Monday, April 15, 2013

How I got the KSCO/KOMY Radio Gig; Could the 'Old KGO' Brand return to Bay Area Radio Airwaves?' Broadcast Pioneer Zwerling has Sights set on SF Market; Media Rundown Special

Let's talk about a significant moment in Bay Area radio broadcast history. And better yet, let's talk about something in the future that might get a lot of people excited.

Me especially and probably many thousands like you that never forget and long for the good old days when an iconic station was hijacked by a bunch of corporate raiders who didn't know about a huge legacy station beloved by an entire region.

Most will agree with me that December 1, 2011 was the day talk radio died in the Bay Area.  That was the day Cumulus Media sent corporate hacks into 900 Front Street SF to put a bullet in the head of the longest-standing, most successful commercial US news/talk radio station of all time. 

The unexpected and incredibly disrespectful firing of KGO hosts John Rothmann, Ray Taliaferro, Gil Gross, Len Tillem, and Bill Wattenburg in an attempt to compete with KCBS in an all-news format was stupid stupid stupid, and the proof is in the pudding: KGO's ratings are now less than half of what they were the day they killed the goose that laid the golden egg.

But KGO's loss became KSCO's gain.  Michael Zwerling, the eccentric 61 year-old owner of the 10,000 watt, Santa Cruz-based independent talker actually went on the air with a promo BLASTING Cumulus for the decision He knew would immediately result in a huge increase in listeners for his own station.  (Full Disclosure: I'm a talk-show host at KSCO).

Click to READ that promo and comments from listeners) 

Why would Zwerling do that?  

"Because you don't shit on loyal people, the hosts AND the audience, who made you what you are", he said in typical MZ mince-no-words style.

It was as a result of the KGO meltdown that I became acquainted with MZ and his AM talk radio duopoly (KSCO AM 1080 and 1KW KOMY AM 1340) operation.  He had me on his Saturday Special and several other programs to talk about the KGO drama.  He reached out to Wattenburg, Rothmann, and other hosts to appear on interviews and to host shows.

He reached out to ME to encourage me to add a live news/talk radio dimension to my growing 415 Media blog.

When I visited KSCO I was amazed to see a family of secure, happy people, some of whom have been with the station for many decades.

MZ says, "If I can't have a station with a heart and a soul and a personality that SERVES its community rather than RAPES it, then I don't want to be in the business; I'll find something else to do."

The more I observe KSCO, KOMY, MZ, his staff, and audience, the more convinced I am that the Bay Area could benefit immensely from and would SURELY embrace a true "voice for everyone" talk radio station run  by Michael Zwerling.

Zwerling wants to bring a little of the old KGO back to the Bay Area. He has the means, both financial and practical. He's the ultimate business purveyor with a keen sight on coming into the SF market. Am I being a bit self-serving? No. I'm just telling you the truth. Per that feeling, I'm going to throw out a nice piece of audio red meat.

I urge any owner (or even lessee) of an under-performing Bay Area AM or FM broadcast station to contact MZ, email, and make a deal with him.

Like Mickey Luckoff and Jack Swanson, MZ "gets it" and he has the resources. Seriously.

Bay area radio will be all the better for it.

*Follow me on Twitter and LISTEN to me Monday-Friday on "The Rich Lieberman Show" from 1-4 PM PT LIVE on KSCO/KOMY, (click on the streaming audio site and podcasts are available).


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  1. I wish I could get your show on the radio in the mid eastbay. On the internet,a running radio show will cause my PC to slow or freeze up if I listen and surf.
    About how far north does the station carry for most people's car or home radio's?

  2. The smartest thing he could do would be to try to buy the mess at 860 am and make it the new, talk only, KGO. Something they tried at 910 but, with no promotion, it did not go well. Just yesterday I met a long time listener of the old KG0 who did not know about 910. Terrible promotion - no wonder their ratings lag.

    1. Regarding 860am. Thank you.
      I have been promoting the idea of someone, anyone, to take over that station and turn it into a top notch talk radio station.
      860am is a gold mine waiting to be mined.

    2. Not with that awful signal, especially at night. It's no better than KKSF.

  3. This is a year and half ago. Has anything new transpired? Hosts like Rothmann and others made a decent living at KGO. They can probably stay home today and do something else for the same amount of money.

  4. Thanks Rich, for the link to KSCO. Tried to find a 'Program Schedule' there to no avail. Yet, look forward to exploring this radio station.

  5. It's a risky proposition to attempt to launch a live radio station unless you have deep pockets and great hosts. Having more than 3 live hosts would be difficult because of the costs associated. Would have to bring on some syndication, at the very least, to start the station. Be nice to hear something new in the Bay.

  6. You hated all the talk show hosts when they were at KGO.

  7. "Am I being a bit self-serving? No. I'm just telling you the truth."

    Don't you think that's for others to decide?

  8. You left out Gene Burns!!?

  9. Did KGO not fire Gene Burns also?

  10. Rich is totally self-serving but who in the media isn't. Traditional media is just a joke now.

  11. Something should be done to fill the great radio void, that is the current state of SF local radio. KGO is so difficult to listen to with it's milk-toast repeating content, obnoxious commercials, uninformed talk show hosts, and don't forget all those mistakes.
    The corporates have lost touch with the very people they ultimately cater to.. the listeners. They DON'T get it. I mean seriously, did you really think we would want Red-Eye Radio? Jeez..

  12. I think Michael Zwerling, Mickey Luckoff, and Jack Swanson should get together and BUY KGO off the hands of Cumulous. Seriously.

  13. To 11:17 a.m.

    Can you imagine the old KGO restored? That would be frickin' AWESOME!!!!