Thursday, January 7, 2016

I Remember


When the Chronicle --and its digital sister, SFGate, was must-read media. Even if it meant having to skip most of the frivolities, it's simply unnecessary and a mega-hassle. It's easier to get into the Kremlin than to navigate the Gate. Other than a few columnists, why bother?

*I remember when Ronnnnnnnnnnnn Owens was appointment radio. Informational, entertaining, provocative and enlightening. Now, the only thing compelling on Ronnnnnnnnnnnn's show is when he tells listeners about his Mercedes purchase over the weekend.

*I remember when most female KPIX news anchors weren't getting pregnant all the time.

*I remember when a certain 95.7 FM (Sports) 'The Game' host from 3-7 PM, was on rival KNBR, Christmas night, for 20 minutes, no less. Hats off to the monitoring dept.

*I remember when Gary Radnich, who preaches kids and family on his daily alleged sports show, cheated on his first wife, twice. (That didn't make the Ben Fong-Torres article, humn.)

*I remember the time when KTVU was wildly popular and entertaining; a news foundation and staff based on great anchors; great reporters, reporting; news and information delivered with crisp and crafty technique; real and genuine; a heritage station that was the envy of the Bay Area and beyond.

Now, I see anchors talking, chattering, and sounding like fools. Reporters and anchors talking like a pirate. A bunch of clowns directed by FOX Clown management who wouldn't know authenticity and respect for brand if it hit 'em in the head.

*I remember the time when a blond female anchor at KTVU hit Mark Ibanez with her heel in the parking lot.

*I remember when KTVU female anchors like Gasia Mikaelian didn't mug the camera and embarrass themselves and the station. Sum Ting Wong.

*I remember the time when in order to get a TV anchor gig on KGO-TV, a female newbie didn't sound like Julia Child.

*I remember KGO-TV without 4 weather anchors. 4!

*I remember the last black air talent on PIX not counting Christin Ayers.

*I remember Brian Copeland when he was black.

*I remember Michael Krasny when he wasn't having an orgasm talking to Phillip Roth.

*I remember Ron Lowenstein when he first came to KGO in 1975. Humble fellow.

*I remember Pete Wilson and Evan White and Bob Jimenez and Tom Sinkovitz. I remember Van Amburg. I remember Peter Cleaveland reporting on the streets of San Francisco. I recall Catherine Heenan. I respect the hell out of Kate Kelly and Pam Moore. Rita Williams and Betty Ann Bruno. Ben Williams and Belva Davis. Mark Thompson and Pete Liebengood. Joel Bartlett and Peter Giddings. Jerry Jensen and Art Cribbs. Marcia Brandwynne and Claud Mann. Gary Park and Don Sanchez.

*I remember Owen Spann. Jim Eason. Art Finley. Gene Burns. (Mr. Burns, affectionately)

*Jim Dunbar and Ted Wygant. Wow.

*I remember Joe Starkey do his 6: 20 PM sports report on KGO Radio. The best-written sports wrap in America.

*I recall the night John Lennon was murdered in 1980 I turned on KGO Radio and listen to Russ Coughlan heal a grieving Bay Area.

*I recall Monte Stickles buying me breakfast at the lovely Studio Café on Golden Gate Ave when KGO was headquartered in the Tenderloin.

*I remember when KRON was the CBS of the Bay Area. Now it's pretty much Cartoon Channel.

*I remember when Dave Newhouse hosted SportsPhone 68 and Ralph Barbierri dove in for the kill.

*I remember the first time Gary Park talked about restaurants in Montreal during Giants' games.

*As a little kid, 10 to be exact, I remember the great Walt Harris and "BIG TIME WRESTLING!" at the old KTVU in 1972.

*I remember the old Gary Radnich "Sports Final" on the old KRON before the Young Broadcasting/NBC debacle.

*I remember a TV sports guy named Steve Sommers. Maybe the funniest person ever in Bay Area media.

*I remember when Mark Thompson replaced "Fletcher the Weather Bunny" on KRON.

*I remember when perusing the Bay Guardian was first toilet read followed by the Pink Section.

*I remember having lunch with Howard Cosell and seeing him hit on a 19 year-old blond at the Fairmont Hotel back in 1982 when I was working at K-101.


  1. Hmph, I remember saying ASS!!! when I was 5 years old, & my Dad thought I had to poo...he said "Clear the toilet!!".

  2. Mark Thompson is doing a nighttime radio news gig on KFI 640 Los Angeles, with Tim Conway Jr.

    Don't miss "What the Hell Did Jesse Jackson say?" every Thursday night at 8pm. Rumor has been that Thompson is dating Shelly Stirling.

  3. TV's a bitch. Then you die.

  4. Rita Williams: Nice lady, pioneer, reporter and baseball fan extraordinaire.

  5. I remember when Sal Casteneda had gray hair. I wonder if Fox management "suggested" he darken it up a little. The Foxification of poor Sal continues. Maybe Dan Noyes had something to do with it.

  6. I remember the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism student who, after too much champagne at the graduation ceremonies, tokd me she broke into peoples homes to get information for stories. What a piece of shit. Do they teach this stuff?

    1. No they don't but I believe they tell their students to incriminate themselves to the dumbest person within arm's length.

    2. I'd guess you're an expert on dumb because you've had so much first hand experience.

  7. I can't visit SFGate nowadays without my browser freezing after a few minutes. Sad.

  8. Big Time Wrestling! Long forgotten...but was pretty darn popular in the '70s. Cow Palace, Oakland Coliseum sold out for Battle Royals. Hank Renner, Peter Maivia, Ray Stevens, Kenji Shibuya, Rocky Johnson (The Rock's dad), Pat Patterson, Bob Burns (record of about 0-70), Haru Sasaki, Haystack Calhoun...feel free to add more names.

    1. Gorgeous George?

    2. Moondog Mayne...
      The Von Braunners and Manager Gerhardt Kaiser...

    3. Pat Patterson and Karel would get along great.

    4. Isn't the Rocks
      mom Peter maivias sister?

    5. Stop- you're making me cry. Big Time Wrestling- the memories! Hank Renner was one of our sales guys at KTXL. We'd tape the bouts on Mondays- in a studio right next to the newsroom/studio. Loyal fans lined up around the block all day, the wrestlers hanging in the news studio, waiting for their turn in the ring. (we had to post a "No Spitting" sign near the news set) Most of the wrestlers were great, very respectful and down to earth. Some were otherwise. Everyone but everyone wanted a ticket to those shows. Other names? Andre the Giant, Mr. Saito, Handsome Johnny and Luscious Jimmy, the masked marvels, and midget wrestlers! and of course, Miss Wrestling..

    6. Don't forget Mitsu Arakawa. He was Kenji Shibuya's brother. I remember because we named our cat after Mitsu

    7. Bearcat Wright with his double 4 leg lock. The Shiek who somehow went into some drug filled frenzy in the middle of a match without the drugs. Also on KTVU every week, Roller Derby! with the Bay Bombers.

    8. Paul DeMarco had memorable matches with Ray Stevens.
      His manager was none other than . . . Dr Ken Ramey.
      One of the best rivalries in Wrestling.

    9. Excellent inside knowledge for the post at 1:14pm.

  9. You take a break and come back with this crap? You should have stayed out longer.

  10. I remember sky
    It was blue as ink
    Or at least I think
    I remember sky.

    I remember snow
    Soft as feathers
    Sharp as thumb tacks
    Coming down like lint
    And it made you squint
    When the wind would blow.

    And ice like vinyl
    On the streets
    Cold as silver
    White as sheets
    Rain like strings
    And changing things
    Like leaves.

    I remember leaves
    Green as spearmint
    Crisp as paper.
    I remember trees

    Bare as coat racks
    Spread like broken umbrellas.

    And parks and bridges,
    Ponds and zoos,
    Ruddy faces,
    Muddy shoes,
    Light and noise and
    Bees and boys
    And days.

    I remember days,
    Or at least I try.
    But as years go by
    They're sort of haze,
    And the bluest ink
    Isn't really sky
    And at times I think
    I would gladly die
    For a day of sky.

  11. John Tolos...Man Mountain Mike...Pampero Firpo!

    1. The oooonly way to spell wrestling, is T......OL.....OS! My all-time favorite! AKA "The Golden Greek," or the shave-headed "Maniac Tolos" for a time in the '70s.

  12. 1) I'm surprised you've heard of Philip Roth

    2) I don't get what all the fuss is. To me he's a mediocre novelist who thinks he's a genius.

  13. 10:11 AM (Re: SFGATE): That drove me crazy, when I was accessing the site through Internet Explorer. I switched to Crome, and all is smooth-sailing now.

  14. I remember when Ron Owens was nearly bald, when Dan Ashley had a graying, receding hairline, when Radnich was nearly bald, before Jan Wahl had a mustache.

  15. i remember when Don Sherwood showed up drunk for his late night show (on ch. 7?)and went into the audience asking people if *they* were drunk. sure miss Sherwood, Lenny Bruce & Mort Sahl.

  16. I recall the local news way back in the 1960's and like a lot of things new comers to SF don't understand it was better. I often recall being moved by the KRON announcer simply saying KRON San Francisco back then. No one had any idea the Chronicle of Herb Caen's day and KRON would morph into two separate and third rate media sources (and I'm stretching to use the word media source).

    I liked Freddy Van Amburg and I guess he likes his privacy because he was gone without a peep. Kate Kelly is a total class act and I hope we all age gracefully like she has still beautiful, intelligent and centered. I respect Diane Dwyer who I recently ran into in Walnut Creek. She had the good sense to quit while at the top and is even more amazing in person than on the screen.

    I think the internet ruined newspapers for a different reason than most with craigslist offering for free what the Chron was selling for $25 even back in the day.

    The juncture of all of this is crappy local news, crappy local papers and crappy SFGATE. SFGATE wants you to go to but like their paper rag there is nothing in it to merit spending 25 cents on it let alone what they ask for a copy today...

    If you must visit SFGATE use adblock on your browser.

  17. i can remember when kya, kfrc, and kdia played some pretty good tunes on the am side. but the last purely local show that i remember making a point to listen to was alex bennett. not so much because of him, but because of the forum he provided for so many great comics. no matter what the day of the week or my mood, that show always made me laugh. thinking back, some of the comics weren't so funny-like brian copeland. he seemed a little out of his league at that time. bobby slayton seemed too self-important to allow the audience free laughter. just a plug meister. but so many others who were so generous with their talents. even though the show probably should have been canceled much sooner than it was as it became shell of it's former self. way too much of the traffic gal lori , imo. anyway, thanks for the post rich.

  18. *Jim Dunbar and Ted Wygant. Wow.

    Wow is an understatement. Best AM morning show of all time. I wish KGO would just play reruns of their show.

  19. At my age, asking me to remember anything, could be considered borderline elder abuse.

    Spent many an evening listening to Bernie Ward, 7 to 10, and then Bill Wattenberg, 10 to 1. Bernie would wind you up like you were on speed, and then Wattenberg would slow and calm you down. Good AM radio is music to the ears.

  20. I remember when KGO radio was billing over $35,000,000 a year in ad revenue. Now they peddle real estate and vitamin ads as "programming". I remember when Karel was funny and 100 lbs lighter. He was funny and fresh before turning into a bitter and angry queen. I remember decades ago when Christine Craft told us how once she appeared on the Letterman show and she still reminds us of that fact. Some things never change.

  21. That was damned near orgasmic to read.

  22. I remember when I didn't need cable to receive the three major network local stations in San Francisco (Before NBC moved to KNTV and that lousy transmitter location in San Bruno or SSF). "Free TV" - those were the days...

    Costs of cable/satellite have cut into my alcohol budget and I'm not a happy camper.

    1. news flash, free TV still exists. over the air, install good antenna. cut the cord

  23. As a teenager in the 60's I remember a dj named Jack Hammer who took requests over the phone. Can't remember the call letters of the SF rock station. Way long time ago.

  24. norm howard in the morning on KQED
    the same norm doing classical music after morning edition
    kevin purseglove - 1st forum host
    KJAZ anytime but especially dinner jazz programming
    Greg Lyons on KRON - great reporter
    bob parlocha, jerry dean, tim hodges
    jerry neuman -- the long time afternoon and evening voice of KQED

  25. I remember when Richie would call in to Ronn Owens show and the great Lee Pete in Vegas (is that where you met Jim Brown?)

  26. Steve Sommers came to Atlanta for a while - claimed there was no skill involved in riding dirt bikes - was called out to ride a bike over the track in Atlanta Stadium but left town before the show...

  27. And the important question.......
    How did Howard do?

  28. I remember when Aaron Pero was a very green 22 year-old intern at KXTV in Sacramento.