Tuesday, October 13, 2015

How Cumulus Really Fucked Up KGO Radio; The New Format That Ronn Owens Said Was 'Going To Be Great'

 YOU can't say it enough: Cumulus killed KGO Radio in San Francisco. And other markets too but really murdered the very best station in the Bay Area. The station that had the perfect format, the direct dialogue between great hosts and you, the listener.

The format that is now in ruins run by a company that has penny stock--whose CEO was just fired.

The company,  in case you don't remember, that Ronn Owens said the day after the purge, "this {new format} is going to be great!" Said it countless times too. Like a bird in paradise chirping away.

After almost four years, KGO is now in perpetual freefall thanks to the Cumulus murderers. The worker bees on Battery Street --still work away. I can't fault many of them because they have to feed their family. Others don't care and carry on without the slightest bit of interest.

Ronn is one of them.

If you think I've made too much of this you ought to sit down and read this. I can't say it any better.

29 comments:

  1. Sally Jessy RaphaelOctober 13, 2015 at 10:17 AM

    Well said, Rich! Reminds me of that horseshit song "Video killed the radio star" sung by Morton Downey Jr.. Fucken loudmouth.

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  2. Any radio station that thinks we need a traffic report every five minutes has shit for brains.

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    1. Traffic is cheap programming that can be sponsored and that's why they run traffic reports but they're actually every ten minutes

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    2. You are right, my mistake. That's what I call an, "I are stupid" moment. I do that once in awhile. Haven't listened to KGO in a long time...just checked it out.

      Traffic reports are not too important for me. I'm retired and have no life, but it is a great way to live. I wake up in the morning with nothing to do, and by the time I go to bed at night, I have about half of it done.

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  3. So true! The folks who work in the news room are dedicated journalists and terrific people to work with. It's not easy for them being there and they deserve better.

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  4. It wouldn't be the first time Ronn was wrong.

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  5. I recall that about a week after the "putsch" the listeners complained so loudly that Ronn came on for 30 minutes and stridently defended the change. It rang so false then that that was the last day I spent any time listening to him. I could see how bad it was going to be even it he couldn't (read: wouldn't). I only listen to KGO now for traffic reports on my once every 6 month trip to SFO. After that, I turn if off. It's just so sad and it didn't have to be.

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  6. I guess cumulus still has many more stations making them enough until they ruin those too

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  7. You should see Ronn walking around the building. He looks about 15 years older than his actual age. Really frail. For the company to think even for a second this guy can attract a single listener is a laughable notion. If it weren't for his ass kissing ways I might even feel bad for the guy a little bit but then every time I see him I think to myself "why would I care about a guy like that who has never cared about anyone else?" It bothers me he makes more money than any of us by far and he is also the most useless.

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    1. What lovely comments about a man who is battling a disease made more difficult by a fall and a blood clot. Why would you even write such a thing? Even with all he has gone through and is going through, he is the best thing on the radio. You are completely lacking in empathy and it is pathetic.

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    2. 4:43, on occasion, even bad people get diseases, or suffer a fall, or have a negative event in their life. It doesn't seem to happen as often as it does to decent people, but on occasion it does happen.

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    3. I saw him last year at a Commonwealth Club event and thought he looked bad even then. The man's got money...Jesus, retire already. Is he living beyond his means?

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    4. I don't empathize with people who have never truly shown empathy or concern for anyone but themselves. Ronn is all about Ronn..My connects about how he looks aren't lacking in empathy. It's just the stark reality about a guy who should have hung it up a long while back. That newspaper article was cover so they couldn't treat him like barbieri. He should not be on the air anymore. Move in and give someone like Pat a shot.

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    5. I get a really really bad vibe from that smarmy voiced corporate boot licker. Did not even mention his "friends" on the massacre day when poor Gene Burns was thrown under the bus.

      "I'm a moderate." Translation: I won't take any controversial positions so I can keep my job.

      Looks out only for himself. A complete sell out. Everything about him smells of artificiality. Even his voice is a lame 1960s deejay affectation.

      Go away and retire already Mr. mattress man.


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  8. no one listens anymore.....

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  9. But you know what? The marketplace has responded. KGO is in the 1's. People have moved onto KCBS, NPR, or satellite. There are alternatives out there. My guess is that Cumulus is betting that ratings will pick up with the presidential race, after which KGO gets sold to someone willing to pay big bucks for the signal. Or maybe they dump KSFO and move all the conservative talk to KGO. In most major markets, your big AM stations are home to Limbaugh, Hannity, etc.

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    1. In most major markets conservative talk is also getting slaughtered. Between the major advertisers not willing to be a part of it and the low ratings it's not exactly a winning formula.

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  10. I don't disagree with you Rich, but can you move on to something fresh? We've heard this story about a million times. Nobody cares about KGO anymore. Their ratings are so low they're trying to stay ahead of the San Francisco Unified School District's radio station, KALW. In fact, they lose to the school district at night when Dreck is on. KGO has audiences that are between 100 and 500 listeners a quarter hour. Nobody is going to bring a KGO-like station back because it would cost too much -- there aren't enough ad dollars in radio to support that kind of format. KCBS will get hollowed out as well. Just wait. The audience is moving on to IP and satellite radio.

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  11. Ya it sucks and it's sad. I used to be a very loyal listener and I was very saddened and upset by the changes. But hasn't this been reported/stated/blogged/posted about a bazillion times by now? How many years ago did the big change happen? There's really no news to report about it anymore. It's done. In the words of Adele Dazeem :) "Let it go, let it go...."

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    1. It's less than 4 years ago. I know I'll never forget: the feeling that part of me had been ripped out; Ronn's hollow, callous on air comments afterwards; on and on.
      In fact, do you all recall Ronn's laughable comments in 2003 at the KGO All Star cast before the Iraq invasion? He said we had to invade because it's like going through a messy teenager's bedroom, we have to make sure the room is clean. The stupidest comment of all time!

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  12. And Ronn's almost commenting in passing the day after the carnage, while perhaps necessary to keep his job, flew in the face of everything he had stood for.

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  13. While I was terribly disappointed with what Ronn did in relation to the KGO
    massacre, I caught him talking politics last night (10/12) on the overnight replay, and it was still a joy to hear him talking politics. I can' stand most of the other stuff.

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  14. They killed the "golden goose"

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  15. I'm a huge talk radio junkie, 40 of my 53 years of life, most;y KGO. The last few years, I don't know where to turn, it's gotten so bad. I enjoy some of the NPR shows and their news. Hate right-wing dribble; listen to some sports here and there. Ronn is okay, but doesn't sound right. Needs to hang it up. Chip is listenable. I like Pat Thurston, wish she had Dreck's show permanenelty. That's about it. I miss the Lawyer and even Doctor Bill, when he didn't get into politics too much.

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    1. Talk junkie here also. Still very much appreciate Ronn. Chip is obnoxious, but I listen on occasion. Pat Thurston is smart, but way too far to the left for my taste. I wish I could hear Christine more often. She had interesting takes on things and, at times, manages to piss me off. Still like Gill and find him intelligent. Allen Combs is pretty funny, but I lose reception in the evening. Never listen to Drek (bad choice of names). Would love to hear Jon Rothman. I try to include music in radio diet, but talk seems to draw me in.

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  16. As someone who has worked in radio, much of it talk radio, my entire adult life, I can't resist adding this observation about KGO. Since, in the hyper-connected world of today, we can listen to radio planetwide, I can say there is really no station like KGO left in the US, and maybe just a handful worldwide. (like LBC in London) The loss of KGO really was a big thing.....

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  17. Prior to Cumulus and Citadel, KGO was the top radio destination in the Bay Area. While Citadel didn't mess much with the format, Cumulus destroyed the brand. Their attempt at an all news format with a little talk thrown in was a failure. They fired very excellent intelligent hosts except Owens and replaced them with second tier talkers. Franklin is just average and Dreck is terrible, This year, the long owned ABC property eliminated ABC News Radio and replaced it with unknowns from CNN and Westwood One. A change in ownership will eventually occur particularly if Cumulus goes into bankruptcy. Will it be in time to save KGO?

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  18. Peter B. Collins had a good segment on the overall decline of the industry and spoke about some length about his own experience at KGO last week. http://www.peterbcollins.com/2015/10/07/pbc-news-comment-19-years-after-clinton-deregulation-radio-industry-teeters/

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  19. As Dr. Bill Wattenberg use to say: "The greatest radio station in the world" and he was correct even if you totally couldn't stand that boorish racist Ray Taliaferro on the graveyard shift. Michael Savage got his start there on Sunday afternoons and no doubt Gene Burns' health was not helped by all this. Can't say I miss the totally obnoxious Bernie Ward. He must be due soon to be released from Federal Prison at Lompoc.

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