Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Real KGO Radio Inside Story; A Behind-The Scenes Former Worker Bee Tells 415 Media and The World Their Story; KGO and KNBR Naked; Nobody Spared; Exclusive

Image result for SF Cumulus KGO RadioCumulus SF has hired various characters and players; people involved in every job from night board op to daytime, primetime radio talk-show host. When you kill one of the greatest broadcast stations in the world that requires heavy duty, hard-lifting., you instantly create contacts. Good lifters.

Real Insiders.

One of those has come to 415 Media, a contact that worked many years behind the scenes wanted to get something off their chest. They (The Insider) provide some interesting bullet points that paint a story.

OH, The Nuggets...From the Insider...Sit back now. Your KGO Inside Story.

1)  Ron Escarsega brought in Ethan Bearman as a weekend guy, but thought very little of him.  Thought he was good enough for KSFO weekends.

2) Ron Escarsega was fired because the Dickeys told him to wipe out the entire KGO weekend lineup - every host.  Ron said no.  He told them he knew KGO was going to have to flip from news to talk, and he would need to have hosts ready to go.  He was told "that's not your problem." 

Because he said "no" to the Dickeys they got rid of him.  They offered him a job in Fresno, to which he said no.  Ironically, the staff didn't care much for Escarsega, but he was actually really good at his job and is a good guy.  Same goes for Paul Hosley before him even if it's kind of his fault for KGO going all news, but I can't really put the blame on him.

3)  Renee Bakos was Mike Huckabee's producer in Texas.  He despised her and wanted her fired.  Cumulus removed her from his show. 

She started creating this pointless show prep sheet for Cumulus because they had her under contract for 2 years, and they weren't just going to fire someone they had on payroll.  She toiled in Dallas with no actual job while collecting a paycheck. 

Jared Hart left KGO and the Ronn Owens producer job became available, as well as Assistant Program Director.  Owens wanted to hire Bakos, sight unseen, over two other more qualified candidates in town.  

Owens remembered Bakos from her previous stint at KGO, where she had an affair with another staff member.  Both Escarsega and Hart told Owens not to hire her, but he did anyway.  After one month he demanded she be removed from his show for incompetence.  

She then continued to be quite possibly the worst employee KGO has ever hired.  In addition to not knowing how to run any equipment, her interpersonal skills were atrocious.  She said to me, "You know we can't fire her because she's got two protections.  She's a black midget."  There was so much more.

Owens then tried to get Hart (who was leaving) or Escarsega to take responsibility for the hiring of Bakos because he didn't have the guts to tell the two other candidates to their faces.  Both asked.  

It put Hart and Escarsega in a bad place, but Ronn doesn't care about employees of KGOHe never has.

4)  With Escarsega gone, Randall Bloomquist, now the head of talk programming for Cumulus discovered Kevin "Pig Virus' Metheny.  He would be the new PD.  

Bakos cozied up to him quickly.  Metheny, as is known, died at the office.  Bakos took care of his dogs and his apartment during this time.  Go figure. 

Bloomquist was sent out by the Dickeys to oversee the stations in San Francisco during the transition, one week in, one week out, until someone could be found.

Bloomquist met Bakos in California when she was in Los Angeles at another station.  She bragged that "he remembered me" from the other station.  She did what she does, and immediately became flirtatious with a habitual cheater. 

Eventually, Bakos and Bloomquist were let go at the same time because there were emails proving they were having an affair.  Plus, people who Bakos didn't like were let go by Bloomquist.  She had to fill out the paperwork, but he would sign off on them.  One case was so bad they feared a lawsuit that never came.

In the media Bloomquist said something to the effect, "pursuing other careers" or "family time."  Who quits head of talk radio programming in less than a year's time?  A guy who twice cheated on his wives.  That's who. 

Bakos and Bloomquist went together to Atlanta, where he then disposed of her as well, and married another woman.  Classy guy.  Third time a charm?  Doubtful.  

5) Lee Hammer was special during all of this.  As is well known throughout Cumulus, Hammer has been racing toward retirement for the last 10 years.  He has told a number of people, more than once, "If I didn't have to change a thing I wouldn't."  The thing of it is, he did have to change things, but still didn't.

Justin Wittmayer (GM) made the move to bring on John Lund since Hammer doesn't even listen to the radio station.  I've literally never walked into his office and heard our station on. 

Hammer is about as dishonest a person as you're going to meet. 

Before the current GM came on a guy named Steve Sklenar was in place.  Most people liked Steve. 

He was traveling back and forth from Southern California, and his wife would often travel up here as well.   

Hammer went to Steve and tried to get a raise approved for one of his on-air employees who he had a close relationship with.  Sklenar told Hammer he needed to put in the request himself to corporate, but that he would review it and then sign off.  The company doesn't like requests for money.  Hammer knew this and wanted it on someone else's plate.

Hammer didn't want to do it that way, so when the Dickeys were in town he played some hard ball at the Giants game.  It was a Wednesday night, and that's when Steve's wife would come up for dinner once a week.  He told the Dickeys he couldn't go to the game.

Hammer went to the game, and while there decided to tell them that Sklenar liked to drink a lot while on his lunch break.  A patent lie.  He drank no more or less than anyone in any sales dept has ever drank at work.  But Hammer knew the Dickeys were anti-alcohol, and Hammer's wife also didn't drink.  

Sklenar was let go soon thereafter.  Justin Wittmayer is what followed.

We actually had a GM and a PD who cared about the stations, the employees, but now we don't.  

Instead we have a know-nothing PD of KGO (Mike Anthony - not worth even discussing), an out of touch GM in "J-Witt" and a company that is trying to stay afloat because the Dickeys pocketed private equity dollars and destroyed all of Cumulus.

*415 Media Exclusive


  1. Darrin C in Rohnert ParkJune 21, 2017 at 12:41 PM

    Rich, you are in rare form with this. This is why I enjoy 415 Media. Salute'!

    1. Rich has the same contacts as the New York Times. And we all know what Comey said about their stories on Trump....

  2. Rich this is unfucking believable! MORE! MORE! MORE!

  3. lee hammer says yes...

  4. Great report....yup, more....thank you....
    Hey, people, if you like this...subscribe to 415 Media... Give some money so Rich can take informants out to lunch and get more scoops.!

  5. Good job, but do very many people care about KGO? Only as a dream to return to better days.

  6. >Real Insiders.

    One of those has come to 415 Media, a contact that worked many years behind the scenes wanted to get something off their chest."

    "that worked", read used to work, so no ties but no names or qualifiers. I'm suspect as usual. Gossip? or fact... You decide.

  7. I'm going to show my age by saying this story is more lurid and more tawdry than Peyton Place. It was an old nighttime soap that Mia Farrow used to act in, before she chopped her long hair off to punish her married boyfriend, a certain singer named Frank Sinatra. "The Games People Play"

  8. Lee Hammer will always be Bob Agnew's tool.

  9. Two little things: Frank Sinatra married Mia Farrow, post gamine haircut. She wore it well, something that very few can do, that do. Bob Agnew created some pretty solid radio.

  10. They should run the "behind the scenes" account, as an on-air soap opera. It's certainly more interesting than their current programming.

  11. Rene Bakos was the twit who told the talk hosts to (quoting), "dumb it down." I also know of her demeaning the diminutive board op.
    Ron Escarsega was an ageist. I have personal knowledge of him turning away qualified applicants in favor of younger ones, and not because of money.

    1. No such thing as a 'qualified board op' in this biz. All stations look for board ops who also produce shows. They can teach you how to push the buttons but they can't teach you to be creative.

  12. I will sum this all up: Cumulus is run by stupid people who are unethical, immoral, incapable, and now the company is going out of business. Can we be done with this already?

  13. I tried listening to Ronnn this morning. The man is braindead...just an idiot. What happened to him?

  14. Yeah, we agree as well, pretty good reporting today.

  15. Frankly, compared to KGO's regular line-up of "talk show" hosts, A&G are actually superior, IMHO. Aside from their silliness (far less than Chipster and BearMan), they interview in-the-know individuals and discuss relevant matters.

    Of course, John Rothman is the best.

  16. I was wondering what happened everttime I turned to kgo it was news I used to love to hear some good talk

  17. Holy effing crap! There's still that much effort being put into working at a dead radio station in a dead industry?

    I get that it used to career-making to be on KGO. I hate it and it pains me as an old-timer, but hose days are gone -- and have been for at least a decade.

    Surrender, people. Surrender. Radio's over.

  18. John Lund and his bathroom room humour talking about it yesterday should be fired along with Tolbert. He has got to be most overated sports host guess people like his Beavis and Butthead humour. Its not like hes in 30s or so.

  19. Randall Bloomquist had all this misogynistic baggage going in, plus the fact he completely decimated every station he ever programmed. This well known history was why Randall Bloomquist was unable to get a radio job of ANY KIND for more than seven years until the brain trust at Cumulus put him in charge of an entire division. Small wonder than Cumulus is on the verge of bankruptcy!