Friday, December 2, 2011

KGO Radio: The day the 'IT' hit the fan; Bloodbath at 900 Front; The Inside story

It was Wednesday night at KGO Radio. The last day of the month. Nothing unusual except for the fact that the news director, Paul Hosley, and some other management folks were in the building, late in the evening.

A few staffers were alarmed, but nothing seemed out of the ordinary. But why would all these suits be in the offices late on Wednesday night? That's unusual, but maybe it isn't. It was.

THURSDAY: Dec. 1 arrived. D-Day at KGO. Rumors began swirling around the offices, from programming to the sales dept. to the newsroom. Stories made the rounds. Nobody knew for sure except for a few Cumulus HR hands and a certain morning talk-show host who loves his mattress account.

Calls were made to on-air folks. The boom was in place and what had been rumored for months was about to become fact. They were all figuring out a way to do it in a civilized manner? Oh right, and Sarah Palin's doing Jeopardy next week.

Gene Burns, John Rothmann, Ray Taliaferro, and Gil Gross were officially fired around 3 PM Thursday. An HR woman, (dressed in black, no less) escorted all to their cubicles to allow them to "get their personal belongings." Shock permeated the back offices where some of the hosts and programming people meet and talk. Anxiety? You betcha.

A source told me, (and it's confirmed), that Burns, who's been in fragile health the past few years, was literally holding on to a desk and had to be helped up a few times. Tears were on the faces of not just those getting "you're fired" alerts, but news staffers and producers. It, according to one person there, looked like the scene from the ending of the movie, "Fatal Attraction." (All they needed was the stewed rabbit).

Hosely had the honors of being the guy who was instructed to inform all that they were gone. Probably from the offices of Bill Bungeroth, (SF Cumulus Market Mgr, via Atlanta, where the Cumulus heads report to Lew Dickey). It was both quick, brutal, and to the point. The usual line of "we thank you, but we're going in a different direction mantra" was laid out and then finally, "get out", Merry Christmas, and give us your security key", something like that.

It finally dawned on someone that the afternoon news was about to commence. It was hard to do a show, says one veteran. The tone of all the voices told the story. Even the Metro geeks were supposedly in shock, (at least those that still have a job.)

At 6: 53 when news formally does a tease with the 7-10 host, (Burns), there was no tease; same at 6: 22 when a more extended tease occurs. Of course by then, the word had got out, (here), that the abyss had taken place.

Que to 7: 05 PM. Gene Burns opened the show without the slightest bit of emotion--not an iota of what had just gone down only hours earlier. Oh wait, the geniuses at Cumulus decided to run, get this, taped, pre-recorded programs. That's right. TAPED programs, and not even edited. Time checks were out of whack. Even callers weren't edited out. "November" references were most evident. Tacky, tacky Cumulus.

It got worse. Both John Rothmann and Ray Taliaferro canned "shows" from October and November were lifted from the archives and re-run. (Without any disclaimer that the shows were pre-recorded, in direct violation of FCC by-laws, but hell, does the FCC matter anymore? Do they ever act in the interests of the people who really OWN the airwaves--thank you, Mr. Reagan).

The charade lasted until the morning news. Then his highness, the Voice of Reason, was ready to spin the "elephant in the room." Ronn Owens is the most insincere, disingenuous, phony guy on the planet. He's really, thanks to a reader, "The voice of 'treason." Everything I expected Owens to say, he said. He did really talk out of both sides of his mouth. And then the epitome of chutzpah: "We're going to talk about 'cell phones in the car', but we're also going to get to the 'elephant in the room.'" (Owens loves to use that phrase).

Ronn opened his hour by showing false shock. It was prepared. It was planned. It was most transparently non-transparent. He said KGO had been losing listeners and that the new owners decided to make a change. He felt "shocked" and "saddened" that his "friends" were losing their jobs, "BUT...I can't wait for the 'new KGO' because I think we're going to be great!" (I swear to God he really said that.)

He then had the audacity to mention to callers that they could begin calling and "talk about texting and cell phones in the car", (we have a topic, folks, that I know you want to talk when my ship was just taken down by Cumulus), but, Owens continued, "I know some of you want to talk about what went down here and so, let's devote 20 minutes to calls about this..." (So refreshing.)

Making matters worse, (and unintentionally funny), Owens had his 20-something producer, come into the studios and try to embellish. It was farcical. It was beyond reproach. It sounded like the executioner pretending to tell the condemned inmate that he was on his way to Fairyland.

Ronn was sorry, very sorry, for his "friends" demise, (before the holidays, no less), but that business was business. "I'm fortunate that I'm still here and I have a job to do." How poignant, Lowenstein. (Owens last name).

Instead of just merely acknowledging what had transpired, and telling people what they already knew, Owens tried the contrived card. He failed miserably, but you know, that mattress account and comped cruise are vital elements to the voice of reason.

Owens makes a lot of money for the company and himself.. Yeah, it's not his fault that those that got fired had their lives turned upside down Thursday. But there's a way to do things and there's a way not to. Owens has no grasp in that department. He's been off the radar for years and although he maintains a decent showing for the company, his ridiculous act, (and it was an act), on Friday was utterly comical. A complete sham. (Since when is it sensitive to play "firing" music bumpers out of commercials? Owens and his producer decided that would play well. Not.)

Indeed, KGO Radio, once the envy of the Bay Area, the industry giant that rightly garnered national acclaim was losing listeners. Lots. Ratings had declined. The new PPM, (people meter rating system which replaced the diary method), had indicated that KGO was "terrestrial radio"-central. And conversely, prime-picking for the Citadels and Cumulus' of the world to buy low and recreate. The hell with tradition and tweaking, we're gonna blow this sucker up and start anew. To hell with the listeners. Screw the 49 year-old guy in Walnut Creek who makes six figures and listens to podcasts even-- we're going to tear this place apart. Listeners? Who are they?

And so, KGO is re- branding and going "all-news". Wonderful. How snappy. And KCBS is laughing. At least for now.

Nobody really knows what the future lies in store. There are supposedly "new people" on the horizon at 900 Front. Peter Finch has been corralled from KFOG. (Dandy). Kim Foster will anchor an expanded noon news. Expect a lot, A LOT, of mostly innocuous, soft news content occasionally interrupted by protests on Market Street or, god forbid, an airline crash at SFO or a PG&E explosion in San Bruno. Then the "team-coverage" guys and girls will make their splash. When earthquakes take place, expect the news anchors to go hard and heavy on callers, ("Yep, I felt it!) It's easy, it's fast, it's content, and yes, it's CHEAP, (the official code word in the Cumulus handbook).

Most of all it fits in with the broadcasting equivalent of the Walmart model. Get the most out of your company while at the same time maintaining the bottom line. Screw your employees, even the most loyal and let them eat cake. This is a business all, and get this, Yeah, it's a business all right, but at what cost? Right now is not a good time to tinker with people on the edge at 900 Front. There's depression there and that's the people who still have jobs.

People's livelihoods are at stake. Rothmann and Taliaferro, and Gross too probably are not going to starve to death. Some will land jobs elsewhere. It's the little guys and gals, the producers, the traffic folks, the news writers, the digital peeps that are the most vulnerable. Trickey Lew Dickey works his magic here the best. (Right before Christmas, remember that).

And you, the public? Like you really think they care? "Listeners be damned", that's what these guys say in the backroom. They are, in essence, mercenaries. They're no different really, from the Wall St crooks like Madoff, only they didn't steal as much as Madoff did and weren't caught.

They play with our lives. They like to take away some of our own little guilty pleasures. We have creature comforts and habits that we take for granted and they, the Cumulus' and Citadels of the world, remind us that we are beholden to them. THEY own the airwaves and to heck with you. You, sir, madam, are merely one of the masses.

So yes, I feel for those of you who have now lost a friend at night. A person you may have grown accustomed to listening to on a regular basis and suddenly, like out of no where, that friend has been executed, figuratively speaking.

We're in a new world, but you kind of knew that already, right? All I can say is, DO SOMETHING. Let them know. Let them be aware that you're not just going to roll over and consume their spare parts. They laugh at you. They take you for granted. So fight. Sure, e-mail, FCC and all. Hell, Occupy KGO!

I have been deluged with notes, e-mail and phone calls. People want to know what they can do. They are angry. Real angry. They feel as if they've been betrayed and indeed, they have been. I have heard of a protest rally outside the KGO offices and over across town at KNBR too, (55 Hawthorne, where KGO Radio is headed come March).

That probably won't make an iota of difference, but it couldn't hurt either. Long ago, when deregulation was foreign, the "public interest" counted; the FCC had the balls to actually gauge the welfare of the people, directly affected by commercial TV and radio. No more. We're in a different world, where corporate profit and greed rule the day and the public be damned. Some of us are, yeah, mad as hell and not gonna take it anymore!

The only thing I can say at this point is that its not 1980 anymore. Goodbye KGO, it was great knowing you.

*Follow me on Twitter

*Look for me in December on MSNBC

*I'll be a guest today at 3: 30 on KSRO/Santa Rosa.

*E-MAIL/Tips/Inter-Office memos: Rich.Lieberman@GMAIL.COM


DONATIONS are welcome: Rich Lieberman 415 Media is self-supportive. Thank You.


  1. Good piece, Rich. Took you awhile to realize what a no-talent hack Owens is...and what a douchebag he is, too.

  2. it's a business. what do you expect? if a radio station means that much to need to get a life.

  3. Right on Rich! I agree with you 100%, the FCC needs to be inundated with letters, phone calls and emails. I for one might continue to listen to KGO, not sure yet. I hear there is a great high school radio station at Clayton Valley High School (KVHS) in Concord is doing great things. Bye KGO, its been good knowing you. Rich, check your spelling!


  4. Great article, Rich! I knew you would know what was going on!

  5. You mirrored my feelings exactly, Rich! Thank you.

    I would OCCUPY KGO except for the fact that they are dead to me now.

  6. Ironic that other news about Cumulus reports they have the "highest gross margin" in broadcasting at 99.6%

    course - its all going to pay debt and find more acquisitions.

  7. Excellent inside look Rich. I would make a donation but I lost MY radio job 2 months ago.

  8. I am so tired of "it's a business" being used as justification to treat people like s--t. At least give us a goodbye show. I listened to Gene for years and years driving home from Silicon Valley and boom, he's gone. It's as bad as if his heart had finally given out on him. Geez.

  9. I appreciate the behind-the-scenes viewpoint of how this came down, and agree that, as portrayed here, management displayed no sense of understanding of the relationship the fired talkers had with their audience. I'm fairly confident they could have given each a last show and none would have acted in a manner detrimental to the station (after all, they likely will want the option to work again elsewhere).

    That said, radio is a crappy business, and even the gold standard of stations is vulnerable. I'm nowhere near privy to what other options might have been considered (new marketing campaigns, selective replacement of "expensive talent", etc.), but I'm doubtful that the people who listened to KGO for the on-air personalities will stick around for news. But ultimately the station is being run for the benefit of its owners, and has no obligation to maintain an unprofitable format for the listeners' benefit.

    I'll miss KGO, and am hopeful some semblance of what it was can be recreated elsewhere on the radio dial.

  10. Do you have any information on what's happening over at Green 960? Rumor has it that station will go conservative in January. All of this just before a very important congressional/presidential election. Do you think it's by coincidence that we are losing any voices to the left of neanderthal?

  11. Let's see, KGO and its quality news talk staff gets trashed at the same time NPR funding is under extreme pressure in Congress and Green 960 gets replaced with conservative talk by another radio conglomerate. Nothing sinister here, just business. And oh yes, I also believe in the tooth fairy

  12. Great job Rich. I can't help but think that some of the snide comments on here like the one from @1:46pm are from Owens' producer "Jared". Hey asshole, we listen to radio, we enjoyed all the talk show hosts they fired. They stimulated debate at the dinner table. They were family. I feel so sad for Mr. Burns. Even while he was battling back from his latest health issues, he told the story of how he would conduct a radio talk show while in the hospital (while half sedated of course). His show meant so much to him, he was so great at it. I hope he remains strong and he can be heard again.
    My understanding is Pat Thurston's slot is now 8am to 11am Sat and Sun which then begs the question: where the hell does Copey end up? He was doing 8am to 11am on Sundays....

  13. Finally an honest account of what went down.

  14. Comparing KGO to D-Day. A new low. How long did it take for you to dream all this up? Try occupying a bath

  15. Owens definitely blew it. He'll still collect on his contract and when they fire him (or he "retires") he will go out as the most despised man in Bay Area radio history. There is class and there is trash, and Ronnnnnn is trash.

  16. Beautifully written. Owens is a cunt of the highest order.

  17. I quit listening to KGO years ago because of Owens. He lives in a constant male mid-life crisis state--always trying to be hip. Come on dude, how old are you?
    Give me hard news not celeb gossip and dog trainers.

  18. Good piece. But once again your facts are wrong.
    You point at Ronald Reagan as the culprit, who are you kidding?. It was Bill Clinton who signed the 1996 Telecom Act which enabled broadcast companies to own multiples of stations in the same market. While Reagan was President, the most any one company could own was 1 AM, & 1 FM per market. With the passing of the Telecom Act the floodgates were opened. Quit lying about President Reagan, in order to make your points. I invite anyone to look up the 1996 Telecom bill, which has destroyed the broadcast media business in this country.

  19. I will miss Dr. Bill the most.

  20. On Ronn Owens:

    Yah, the whole Ronn Owens show this morning was obscene. At first, I heard the obvious insincere "non-appropriate" comments he made. But you know, this guy is now scared. It was obscene because of the way in which everyone now fears for their job and their lives. Forced to agree with things they may not truly support.

    The KGO talk hosts have been watching "everyone" else lose their jobs since the financial fiasco of 2008 and yet they still have been able to live quite well. In fact the financial meltdown provided material to discuss. Now the reality hits close to home. KGO is on borrowed time.

    Ronn Owens survived the cuts this time. But now, he has now been asked to lead the masses and get them to drink the new KGO-koolaid or he himself is out. The women in the black suit from HR is pacing the hallways... what would you say? Do you want a paycheck? How do you protect your family, pay the bills, etc. What do you want the guy to do? Quit? And then what? Go out into this market and try to get another job. What was that I read today in SFGate about California? Oh yah, the unemployed need not apply.

    I am not condoning the way he went about his program this morning, but it's almost as if he was swallowing his medicine and saying... mmm.. this tastes good. He said... "I'm sorry my friends had to go, but I'm excited about the new format!?!?"

    This was about Owens convincing himself, a defense mechanism, and a toughening up of himself through these uncertain times. I would have to argue that sometimes when scared you can act like an insensitive jerk.
    As smug as it sounded, it may have been that.

    Or not.

  21. Thank you. I'm sad, in tears, and upset. I loved listening to KGO radio during the daytime at work, and in my car to and from work, and to shows on the weekends. I only need a few minutes of news daily, not 10 hours of it. This is appalling, disappointing and disgusting.

  22. Jeezus H Krist stop the fucking whining and get on with your pathetic lives. They weren't making the company any fucking money.

    The ratings were in the sewer. Rothmann sucks, Gene needed to hang it up. Gross wasn't worth a listen and Ray? That POS should have been canned years ago.

    Now will they please move on and start shitcanning the worthless assholes at KNBR. Bloated Radnich is first, FatFuckFitz can follow and Rod-bean-pole-smoker can ride along too.

  23. Bernie Ward gets the last laugh ... God Talk from the offices of Bill Bungeroth SF Cumulus Market Mgr, via Atlanta, where the Cumulus heads report to Lew Dickey

  24. I think they are lucky to have had this long of a run with everything changing so quickly and so many choices to occupy us in the car and at home. KGO stayed old-fashioned when they could have gotten an FM signal like KCBS did and added some new refreshing talent. Instead, it felt decades old in its approach - and that's fine for the older generation who maybe doesn't download podcasts or their favorite tunes on mp3 players for the car. But all things must change - and when, someone tell me, when did an HR person or hack ever let go of talent in any humane manner? Speaking of which, what is Don Bleu going to be doing at 103.7 in JAN? Is this a step to being put out to pasture? Bless him, but he had a long ass run, too! I hope everybody saved for retirement and can reflect on the good times.

  25. When I moved out of CA seven years ago the ONE thing I missed was KGO 810. I'd listen online when I could and looked for anything even close to it in my new area. Over time I fould local options that have improved but have never reached what KGO was. When I heard about Mickey Luckoff resigning I saw the writing on the wall. Still this is very dramatic, shocking, and saddening. I grew up listening to those names and voices. Back then, Ronn was enjoyable, Bernie Ward wasn't a pedophile, Dr Bill was brilliant and not so reactionary, and Gene was, well he was Gene - always a class act with a great weekend food show.

    Sigh. It is a shame that all good things come to an end. I can only hope America rises out from the corporate oligarchy and remembers how to be great again...

  26. I think the listeners of KGO radio are going to find their news elsewhere. Maybe on the Internet or by Satellite. Guess Dickey and the gang don't care about Bay Area politics. If they think conservative radio is going to go over here, they need to think a bit clearer. I hope they lose their ass! By the way, what about ABC 7? Are they affiliated with the Dickey brothers? If so, then all the anchors and reporters on Channel 7 better start sharpening up their resumes because they will be on the chopping block. As for Channel 3, I think Comcast will eventually eliminate all the present anchors and reports for the regular news and hire their own people, making the quality of news reporting even more mediocre than it already is.

  27. Rich, don't agree with you a lot but that was an excellent and informative piece of writing.

  28. Thanks for the inside scoop! Weird, last night it was 9:59pm and Gene Burns said stay tuned for the the third hour! I was too sleepy to figure it out.


    Here's Ronn's first hour this morning.

  30. I have felt sick and lost all day. Now I am angry. This is a sad, sad day. I am glad to get the full story, but feel terrible about how the hosts were treated and let go.

  31. 3:49 PM makes an important point. KGO's demise didn't happen yesterday afternoon. That was merely the final chapter in a long, slow, arrogant decline into mediocrity. You can, with justification, bash Cumulus, Citadel, Disney, Cap Cities, etc. for their bottom-line mentality. But save some vitriol for the people who never saw fit to adapt to a changing media landscape. KGO was a dinosaur, and dinosaurs end up in the tar pits.

  32. I am especially saddened for my Union (AFTRA) brothers and sisters who lost their jobs as we approach the Holiday season. With the lousy business climate and a giant conglomerates controlling radio stations, it is a lousy time to look for jobs. Most of those folks have lived in the Bay Area a long time and now face the prospect of leaving this paradise for someplace else.

  33. Poor Pat Vitucci. Another instance of collateral damage. Who wants to go to a financial seminar hosted with Michael Krasny or Stan Bunger?

    Otherwise.... There is lots of technical talent around, all of you favorites can be up and running on the internet within a few days just like Leo, Adam Carolla and others. It's up to them. If they stream it, we will listen. Let Mattress Man have 810Khz all to his self.

  34. The only reason Owens is still there is that they didn't want to eat that "personal services" contract. Listened to that first hour and he's implying that he's the only one there because "I love my work". What an asshole.
    "I feel bad for my friends but I'm excited about the direction the station is taking". Lucky SOB signed his unique contract when times were good for the station and nothing else.

  35. Not sure how I happened on this article, but I read it because my grandfather worked for KGO back in the 1960's as a sound engineer. Sad to see things have turned out this way. The station has a long and storied history.

  36. Just listened to the archived first 30 minutes of Ronn on Friday morning.

    Weak... very weak. And inappropriate with all the "I like it" statements about the "fresh new" format.

    He/they.. allowed two calls. First guy dumps on Ray, then cut off.

    Second and only true call from a listener essentially says the owners have trashed any idea about the KGO "family", showing zero respect for the listeners.

    Thats it.... After decades, they and/or Ronn allow time for ONE short call. Then onto some silly discussion about cell-phones and texting while driving.

    How lame. And Ronn is now on vacation for the next two weeks.
    I guess Copie will be asked to collect and take out the trash Monday morning at 9:00 AM.

    More superficial news, I can't wait.

    Oh yeah, and this guy Jared (producer/asst. station director), a total company tool.

    The very best spin you can put on that first 30 minutes is that Ronn is muzzled and scared for his own skin.

  37. Let' try to help out anonymous at 3:07
    12.10.81...the U S Senate Commerce Committee passed a bill to deregulate the broadcast industry.
    The Fairness Doctrine was passed in 1987.
    The Telecom Act dealt with Cable and Local telephone service.
    I think from 1981-87 Bill Clinton was 'not inhaling' and Ronald Reagan was 'leading' our country. You decide which dealt a more serious blow to the broadcst industry.

  38. All of the above comments from concerned listeners show that terrestrial radio is not dead! But according to these 'geniuses' at Cumulus, they're merely doing what any good or smart businessman would do....cut back when things are not bringing in enough profit, but make sure the shareholders and the CEOs are taken care of!

    Even though KGO was dropping in popularity in recent years, it was still one of the better and more professional stations out there.

    Cumulus is an evil, vapid, bottom-line, scum-sucking company that represents all of the bad things about corporate America today. Before 2006, they never ran a major market radio station outside of Houston, and it is now quite clear why. As one pundit put it: Cumulus was given the keys to a high priced sportscar...but they don't know how to use a stick shift!"

    Lou Dickey's idols must be people like JP Morgan, Cornelius Vanderbilt, and Jay Gould, all of whom during what Mark Twain liked to refer to as 'The Gilded Age,' screwed over as many people as possible while fattening their bloated waistlines. Robber barons..every one of them!

    Look no further than to Oliver Stone's two seminal movies on Wall Street from 1986 and just a few years ago to get a good look a the 'dark side' of what this country has allowed. the Gordon Geckos of the world get a slap on the wrist, lose a few bucks, and walk away scot free to continue their mischief, while the rest of us try to get by on the little we've managed to put away.

    I'd like to know where it is written in the US
    Constitution that these f....g corporations have any rights to do what they're doing! They claim to create jobs?.. I don't see it... What I see is out right thievery...pillaging..consolidation.....and then they move some sort of vile pestilence.

    The could care less about people, about serving the public, and about creating opportunities for the working class or even the upper middle class, both of whom are rapidly vanishing. It's all about the bucks. The Bottom line...the quarterly reports...

    Short term...'I want it all now' kind of mentality that unfortunately has been embraced by not only conservatives like Ronald Reagan, but moderates such as Clinton and even Obama.

    Well....eventually they'll all get their just deserts...but not before we've had to choke on their revolting crap!

    What happened to KGO these last 24 hours is only an indication of how the US government has allowed these a-holes to continue the ravage a once great country. I just wish more people would have seen this coming a few years ago...
    only problem...we were all "fat, dumb and happy."

    Kind of reminds me of what happened to Rome during the latter stages of its empire.
    But that's the way it crumbles folks...
    cookie wise!

  39. I just found this on Gene Burns' Dining Around website:
    From Gene Burns

    To our Audience:

    Needless to say we were stunned at the news of the cancelation of the Gene Burns Program and Dining Around. We deeply appreciate the many good wishes we have received from listeners and sponsors alike. While at the moment personal replies are impossible, we do want you to know that there are great things to come for both programs.

    Please watch this site for updates which we will provide as matters develop and follow joel on twitter @joelriddell

    thank you for your loyalty

    Gene and Joel

  40. Mitt Romney killed hundreds of companies in this manner while an executive at Bain Capital.

  41. I stopped listening to KGO when Les Crane left.

  42. I only listen when I'm on the way to somewhere.
    It'd be interesting to find out who-all does actually listen. Years ago, when I was taking my car into Chevy service, the Mechanic exclaimed that 80% of cars were tuned into 810 (mine was). Any idea what that percentage is/was now? I'd bet it's a lot less. Mine is.

  43. at least orange oil ,sleep train and State Farm are still there...

  44. 1) Owens has has more listeners in a day than you'll have eying your lil site in a year.
    2) Jealousy is not something you wear well, that much is painfully obvious.
    3) Stop with the "but it's the holidays" BS. It's December 2nd. Nobody should have to keep funneling $$ into a losing operation just because it's December 2nd.
    4) Reagan left office 23 years ago. Take off the Members Only jacket and step into the 21st century for crap's sake.

  45. Big Rich, why the cheap shot at Palin?

    She is far more accomplished and successful than you will ever be, yet you perpetuate the myth that she's not very bright.

    Not only is your cheap shot misogynistic, it's incorrect - she would shred you in a political debate.

    You betcha.

  46. Anon @ 3:48PM - I don't think Bernie Ward is laughing or has been for quite some time.

  47. Anonymous 5:15

    Interesting little tidbit about the car radios, and quite believable.

    I think the way Cumulus handled this is disgusting. This is such a big loss for the Bay Area, if not the Left overall, that I almost think it demands congressional intervention.

    Sigh. I should have bought more crap from CCrane.

  48. If you take this blog to be fact, you should be admitted to a hospital and put in restraints because you are a MORON. There is more information provided in the Weekly World News. Rich is about as credible as your local car salesman, which ironically Rich has experience in.

  49. They kept Karel. That should tell you a lot about the future of KGO.

  50. Yeah, Dining Around. Weren't they doing that cookie thing Saturday? Way to crap on your audience KGO.

    I disagree though about Cumulus. The people that "build" things sold out years ago, the people who own media today, the Singletons, Clear Channel, Cumulus et. al. are content to let things rot and just cut their way to a profit always looking for another struggling property to take advantage of.

  51. Totally get the hate for the parent company. Don't get the hate for Owens. Don't like his show, fine, don't listen. But not many places you can call in and speak to people like Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama and Jimmy Carter. Owens is saved by his contract, he knows what is going on and that his time is up soon enough. But I'm not sure what he was supposed to do -- quit a high paying job or criticize the heck out of management and risk getting sued? He was in a bad spot and its much easier to criticize when it not your job on the line.

  52. Thanks for the information, Rich. KGO listeners are in shock today. The Chronicle had a short article about the demise of KGO, and it has gotten almost 800 comments so far.

  53. Im surprised they weren't replaced with Mexicans..

  54. When Mickey Luckoff left KGO it was the beginning of the end. His replacement added news at "20" and at "40". It ruined the flow of the talk shows. Listeners complained about the constant news on Ronn's "up to 30" segment -that we'll never hear again. She also added a news block at noon, probably forcing Dr. Dean's hand. He "retired". Len Tillem was great but by the time he came on listeners who wanted to listen to talk (not news) left and didn't come back. Gil Gross, to me was just so hard to listen to. I just couldn't get into his style.
    BTW, I read some of the bashing of Ronn in several of these posts. He certainly could have handled himself better this morning. I have to ask the bashers what they would have done. I think he was in a very tough spot and certainly in uncharted territory with this new company. Ronn obviously loves what he does and he's very good at it. He wants to survive. OK i'm a fan and I'd be very disappointed if he disappeared.
    KGO is 80% gone. The soul has left the body. I hope that what is left can survive. I have been a loyal listener for 40 years and I have witnessed the best of KGO and the death of an icon. There will never be another.

  55. **Sigh*** The WORST part of their programming lately has been their alleged news. Used to be a time they had decent content. Lately their news is mostly ads for crap goods and services, their news readers spend more time reading ads or reading news from Yahoo. They fired the folks I have enjoyed listening to. I will miss the call in format. Time to spin the dial.

  56. First off, fantastic article Rich and could not agree more.

    Karel is desperate and must work cheap. He must be getting some kickbacks from that bore at "" or how could he have him on each weekend! I like Karel but he is going to piss these guys off quick, real quick and he will be gone by the New Year.

    Me....I'm going to start pranking them on the phone every chance I get. We should all do it, especially nail that sellout Ron Owens and his despicable actions of today.

    They could have made some simple adjustments vs blowing the place up just before Christmas, bastards! I spent the morning setting all of my radios to KCBS. When I'm listening to crank them that's where I will be.

  57. I moved up here to Oregon in the 90s. I liked having KGO to listen to at night, it was comforting. But I don't know if people in the Bay Area will really understand what has been lost until the next tragic or major news event.
    I remember when they had a major school shooting up here and I turned on the radio trying to get information. The syndicated shows weren't on to it yet - if they were even live and even the best local news radio station struggled to cover the thing. At a time when it would have really been good to have a forum to hear people's reaction, there wasn't one. Not in Eugene and not in Portland.
    Imagine Jonestown happening without KGO, the Milk/Moscone shootings, Loma Prieta, the San Bruno gas explosion, the Oakland Hills fire, 9/11...that's what local listeners have to look forward to.
    Though I can't imagine other stations aren't seeing the huge whole KGO just opened up. Same hosts? probably not, but enough to establish an identity. And I figure many other stations will gladly take KGO's ratings.

  58. Along with many, I'll miss my "radio friends" at KGO. Having listened since 1982, I've gone through their good times and recent bad times. Good luck to all who have lost their livelihoods. I hope there is some severance to keep them going till their next gig.

    Now, as an alternative, might I suggest KQED at 88.5FM. Michael Krasny is a bit too much for my taste, but tune in afterwards to Neil Conan and Talk of the Nation with stories and interviews for 2 hours until Terry Gross at 2:00PM. Here you will find some in depth interviews with current newsmakers, authors, media and entertainment types. Their news programs spend much more time on stories; and there is even a more local "California Report" at 4:30 and 6:30 along with local headlines and traffic in the morning. I also enjoy the weekend news shows and especially Saturday's "This American Life" at noon with quirky radio stories that recently highlighted the crooked drug agent and private eye in Concord.

    KQED may not be for everyone but the station is highly rated and now it might fill the void for those seeking more than just radio headline news.
    Check out their website.

  59. Melodramatic, self-serving histrionics, Mr.Lierberman. KGO is years overdue for a rebuild. Citadel didn't have the guts to do it and now the, yes, insensitive carpet bombers at Cumulus are doing what they do best. But, all this hand wringing over the betrayal and injustice of it all is pure drivel. If KGO was a football team the fans would have calling for the heads of the owners and the coaches for letting their favorite team grow so old and ineffective. It is a business. And, if it was your business and was showing such obvious signs of outdated design and sinking profits, you'd be making changes, too. It's a tough part of the business: people's work begins and ends in public view. And, this station has had a long and very successful run with this lineup. The time for change has come. I doubt Cumulus will ever be able to match the good work of KGO of the past years. They're a lousy broadcasting company. But anyone in their situation would do the same thing.

  60. Bobabooie, listen to Satelite radio.

  61. 6:27 hit it on the money! Rich, I'm surprised you haven't ranted about Copie & Karel staying.

  62. Hey there Gang ....
    I was once Gretchen Wells .... I was on with Dunbar and Wygant and Melanie in the morning .... and it was fantastic .... with Bruce Kamen as our News Director and Associate New Director Ken Beck and Micky was the King and we all loved and despised him.
    We were at the TOP of the world.
    I remember I crashed live on the air in that hot air balloon race across the bay ... and they dropped me live on the deck of the Carl Vinson and my house was nearly destroyed in the Marina earthquake fire.
    It was the greatest time ....Starkey did sports and Dean had his show and Jim Eason and Lee and the rest.
    I can't believe all that life is gone.

  63. I'm just in shock. Not sure what I'll do now. I hate TV. Those talk show hosts have been my companions forever. I started listening when I was 18 and am now about to turn 56. We have no closure to them leaving. I just hate the idea of all my 'friends' being escorted to the door.

    If I thought it would do any good, I'd ask who to send an email to. However, even if they come to their senses, those top notch talk show hosts would never come back after being treated this way.

    Mourning in Santa Rosa..............

  64. Try Mike Malloy. He's a Ray Taliafero type. Really cynical but inspirational. Fun to listen to. He's on right now in fact. Here's a stream:

  65. Im a 41 year male Bay Area native. When I was a pre-teen, I would listen to AM radio secretly late weeknights and weekends because my parents did not allow me to stay up late. They were very religious and very strict. I loved tuning into to KGO to hear people talk about politics, physics and all sorts of topics. I was the most educated 12 year old on the block. Dr Bill was my favorite. I even managed to sneak the phone into my room so I could call his show and ask questions like. "if someone dropped a penny off of the Empire State Building, would it hurt someone on the ground?" or "if a camera shutter that is left open for longs periods of time can see more stars and planets...why don't I see see more and planets the longer I look into the night sky?"

    I have been a casual KGO listener for over 30 years. I will miss Dr Bill the most. Michael Krasney was pretty good too. KGO was my internet back then and I will miss the familiar voices.

  66. I enjoyed this article. Very well written. At least they kept "I want MF Joe the plumber dead" Karel. I will miss John Rohtmann...

  67. Hey 6:49, You really think Cumulus is going to make the station better? Do you really think they will end up with a better station with higher ratings than they will now?
    How the hell is someone supposed to trust a "news station" when their explanation for why they are getting rid of everyone they can get rid of is bogus?
    I can only listen at night so I wasn't aware Jarrett, Ciolino and Edmonds were let go a few years back. Absolutely brutal.

  68. Agree with 6:53. Satellite radio is the way to go these days. A large selection of commercial free music stations for whatever your musical taste may be and plenty of talk shows for those that still enjoy that. Also plenty of news and sports channels. Just think, able to enjoy endless music without hearing Kars for Kids, State Farm, Sleep Train,Geico or any of those other mindless commercials that KGO and all of the other mainstream stations run over and over.

  69. Rich,

    I turned on KSRO this afternoon but did not hear you. Did I miss you or were you not on?

  70. I like the tease in Gene's message. Although I don't listen to Dining Around, it's bound to show up on another station. Whether there's a place in the market for Gene to do his main show (even at lower pay) is another matter. If he surfaces on any station in town, he'll definitely get me as a listener. But he is seventyish. Surely, he must have expected this day would come. Even so, it's gut-wrenching (emotionally and physically) when it happens. JW

  71. "Our customers want more news"! Really? who do they consider their "customers".... They certainly didn't ask "me", and I've been listening for almost 40 years! Business is Business, so if you are upset about this then BOYCOTT KGO !and let them know you are doing it. none of this "I might listen to them I don't know yet"- let them know they are getting rid of what makes them unique and special.Much more interesting then plain news! Anyone planning to protest their studios.. If so I am there! as a matter of principle turn your dial AWAY from 810! Please! Let them now they make a STUPID decision!

  72. They are headed in the exact wrong direction. Who the hell needs TWO stations repeating the same five or six stories all day long and "traffic and weather on the ones"? Ugh. I hope they lose their shirts on this ill advised move. We had two all news stations here in LA and one of them, KFWB switched over to talk because the market wouldn't support two virtually identical stations. I think they are going to find out the same thing applies in SF.

  73. Hey 7:29, can you read? "I doubt Cumulus will ever be able to match the good work of KGO of the past years. They're a lousy broadcasting company."

  74. The one thing that doesn't change is change and unfortunately KGO failed to adapt and is now suffering the consequences.

    But Owens' program this morning was an abomination. He is a useless cunt and a self-serving hack. "mattress man" is safe until 2013 when he too will get shit-canned.

  75. Can leave VMs for the management at Cumulus. (404) 949-0700 and use the dial by last name feature. Lew Dickey is the CEO and his brother John is also on the exec team. Do it!! And boycott the new KGO!

  76. Turning BroadcasterDecember 2, 2011 at 8:50 PM

    I've been both executed and executioner in situations like this.

    The only thing that gets me through this on whatever side I'm on is a line from the title track of Tina Turner's "Private Dancer." It states:
    You don't think of them as human,
    you don't think of them at all.
    You keep your mind on the money.

    Perhaps Burns, Gross, their colleagues and support staff would do well to adopt a similar philosophy. Know who your real family is and embrace those because a corporate family is only imaginary.

    Alas, less stations to play that, especially now as a bumper. Nevertheless, some say a layoff was the best thing that ever happened to them. Some do live to tell. Good luck to all involved, performers and listeners! (And managers, of which I've entered as one of Dark Side.)

  77. I agree with you all.. you are all right for different reason.. know this... things change.. and we all need to adapt... what was once a great station isn't ... that being said.. I don't condone what the new owners are doing.. life is not about direct change a moments notice.. sometimes transitions work better.. when I moved to the Bay Area many years ago.. Kgo was the blowtorch of radio.. the pinnacle of what a station should aspire too...
    it doesn't anymore.. and it really isn't any one person's fault.. it's the way things are.. economics play a big role in what happens to a station... radio, tv and watch out online.. your day too will come.. it is the nature of the beast... people change.. how they use media changes too...
    ask anyone under 45 if they watch tv news.. betcha the answer is no..
    yet TV keep plying the model created back in the late 40's with rating books that no longer make sense.. just talk to cable tv people and their programming goals... radio has gone thru many many changes since the first voice broadcast over the airwaves many years ago.. AM died .. FM took over.. WINS killed Murray the K the top jock of his day and went all news.. what you are missing is change is inevitable.. what you and we all are hoping for is some level of civility as that change process takes place... well sometimes you get it .. some time you don't.. I spent 35 years in full time tv news, freelance and independent producing.. loved it.. still do.. best biz I am happy to say I spend most of my life in.. but for me it's over and I cherish the memories.. my colleagues and all the great shows I got to produce, write, field produce.. executive produce and everyone I got to work with.. but Life is about change .. and this too shall pass.. am I happy about it.. not really.. am I sad about it.. no..
    because it's what happens... I feel for those who our out of work.. but that has been the biz since Marconi invented radio...

  78. Two suggested sites for the unhappy:

  79. KGO was long overdue for an update. Talent was getting too old for the target demographic. However Cumulus made a fatal error, instead of revamping the station with more relevant talk shows & better news product, they blew up their heritage image and chose a path which they will never win. CBS virtually invented "All News", they have FM and AM properties, they have a superior team, and infrastructure, Cumulus will fail. Dickey looked at the revenue KCBS is producing (top performing station in the market) and drooled,what you will see is a ton of sponsored features, & packages designed to increase revenue. I dislike KQED's lazy, old union shop & erratic local programming,(such as that piece of shit Commonwealth Club running in prime time). KQED in fact has very little actual local programming. However what a coup if they could pick up Gene Burns and maybe John Rothman.

  80. OOPS, my bad. I read the top part about a "bad team" and thought your analogy was flawed. Apologies.
    See I could understand pushing a couple of hosts toward retirement. Maybe even bringing in a "buzzy" host who makes waves for the sake of making waves. But this? A format tweak for the sake of a format tweak to give advertisers something "new" to buy.
    It's a salary dump - don't try and say market research is looking for another news station - right next to the dominant all-news station in town. It's funny, I'm old enough to remember when KCBS was worried and they tried some news-talk shows for a little while.

  81. I heard all of this on the radio this morning, b/c I listen to KGO in the morning. Ron Owens, didn't sound as if he had very much remorse for his "friends", because he was too busy promoting the "new direction". Knowing the way this all went down, for me, they have lost a listener and I will send an email. This is a little malicious on thier part, business or no business.

  82. Great post. Thanks Rich. I'll miss Gil, Gene, and John - intelligent, informative, and compassionate hosts. RIP KGO.

  83. Palin, Reagan? You wrote a Fine article and for some pathetic reason you couldn't avoid the cheap shot. TOOL...

  84. They should have blamed the 1-877-Kars-4-Kids jingle for the low ratings.

  85. What a simple self serving story. People get fired. Boo hoo. Business is business. Repeating "right before Christmas" is laughable. It is a month away and would you rather it happen after Christmas so people could spend money they are banking on in the future. Grow up.

  86. So when is the anticipated upheaval
    to hit KNBR. In a couple of days from now,
    a week, a month, three months or a year
    from now?

  87. I am a forever listener to KGO and was to be a contestant in the Cookie exchange tomorrow. I was just putting my cookies in the oven when I heard from someone named Rick who said the contest had been cancelled, He said Gene was no longer working at the station. When I asked if he was ill, I was told about the others who are gone. When I asked for details he said he was calling on behalf of Joel. Why would they let Joel and Gene set up the cookie exchange for Dec. 3, notify those chosen to compete, get prizes donated, etc, if they KNEW the Earth would stand still on Dec. 1st? I;m sure Gene and Joel must be upset to have it so unceremoniously stopped. I had looked forward to meeting them again and am disappointed

  88. Good riddance,commie propaganda.except for Dr.Bill Wattenberg who is the best of the best

  89. Cumulus is not interested in improving any of their stations for the listeners. They are in the process of gutting talent from all departments, not just on air, to try and make their books look good. Nothing else matters. Lew Dickey is clueless as to how to actually create good radio. And he couldn't care less.

  90. Furious at this decision to fire a bunch of my favorite talk show hosts. Definitely won't be listening to KGO for bland news headlines I can get in countless other places.

  91. This would be a great time for KCBS to change the 106.9 FM station to talk and hire the likes of Gene Burns and Gil Gross to go head-to-head against KGO. I loved Gene and Gil, and only wish I had more time to listen to them. But I also like Rush, Hannity and Sussman on KSFO. KGO just increased KSFO's audience in a big way.

  92. I'm very disappointed with this abrupt change and have lost complete respect forKGO in the way the dismissals were handled. It also shows complete disrespect for the listeners by not affording those dismissed an opportunity to do a good-bye show. What a disgrace. Although I lean conservative, I've listened to KGO for over 25 years and have always enjoyed the various talk show hosts. I listen on my way to work, while at work and on my way home. I will especially miss Gene Burns who many times made me want to scream and other times I applauded enthusiastically.

  93. I don't understand why anyone would think this is such a shock. Cumulus does this and has been doing this ever since they made their grand foray in the big markets and bought Susquehenna/Pfallzgraff, and their 'botique' radio network of 38 radio that included KNBR and KFOG back in 2006.

    The day before Cumulus took over the reins of the four SF stations, they summarily fired (actually, they had a willing henchman in the despicable and now unemployed GM Tony Salvadore fire) 13 prominent employees at KNBR and KFOG. Within a
    year, there were many more firings. All of the other stations in markets such as Dallas also had bloodbaths, as prominent, respected and popular
    reporters and on-air personalities were frog marched out of their offices under the watchful eye of Cumulus' henchmen and henchwomen.

    This is a company that has no respect for broadcasting, that has no interest in serving the public, and that is run by a bunch of bloodless, gutless, venal twits out of Atlanta.

    SF area radio stations have gone from being some of the better places to work in the industry to ghostowns almost overnight.

    Critics will say, "well, the advertising is not there, the ratings are down, kids listen to their i-pods and talk on their cell phones and don't listen to the radio anymore." There's a shred of truth in there, but this is also the arguement that Lou 'The Dickhead' likes to use as he and his minions castrate their newly acquired readio stations.

    And please, don't try to convince me that if media deregulation hadn't occured that this would still be happening. Having nine companies own 90 percent of the radio stations in this country is a formula for disaster. Americans need reliable, credible information delivered by trustworthy, experienced, and professional broadcasters.
    When you throw people like that out on to the street and replace them with syndicated shows and woefully inexperienced young 'eager-beavers' it's only a matter of time before we become another
    second rate country.

    These jerks who run these blood-sucking absentee
    operations are the word kind of traitors in this country...the most despicable un-Americans I can think of.

    As I see it, they're worse than some poor slob on the street who goes in and robs a liquor store, because they're messing with the lives of hundreds of thousands (even millions) of people and undercutting some of the most important things this free society has to offer:
    A diverse media that offers a variety of opinions and views on the important news and information of the day.

    If any of you reading this truly care about what's going on, I suggest that you blitz Bill Bungeroth (Cumulus' Media Marketing Manager who works out of KNBR at 55 Hawthorne) with a flurry of phone calls, e-mails, and letters of disgust.
    I would also urge you to boycott all advertisers that buy airtime on any of Cumulus' stations, and contact those businesses who put in with these cretins and tell them why you're no longer going to patronize them or buy their products.

    Cumulus Media reminds me of those science fiction creatures that tried to take over the earth in the movie, 'Independance Day.' They invade, plunder and move on. Lou Dickey is a classic raider who would be right at home in the 1870s and 80s when robber barons did their best to plunder this country.


  94. I think when the listeners said they wanted "more news" they meant more in terms of quality, not more time. Often when I've heard news on KGO I wonder what I just heard, because so many pertinent details were left out.

    Who ever thought they would decimate the soul of the thing?

  95. I've listened to KGO for over 50 years. This is incredibly sad. But oh geeze, the way this story was written is even more painful. Rich Lieberman, is English your third language? yourself and your readers a huge favor and get someone to edit your writing.

  96. I was at Cumulus several years ago when Lew Dickey came for a visit. We all gathered in a large room and listened to him blather on. Everyone had to keep their jaws from dropping when he said Cumulus was branded in SF and that their plan in the next couple of years was for anyone looking for a home, car or job to do it by going to Imagine that ego.

  97. To have two all-news stations is ridiculous. I might as well go to KCBS. I also noticed that Joannie Greggins is gone too . . . replaced by Pat Thurston who is annoying at best. The only good thing left is the morning news with Jen and John. With all that said, while I was volunteering at the cure-a-thons over the last few years, there was already talk of trouble when the ratings system changed. Still, I think there could've been a better way of handling it. Plus, the corporations buying up radio stations like they're packages of toilet paper isn't gonna work . . . And airing re-treads without disclaimers? Cumulus should be fined . . . oh wait, the FCC is only interested in bared breasts and eff-bombs.

  98. it's too bad.

    goodbye, kgo.

  99. bruce kamen franko nick rosie allen lee raschall
    juana mongomery sue muzzin karen jue rolan galli
    sue ostrom wow those where the days

  100. Check out KGO's Facebook page. The pissed-off - including the station-employed moderator - have taken it over. Nice planning, Cumulus. Oh, and Peter Finch, if you're out there - you take this job and you can go fuck yourself.

  101. It's the 21st century, and that KGO line up was old news 25 years ago. _hit Happens! Was it nessasay to tell us Owen's real name? I always thought he was Irish! It's time to turn a new page... Cheers and what ever happened to Joe Starkey and Jim Eason?

  102. I received an email from KGO Listener's Club last night that made my blood run cold, about how (to paraphrase) the people have spoken and said they want more news, so that's what they're gonna get. Well, almost every slot on the program schedule that was filled with a host during the week is now filled with news, news and more news. These guys were the last of the intelligent, mature, thoughtful, educated talk show hosts who were able to manage different opinions from their callers without smashing and devaluing them the way that right-wing radio does. Sometimes, they got upset with a caller, but that person had to be pretty obnoxious to get that reaction. They never hung up on someone because of a different view. They were interested in what people had to say and they created a sense of community.

    I'm still in shock. I've listened to KGO for decades, but last year, after my husband died, I began to listen to KGO whenever I went into the kitchen to cook to keep me company, to keep me informed, to keep me from going nuts from loneliness sometimes. I began to notice that Ronn Owens, whom I'd always liked, was aligning himself with more right wing positions and remembered how, at the first AIDS walk in G.G. Park in '83 or '84, Ronn stood up and called on President Reagan to mention AIDS. He said that people were dying and that Reagan's position contributed to it. I saw him then as a man of honor. After listening more deeply this past year and after reading Rich's post about how he handled himself yesterday morning, I am disgusted. I wrote an email to Ronn (he's on vacation) and to the Listener's Club which sent that disgusting email that said the station would be better than ever, and told them that they have made a big mistake and that they have lost me. They destroyed something worthy and important. I am so sad. Thanks for posting this and for the comments that make me feel like I'm not so alone. Charlotte

    KGO was not a dinosaur. It touched real people in ways that made us feel connected, provoked, interested, schooled and cared for. Last year I went to the KGO Allstars event and loved the way the hosts bounced those questions around. I was too sick to go this year, and now there will never be another.

  103. Rich, I will visit your site every day. Please let us know more about how to take action against Cumulous.

  104. HA HA!
    I truly hope everyone listening to Andrew Fraknoi today, telling about "show up at any of the 21 sites around the Bay Area to look at the stars thru giant telescopes" doesn't show up expecting something... ain't nothin' but dead air. (canned shows of yore, rebroadcast for your Deja Vu-ing pleasure)

    And I never listen to Ronn anymore, since I discovered the fluff-ball that is Kelly Ripa! Who needs substance when you can have a laugh with your morning coffee.

  105. Oh, crap. Now I have to get a twitter account to "follow" all my favorites, Gene, Len, Gil (best replacement for Pete Wilson *RIP* that they could have done.)

    I can't decide whether to be a part of bombarding the FCC with email and snail mail, or just wait 'til we can say, "Toldja" when they go down in flames. And it will happen, as a poster above stated about LA market not being able to sustain two NEWS format stations. Who wants all news alla time, anyway? I mean if there's Something Big Happening, the newsroom always breaks into programming, in time to keep you from driving straight towards the problem, right?

    What a stupid, stupid move. I hope the New People have enough sense to save for the rainy day that's coming; if it can happen to KGO NewsTalk, then it can happen to the new crew as well, and surely will.

  106. And Joanie! What about Joanie!
    And Michael! And Len!

    And Chris Bretcher (sp, sorry)!! Her Bart Horn sound effect was priceless! I want a download of that!

    Oh, but the new PTB has probably already incinerated every shred of proof KGO once existed.

  107. Just listened to Ronn Owens first hour 12/2/11. I found nothing phony or disengenious stated. He was sad, excited about KGO's future and felt terrible for his terminated friends. Anything else would have been a lie.

  108. Great shot at Sarah Palin w/ Jeopardy. I wonder how she handle "Que to 7:05". Maybe "How does a snootly liberal try to be clever?"

  109. Wow, they axed Wattenburg too. I guess they didn't want to pay his (presumably large) salary.

    KGO, another casualty of the economy.

  110. Pat Thurston is shoveling such a load of sh*t on her new Saturday morning slot. We are being told that we, the listeners, want more news. Cumulus listened to us and responded! And the farmer hauled another load away....

  111. Pat Thurston just opened her Saturday morning show sincerely talking about the loss of KGO's hosts. Now there's a class act.

  112. Where is a list of everyone that is gone?

  113. Ditto @8:21am compare her show to the weasely Ronn Lowenstein "show" yesterday. Like night and day. The Voice of Treason is sych a pussy, then again we already knew that...

  114. I cannot promise never to listen to KGO again but I can promise never to buy anything from their sponsors. I hope others will join me.

  115. Pat recently had a baby. She can't really just quit. She's damn lucky to have a job. I commend her for at least opening up the phones.

  116. I understand Cumulus is in business to make money and if I were CEO I would also have to take a close look and see what is working and what's not. With that being said I'm sorry to hear anyone lose their livelihood.
    I work in an industry where you're only as good as last months numbers.

    Burns,Rothmann,Taliaferro,Gross and any other talent with "Name recognition" should seriously get together and form their own "Internet cast" I'm positive they would have a built in audience. Good luck to all!

  117. This is a sad day for our public airwaves as corporate media shill hijacks and silences the greatest FREE medium for our voices. Sadly this occurs the same week that 55 of our Senators voted for detaining US citizens without due process.

  118. Listening to Pat Thurston now bravely discussing the changes at KGO, giving the listeners what they want. This is what Owens should have done yesterday, in hindsight his performance yesterday and his flippant "I'm on vacation now, see 'ya in 2 weeks!" was 100% cowardly smarm.

  119. The only National Talk Show name I recognize is Stacy Taylor on Saturday from 1-4. He is the best of the "Last Golden Age of Talk Radio." Is is not in the progressive movements' best interest to boycott the only remaining voice of reason sill on the air.

  120. Thank goodness the writer doesn't have an axe to grind against anyone, hasn't been holding grudges for what sounds like decades, and was able to write a column that was balanced and sought to see both sides.

    Things change, my man. They just did again.

  121. Correction: The Reagan era FCC deregulation of 1981 merely affected TV ownership. Pulling the plug on limits of radio station ownership occured under the Telecommunications Act of 1996: Clinton's watch.

  122. @0821 - Sorry, but there are plenty of people out there who do actually want more news. I pay $45/month for satellite radios in our cars and my office principally to get news content.

    Personally, I think it's a quixotic folly to try and take on KCBS, but if KGO were to succeed, most of those hosts had to be replaced with more compelling talent if they were to stay with a talk format, so their die was cast.

    We the listeners don't want tired hosts who haven't said anything compelling in years.

    I feel very bad for the hosts personally - truly I do - but evaluating it as a business decision, these people needed to be gone one way or another.

  123. I am so sad and bummed! I will miss the former KGO personalities that were let go. There is no reason to listen to KGO anymore. If I want news, will tune in to KCBS. Please keep us posted as to where the former talk show hosts land, on another radio station. Was just about to head to the gym, but the news stopped me in my tracks! Sad, sad, sad day for KGO loyal listeners!

  124. Pat Thurston I'm sure would be surprised to learn she's just had another baby! She has triplets. They are 8 years old..all of them...still.

  125. When I listened yesterday to canned radio broadcast that occurred in October with no disclaimer that it was previously recorded I thought something was wrong. But this morning I learned what happened from Pat Thurston. Yeah some of the talent was probably near retirement, but the list of personalities (not to mention the unnamed supporting staff that was fired) sent packing and the method used to dismiss these people wasn't any different than any other business. However, these dismissals affected millions of people. The new owners have disrespected the entire bay area and beyond.
    I hope the new owners fail miserably and i am hoping the likes of Rothmann, Dr Bill and others find a place somewhere where their voices are heard. I don't always agree or like what they say but we need a variety of opinions and information for us to help form our opinions. Without a forum for educated and informed discussions we are all lost little sheep and might as well just get our news from TMZ!

  126. Your logic of boycotting Talk Show Hosts makes no sense. It only adds to Cumulus's premise that TALK SHOWS are not what the listeners want. Rather, Call in then quickly voice your disgust, then please get down to the "peoples business." Follow up with a letter. Its the only outlet we have left.

  127. Oh Great I see KGO is no longer taking posts on Facebook. We have truly be silenced socially as well.

  128. Pat Thurston is another kool-aid drinker. This morning was pathetic, talking about how great KGO will do in news. The reality is that KGO, KCBS and TV stations basically get their news from press conferences and the newspaper, and now the Internet. These "news" organizations do not break unique stories. Investigative journalism? No way. Press conferences are staged promotional events. Sad. No commitment to news.

    Re: talk. What had me listening was that I could get both sides of a debate. This was not hate radio. The dumbing down of America continues. People get one sided debates. No wonder society is in a free fall.

    Lastly, I could drive and listen to talk radio for an hour or two if the subject was interesting. No way I could listen to news for more than 5-10 minutes now. Why? You're not shedding light on anything new. You're rehashing the newspaper and Internet. You're not breaking new stories.

    RIP KGO.

  129. Rich, wonderful blog, I relay the information to my aunt who is legally blind. Many bay area residents are in her position and they don't know what is going on.

    there's a petition circling around

  130. Hey Rich: Can you get a reaction from Mr. Luckoff?

  131. LA radio ratings out talk KFI number one. Now although that station's political philosophy is a little wacko I find it hard to believe a more moderate talk station in the Bay Area could not acheive the same success. After listening to Jared the asst PD speak on Owens show current management is not the group to return KGO to a ratings leader.

  132. Who did Thurston fuck to go from fill-in to regular host? She doesn't have the talent, so I can only imagine what she did on her knees...

  133. Ronn and Pat Thurston both sounded sincere. Ronn has to "drink the Kool-Aid" on air at this point or else he could be a casualty, contract or not.

    Where the station blew it was before Cumulus took over. The previous owners didn't follow the philosophy of "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." They replaced the Noon News with an hour of Len Tillem, a "loyah" who specializes in estate law and elder law. This is NOT what you put on if you want a younger demographic that doesn't have to deal with this kind of thing.

    When Dean Edell "retired" (his ratings probably dropped because the listeners flew away when Tillem was on) and Tillem was moved into his spot, this ultimately dragged down the ratings for the slot afterwards.

    I have nothing against Len Tillem, but his show should have stayed a weekends-only thing. Turning the station's middays into "Len Tillem Radio" guaranteed a shift away from a younger demographic.

    I predict this format isn't going to do as well as the owners hope. KGO has a great news department and all that, but they're going to be stretched thin until all the pieces are in place. Replacing the local hosts with syndicated talk shows is a way of saying "We don't care if anyone listens at night."

  134. We've lost the SOUL of San Francisco. After Ray Talifaferro gave 40 years on KGO and John Rothmann 15 years, they were told, without warning, that they were fired. 40 years!!! 15 years!!! "Goodbye." Is this how corporate America treats people who gave so much to their listeners? Adios, KGO.

  135. Rich, I commend you for breaking this story and staying on top of it. Can you shed some light on the timeline please? Per your timeline the firings ocurred at 3pm. What happened during that hour on the Gil Gross show? I assume he was not allowed to do that hour so what transpired on air between 3 and 4pm? I am still numb.

  136. I can get the news anywhere. I listened to KGO, particularly Gene Burns, to be a part of the discussion. He is a class act, deserved better and I hope to catch up with him on another radio station or on the web. I will never listen to KGO again in protest over the way they handled this and when they did this - right before Christmas. Ridiculous. Ronn Owens always has and always will be self serving. It was apparent before this news and validated by his radio show that morning. What he should have done was walk.

  137. This new bunch at Cumulus has just messed up Bay Area Radio by abruptly firing most of the personality of the station, making it just another cookie cutter noisy, automated also-ran. We should all boycott KGO Radio, Cumulus, its advertisers - and KGO TV, who had separated itself from the radio station making possible this awful event.

    I'll offer my living room to Gene Burns, Gil Gross, Michael Finney and all the other interesting and contributing members of old KGO's staff; we'll throw a coat hanger antenna out the window (my husband's idea) and transmit competition for them from Los Altos, and we'll even get Dr. Dean Edell back on the air. Meals provided too, maybe w/Gene Burns' recipes!

    Cumulus must be nuts to break up this team; it is yet to be seen what it will cost them, but I hope it's a lot.

    Signed, the Angry 78-yr-old Grandma, Barbara E.

  138. KGO lost the ratings war because they constantly supported a failed and miserable president.

    Go get em Newt!

  139. KGO - I am beyond sad and despaired for the loss of this once great talk-radio station. I will no longer be a listener. My deepest sympathies to those who were fired - what a tragedy.

  140. Owens is among the last of a classless bunch -- Luckoff, Ward, Burns, Ray T., Copeland, Duane Garrett, Thurston, and Michael Savage (this little creep worked at KGO, too)...thanks, Mickey, for polluting the airwaves. The station was an embarrassment to tune in for 30 years even as it raked in $$$-- as were the people the evil Luckoff hired. Believe me, You wouldn't want to be in the same room with any of these clowns.
    Absolutely no class in the entire bunch. KGO was a joke.

  141. C.Crane Company has been a longtime advertiser on KGO. I believe that C.Crane became successful selling radios etc. to people who lived in distant regions who wanted to hear KGO's signal as clearly as possible. That includes me (I live in SoCal.). And a year ago I bought C. Crane's Internet radio and it is great. The radio has three presets and one was set to KGO. Every weeknight at 7 I turned it on to Gene Burns. Now that preset is reserved for some other station. And I recommend that Bob Crane take his advertising elsewhere because any further connection with KGO will hurt C. Crane's reputation. I recommend Mike Malloy and John Batchelor. Yes, Batchelor is right wing but he spends little of his WABC 770 4-hours-a-night, 7-days-a-week show (!) on right wing topics. He is a true Renaissance man, and the breadth of his knowledge is staggering. BTW a few years ago Ronn Owens did a simulcast deal with KGO and KABC down here in SoCal. He BOMBED big time in L.A. and was gone in a few weeks. I have tried to listen to him and I think he is a total self-serving bore of the highest dimension. I hope the best for Gene Burns and will follow him via e-mail till he lands somewhere.

  142. For all those who have decided to side with the company no matter what, first off you don't know if they were or were not making or loosing money. The manner in which they conducted their 'restructuring' was absolutely disgusting. I hope that you experience this pain that all of them felt, go into a meeting and all of a sudden you are fired for the best of the company. I hope it happens to each and every one of you. It would be a great experience to get the other end and feel the pain that they have felt and others have felt. The restructuring over money is a 100% lie, they easily could have asked to negotiate new contracts for lower rates, but they did not. You do not believe everything that you are told by the company, go out there, read and critically think.

  143. Seconded about Malloy and Batchelor.

    By the way, you can hear KGO on any internet radio and any computer, iPhone, iPad, etc. The CCrane internet radio isn't even a terribly good one.

  144. KCBS!!! Did you hear the poster above suggestion for turning KCBS' FM station into "KGO redeux?" Same everything! Except, maybe bring Dr. Dean Edell back for a morning hour or two show, rather than you-know-who...
    I LOVE LEN TILLEM!! His specialty at his office is Elder Law (everyone of every age needs info on this topic, btw, as we are all either "elder" or own a granny or auntie who we need info in order to help, see.) However his daily show was never ONLY about Elder Law. He answered every question thrown at him, and we all enjoyed every story, be they about the neighbor's fence being too high, or being kicked out of a restaurant, or having property stolen by the cleaning lady. Anyone who thinks Len is only for oldsters, simply hasn't listened to his show, that's all.

    PLEASE, KCBS!!! Seriously consider bringing on the "Talent" just cut loose from KGO, and giving them the same latitude as they enjoyed at KGO. Just as important, tho, are the support staff who get the Hosts on the air every day. We don't usually give a thought about that side of it.


  145. Will Chris Bretcher be doing the afternoon news on KGO as usual? Something tells me, she probably doesn't want to. But the idea of the KGOers being put on air by KCBS FM is wonderful, and I would love to hear Chris Bretcher as a morning show host.

    Love that Bart Horn sound effect, hope to hear it again one day...
    Boooop! Booooooop!

  146. I am now a former listener of KGO Radio. Spencer's show is so far beneath the level of their previous line-up, I can only assume that they're looking for a new audience. I want a station where I can hear intelligent, thoughtful, meaningful, well-informed, educated hosts, and join the dialogue. I am astonished. KGO, you lost another listener today. I'd rather bring audio books than settle for substandard talk radio. I can get news anywhere.

  147. What comes around.
    goes around.


  148. I'm so upset about all this. KGO was something special, unique, totally a Bay Area original. We all loved the fact that our politics, our sense of reality and identity with our past went out all over the western states. Those that were fired for the most part, had a Bay Area historical view of national and world events. Gene Burns particularly had such a well rounded view he uplifted all of us. Ray T. for those of us born and raised in San Francisco, kept us aware of our past and he took no prisoners from those who challenged our Bay Area liberal bend. I am no longer a KGO regular, it's gone like KNBR in the 1960's just think what Herb Caen would be saying now. Shame on you newbies who think you can make money from us here, we will bring you down, just listen, it's like one hand clapping. Ron Ownens you should be ashamed of yourself. Your eternal flame just went out.

  149. Rich, or anyone else on here: weren't the hosts fired under contract? Were the contracts up or did they just pay them off? I'm surprised they let Dr. Bill go. I thought he had high ratings. I think him, Gil, Gene, John and Ray made way too much money. Ronn makes a mill and is under contract till 2013, then he'll be gone I'm sure. I don't get why he's so polular. Better than Limmbaugh I guess.

  150. Thanks so much for the real inside story. And I couldn't agree with you more about your comments on Ronn. What a phony jerk. There are a lot of us not in the Bay Area were regular KGO listeners. No more.

  151. Well written and you describe exactly the way those large, Southern run, uncaring companies operate. They will regret their actions in this case. Public outrage could be extremely high. We as listeners and the public owners of air waves used to matter. Now, Wall Street prevails and it permeates every corporate board room in this slowly dying country.

  152. The changes at KGO have been upsetting, to say the least. When Mickey Luckoff left a year ago, and he wasn't permitted to go on Ronn's show and explain what was happening, that seemed to be the turning point.

    Ever since then, there have been shifts in the status quo that don't jive with the KGO that I know: moving traffic from the 8's to the 5's. Inserting a news update every 20 minutes on the talk hours and totally ruining the flow of the program. That insipid new guy that does their "You wanna talk?" promos that include those annoying 1970's sound effects.

    None of it drew me in. And now this. Now the slashing of people that I have come to know and trust and family. And don't believe for one second that I'm the only one who feels this way. How many of us cried when Pete Wilson died? I was stunned. How many of us listened in shock when Stan Burford announced the death of Gary Hansen, and memorialized him on-air? Who was as angered as us, the listeners, when Bernie Ward betrayed us, or when news reporters like Greg Jarrett and Greg Edmonds were suddenly gone?

    Cumulus and its affiliates may think they know what listeners want. They can talk about having a more successful product, or more a stronger market share. But you know what I want? I want to be introduced to new authors. Introduced to new music. I want to hear inspirational stories and motivational interviews. I want to hear listeners debate the stories of the day with intellectual hosts so I can hear both sides and determine my own stance. I want to be educated, informed and entertained. I want to hear Len Tillem get excited over the depth of stupidity of others and I want to hear Gene Burns call an impudent caller a "blowhard." And I want to know what other people in the Bay Area think and feel about the issues that affect our world.

    I want Cumulus to pull its collective heads out of its collective asses and listen to its demographic of listeners--those of us who are educated, well-spoken, politically savvy and interested in participating in a spirited debate of ideas and beliefs. I want Cumulus to bring back those who brought me to KGO in the first place. If I wanted news for the majority of the day, I'd have been listening to a news station. But I chose KGO for all the right reasons--and it seems you, Cumulus, chose them for all the wrong ones.

    You are the 1%. We are the 99%. Listen to us.

    Don't take away something we hold dear.

    Give us back our personalities, our station, our link to thoughtful discourse and educated, well-articulated people.

    Thank you.


  154. Talk radio is truly the last bastion of public discourse as spoken dialogue goes. In a free and democratic society beware when institutions and public services like KGO go away. What a shame! Corporations suck (yet again). One thing is for sure, KGO will no longer be on my preset list. What will become of the Lymphoma and Thanksgiving charity drives?

  155. It is sad but change comes to everyone and everything sooner or later and I speak from long corporate experience having been on both ends of the "We're heading in a different direction" spiel many times. I'll miss Gene most of all though on some nights (when driving home from work) I'd would madly twist the dial and wonder if Gene's Doppelgänger was working the Boom as the commentary was either laughable or totally insulting to a reasonably intelligent person. However, on most other nights (even when I had arrived home and was still listening in my car in the garage) I'd marvel at his cognitive skills and vocabulary mastery (Sorry Michael K) that would bring total clarity about a topic to his listeners. And then have him exercise total patience with a cornucopia of caller personalities who ran the gamut of extremes.

    As a Broadcasting Major in Spokane WA in the early 80's (and with 2 hours of OJT) I worked as Voice and Producer for a little "Music of Your Life" 5K Watter. I started-up the transmitter in the morning and turned it off at dusk, pulled my own copy from the teletype (tried to make sense of it), made 30 second commercial spots for local restaurants, real estate agents, etc., between R2R Tape changes and News and Sports Breaks, gave the local weather forecast by opening the studio window and was even able to keep my job when my phone lit-up due to the Station Manager calling to ball me out for dreaded dead air when I got distracted and lost track of tape changes and rotations.. But you know, my listeners kept me getting up every morning before the crack of dawn and even though Ed (The Station Manager), finally did fire me I still treasure every minute I worked there. I never aspired to be Paul Harvey, Gene, John or Ron and in fact I left Broadcasting entirely to make a liveable wage in another profession. I'll miss Gene as I miss Paul Harvey and other radio pros who have set a high bar for others to follow and to create legends for themselves but also understand you cannot turn back the clock and can really only move and treasure the experience.


  156. Gee, I don't recall all this angst about the poor listeners when Citadel canned Lee Rodgers. Let me paraphrase how this column would be written if it followed the obituary you wrote for him:

    "I must say that while I found Taliaferro's frequent political rants dangerous and extreme, downright angry and nasty too, I enjoyed Burns's work both as a broadcaster and thorough professional. They were certified pains in the ass, but so am I (Taliaferro's problem was that he was making too much money and his anti-capitalist venom was way over the top for Cumulus, KSFO's and KGO's new corporate owner)."

    OH wait: Here's Ray Taliaferro being pushed out the Front Street door with his box of office things: "Sir! Sir! Sir! Sir! Sir!"

  157. ...and now Ronnnnn takes a 10 day vacation to weather the storm. Ha! I have listened for 30+ years, but all this makes me wonder where the listeners went. I'm guessing they died off. I also understand the conspiracy theory about conservatives buying the left-leaning stations and changing format before an election. I'm in Lake County so low power stations won't reach me. No cable internet so streaming also not possible. damn!

  158. Len Tillem - I have learned so very much listening to you. I shall miss you so very much! As of Friday, December 2, 2011, KGO is no longer on my radio dial and has been deleted from my computer favorites as my radio station.

  159. I am in shock!! Ronn Owens was the only one that I refused to listen to. All the others I heard everyday & into the night. There are so many News stations but only one good talk show station. I look for KGO's ratings to tank!!! Is there an address or e-mail that we can issue our complaints to??

  160. I too am seriously disappointed at the loss of our talk show hosts. I feel betrayed to say the least. What I don't agree with is the idea that the format was 'old' and needed to appeal to a younger demographic. In the next moment we are told young people don't listen to the radio! I am a part of the largest demographic this country has known - the 'Boomer generation' and we are the audience that has been so loyal to KGO for literally decades now.
    I need a break from just the news: I want analysis of the news, conversations about the news, the ability to call in about the news and express an opinion, and I want to hear the "A List" of guests first hand about the news....

    I guess my only backup will now be Charlie Rose on tv... for thoughtful analysis and conversation. However, I am an all day every day radio listener and I have lost my 'friends' on KGO and will look elsewhere for my radio fix.

    I also miss my 'Doctor' Dean Edell and now I'll miss my 'Lawyer' Len. I've learned so much from these two I was almost getting dangerously smart!
    I will not listen to news all day any day... you lost me for good~

  161. Listening to the new format of news at 1PM instead of Len is absolutely BORING. A very windy 'news'report on olive oil just didn't ring my be bell. This station is just so very ordinary now. Copey wasn't that stimulating this morning - and nothing to look forward to for the rest of the day on radio. I really miss Len, Gil. (Of course will miss forever Pete and Dean Edell)

    Bob Brinker is going to be on 560 next week as he has been let go as well.

    KSCO (AM 1080) is a Santa Cruz station may have some decent programing - not sure.

  162. Well I guess it's back to repetitive rock n' roll for me, since I can't stand repetitive news and that's what we'll get all day long on KGO now. Newstalk was a nice break from all news stations. Will really miss Gil and Len and their great sense of humor.

  163. All this shock amongst the commenters.
    I've been a bay area newsie for nearly 20 years. This IS our business. This IS the way its done. We climb ladders, work ridiculous hours, live, eat, breathe the 24/7/365 lifestyle that is TV & radio news, and in the end this IS how we are let go. Its business, people.
    All this humorous outcry! Well, nobody likes change whether its a staffer, a listener, a viewer, an advertiser. The first reaction is "boycott!!". That's pretty ridiculous. Over time people get used to the change and the hard truth is that all companies toss the people who have worked the longest and make the most money in lieu of cheaper talent. Its the way its been in this post NBC @ KRON era. They made the transition to cheaper talent and cheaper production and now every other station is doing the same. Overinflated salaries are a thing of the past. Its a rarity to be a Ronn Owens. His clock, too, is ticking. The clocks are ALWAYS ticking even with contracts.
    Get used to this people. Its really amusing to read all of the naive comments here about being let go. Has nobody ever been laid off before?
    And as far as KCBS picking up KGO's talk show hosts?? I almost spit coffee out of my mouth as I read that! Too funny. Never gonna happen.

  164. What happened to Michael Finney? I haven't read anything about him - but he wasn't on on Saturday. He also doesn't show up in the lists of those fired. Anyone know?

    Have read several times that Ronn makes $1,000,000 a year - seriously????!!!! What a waste - and I am a fan.

  165. Why KGO, why!? I already had 200 other stations that I could hear news 24-7 on. KGO gave me just the right amount of amusement without the host being overly belligerent like some other talk shows. And now I have to go start my radio talk show search all over again from scratch D: D:

  166. Who bought KGO? ... one doesn't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out the squeeze out. Do the research. News? What would possess one to listen to this 'flavor' of "news." Pay attention to what gets covered, and more importantly what doesn't.

  167. Lloyd Lindsay Young is also nixed as weatherman...Red Eye Radio Sunday Night Voice is that of Mr KABC from Los Angeles...Michael Jackson of KABC fame was canned to make room for Ronn and his statewide simulcast a decade ago...KGO listeners club...I hear the crickets chirping...

  168. Michael Finney is gone, as is Bob Brinker, who announced at the end of the 3 o'clock Sunday that his show in now on KSFO

  169. I have heard that Ron O. is still there only because of his contract.He has less than a year of the KGO gravy train. The Big Whigs will make his life miserable hoping he will "leave" on his own.

  170. Ronn Owan should resign immediately, that is if he has any discency. I will never listen to him again. KGO made a fatal mistake. hope some sort of a deal could be made with other radio station soon.

  171. "Hey Ronn!, "Splain it to me Lucy"! Screw you and KGO! Long live Tom Leykis where ever you are!

  172. The Bay Area already had an all news station. It is called KCBS. Boycott Ronn Owens and KGO!

  173. bucken jerks that fired the best..I hope those that were let go band together and do a class action lawsuit for age discrimination....

  174. Anyone know where Dr. Bill may go?? My favorite with Bob Brinker.

  175. I read and got latest info from you blog.That's a great and wounder full.It's related to chevy hid kits. I like your blog and shared with my friends.Thanks for Sharing......

  176. WyzGuy56 said...exactly what I am thinking. And I love Anonymous who suggested the guys band together and do a class action suit for age discrimination. Way to go!

    What's with all this garbage about how this is the way the world is now. You mean, as my son puts it, a crapbag? I wrote to John Rothmann the other night and said it's as if they've just fired a bunch of world class professors and hired a bunch of community college adjuncts and called it "what the world needs now." It is a lie. Something smells rotten here. I read Bernie's site about the "bloodbath", which I happen to agree with, while still feeling like I've got to wash my eyes out with soap (because it's Bernie), and he suggests that Cumulous wants the station to fail so they can turn it into right-wing fish-wrap; this is a corporation that didn't like the liberal way the wind blows here in the Bay Area and wanted to shut down our voices and syndicate even more Hambaugh (as the synthesizes their names).

    Remember, it is not only Len, Gil, Gene, John and Ray and their support staff who don't get to is US. We have no one intelligent to talk to in the wider public sphere. Right-wing radio screens any dissent and ridicules anyone who manages to get on unlike the guys from KGO who engaged with differences and were curious, wanting to learn new things, and respectful of others as long as the respect went both ways. This is what we've lost. It is political. It is a corporate take-over of the airwaves and unfortunately, Bill Clinton deregulated radio, just as he ratified NAFTA. He may have left a surplus, but he also weakened our country.

    I listened tonight to a station in Santa Cruz who clarified that there really is no public place to go...Cumulous and Clear Channel own it all, so when you think, "I'll have to go looking for a new radio home," realize it isn't going to happen because there isn't one. Perhaps our guys can put a radio show together and get it on Sirius or another cable network, and we'd have to subscribe to hear their voices and speak to them, but what would happen to those who can't afford cable?

    Someone suggested that KCBS hire them. What about KQED? It has always been my number two go-to on weekdays, and my number one on the weekends (Wait, Wait; Car Talk, This American Life). I'll bet people would pledge a whole lot to get those guys back on the air. I would. I'll be writing to KQED. What might happen if a wave of us promised to pledge $100. a year to bring the guys back...yeah, I know, if we could even get a 1,000 people, that would only be $100,000, only enough for one salary.

    Whatever happens, I will not be going back to KGO, not even to listen to Ronn, whom I liked for such a long time, until a couple of years ago when he began to shift his politics more towards the right and seemed be losing his empathy chip.

    Let's keep the thread going. Maybe all is not lost.

  177. Many people cannot afford computers now - what would it take to "buy" a people owned radio show - occupy the airwaves? - dreamin

  178. Folks... this support for the hosts, this outrage for the change.... It won't be Clear Channel or one of the other radio conglomerates... but not all broadcast companies are idiots... someone will see the void here in the bay area and make a move. Dr Bill on 1080 in Santa Cruz Friday afternoon... if i was a player at one of the other clusters, i'd be discussing making a news/talk move to pick up the tens of thousands of listeners that are PISSED!

  179. Here's the deal. According to everything I've read from those "in the know", KGO did have a large ratings slip, but was still making money "hands over fist", it was NOT a money losing operation.....but it will be NOW!

  180. Well put. I listened for 30 years, but I am now gone. Ron left me stunned. I am in high tech so I remember 2000 through 2005. With that said, Ron lost all me respect as I listened to his show that day. I will never listen to anything he does again as I learned that he is truly and proudly the 1%

    1. I used to listen to KGO when I was working and remember when Ron Owens started back in the 80's and over time I enjoyed Bill Gross for his political insight, well time for a change and KGO will not be part of it.

      My wife listens to KGO, but I will look for an option for both of us, this lite news all day sucks.

      Thanks for the article, this reminds me of the movie 'The Firm"

  181. It is around 5:30 Saturday and I thought I'd check to see what the host was talking about on KGO - hardly listen to the station anymore and lo and behold Michael Finney is on! Is this a repeat or is he live?? He was not on last Saturday. It's very wonderful to hear his voice at any rate. This past week without the regular KGO it has been difficult. Dr. Bill on KSCO a bit but that's about it.Tomorrow I have to try and get Brinker on 560. Tunein radio app on iTouch helps because you can get a lot of different talk on other stations in the nation and internationally. Still so a angry with the new KGO owners and of course not listening to their station unless they bring back the hosts.

  182. I am so grateful that you took the time to talk to KSCO with MZ today! It is wonderful that you are a support to all the KGO former fans.
    I am so disappointed in Ronn and can't believe that he doesn't deal with this huge issue - what is he thinking? That we don't care what happened to everyone at KGO? I guess he really is more self centered than any of us knew.
    I miss KGO terribly but find KSCO is getting more and more interesting and love the support they are offering to the former hosts.

  183. KGO is where I went to get the Bay Area public's opinion -and to give mine.
    I don't need the Blood-News or local news either though it was nice to get immediate citizen reports on major events. I listened everyday but now no more. The remaining familiar voices make me lonely for the missing ones. Papers and the net give me the news; without my having to wade through stories I don't care about to get it. Most of the news isn't News it's tripe. So long KGO you are missed.

  184. I listened to KGO for many years, not as a local but in L.A. and even in the northwest, the signal is a cannon at night.

    Still, in the past few years, Ray T's rantings and Sharpton-esque racist comments have gotten old. It's 2011 Ray, and the black man in the oval office says it all, racism is a tired old crutch for race-baiters to mine, gold that is.

    Bill W had become so crotchety and reactionary to callers that his expertise and background got lost in the tirades. Sad, he was the logic and science voice at KGO for so many years.

    Korel? Well... how many times was he previously fired? The guy is a loose cannon, gay activist who actually spoke well on other subjects that he enjoyed such as; motorcycles, audio eqpt. and entertainment news. Too bad he was an emotional train wreck, more like the "gay" Ray T with too many rantings on too many passing fad/causes.

    KGO could have made changes without Cumulus, so don't blame Cumulus, blame the weak, previous ownership who like so many, cut, run and take their money.

  185. John Dingler, artist from Riverside, CA.

    Ray Talliafero first informed us that PNAC was a close-knit network of neo-conservatives who conspired to propagandize Americans about the need to invade Iraq. These NeoCons infiltrated the office of president Bush and convinced him and criminal Cheney to do the invasion because it did not have any WMDs; They were all destroyed in approx. 1993.

    Yes, it was Ray T. who served the community well. He actually served as a teacher. Big Corpo Rightwingers such as Lew Dickey of Cumulus hate teachers because they, you know, teach us relevant facts.

  186. One thing which was driving me nuts about KGO was the constant advertisements, the hand writing has been on the wall for a long time now, maybe I will listen to KGO on the weekends, where they do real talk radio, sorry Owens I find your show uncomfortably boring as your politics!

    My belated thanks to Rich Lieberman for the article, I had wondered what had happened to KGo, my suspicions were verified.


  187. Finally crawled out from under the covers of depression on what happened at KGO and had to look on the internet for an explanation. I appreciate your account of it. I was THRILLED to find most of the folks on 910am, back on the radio. I drive ALL THE TIME and enjoy(ed) listening to KGO so was devastated when this happened. What a bunch of idiots at KGO. I hope they fail. We just need 910am to get a stronger signal now....

  188. John Rothmann was the best bay area radio person. Great show, great talent.

    I'm glad to see Ronn Owens criticized.

    I once thought about taking out an ad saying 'improve your morning, stop listening to Ronn Owens, I did.'

    They've messed up the station IMO. I don't mind some changes. Gil Gross, just seemed vapid to me.

    Bill Wattenberg, science was good but politics were wingnut and he was abrasive.

  189. What you you expect from Lou 'The Dickhead' who runs Cumulus? His M O
    has always been to cut costs, go cheap, and downsize the radio property that his company buys. This way, he's a corporate hero to the Cumulus shareholders, because he cuts their operating expense down immediately. By getting rid of most of the talk show hosts, think of the money Cumulus is saving.

    But they're not going to put any more money into their other bay area prime property, KNBR. They pay board ops and producers there chump-change, give idiots like 'P-Con' the dysfunctional ex-marine a show of his own, and keep ass kissers and weasels like Bob Fitzgerald on the air. (I'm convinced that Fitz must have compromising pictures of higher-ups, because he is universally loathed by his fellow broadcasters.)

    All of this is a sad indication of where radio is headed...
    straight down the toilet! Thanks Mr. Dickhead for ruining not one, but two of the Bay Area's iconic radio stations with your short sided business plan and skinflint ways. 20 years ago, companies such as Cumulus would have never passed muster with the then-powerful FCC. Unfortunately because of deregulation, the FCC is now toothle4ss and Mr Dickhead and his cronies from Atlanta have
    emasculated two once-great radio stations.