Tuesday, June 28, 2016

KCBS Needs a Deep Cleaning; Old 24-7 All News Is Stale; Bunger and Leigh Taylor Boring; PM Drivers Too; Michael Finney Talks To You and that's Good; Roberta Gonzales Gets 'Worser'; New Obnoxious Worst Radio Ad; Plus 415 Media Nuggets

Stan Bunger and Susan Leigh Taylor/KCBS  Morning Anchors
 As a stalwart radio presence here in the Bay Area, KCBS is about as consistent as they come; a 24/7 all-news conduit that relies heavily on traffic and weather; breaking news stories; a round-the-clock AM CBS station that has been around seemingly forever.

That said, KCBS is noticeably   slipping and badly so. There are cracks in the wall despite steady ratings.

Especially in the morning. Whew! What the hell has happened here?

Longtime anchors Stan Bunger and Susan Leigh Taylor seem to be in a comfort zone that has them resting on their laurels. The result is that the Morning News Drive Time during the week sounds frankly boring and stagnated. Seems to have flatlined at the worst possible time. Part of this has to do Bunger's complete control-freak play and his awful morning duets with suddenly insufferable weather woman, Roberta Gonzales. At 7: 20 AM, it's become the 740 AM freak show with Roberta's golly-gee act and Stan's aiding and abetting. It sounds terrible and that's the problem.

Leigh Taylor is another major irritant. Her whiny, holier-than-thou missives have become tiresome; her frequent "as I was driving in from Pacifica there was sprinkles on my window' are tedious and trying --if it's once and awhile fine but Taylor says it like she's getting paid each time. If I were her, I'd can it; listeners know a fraud when they hear one.

Moreover, Taylor's interviewing style is irksome at best; do we have to hear her repeatedly open the bottom of the hour interview with, "Good Morning, such and such...thanks for joining us"... and then an awkward pause. It sounds awful. And apparently no one has told Taylor about it. Except me, now.

Another major irritant involves KCBS' incessant story replay; apologists say this rampant repeat of stories is just "part of the business and required. People are tuning in and out and getting out of their car." Really? That can't defend the literally dozens of times a listener hears the SAME story ...again, and again...and again...and again. It's lazy, it's pathetic and ridiculous. And it doesn't have to happen. Grow up, KCBS.

In the afternoon, I've never liked Jeff Bell, who seems to talk down to people day after day. What's with that? Is Bell better than the rest of us? It sounds like he thinks so. Co-anchor Patti Reising doesn't help matters either with her on-air persona and frequent lecturing. Maybe she thinks she's at the opera.

For a station that's as big and worthy as KCBS, you would think they could possess more detailed reporters but surprisingly they are low on the totem pole here. Doug Sovern is a qualified political reporter; Jeffrey Schaub is just above-average; Dave Padilla is a disaster though; a radio Hindenburg. (Rise and Shine?) Really Dave? Come on.

KCBS needs a deep cleansing --it still does what it does best: a place to go on breaking news stories and a cavalcade of sports and weather at 15 after and "on the 8's". But it all sounds stale like leftover Chinese food from a week. It can be tolerated to a bit but you still have to nuke it in the microwave.

And the recent practice of hiring KGO Radio retreads doesn't help matters; Dear Jack Swanson: you're an industry giant. Is it really necessary to fetch old sandwiches from the KGO refrigerator? There has to be better options out there on the open market.


*More Michael Finney: the KGO-TV veteran Consumer Reporter TALKS TO YOU. He doesn't insult you with stupid and gimmicky double talk. It's REFRESHING and AUTHENTIC to the viewer. Yes, some people find that pleasing to the eye and ear.

*I didn't know Mike Sugerman was Jesus Christ around here. Mike's a decent reporter --wish him well in NY and congrats on his new Grandpa status but he's average at best; The "About-The-Bay" reports became tedious and predictable. I'm supposed to be a believer? No. And please spare me with the "he's a genius" comments. Mike is good. Not great. There's a big difference. He's no Bob Melrose. But he's better than Don Ford and Da Lin.

*Yeah, hard fact: CBS doesn't like to pay its talent big money when they near 60. Remember Walter Cronkite?

*Those KNBR producers, call-screeners, and on-air guys who pleaded on YouTube about getting a livable wage? Well, turns out their pleas were about as genuine as ordering fish at House of Prime Rib. When push came to shove they acted like complete cowards --their cry for help was IGNORED by management and their influential on-air stiffs didn't do a thing. Not that they could but the fact remains: people on KNBR like Radnich and Krueger; "Murph and Mac"; Tom Tolbert are ANTI-UNION. They only care about themselves and to hell with the staff who get paid roughly 12 bucks and hour. Radnich is particularly putrid: he frequently orders one of the young bucks to fetch orange sodas from the vending machine and move his car. What an ass!

*Ron Cervi, KCBS Traffic: I'll listen to his report.

*More Roberta Gonzales: she thinks everyone wants to hear every personal story no matter what; Roberta, it's getting worser by the day! Please, put a pipe on it.

*E-mail: "Rich, did we really have to know about your personal life?" No, but it beats scribbling that KGO Radio is shits --and people really do want to read it. Maybe that's scary but at least it's honest.

*By the way, I like writing about life issues and things that affect us all. You might be in denial if you don't gather the fact that there's a lot of people out there who are depressed. Look up "clinical depression" and read about it. Welcome to the real world.

*I thought "Kars-4-Kids" was the worst radio spot but that asshole guy with the "SAFETY, SAFETY, SAFETY, Granger Granger Granger" is the clubhouse leader.

*Further angst probably affecting the KCBS workers: the likely sale, next year, of CBS Radio, which will pretty much break apart the family.

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  1. It was KFWB Los Angeles where "You give us 20 minutes and we'll give you the world" was one of their slogans. One usually doesn't listen to KCBS for more than 30 minutes or so.
    Let them repeat stories, it's a new audience!

    1. That is true, the same as KCBS's sister KNX in Los Angeles today. If you were to listen to it for two hours straight, you'd go batty.

    2. I loved that old KFWB news format. It was quick news, traffic and weather, recycled again and again...but great for those who may have been commuting on the freeway and only listening for a brief time before getting to their destination -- a recap of the news and consistent updates on traffic and weather.

  2. I know that KCBS because of current news director Jack Swanson has bastardized it into a former KGO operation with roughly half the staff being ex KGO people. I miss the old ND Ed Cavagnaro

  3. The National Institutes for Health estimate that close to 60% of people with diagnoses of "clinical depression", aren't clinically depressed at all. It's a 150 billion dollar a year industry, the depression industry, pimping lots of drugs, including some very valuable on the street(anti anxiety XANAX). Truth is that there is only one question, no blood test or other assay, that shirks and psychologists use to come up with an all-too-facile diagnosis of depression. That question is, "Have you ever thought about killing yourself?". Anyone can say yes, many say yes because it's true, but not unusual for human beings to occasionally have dark thoughts. If you say "yes", then you are "diagnosed" as having clinical depression. Most of the time, it's just not true. Should people with a mental health diagnosis of "depression" be barred from owning or buying guns?

  4. It's very clear. The whole KCBS station, especially the Morning Drive, misses the ol' coach John Madden. These heart incision troubles hurt the radio as much as Madden's base. Since Madden went off the air in November, that's when all the KCBS criticism really began heating up for good. Sounds like most of the personalities still haven't gotten over his absence.

  5. Radnich and his "big heart" as he describes it,has continued to make Cathy Heenan taboo at KRON.
    And Viki Liviakis is sinking fast in my eyes..she's way too happy to take Cathy's spot and be Raddy's new laugh-buddy.
    Viki and Pam Moore are also looking out for no.1 big time.
    Big hearts? Yeah, all have big COLD hearts.

  6. Radio and TV are not worth saving with no talent left in the business among the young and oldtimers acoording to you.

  7. I happen to like EVERY person you dissed at KCBS above. It's news delivered straight forward with predictable traffic, weather at sports at the same time hour after hour, day after day, year after year. I LOVE this consistency. I only hate the new theme. I liked the old ones better.

  8. Rich, I agree with you that KCBS repeats it's news stories much too frequently and I agree with you regarding Roberta, however I have no problem with any of the anchors or reporters that you find fault with.

  9. The worst radio ad is the one that 103.7 constantly plays about "your poop" (an ad for IBS medication ). Every time I hear it, I change the station

  10. Yeah I don't think there should be a "deep cleaning" @ KCBS either. Those haven't worked well at ANY of the other radio or tv outlets in the neighborhood. KCBS is kinda working the way it is: consistently on top, and consistently the go-to source for hard news 24/7 in the bay area. Just keep doing that, and bring back Dean whats his face who was let go for sounding like a "disc jockey" last year. The old slogan very much applies: if it works, don't fix it!

  11. Watching Roberta Gonzales this morning, I said to myself, "I don't wanna new friend, I just want a forecast."

  12. I actually like the round-the-clock all-news format. I grew up in the Bay Area and now live in San Diego and wish we had an all-news station here, although I tune in KNX from L.A. which comes in loud and powerfully clear both day and night throughout the southland. My argument for an all-news local station format really has to do with local and national news and traffic reports -- especially if you're in a car or public transportation and want to manage or get info on the freeways, surface steets, trains, etc. I know when I drive through LA, I want to know which freeways to avoid because of traffic problems so I can attempt to go another route, and KNX delivers on that. When I drive up to the Bay Area, the first station I tune in is KCBS so I know what the traffic conditions are and get some news and weather reports from the region. Hopefully KCBS will stick to this format.

  13. I'm hoping they keep Dave Padilla on Sunday mornings. We've turned his show into a drinking game. Every time he stumbles, blows a sentence or says "uh," my wife and I take a sip of a mimosa. By the time he signs off, we're loaded. Hard to believe a guy would keep a stumblefuck like him on the payroll, but we enjoy it.

  14. Tolbert 'returning'' with new co -host. so looks like they want to make his show more defined with a ''new'' guy.so maybe no more casual basketball dribbling ''pop a microbrew'' atmosphere of yore? will it be a ''gary and larry'' equivelant in the afternoon? (lol)

  15. Listen - if I want news read to me, I'll tune in the BBC World Service. Talk about delivery. I happen to endorse the KCBS on-air folks saying something besides the latest homicide. It humanizes the operation. I'll stand up for Stan and Susan any day. And what's your beef with the PM drive crew? Have you read Jeff Bell's book? Did you know Patti is a runner? You;re talking flesh and blood here, not robots. I do miss Hal Raney and I guess his departure adds some truth to the high salary/quick exit maneuver a la Mike Sugerman. Stan just had a birthday, I believe. I think he has a few more words left in him, so I say - deal with it.

  16. Jeff Bell and Patti Reising are two of the most down-to-earth, humble, and hardworking news anchors I've ever worked with - and I've worked with far more newspeople than you have. You couldn't ask for a better team.

  17. Two years ago, KCBS radio got me thru the darkness in the early morning hours of the Napa earthquake. Radio news has a place.

  18. Hate to say this, but KNX in Smog Angeles is the same. Betcha WCBS in New Yawk is no different. Same stupid formula. Stan Bunghole is no Al Hart for sure. Rip and read. No investigative reporting like the old days. Once in awhile, KCBS does something but there's no there there like it was even 20 years ago.

    Those little idiots at KNBR should've known NOTHING was gonna happen. Management probably feels that if they quit, some other little geeks will be around the corner waiting to take their spot. Hey, go steal the Amici's coupons. Have one big meal a day. Or double your income by picking up clothing dropped by the slobs who shop at Ross or TJ Maxx.

    Let's face it: all of the radio stations suck. Face facts. And unless the sky falls, it's not going to get better. It will only get worse.

  19. John Lund is joining Tom Tolbert. What a terrible decision by The Leader. Wonder how does Ray Ratto feel about this ? Will he find another gig ?

  20. "...people on KNBR like Radnich and Krueger; "Murph and Mac"; Tom Tolbert are ANTI-UNION."

    Given their leanings and past gaffes, this comes as no surprise.