Those of you that come here and can't figure out why I have heaped a lot of poo-poo on Cumulus for killing radio in San Francisco might want to be inclined to read this.
Since buying Citadel, (which owned KGO and KSFO here), in 2011, the company that Ronn Owens said was a "class" organization and "treats me so well", has seen a ratings nosedive and overall destruction in its path.
The ratings numbers:
KGO: down a whopping 58%, KSFO, down 38%. Is it any wonder that even offering multiple "bonus", free ads to companies, KGO can't get any advertisers? Most companies that run a business like this would be put out to pasture. The Dickey brothers who own the Cloud Company reward themselves handsomely as evidenced by this note in the piece:
... "The Dickeys have made a small fortune. In 2011 and 2012, Lew Dickey reportedly bagged $22,080,673 in combined total compensation; Cumulus VP John Dickey scored $6,626,687. This comes at a time when the Dickeys’ business strategy has been to radically slash costs and staff.
“You try doing this damage on just one station and you’re fired,” said Jerry Del Colliano. “The Dickeys do it and they are compensated."
Mind you San Francisco had a rich radio heritage with legacy stations like KGO, which even as its ratings declined in 2008, was still a news-talk powerhouse that was the envy of an industry that marveled at its success. Making globs of money and possessing some of the most heralded talent in the business. 32 years, #1 in the ratings and billing more than $50 million bucks kind of success. Only to see this gobbled up by a ruthless bunch of corporate raiders who took over and DESTROYED a massively successful operation. These moronic people who don't know radio, don't understand any aspect of the broadcast business and hijacked a great community resource and threw it to the wolves.
But, as Ronn Owens said, "this is a great company and this is going to be a great format--I'm excited!" (Dec, 2011). How's that working out, Ronn?
Think of Cumulus as the ultimate corporate bulldozer only most bulldozers understand basic components of business and know how to run a company, know how to foster good intentions and endeavors even when faking it. Cumulus would fuck up a wet dream. Cumulus makes Clear Channel look like Levi Strauss. Cumulus makes Citadel look like the Cathedral of Notre Dame.
To this day I get frequent thoughts from mostly well-intentioned people who ask me to move on, please, things change, the world is a different place. I have moved on-- it wasn't me who trashed a virtual institution in this fine city; it wasn't I that was robbed of a community asset, a virtual listening force that people made their appointment radio. Think about it for a moment.
Oh, but Rich, the ratings were going down and only old people were listening. Yeah, how's the new format working out as I asked Ronn? Did it ever occur to the wonder boys that a mere tweaking of a legacy station be in order? An alteration perhaps. Hiring a few new, younger, voices? Not really. Instead of doing just that Cumulus and the dickheads took the dog to the backyard and shot it. See, they're not radio people; shit, they're not even good businessmen as evidenced by the article.
The real bad news here is that it's going to get worse. The consolidation is in full throttle-mode and what you will have is a model of what you currently have and that's a mosh pit of KGO gobbled up by KNBR and KSFO and The Bone. No one has an identity any more. Formats come and go, sure it's a part of the business and will continue to be so, everyone understands that only in this instance a mega-brand has been forever altered and severely diminished and marginalized. KNBR will always have its cash and sports affiliates that butters the bread, we know that and it is KNBR that is essentially fronting KGO and KSFO, both completely gutted and fretted out in the pasture.
San Francisco and the Bay Area are not alone. Cities across the nation bear the ultimate Cumulus scar. Good people have been fired. Budgets slashed. A bottom-line corporate Darth Vader that has produced a bunch of zombies. Ain't it sweet?
But at least Ronn is happy: "they treat me so well." Never mind.
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