Monday, December 5, 2011

KGO-The Loss of a Local Landmark

On December 1st 2011 the bay area lost a landmark. Every body's favorite news talk radio station completely disemboweled themselves and fired the majority of their popular talk-show hosts.  With no warning at all. No warning to their staff and no warning to their loyal listeners.  This blog post by a media insider explains it best. 

I realize I just lost some readers who cannot understand why I would write about something so silly as a radio station changing their format, but this station was over 30 years old.  I am 41 years old, as of today, and I have been listening to this station since I was a child. It has been a constant, just like watching Saturday Night Live or The Simpsons. You tune in and they are there, always. KGO was a landmark of the bay area. 

KGO fired all of their talent and now just do news 24/7, with the exception of their 9a-Noon program, which I will discuss later. (grumble, grumble). The bay area is a diverse, even eclectic micro-climate of micro-climates. You can visit the beach and then some snow, in one day, if there is a light dusting on our bay area mountain peaks. You can witness the Tea Party of Contra Costa County and visit a Nuclear Free Zone in Berkeley, all in one day.  The former KGO was a perfect example of this diversity. You may not like every host, agree with every host, but they were real people with real opinions and they were all the best of the industry. And now they are gone. The station is now generic news. Generic does not represent anything about the bay area. 

But wait, not all of their talk show hosts are gone! We still have Ronn Owens from 9am-Noon. Who is currently on vacation for two weeks so don't bother tuning in to him yet.  On the first day of this format he pleaded with his listeners to give the new format a chance and he said he would set aside some time for people to call in and discuss this drastic change. Uhm, 20 minutes of call in time. Over 30 years of content and we get 20 minutes of grieving time. I have always been a huge fan of Ronn Owen's until Friday December 2nd.  His "concern" was so insincere, so contrived. When a caller started to bemoan the loss of all those talented hosts Ronn Owens actually said, "You still have me.". He just doesn't get it. KGO is not just Ronn Owens, it was a total package. 

Now the package has been ripped to shreds and will soon completely disintegrate. I am not being overly dramatic, in the wake of this horrible business move made by Cumulus quite a few Facebook and twitter accounts have sprung anew lamenting the loss of our local talent. We are peons next to this corporate giant but our pleas are not futile.  Some sponsors have already suspended their accounts;
        Thank you so much for writing and I guess taking a look at the Gene
Burns/KGO page on our website. We are just as shocked as you and just as
upset. I am the advertising agency for both Just Remnants and Burgermeister.
All advertising on KGO for both clients was suspended at 9:00 am this

I was one of the first advertisers to recognize the genius of Gene Burns
some 16 years ago.
I am heartbroken after a 37 year relationship with KGO and a 50 + year
relationship with Mickey Luckoff and a 16 year personal relationship with


And angry loyal fans are pressuring other advertisers to do the same. 

KGO will never be the same but if they work hard to hire back their dearly missed hosts, and go back to the format we loved, we may just be able to forgive them.