Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Ronn Owens lovely tribute to Gene Burns other than cutting off callers on KGO Radio

Ronn Owens did a tribute hour for Gene Burns from 9-10 AM.

During the course of the hour:

*Owens cut off at least two callers who wanted to talk about Burns remaining days at KGO before his dismissal by Cumulus. One woman in particular talked about hearing Burns on his "Dining Around" show and how one day, "I didn't hear his voice." She was cut immediately.

*During the mattress ad he reads on his show, Owens tried to mimic Burns voice in the spot. It was meant to be funny. I'll try and contain myself because it was not funny and if you only knew.

*Several e-mails have come my way indicating a few of you also tried to call in and ask about Burns last days at KGO and were rebuffed. I'm not surprised.

-----------Before Burn's passing on Saturday and Tuesday, Owens has said virtually nothing about the legendary host. In fact, Owens has said zilch. After his death, Owens has said more in two days than he has said since Burns was kicked out of the old KGO building on Dec. 1, 2011.

It was Burns who was unceremoniously thrown out of KGO. It was Burns that, from a person who was there at the time of the firing, who slumped from his chair and had to get helped up. Of course Burns took it hard as anyone who would upon getting fired. The circumstances immediately after his ouster have become noteworthy conversations among the local broadcast scene.

When Pat Thurston jokingly said on the Saturday night "wake" broadcast that "I hope I don't get fired", Owens was conspicuously silent. Figures, since Owens, shall I repeat myself?, has said NOTHING about the Cumulus human purge. When Karel said on that same program that "It was Gene's 'firing that killed him'", Owens again said nothing. Not. a. peep. Maybe if Sleeptrain sponsored the ad-libs, Owens might have mumbled something.

*Oh, during his show today in Burns tribute hour, Owens plugged his "R and B Joke hour" this Friday with himself and Dopey Dopeland. I can hardly wait.

Yes, I don't care much for the mattress man. It's hard to like a man who sold his soul the day after the purge. I will never forget the fake glee for "our exciting new format." I will never forget the 15 minutes of fake talk with an immediate switch to gadgets. I'm not the only one. Talk to some of the others who were dumped out of the building. One will not go on the record but had a few choice words for the mattress man.

43 comments:

  1. All these Tributes to Gene Burns in the last few days have just been a grim reminder of how great and enjoyable KGO USED to be prior to 12/1/11.
    And I still haven't forgotten Ronn's words the next day stating that he "was really looking foreword to the New Format at KGO, Really I am!"

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    1. I am convinced Ronn Owens does not sleep well at night. His conscience is gnawing at him. It's coming back around to bite him. Yes it is.

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    2. I disagree. A man with such comfortable mattresses definitely sleeps well.

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  2. It's a business. Not a charity.

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  3. Did KGO get most of it's Ratings 9-12 Prior to the Bloodbath? Why Keep Ronn On the Air? To me it was like someone forgot to Wite-out Mr Burns name on the spreadsheet from Atlanta. His show had to me taking in more cash than GIll.

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  4. The difference between Gene Burns & Ronn Ownens? If the roles were reversed and Cumulus fired Ronn and he was immediately escorted out of the KGO building, integrity-rich Gene would have walked out in support of his fellow colleagues. RIP Gene.

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    1. Oh, you are such a hopeless romantic. The radio industry is just like every other industry: every man/woman for himself/herself.

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    2. You're right. Gene would have walked out. I don't have a doubt in my mind about that.

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    3. Agreed. I can see it too.

      I still can't believe it's been 2-something yrs since the demise of the best radio station around. It still hurts!!

      RIP Gene, you are missed!

      http://bidness44.wordpress.com


      http://bidness44.wordpress.com

      Delete
  5. It's one thing for a station to do something nice for a former employee, but another thing to expect hosts to lay on the tracks for other people. It's well known old guard people at KGO hate what has transpired, and that new employees are treated like garbage in Cumulus's quest to make sure everyone is part-time, but it's still a business. Just because KGO managed to, for whatever reason, do something nice for a former host don't think for a second this means anything has changed. All it does mean is during a holiday weekend the station managed to slip one past the parent company. I guess for a day the old guard won, but in the end you shouldn't expect more of it. As for Ronn, he is who he is and nothing is going to change. Like any parents would tell their child in the business world these days, "worry about yourself first." People here shouldn't speak on behalf of Gene Burns as to what he would have done because you have no idea. Your romanticized version of what would have happened is nothing more than that.

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  6. I hate what Cumulus did to KGO. I still miss every one of the host who were let go.

    That said, anyone who has worked in broadcasting knows that the late Lee Rogers' observation is true ... "There are two kinds of broadcasters - those who have been fired, and those who WILL BE fired."

    Gene Burns (may he rest in peace), was the ultimate broadcast professional, and knew exactly was the reality of the business is.
    My guess is that the other hosts who were forced out knew it, too.

    This nonsense that Ronn Owens should be held responsible for Cumulus' decision, or that or that he could have magically reversed it by walking out, is just that - nonsense.

    This is a time to remember Gene, and all that he gave to the community - not a time to renew pointless vows of grudge and revenge.



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    1. Bravo. I totally agree.

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  7. Unfortunately Mr Burns felt he was immune from getting " let go", he discussed this many times on the air. Not sure why he exactly felt that way, especially in that kind of business.Every one of those guys that got fired were on the radio for years and years, nothing lasts forever.

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    1. Mr. Burns, like the rest of those let go, was under contract to Citadel. Upon takeover, the Cumulus ownership terminated those contracts immediately as businesses do when new ownership takes over.

      Was it a proper termination to Gene and John, Gil and Ray? Of course not. It was horrible.

      However, this is the way radio "business" is today.

      Rich, it wasn't that KGO wasn't making money, it was however, not making enough with the slide of the "money demos". Since you don't know how radio sales works, the higher demo listeners, of which KGO had many for a lot of years, certainly helped their cume and average quarter hours.

      The problem is, that 55+ audience, is a very very difficult sale to advertisers. Why? Here's the fact: It takes advertisers and ad agencies approximately three times as much money to advertise in an effort to get older listeners to change brand loyalties. Whereas, it takes advertisers less money to spend on te 25-54 demo that has not become as brand loyal and, like you mentioned today -- while the upper demo does spend money, the younger demos spend more of it for goods and services.

      Those are the people that advertisers are seeking and the price to get that "Brand loyalty" is much more effective and efficient.

      Also, being in the hunt for the 55+ audience outside of sports radio on AM and some talk -- s not relatable on AM to younger, productive "money demos."

      Your mention today of "Baby Boomers" is not quite true, Rich. Baby Boomers today are in their early to late 60s.

      Those in their 50s are the back end of being "Baby boomers" and have no value to advertisers.

      The next group of listenrs has been affected by and growing up with FM radio ... not AM radio.

      Sorry, but those are the facts.

      Radio, like KGO, is there to make money and lots of it. Tody's radio landscape has changed and, no, how Cumulus is treating it is still far from right.

      Putting "younger" talkers like Montemayor, Karel, Langan and others isn't working because the younger people Cumulus hopes to attract aren't listening to talk on AM anyway, except, maybe, for KNBR, the Giants and the 49ers.

      I know this because I run radio stations and deal with it everyday.

      Thanks, Rich.

      Delete
    2. Interesting post at 8:15pm. Good information.

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    3. Ya, so how's the ratings? Oh, not so hot huh. KGone is reflective of the old computer programming adage......GIGO - Garbage in, garbage out.

      Delete
    4. Wait a minute.

      If Gene signs a contract with Citadel, the new owners Cumulus can void the contract?

      That can't be true. Otherwise, why didn't Cumulus void the Mattress man's contract?

      Delete
  8. Post at 12:50pm I respectfully disagree.
    Most KGO listeners are not looking for Ronn Owens to lay on the train tracks and take one for a co-worker, but rather the manner with which the day after evolved. Ronn's "I really like this new format" will forever grate on me.
    What makes this whole scene (Owens reaction) rebulsive is he has always been a tough guy when it came to taking on unpopular figures, such as socially conservative individuals, but when push came to shove Ronn Owens went running.

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  9. RL not to be picky here but.................
    Ronn Owens went directly into "cell phone use while driving" as the next topic for discussion on his radio show 12/2/11.

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    1. I don't blame Owens for trying to keep his job and being a cheerleader for the new owners.

      But what is totally inexcusable is that he never once wished Gene well after Gene suffered a stroke.

      Never. Not once.

      Owens is trash.

      Delete
  10. i never listened to kgo after they unceremoniously and literally shoved the old guard to the curb. those guys made me listen almost religiously from when i was a teen. very sad to see one of them pass away, especially considering he become one of the definitive voices on that station. when you heard that man you knew you were listening to KGO at around 7-10. before the bernie ward tragedy i would start off listening to gene burns and crash by around 2-3am when ray was on, and then wake up to that smarmy guy in the morning which reminded me to not only wake up, but to turn the radio off.

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  11. Rich, if it weren't for your blog I wouldn't know that Ronn Owens was still on the air.
    He has become so insignificant it isn't funny.

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  12. Of course Rich is the only one who gets to decide what's an approporiate tribute.

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  13. "that smarmy guy" very good!

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    1. that was probably Ed Baxter

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  14. I am so saddened by Burn's death. I had the great fortune to listen to him when he was on WRKO. I also saw him live and give one of the greatest talks on self governance ever given in Newton, MA.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CjT8EmJ7h08

    After moving to the Bay Area, I was elated to hear him early Saturday morning on the then revamped KSFO. I think he then replaced Larry King on KSFO. Ultimately, he was brought over to KGO. I met him a number of years again back at Quarry Lakes Park in Fremont. He was the most gracious media figure I've ever met.

    Rest in Peace, Gene.

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  16. johnny bom bonneyMay 28, 2013 at 4:37 PM

    I believe I heard this call and response the other day at A.T.& T park:
    "What's the matter with Ow-ens...?
    "HE'S A BUM!!!"

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  17. Thanks RL for sifting through the mattress man's show today to report it's contents. I am bewildered by today's replies that "this is the way radio/the world/management" works. No, this is not how the world works; it's the way greedy corporations and horrible managers justify bad behavior. These same poor examples of humanity will then support their position by saying those who've been wronged should just "get over it" and "move on." Well, I guess it can be said Mr. Burns has moved on from being treated like garbage by the Dickey's cloud company. I look forward to someday reading how crappy the "Q" treats Mr. Owens when they deem he is no longer worthy at KGO and kick him to the Hawthorne Street curb.

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    1. The Q must see Something in Ronn. The Q just had a chance to get rid of him and did not. I still think We will see a sale of The Q in the next few years.

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  18. The last Ronn words I remember was his giddy monolog after the mass firings about his own sense of survivor’s guilt. Just Awful... I turned off KGO and haven't heard it or him since.

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    1. Yes I too remember the same "survivor's guilt".
      Translated, I have an employment contract so who cares what happens to my co-workers. I still have job.
      Let them eat cake!

      Delete
    2. For me it wasn't what Ronn didn't say or do. It was what he DID say. Better to have said nothing than to spew the kind of crap he put forth.

      Delete
  19. I am blown away at the childishness of some of the comments above.

    This wasn't the time to be trashing Ronn - but I guess Rich has a quota or something.

    If anyone believes that when the layoffs all happened that Ronn didn't have his new bosses right next to him or in front of him during his show - then you have never worked a day in your life in a corporate environment. What was he supposed to do? Trash the new owners? He did what he had to do as an employee and a man in business.

    I don't know why you'd think is sorrow or shock would be any less than anyone else.

    More importantly, Ronn was awesome on Pat's show on Sunday, in his call ins AND on his show.

    Don't continually criticize someone for keeping and doing his job.

    Sorry you couldn't make your "hate on Ronn" quota with my post, Rich.

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  20. Okay... Enough...

    Let's remember Gene Burns fondly and warmly and not turn the tragedy of his death into a launching pad for an attention-hungry Rich to go off on another "Network" inspired "I'm mad as hell!" KGO-bashing tirade. It's beating a dead horse. It's crass, it's tired, and it's shtick.

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    1. Mr. Burns, like the rest of those let go, was under contract to Citadel. Upon takeover, the Cumulus ownership terminated those contracts immediately as businesses do when new ownership takes over.

      Was it a proper termination to Gene and John, Gil and Ray? Of course not. It was horrible.

      However, this is the way radio "business" is today.

      Rich, it wasn't that KGO wasn't making money, it was however, not making enough with the slide of the "money demos". Since you don't know how radio sales works, the higher demo listeners, of which KGO had many for a lot of years, certainly helped their cume and average quarter hours.

      The problem is, that 55+ audience, is a very very difficult sale to advertisers. Why? Here's the fact: It takes advertisers and ad agencies approximately three times as much money to advertise in an effort to get older listeners to change brand loyalties. Whereas, it takes advertisers less money to spend on te 25-54 demo that has not become as brand loyal and, like you mentioned today -- while the upper demo does spend money, the younger demos spend more of it for goods and services.

      Those are the people that advertisers are seeking and the price to get that "Brand loyalty" is much more effective and efficient.

      Also, being in the hunt for the 55+ audience outside of sports radio on AM and some talk -- s not relatable on AM to younger, productive "money demos."

      Your mention today of "Baby Boomers" is not quite true, Rich. Baby Boomers today are in their early to late 60s.

      Those in their 50s are the back end of being "Baby boomers" and have no value to advertisers.

      The next group of listenrs has been affected by and growing up with FM radio ... not AM radio.

      Sorry, but those are the facts.

      Radio, like KGO, is there to make money and lots of it. Tody's radio landscape has changed and, no, how Cumulus is treating it is still far from right.

      Putting "younger" talkers like Montemayor, Karel, Langan and others isn't working because the younger people Cumulus hopes to attract aren't listening to talk on AM anyway, except, maybe, for KNBR, the Giants and the 49ers.

      Thanks, Rich.

      Delete
  21. Thank you for calling out Lowenstein and Dopey on your show today. Also kudos to Gil Gross and Joel Riddell for a wonderful four hour tribute to Mr. Burns. I live in Carmel by the Sea and frequently recall some of Gene's shows referencing his stays here. His passing is very sad for me and only met him briefly eight years ago at the Walnut Creek wine and food festival. I can only imagine how sad those close to him must feel. Thank you for all those wonderful years you gave us in Northern California.

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  22. Social media and the internet is where younger folks are at and NOT A.M. radio. Radio Will never be what it used to be here in the Bay Area. I was fortunate to be on KNBR with Frank and Mike and Gene Nelson on KYA, in what I call the good old days. KCBS survives today and will continue to make money and be the number 1 or 2 station in the market because it does a good job as all news radio and it has a captive audience. It will continue to have an audience because even young folks who drive need to know the traffic, weather and news. FM music lost to the I-pod long time ago and the rest of the young folks in High School don't even own a radio. FM is hanging on only because US Baby Boomers are still listening. Expect for the Giants, my kids don't listen to the radio. For those that remember the good old days of Bay Area radio, and folks like Don Sherwood. Ira Blue, Dave McEllhatton, Hilly Rose, Russ the Moose Sryracuse, Al Jazzbeau Collins, you are the lucky ones. The rest of are the victims of corporate greed and changing habits.

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  23. Gene Burns must have bought Rich lunch once in his life.

    Otherwise he would be dog crap like everyone who has not.

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  24. Thank you to Pat Thurston for her "tribute" program on Saturday. She has been worth listening to since she arrived at KGO, and she proved why on Saturday. Also, thanks to Ray for calling in - it was good hearing his voice again. I hope he is doing well. 910 during the week and KGO on weekends is probably where most radios/internet are tuned for talk in the Bay Area and beyond. (The continual repeat of news tapes on KGO is painful to listen to, and must be difficult for seasoned newscasters such as Finch and others to do.)

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  25. Today Saturday, June 1st Joel Riddell had a wonderful show remembering Gene Burns.
    Ronn Owens is entertaining, not a mean man, but just not very smart... kinda of smarmy. If I miss a Ronn Owens show, it doesn't matter. But when Gene was on the radio, wether in the evening or on Dining Around I had a hard time turning off the radio because I was always afraid I'd miss something. Other people have more adequately written about the wonderfulness that was Gene and all I can add is how genuine he seemed - you can't really fake that. Gene is indeed a legend and I so miss him...his rhetoric, his interviews, his humor, his recipes and his ability to engage with listeners.

    Mike Pechner comments are spot on. As one of the Bay Area Boomers I remember the good old radio days of Don Sherwood et al (heck my mother insisted that I listen to Sherwood in the morning during breakfast- we never knew if he would show up or not). I was one of the LUCKY ones to experience Bay Area radio in its prime. It connected us all.

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  26. it's been a year and a half and I've never once turned on that station.

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