Monday, May 13, 2013

Broadcast Maverick, Michael Zwerling, Has Sights set on Bay Area Radio Frequency; Talk Radio Format on his Radar

In the 17.5 months since quality live and local TalkRadio all but died in the Bay Area NOTHING has been done to revive it.  On the contrary, it has gotten even worse: example: dropping of Len Tillem (John Rothmann?) and other local voices by Clear Channel's KKSF AM 910.

Killing quality local programming seems to be the trend at Clear Channel -- recently veteran broadcaster Mark Carbonaro's very popular 6A to 9A morning drive program was dropped by KION AM 1460 Salinas-Monterey-Santa Cruz and replaced by Armstrong & Getty from Clear Channel's Sacramento outlet, also carried on KKSF AM 910.

Over the weekend the San Jose Mercury News published an interesting story about Family Radio, Inc. the Oakland-based, donation-supported religious broadcaster that owns radio stations, translators, and shortwave outlets throughout the country, including locally, KEAR AM 610, the old KFRC (Dr. Don Rose, etc.)

It seems that donations to that radio ministry are down significantly as a result of a sluggish economy AND fallout from repeated predictions of impending Rapture (end of the world) dates which failed to materialize.

As I read this Mercury News story (see it at http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_23224368/end-world-oaklands-family-radio ) I could not stop thinking about how GREAT it would be if somehow, some way, some TIME soon, this channel could be tapped to reinstate ( perhaps more appropriately, "resurrect" in this case :-) quality LIVE AND LOCAL talk radio in the Bay Area.

Then I thought about Michael Zwerling, "MZ", the major sponsor of this blog, and the owner of KSCO AM 1080 and KOMY AM 1340, the Monterey Bay stations that originate the Lieberman Live daily three hour talk show.

Last month I wrote a story about MZ ( http://richliebermanreport.blogspot.com/2013/04/how-i-got-current-kscokomy-radio-gig.html ) planning to bring independent (non-corporate) talk radio back to the Bay Area.  But that story wasn't up for fifteen minutes before the Boston Bombing mega-story hit, so a story that is particularly meaningful to me and many other talk radio enthusiasts -- pretty much got buried...

I have encouraged MZ to follow his dream of establishing his brand of talk radio in 415 -- as well as in 510, 925, 707, 650, and 408!

He says any frequency will do, AM or FM, so long as it has a strong signal into San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, Marin, and the peninsula.  Concord, Walnut Creek, and Martinez would be a plus.  

He will buy from, lease from, or partner with an operator who wants their channel to perform better.

MZ is a pretty clever and creative guy.  Herewith I re-offer the audio red meat I put forth in the April 15 post:  Attention Bay Area radio broadcast operators who are tired of swimming upstream in a business that is going south fast:  Make a deal with MZ: he GETS IT -- and knows how to turn negatives into positives--AND put smiles on many faces.  



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69 comments:

  1. If MZ sets his mind to something--and clearly he's intent on getting an AM or FM outlet with a strong signal that blankets the Bay Area -- he's known to pursue it with great passion and focus until he gets it.

    MZ is legendary, an icon above all others, in the radio business, and he's known for being innovative and cutting-edge in the industry. He has developed a flourishing and hugely successful business model that has enabled KSCO/KOMY to thrive even as other independently-owned local radio stations are folding because they can't compete with the corporate behemoths that are stifling the medium with their bland uniformity and mediocrity.

    It is only a matter of time before MZ will be a major presence in the San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose Market. He is the next James Gabbert. And when MZ gets established here, "Lieberman Live," "The Rich Lieberman Show," will be the centerpiece of this up and coming success story.

    Yes, suck it up you banal and foolish critics of Rich. Even his worst critics must grudgingly admit that Rich has defied all their gloomy expectations. Instead of crashing and burning, as they longed for, he's succeeded beyond belief in four months. You ain't seen nothing yet because the best is yet to come! Rich and MZ are going to take the Bay Area by storm!

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    1. The preceding commentary sponsored by RL and MZ...LMAO...WTF.

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    2. If this comes about hopefully the following hosts will be part of the line-up: John Rothman, Stacy Taylor, Peter B Collins, could Pat Thurston be lured away from KGO for more week-day hours? Perhaps Christine as well, although I'm not a huge fan of hers, but she is intelligent and generally has a good show. Anything decent and intelligent will do. Len Tillem could do an hour a few times a week.
      Listen to "hanging with Langdon" for a few minutes last night, any more and would be ready to hang myself. Gil Gross grates on my nerves most days, he likes to predict what a caller might say or think, so he says, tells too many stories that is not interesting and not funny, why he does not take calls is a mystery to me. He doesen't strike me as someone who has a huge ego, thus wants to hear himself talk all the time. Ronn had Spencer Christian on for an hour at 11 a.m. today, a very good and funny show, Ronn still has it most days. He annoys me sometime, but his voice dosen't grate on my nerves the way Gil's does, other talk show host can do a long monolog (Tom Sullivan, Bill Press one right, one left)
      without getting on my nerves, it has more to do with style than the subject. Hope we soon get a quality talk station that reaches most of the entire Bay Area.

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    3. Don't bank your house on it. Talk radio is dead.

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    4. No it is not dead, I believe almost every big, large and medium city has several hours of talk radio. Many hosts (doesen't matter if you like them or not has many listener's) Rush, Hannity, Savage, Levin, Sullivan, Alan Colmes, Ronn others, make their living on talk radio.

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  2. Any frequency will do, AM or FM, so long as it has a strong signal into San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, Marin, and the peninsula? Concord, Walnut Creek, and Martinez would be a plus? There's a little county in the southern part of the Bay Area called "Santa Clara". It's got roughly 25% of the entire Bay Area population and is its own radio market (#36). Its residents might be interested, too.

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  3. MEMO

    To: Bay Area Radio Stations

    Why keep working to support a system that clearly doesn't support you, and in fact, seeks to exploit you? That's the bottom line in commercial radio today where a handful of large companies dominate the airwaves. But it doesn't have to be that way. You can get out of this downward spiral...this rut.

    If you have an AM or FM signal that provides a clear and strong signal all over the Bay Area and you're looking for a successful business model and an ever expanding audience, then consider partnering with Michael Zwerling, the CEO of Zwerling Broadcasting.

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  4. Make a deal with MZ: he GETS IT.

    Rich, this says it all.

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  5. This country is

    in the toilet, people.



    This country is rotten to the core and

    somebody better do something about it.



    Take your hand out of that bowl of

    Fritos, turn off the Dr. Phil Show on TV,



    and pick up the phone,

    hold it up to your face...

    and call Rich Lieberman NOW!

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  6. I'm TOTALLY sold on MZ.

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  7. Lovin' Lieberman Live!

    Viva Rich & MZ!

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  8. Rich:

    This is obviously great news for you *IF* MZ can deliver.

    Otherwise, you're stuck on a 1,000-watt station in La Selva Beach, which can't be heard much beyond Watsonville and Santa Cruz.

    For your sake, I hope it pans out.

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    Replies
    1. Like the postman, MZ always delivers.

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  9. Everyone knows world famous media personality MZ is a very personable and pleasant man with people, but what they don't know is that KSCO and KOMY radio, which he and his mother Kay own jointly, are among the last of a vanishing breed: independently owned and operated stations in America. Kudos to them as they preserve the best of radio today.

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  10. It's hard to believe but KSCO Radio owner Michael Zwerling did not ALWAYS have a "great face for radio"...

    Is it Ron Burgundy? :-) Forty years ago, a young and handsome Mike Zwerling anchored a TV newcast, "Feature News 7" news with the theme from "Shaft."

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bk2OMAgqmEY

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    Replies
    1. Ever heard the expression, "a face made for radio"? Well, he's got that AND a voice made for newspapers.

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  11. DON'T MESS WITH MICHAEL ZWERLING

    These news/talk radio stations are not owned by a hedge fund or multi-billion dollar conglomerate. Their ownership group doesn’t occupy the top floors of a big-city skyscraper. You will not see the morning or afternoon show brandishing seven-figure contracts, nor the corporate PD flying into town on the company Lear jet, or the “brand manager” moving from market to market implementing new strategies to grow the market cluster.

    The fact of the matter is none of the above elements – which have become somewhat commonplace in today’s radio industry – at this station exist.

    To understand KSCO, you have to understand the people who run the highly successful news/talk station.

    When Michael Zwerling bought KSCO in 1991 he was inadvertently fulfilling a promise he made 24 years prior when he was getting his start in the radio business at that very same station. He had done something on the air that the owner did not appreciate, and he let the young Zwerling know it.

    Zwerling told TALKERS, “It was January 4, 1967, and I was on the air and made a ‘raspberry’ sound during a conversation in order to make a point. Into the studio came the owner and after he lectured me I told him off and said to him that one day I will own this station. Twenty four years later, I bought it.”

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  12. Rich is right!

    * “What makes the station unique is this is a station where content is not dictated by corporations. You don’t find independent operators in radio anymore."

    * “I do a local show with local content. I’m never told what I can and can’t say. Michael has his own business interests, but he gives me complete, 100% editorial control.”

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  13. More popular than Rush Limbaugh!

    The most popular figure on KSCO is NOT Rich Lieberman. Sorry. It's Michael Zwerling’s 92-year old mother Kay. Her daily conservative-leaning commentaries are a fixture on the station her son owns.

    If it's any consolation, Rich, your afternoon show is the second-best thing about KSCO/KOMY.

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  14. Rich is spot-on, as usual, displaying keen powers of insight. Just as he has observed, a lot of radio stations and broadcast companies can learn a great deal from MZ.

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  15. KSCO 1080, which remains proudly conservative to the core, is 10,000 watts of soothing sanity

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    1. Mother Of God! How many times will they re-arranged the deck chairs before someone shouts May-Day and that Titanic takes on enough water to sink.

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    2. Not mention, CRAP, as long as Limbaugh's on there.

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  16. KSCO/KOMY CEO Michael Zwerling: Survive and Thrive

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dt9STvbOJBg

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  17. Although KSCO is a for-profit commercial radio station, they ask listeners to donate money to support their operations. I know of a few other commercially-licensed stations that have done this, but they primarily offer religious programming, unlike KSCO’s news-talk format.

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  18. What's the upshot of what's brewing with MZ for the RICH LIEBERMAN SHOW? Give us the bottom line.

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  19. I know of some who would donate money to family radio. They enjoyed all the preaching of be good,and love one another..and blame the bad on Satan. They stopped when Harold Camping became a false prophet. You would have thought Harold would have known the bible says no man can see the future. And,get this, he already had predicted the end of the world in the 1990's. AND, Harold even claimed he was right about that!..some strange reasoning that the world died of lack of morals then. What? no hookers pre the 1990's?
    If he had just stuck to being a modest man and not some kind of future seeing Guru. But power corrupts..

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  20. Although some hosts on KSCO/KOMY are the auditory equivalent of a train wreck-- too awful to witness, too awful to turn away--Michael Zwerling also has a gift for finding incredible talent--Rich Lieberman--and the outrageous.

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  21. Michael's mother who bought KSCO/KOMY for him: "Kay Zwerling makes Leona Helmsley look saintly." ~ John Sandidge

    "Kay Zwerling is the ultimate Dragon Lady." ~ Rob Roberts

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    Replies
    1. Let's not sugar coat this.

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  22. KSCO/KOMY is the best of both worlds.

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    Replies
    1. Right. Some people have bad taste. Some people have none. You appear to be the best of both worlds.

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  23. MZ really hit a homerun with Lieberman Live. Enuff said.

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  24. KSCO has picked up many disgruntled former KGO listeners.

    I am absolutely sick over the changes at KGO. I have taken it off my “dial”…

    Now KSCO 1080 and KOMY 1340.

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    Replies
    1. A brilliant loudmouth gab machine.

      I'm sticking with Muh Man Gil Gross on 910!

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    2. Oh! I feel sorry for you.

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    3. Good for you! Enjoy them and please support the local advertisers. Without them, there would be no KSCO or KOMY. Radio stations cost money to run. They are not free. They need your help to survive.

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  25. If you have a large audience that loves you and trusts you, chances are you will be better off financially if you leverage that audience for your income, rather than collect a salary from an employer station or network in times when advertising budgets are being cut to the quick-- and so are salaries for hosts.

    Talk Host NewsTalk AM 1080 owner Michael Zwerling ("MZ") has successfully employed this powerful revenue concept for over 15 years to keep his innovative, independent station going and growing during times of increasing radio industry consolidation and contraction.

    The "leverage audience" concept is simple: hosts promote products and business opportunities they believe in and collect commissions based of sales of those products and business opportunities to their listeners.

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  26. Props to Rosemary Chalmers and the team that have made KSCO's "Good Morning, Monterey Bay" a hugely popular Central Coast fixture.

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  27. Is LIEBERMAN LIVE coming to a Bay Area radio outlet? When?

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    Replies
    1. Via the Internet, like it does now. Listen and enjoy.

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    2. Not just Santa Cruz and Watsonville...

      San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland.

      Indeed, all over the West Coast!

      And around the world!

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  28. Family Radio is in dire straights. Revenue has fallen way off. Sooner or later, this station at 610 on the AM dial will be up for grabs.

    With a transmitter on the bay tidelands at the foot of the Bay Bridge on the East Bay side, the former KFRC 610 signal has a great reach.

    MZ: Make a deal with Family Radio.

    Family Radio: Make a deal with MZ.

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    Replies
    1. Rich -

      The Big 610 will sell for no less that $8-million dollars. MZ doesn't have that kind of money or experience to operate a station such as that.

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    2. With all due respect, MZ and his mother Kay are the scions of the wealthy Zwerling "old money" family empire. They could easily afford $8 million or more, if that's the asking price.

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  29. Well, let's face it, talk radio is not exactly a highly respected medium.

    KSCO and KOMY are two notable exceptions.

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    Replies
    1. Why can you say that? Do you have any proof?

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  30. This is the problem with the media today, it's about who you know and not what you know. The media has turned from giving information about the news of the day to giving your personal unprofessional and biased opinion. And these people have gotten these jobs based solely on the people they know in the industry.

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  31. Zwerling is a shrewd and principled businessman. He gets it. Conservative talk radio makes money; liberal radio does not.

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    Replies
    1. Because liberal radio fosters mr and mrs nice guy "change from within". If they had a Stan who will kick a Rush over goalposts if he had the chance,liberal radio might be worth listening to.

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    2. Why is liberal and progressive radio a disaster?
      Simple it is B*O*R*I*N*G.
      Where is Air-America?

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  32. Zwerling and Lieberman have turned radio upside down and bring us the most innovative and entertaining talk radio programming found anywhere. Sometimes informative, always uplifiting, and often in-your-face irreverent, but always entertaining, we are here to keep you coming back for more.

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    Replies
    1. You need help. Either that, or you've lived a very sheltered life. How much about the radio business do you know or are you just blowing smoke?

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    2. I've forgotten far more than you'll ever know.

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  33. this mother and son team remind me of Mrs. Carlson and her son Arthur who owned WKRP in Cincinnatt!

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  34. If Mickey Luckoff and his group were unable to pull it off, what makes anyone think that MZ will be able to come up with a radio deal in the Bay Area? If it happens I'll be very happy, but I am not convinced it can occur. Besides, if Kay Zwerling's lunatic rants appeared on Bay Area airwaves, there would be protests outside the station immediately. People in the Bay Area don't put up with hateful anti-gay, anti-immigrant rhetoric, even if it comes from a seemingly harmless and religious old hag. Finally, before MZ makes a move to the Bay Area, he should concentrate on adding programming to weekends on KSCO and KOMY besides hokus pokus vitamin ads. Tacky!

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    Replies
    1. Kay Zwerling is no hag. She's elegant in appearance and has a mind like a steel trap.That's a good thing at any age, especially in one's nineties. You don't like her ideas, but they are hardly "lunatic".

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    2. Christine is perceptive as always.

      Kay's son Mike is a man of considerable accomplishment in his own right, too.

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    3. A trap designed in 1920.

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  35. Make Harold Camping an offer he can't refuse.

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  36. I loved the RICH LIEBERMAN PROGRAM today. Never a dull moment. Always entertaining. Never any shtick. Keep sharing your food recipes with us!

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    Replies
    1. As good a show as Chef Ryan, in all reality. Seriously.

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  37. I had no idea Rich was an accomplished chef ... not until today anyway! Thanks for sharing your recipes on your show.

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  38. Change should be coming to commercial bay area AM and FM radio in the form of more intelligent programming, but it won't come anytime soon.

    That's because the people that own radio stations these days are big companies like Cumulus and Clear Channel which are run by executives that are 'bean-counters' first, and broadcasters second.

    As long as we continue to live in a 'share-holder' society, where profits and bonuses are sacrosanct, things WILL NOT CHANGE.

    At least we're still got a good news radio station in KCBS, and an excellent NPR affiliate in KQED. The rest of the stations around here? Not really worth listening to unless they carrying the play by play of a local team.

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  39. RL,

    Don't you have anything to write about that doesn't promote your own radio program or radio network. Constant self-promotion is something Lieberman criticizes in everyone else but it's OK for him.

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  40. If MZ does to Bay Area radio what he's done in Santa Cruz, God help us all.

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