Another KGO shakeup

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    Just heard that KGO has moved their long-time morning guy, Ronn Owens, to their sister station KSFO to do afternoons, 3-6PM. His last day on KGO was today.

    If that wasn’t enough, they’ve fired their super-talented production guy, Mike Amatori.

    Further proof that a once-great flamethrower has fallen even further into the shitter. Too bad.


    It takes a lot of effort to screw up a 50k blowtorch located in the middle of the dial. Congratulations Cumulus.
    Step one in destroying a heritage station. Eliminate the heritage.


    When they got rid the their main hosts back in 2011, I quit listening to KGO. I go back to the 60s with KGO, but now they are like any other station. Nothing special.


    I was spoiled by their old evening lineup and Dr. Bill Wattenburg on Saturday evenings. In those glory days, there weren’t hours of syndicated show replays, as there are now.


    Even Ray was colorful to listen to at times. Like their talk or not, at least it was unique. as you mentioned the syndicated talk of today is boring compared to KGO in the old days. I have a wifi radio and listen to talk from all over, as there is little of interest on the West Coast generally.


    This is additional sadness for me, as KGO was my first DX experience at 12 years old in Seattle. Back then it was late night with Ira Blue, then Ronn who came in as a very confrontational evening host in the mid-70’s. Over the years enjoyed Ray (he was passionate!), and the guy who got busted for child porn, (edit Bernie Ward) but he was also quite good on the air. KGO is now a shell of itself, very sad.

    Atleast there are a few AM powerhouses left in the west, KOMO 1000, KNBR 680, KNX 1070, and KFI 640, not to mention KOH 780 Reno, and others that some could add.


    Wonder how The Mouse would have handled the eroding ratings if they hadn’t sold the radio properties.

    Scott Young

    Does anyone else here remember the weekly evening rock trivia show Ronn Owens did in the late 70s? I loved that show!


    IMHO, KGO was essentially killed around Dec 1 2011:

    How much lower can it go before they just pull the plug?

    Andy Brown

    Claudia Lamb worked at KGO from 2007 to 2011, producing and writing the afternoon news at KGO Radio in San Francisco, which was then the number one rated News and Talk station in the country. In a four-year period, they won four Associated Press Mark Twain Awards, and four prestigious Edward R. Murrow awards. She left the station at the end of 2011.

    We invited her to share her thoughts (originally posted on Facebook), following the mass firings. If anybody’s wondering what’s happening to our favorite radio stations, strap yourselves in…

    OK, this first part sounds like a post that might appear on this board:

    Citadel bought ABC News for an obscenely high price in 2007. That’s when everything changed. The Vulture Capitalists that bought KGO weren’t interested in radio – they were interested in nothing but money. They weren’t interested in making money off of radio – they were simply interested in what the next quarter would mean for their profit statement.

    Citadel, along with Cumulus, Entercom and Clear Channel (a.k.a. iHeart Radio) destroyed radio as we knew it. If you can’t stand to listen to radio anymore you can thank these companies. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 allowed them to consolidate thousands of Mom-and-Pop radio stations into just a handful of owners. What was once a thriving marketplace of ideas and new music became a moribund feedback loop of homogeneity and satellite programs.

    In a feeding frenzy of buying these few companies overpaid for stations, borrowing 4 and 5 times more than what they were worth – starting out hopelessly in debt. They would buy 10 stations in a market, shove them all into one building that was owned by a subsidy, to whom they would pay rent, and then sell all of the physical assets of those stations (buildings, radio equipment and everything inside down to the last paperclip). The Grinch left more at Cindy Lou Who’s house than these vultures did. Next, they cleared out 80% of the staff – such a savings on labor! – and forced the remaining 20% to pick up the slack.

    But this part is not something I had read here or anywhere:

    They took all that gooey, gooey money they got from the sale of EVERYTHING and instead of paying off their obscene loans, the Vultures gave themselves 8 figure bonuses annually on top of their obscene pay. My favorite was the $27 million bonus (on top of $3 million annual pay) Farid Suliman, the CEO at Citadel, took the week the company declared bankruptcy, which was the year they cleared out half the newsroom, which had been cut in half the year before.

    They are all just hanging on to those AM licenses waiting for the government to pay them to turn those licenses back in, but the recent R&O on revitalizing the AM dial has make that strategy hollow.

    I wonder what is really going to happen to these stations.


    Ya know, I have been a DX er since 1969, hence the name. KGo was the first talk station I was interested in and listened to. Even as a Junior High kid. Really liked them even then. And KNX for all news. They were big time stations as far as a was concerned. It was like I discovered truly grand! And now look. Kinda sad.


    As I recall, the idea with the Rock Trivia show was that Ronn and his guest(s) would throw out a handful of songs and people would call in with the correct artist of one of them. This then allowed the caller to challenge the “experts” by asking about their own song BUT it had to have made the top 60. If the experts didn’t know the artist, the caller told them. If the experts didn’t believe the song made the top 60, they would challenge the caller by bringing out the book. If it actually made the top 60, the caller would get an apology. If not, it was on to the next caller. The kicker of the whole thing was that this week’s experts might very well be last week’s callers, so you really had experts on both sides of the call. It was the only talk show I actually ever made a point of listening to and I actually did so with fading and everything. At some point, they switched to once a month and I soon lost track after that.


    Here’s more of the carnage:

    Sister station KFOG had massive layoffs, as well.


    AM Radio used to be a lot of fun. I also listened to Bud Hide who ran music on KNBR on the weekend evenings in the 60s. Between the contests, remotes, and all radio was fun. Now, as Paul mentioned it is just a shell of what it once was. I worked in radio and it was something I really was something I looked forward to. I now listen to wifi radio, There are some unique talk stations in the East and even in Australia I listen to.


    KGO is now running a loop of music, audio clips about communication, and announcements that say, “the new generation of KGO is coming April 5 at 6 AM.” I wonder, are they going hot talk?

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