Sussman, Morgan, Karel (especially) and others. you'd have six shares, not unsellable two shares. Or worse.

    You're not as good as you think, maybe?

    1. i just do ratings don't really apply to me.As far as being
      "ulta-lib",, is that why the ultra libs hate me for being a gun owner and a bradley manning detractor? Most thoughtful people aren't absolutely one thing or another,actually.


  11. I'm completely stumped as to why any radio channel around here has not hired John Rothmann. I learn so much from listening to him, and he's an asset wherever he goes. So tired of all these hosts getting bounced around like tiddlywinks!

  12. Easy. Because Rothman costs money and a good deal of it. He's not a $10 an hour cost-of-living personality, nor should be. Radio today doesn't need expensive personnel, not when two giant corporations like Clear Channel and Cumulus damn well own most of the tripe the broadcast, mostly syndicated fair that costs them nothing. Remember, CC distributes FOX Noise, owns Premiere Networks, and much more like giant stations including KFI in LA, while 910 here in SF has such a poor directional coverage.

    It's about the Benjamins, people -- not the talent. No time for that in today's radio world.

  13. I doubt Gil is working for $10.00 or even ten times that, true I don't know what radio hosts gets paid, it is possible John has a higher price than Gil, John writes books, give lectures etc. it is conceiveable that he is not desperat moneywise for a steady job.
    Gil might need something steady, he moved here from LA for his job at KGO and then bought a house. Like Rich mentioned John has had offers from out of the area stations and turned them down, so he is apparently able to pick and choose what he will and won't do. It is our loss, but I understand where he is coming from.

  14. John's in the AFTRA union like Christine, the hideous Karel, Sussman, Morgan, Thurston and others. The union sets the scale. It is not hard to find people as these making a couple hundred bucks a show and more for fulltime work. Problam is, there isn't much fulltime work around. Today radio is so irrelevant, especially AM radio. Those former AM listeners aren't coming back ever. Even KCBS wen to to FM because so many people have never heard of AM radio.It's about young people or hot stations like KFI and a few others. Realize that overall, KKSF is tied with KSFO these days. Both are even worse when the age groups of listeners are broken out. Just look at the ratings.

  15. Before Gil came to work at KGO, he was a well-known and highly paid network correspondent and anchor for ABC Radio. He also did work at WLS in Chicago, in Philadelphia, New York and more. Now, he and Rhoda rule "local" on KKSF and on a real estate show on weekends all over the country.

  16. They're not called Cheap Channel for nothing. F*** them! I hope they file for Chapter 11