Friday, July 11, 2014

KGO/KSFO Sea Change Coming Soon; 'Talk 910' Gross and Frosty Likely Out; Ratings Free Fall Dictate Moves; KFOG Looming as 'KGO-FM'; Friday Radio Notes

 A Sea change is about to hit Bay Area radio and it's coming soon.


Among the notable items:


KGO Radio, mired in its worst ratings ever, will soon evolve into a news and talk hybrid.


The specific layout is still a work-in-progress but will be patterned after Atlanta's "News Radio", a Cumulus station that a mixes a news and talk formula.


We had it here first and, soon, others joined the party. The ring leader has been hired.


Inside KGO's newsroom, there's considerable trepidation, according to a station source but news blocks will be largely left alone, only reduced to drive time and hourly updates.


A morning and afternoon news show, (think 6-9 and 4-7), are probably in place. Again, specifics aren't known yet but the source told me KGO might morph an underperforming outlet on FM and create a KGO-FM to try and compete with KCBS.


Other than Ronn Owens, (whose contract runs out this year), expect a whole lot of new voices. New and "young", "Live and "Local." It's highly doubtful that any of the old voices will be back on the air so don't be expecting a Ray Taliaferro or Gil Gross anytime soon.


Speaking of Gross, it's all but certain he'll be out at Talk 910 AM, (Clear Channel's KKSF-AM)--Gross nor his early-afternoon buddy, Frosty Stillwell, haven't attracted much attention and this is ample proof.


**KSFO has reached rock-bottom. The once-mighty legacy station with a conservative, "Hot-Talk" format has been on the Cumulus market for over a year now. Its morning show is in a free fall and even new programs are floundering.


Expect wholesale changes.


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44 comments:

  1. Isn't KGO a news and talk hybrid as it is? Just say more talk is coming.

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    1. Let's just put it this way. Officially, from the penthouse top floor of the Lew & John Dickey media compound in Atlanta, to the office to be occupied at 55 Hawthorne starting in less than 72 hours by Kevin Metheny, the time has come to head for "higher ground." This is not an "occupation" like on December 11, 2011. It's an "invasion" about to happen.

      This will be more than Rich's well-writtten "sea change" comment.

      This will and is planned to be a gradual but fairly quick Tsuanmi Warning of change, evolvement and one of patience and understanding. It WON'T be done in a day, but there will be a steady stream of fireworks, as Metheny feels the walls for the light switches.

      Then, look out.

      His ass is on the line from day one, especially with the losses in Detroit this past week, the complete devastation of historic, never before seen happenings in New York at WABC, equally as horrific destruction of the iconic WLS Chicago. The sunk deep in the mire of KABC Los Angeles and much much more.

      LeBron James returning to Cleveland pales to the changes coming to San Francisco radio from both Cumulus and Clear Channel in relatively short time.

      The Dickey's hate conservative listeners. They are, however, not total dummies. They know that POOR liberal / progressive has been killed in its most likely success market, San Francisco, of all places. Clear Channel is ridding itself of liberal talk because of its failures nationally and in the Bay Area.

      Younger "personalities", edgy or not, on AM has not moved the needle, nor has the constant spate of "comedians" on their way through the Bay Area. One, they've proved uninformed, not funny and have little if any relevance to a discriminate audience. A Pat Thurston makes it. A Karel does not. Nor does a Gil Gross, a Frosty or an Amstrong & Getty. Politics is about hate or extremes and not flying now of over the next 30 months. All news is dominated and "taken" for the market and the talk-level has been long set by the forum offered by top ranked NPR affiliate, KQED.

      The candle has now burned from both ends to the middle of nothingness.

      There is, however, Traffic on the Fives, The Finch Files (for now), John Hamilton Travel (for now), Ethan Bearman (for now), and Sussman and Green (really, for now.) There is Matt Ray and the phone-it-in Barthalomew and the should only be phoning it in reassigned flunky, Davie Weintraub. There is also the wrong time zoned Bloomsburg Radio overnight and the not much better (but probably a keeper) Red Eye Radio, too.

      Oh, there is Mr. Savage. Why? He's lost 26% "his" audience in the three months he's been on KSFO. Sea change, indeed. His "sellable" numbers, in his "hometown" are even worse. And, getting "worser." Just wait for Congressman-hired-in-waiting Mike Rodgers in October. The newest non-brilliant Cumulus hire from the GOP side.

      So long Chef Ryan Scott. Don't choke when that non-renewal comes your way.

      Batchelor will be fine for KSFO. Then, there's the stable of Cumulus / Westwood One hires that, well, won't be a particularly good fit in SF. Geraldo? Are you kidding? That experiment has come and sailed.

      Sports? Yes, there is plenty left, but Cumulus is not about building sports dynasty's outside of Knibber right now. Big deals from da Raiders would have to be made. Cumulus has no money to burn. There is Cal, of course ...

      Good luck. This ought to be interesting. The dismantling of talk radio thanks to Cumulus Media and Clear Channel. Conglomeration at its finest.

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    2. Kind of a long winded ramble there. You paid by the word?

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    3. 12;04, I hope you're right that John Hamilton stays on for now. John is personable and charming in a pre-internet sort of way. In a way that is hard to reproduce and is still very important to many adults in the San Fran area. I hope you're wrong about Sussman and Green, that they will stay locked in place. Until those two are knocked off the top of the 'wedding cake' KSFO cannot go forward and will continue to sink in it's own dark wet mire.

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    4. 12:04, you said, "They know that POOR liberal / progressive has been killed in its most likely success market, San Francisco, of all places. Clear Channel is ridding itself of liberal talk because of its failures nationally and in the Bay Area."

      Rubbish! First, the Dickey's themselves killed off KGO, remember? Second--KQED radio does just fine here in the Bay Area! But corporate idiots can't seem to grasp that idea ever.

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    5. Savage like Limbaugh is a tired act. Whereas I used to not miss his show I've now completely switched it off to listen to either bbc or the congenial genius of Watsonville aka old right wing fuddy duddy hack: Charles Friedman on KSCO. That's how low Savage has sunk in my book!

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    6. AuntiL - sorry, but the Dickey's did not Kill off KGO. They merely threw the bath water out with the cleaning up of the ashes they disposed. The station had been lon suffering and losing ratings and revenues for years. Then, with the change to PPM ratings methodology, the end was quickly called for in a most horrific way. Corporate raiding and firings, yes. KGO, however, had sat on its laurels for a long time. Too long, in fact.

      Too old an audience, ratings and cume going south, KCBS going up appealed to the corporate sense and doing it on the cheap killed that idea.

      Yes, POOR lib talk was not working for KGO. Lib talk has lost more than a station or more a week nationwide at this moment. Clear Channel couldn't keep Rani Rhodes, Air America is gone, Ed Schultz, too. The format has died (ask Hal Ginsburg who sold his $600,000 lib talker in Monterey for $200,000 because "Im not able to make money with this format."

      The KGO numbers did not stabilize, they continue, to this day, with lib takers (except for Ronn) to the lowest levels in history. Karel is not even the novelty he once was. He's a tuneout radical extremist who lost his way 7 or 8 years ago. KQED does well, but doesn't depend on commercials to survive. Their "good" programming is supported by 1) the government (NPR) and 2) good people like you who open their wallets to give to the cause. The fact that so many liberals, like yourself, listens en masse to KQED proves that there are limits to what "the market will bear." KGO doesn't have the power anymore, nor does KKSF.

      Bringing back the "past" won't help the corporate bottomline, either. Advertisers want younger listeners, like you. If that wasn't true, there would be less NPR programming on KQED and you would see John Rothman, Ray T, Gll Gross, Christine Craft, Pat Thurston and others over there -- but not at those prices, nor in this day. That's one reason why the "legends" were unkindly terminated. Not "fair" of Cumulus, but the libs have now reached near rock bottom on KGO and KKSF - with the neo cons all but destroying both KSFO, KKSF and KNEW. It's a business and you have, as one person, no impact on the end result. Those who didn't support KGO and the corporate approach of bleeding to death because the station didn't keep up with the times and the changing market are to blame. KGO cannot survive on 70 year old listeners, nor, will they. Thanks for your input...

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    7. I doubt it is the younger listeners tuning in to KCBS. Repetitive news on the AMradio dial is nothing the under-55 crowd would likely be interested in. So how does anyone explain how their ratings stay high, supposedly, with the age demographic that they all covet?

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  2. By his own admission Gross doesn't read this blog and that is too bad. . Had he been a regular reader he would've known a while back that 3 hours of monotone monologues was a disaster. He'll find out soon enough.

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    1. You are right 3 hours of monotone monologues is more than enough, however you are unfortunately wrong Gil is on for 4 hours. He does have experts on, but his program is boring, too many silly stories, etc.

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    2. I stand corrected. Four hours of monotone monologue with way too many "aaaaaaaaaaaaah" and "oooooooohs" is the equivalent of being water boarded. Add Rhoda to the mix and it is even worse!

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    3. I actually like him in small doses, but the incessant stories and the refusal to take callers who might actually break up the monotony will be his undoing. Too bad because he's a pretty good interviewer with interesting guests on a variety of topics. Not too much of that left in radio.

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    4. I'm pretty sure it's not Gil's decision not to tqke calls. Don't assume it is.

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    5. I once called Gil's show a couple of years ago and was told, "he's not going to take callers on this, but he is going to take callers on his next topic on the bottom of the hour." I read that as he wants to cover a topic because he has to but he's not a strong enough host to handle differing opinions.

      They guy has a nice storied career but he is an at best average radio talk show host. I think I read here he was offered a job as a news man at KGO a few months back but turned it down? He'll view that as a mistake. He was good in news.

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  3. With the exception of Batchelor, Kudlow and Brinker, KSFO is unlistenable and has been for quite some time. Brian is still listed on their site but it seems he will be headed elsewhere. I don't personally have a problem with him but the man doesn't fit up here. He belongs in a place like Bakersfield, somewhere in the Inland Empire or maybe San Diego. I spent several weeks there in flight school a few years back and was surprised at how buttoned down and conservative it was. If he gets an offer down there, he should not walk. He should run.

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    1. I actually learn things form Batchelor's show .. how novel.

      He must read a book a day.

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    2. The guy's a Princeton grad, no dummy. I hope KGO keeps him around.

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    3. I once knew a girl who graduated from Princeton. She really wasn't very bright.

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    4. I also enjoy Batchelor's show. My 21 year old son listens with me, so not all 'wanted' demographics are gone from the talk radio experience.

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  4. Adios, Karel...the pink slip is in the mail.

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    1. One can only wish, but we've heard it so many times before and he's still there.

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  5. Gill Gross was boring even when he was on KGO.
    We all knew that at the station at that time.
    Jack Swanson would have never let the yenta wife on the air.
    Also, I'll bet 10 to 1 Karel survives and carries on.
    Cumulus, since they don't have a clue about San Francisco, fears a gay backlash if they dump Karel.
    This has to be why they keep him on the air.

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    1. Well, I listened to Gil just about every day when he was on KGO. When Ronn's show came on, I went over to KQED.

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  6. Rich, a recent arrival to this blog ROOTVG,, who posted above, sounds like a very interesting person. I vote for you to interview him. He can keep his hat on, so to speak, or his anonymous face. I'd like to hear more about who he has met, and what he's done. He went to Flight School, Rich...What more do I have to say?! Can I get a witness or a sign that other blog brothers agree with me?

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  7. Our company, like Cumulus, made some bonehead decisions around 5 years ago. They had a negative impact on revenue and morale. I know after working for these people for almost a decade, that they will never admit to a mistake. Instead, they will allow us some autonomy. They won't discuss performance or numbers because then the decisions they forced upon us will have to be mentioned and that's the last thing they want. Cumulus is in a similar state of denial.

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  8. You're kidding right? I'd rather Rich interview Stan before that right wing hack ROOTVG.

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    1. Nationwide, there are far more of us than there are of you. NEVER forget it. Two million Republicans stayed home in 2012. That won't happen in 2016 or even in 2014.

      It's not the United States of California or God Forbid the United States of San Francisco.

      And, no...I'm not going to shut up about it.

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    2. Absolutely agree, 3:24.
      ROOTVG is a mean-spirited conservative bore. He and his wife hate liberals, they're so happy they've found each other here in this terribly liberal SFBay Area. They live in the East Bay, where they listen only to Conservative KSFO at 6pm every night and together they enjoy hating liberals every chance the get.
      OMG, We already know his story...and it's BORING!!!

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  9. KKSF 1-3 pm has Joel and Corey is the WORST! I like Ridell in Dining Around, but the 2 of them are awful! I thought they were going to be filling airtime for a week, but it just keeps going! Easily the worst show ever!

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    1. They are pretty bad, I guess Gil is a cut above, I think the worst thing about Gil's show is that is on for 4 hours, which is about 3 to 2 and 1/2 too much. Joel was Gene Burns assistant and often filled in for Gene on his dinning around show, he probably learned a thing or two from the master of talk radio Gene Burns, will we ever see the likes of him again? I doubt it. Corey is the program director at 910, I suppose he has a boss, but it is unlikely he wants to fire himself. Wondering is he the one thinking that Gil and Frosty are entertaining without taking calls? He is misguided, as for Gil not reading this blog, I have e-mailed him directly at 910 the same for Corey saying callers are needed, I'm sure I'm not the only one, never got an answer, in the old days when you wrote KGO or KSFO you often got a reply. Which just confirms what I have suspected for quite a while, the powers to be don't really care what their audience think. Too bad.

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    2. @9:13 you are wrong. Joel Riddell never subbed for Gene on his Dining Program. He was his producer but Jack Swanson and Mickey Luckoff never wanted Joel on the air and he never was. He chimed in, but never filled in .

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    3. @10:50 YOU are wrong. Joel did indeed do a number of Dining Shows for Gene while he was ill. Both Jack and Mickey were no longer at the station.

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  10. USC's classical station is doing better than KGO, KSFO, KFOG.

    That says something.

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  11. I wonder who they'll fire. I just hope they don't fire Brian Copeland. He and Pat Thurston are my favorite hosts.
    Saw a few of Brian's shows, read his book and have been listening to his program for years.
    He's probably one of the few people at that station who has the money and doesn't NEED to work at KGO. I guess we'll see what happen

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    1. Copeland will be around forever. He's accepted that he will never be much more than a regional semi-success. With failure comes comfort for some folks and he's one of 'em. Another Sarlatte.

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    2. Failure? You're joking, right? Just googled him. Four hit one-man shows (one of which went to off-broadway), comedian who has opened for dozens of celebrities including Aretha Franklin and James brown, best selling author, host of several tv shows and much more. A recent newspaper article also called him a living legend in the Bay Area.
      Which part of that sounds like a failure to you?

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    3. You are so right about Copeland, he is very versatile, I don't know why some people think he is so bad. He is intelligent, often has a different take on subjects, Dr. Drew often has him on his show, it might be that talk show host is not his strongest talent, but I don't see how you can call him a failure. I think Rich don't like him, because he is friends with Ronn, Rich is not very objective when it comes to Ronn. I for one almost always enjoy Brian's shows. Could some listeners be prejudice. Nah, not in liberal San Francisco? He has connection to Bill Cosby, Mel Brooks, and I forget his real name (he was Meathead on Archie Bunker) it will come to me, but for now I'm blank.

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  12. Armstrong and Getty's show is like the boys locker room in middle school. I cannot believe that adult men talk about their underwear on air---and at length---but they do. They are not droll, just clueless. Like classic B (B-?) students they pontificate about politics, economics, human nature, the constitution....while they rage against government, bureaucracy and, most of all, express their never ending disrespect for "Barack Hussain Obama"

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    1. I enjoy the hell out of their show, but then again, I was a B- student too.

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  13. Where is the source picking KFOG as the new KGO-FM? Not The BONE 107.7?

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  14. Did you know, Michael Weiner (Savage) is going bald?
    Man, all his other pix show a full head of hair.
    It's no wonder Weiner always has that hat on.
    Check out his recent video.
    You may even catch his terribly yellow teeth. (Weiner hates dentists)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNnr5T7knvU

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  15. > Its [KSFO] morning show is in a free fall ...

    Sussman and Green have become so bad this week that termination must be imminent. What is time frame for cancellation and prospective replacement(s] to materialize?

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  16. Will Mel Baker publicly apologize for his statements that you were 'punked' by KGO staffers, if the changes do come to pass?

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    1. When Rich published that story, nothing was planned or set in stone. He was fed that story because it's something that could, in fact, happen.

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