Friday, December 2, 2011

KGO-AM will go to news from 2 p.m. to midnight

In a stunning move, Cumulus-owned KGO-AM has decided to switch to all-news from 2 p.m. to midnight starting Monday, and has sacked hosts Gil Gross (2-4 p.m.), Gene Burns (7-10 p.m.), John Rothmann (10-1 a.m.) and Ray Taliaferro (1-5 a.m.).

Ronn Owens (9-noon) will survive as will Brian Copeland, who has a weekend show.

The story was first reported by media blogger Rich Lieberman, followed by Matier & RossRadio-Info.com has some interesting comments. (Earlier, we said Matier & Ross were first, but Lieberman beat them by a couple of hours.)

Radio-Info says the weekends will apparently stay mostly talk. As for overnights, there’s speculation that Cumulus Media-syndicated talker Doug McIntyre will take over Talifero’s slot. Talifero has been at KGO since 1977.

KGO had been the market leader for decades, but lost that position two years ago after KCBS added an FM frequency and moved up to No. 1.

The move means that the Bay Area will have three news stations, including KQED 88.5, which has added several local newscasts throughout the day.

Whether San Francisco listeners want that much news remains to be seen. Los Angeles can only support one all-news station, KNX 1070. Then again, KGO’s future might be brighter if Cumulus put KGO on one of its three FM stations.

With the switch, KGO is dropping its “Newstalk 810” label and replacing it with “KGO-810, the Bay Area news and information station.”

UPDATE, 10 a.m., Dec. 2: Peter Finch, the morning newsman on KFOG, will be joining KGO when it changes its format on Monday. Both stations are now owned by Cumulus Media.

Ronn Owens said on his show this morning that he has a sense of "survivor's guilt" for being the only major host to survive the shakeup. He said he feels sorry for his fellow hosts, who he regarded as his friends.

“When I heard about the new format, what we’re doing more news and all of that, if it included my friends, I’d be thrilled to death,” Owens said. “I’m still excited about the new format, but I feel guilty. I feel guilty being the one guy who is left."

Owens defended the format change, explaining that KGO had begun to slip in the ratings.

"This is an iconic station. We’ve been around forever. We’ve been known as the best station in the country. And all of a sudden we started to slip more and more and more. So management comes in and says, ’This is not working. We’ve got to do something that will work.’ They came up with a concept that I think will work," Owens said at the beginning of his 9'O clock hour today.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ronn has a huge contract, said to be over a million a year, and he gets paid that whether they keep him on the air or not. His ratings aren't bad, though he gets beat by KQED in the demo. When his contract expires in 2013, he'll be replaced by news if this switch in the afternoon works.

Anonymous said...

Remember when Coke introduced "new coke" ? This is the same thing. I doubt KCBS is worried. KGO just shot itself in the foot.

Scot in Hayward said...

When Pete Wilson died, KGO lost its last unique talent. The rest are tired, left leaning dispensers of predictable, bland pablum which we've all heard before. I loved the old KGO of Rodgers, Eason, Dumbar & Wiegand---a different time. Nothing lasts forever...

Bob Kurtz said...

Hosts like Gene Burns, Gil Gross, Dr. Dean Edell and others were part of a smart station, which appealed to people's intelligence. They weren't the right-wing screamers heard on other stations (including KGO's sister station KSF0). KGO will try news for a few years, find out that it's too expensive, and then the schedule will be filled with syndicated hosts like Don Imus. People who would have zero appeal in the Bay Area.

KCR said...

This format change was driven by cost cutting. They got rid of four hosts who were expensive and replaced them with less expensive news anchors. Going from two to 10 hours isn't that big of a deal considering that all-news stations repeat their stories every hour or two. The news they serve up from 2 to 4 will largely be regurgitated from 4-6, and again from 6-8 and 8-10 and 10-midnight. I'll bet their reporting costs don't go up much at all. And their talent costs will go way down.

Anonymous said...

Didn't your friend Rich Lieberman predict a few weeks ago that KGO was going to cancel its afternoon news? Like everything he writes, he got it wrong!

Kelly M said...

I think KGO was more of an educational station than a talk station. You actually could learn a thing or two from the hosts. Bill Wattenberg called it The University of the Air, and he was right. News is educational too, but not in the same way. And it's hard to imagine KGO doing a better job than KCBS. KGO is good at picking out the sensational stories, but KCBS (and to some extent KQED) does serious news much better.

Barry OB said...

New slogan: NoGo Radio 810

ad buyer said...

I had to laugh when I heard Ronnnn complain this morning that the Arbitron personal people meters were part of the reason for KGO's demise. If I recall correctly, Mickey Luckoff was complaining that PPM would ruin KGO before they were ever tested. It was as if he knew something, like maybe how the diaries favored certain stations for some reason. Anyway, KGO began falling when they switched the PPM. At the time, everybody at KGO said it was because talk stations don't do as well with the meters. Yet Rush Limbaugh's ratings went through the roof in many markets. So I'm not sure what was going on. From the perspective of an ad-buyer, I felt as if the PPM system was more honest than what we had before.

James O. Clifford said...

Will KGO increase its newsroom staff? That is where it will count. The important part of all-news is NEWS. Can KGO go up against the likes of Bob Melrose, Bob Butler, Barbara Taylor, etc? The only KGO newsperson I can think of is Jennifer Jones, and that's because she has the same name as the actress. If KGO relies on AP rewrites of the Chronicle it will have to change its format again.

Kenbank said...

Yeah, yeah, yeah... I know it's all about the ratings. If KGO lost it's top ratings slot to KCBS after they added an FM simulcast then it seems to me the logical response from KGO should have been to add an FM simulcast of their own. I am mystified why this didn't happen. Wouldn't two radio stations be better than one where ratings are concerned? I mean, it worked for KCBS. I'm not sure that an All News format is the best way to compete against KCBS ether. I can only listen to an all news station for so long before the constant repetition begins to bore (annoy) me and I tune away. I was never bored with KGO's News Talk format and I listened enough to consider the hosts to be my friends in that one-sided sense of connection we have for celebrities and, in this case, radio personalities. I understand, business is business, but holy crap! Change hurts.

Anonymous said...

Where is the FCC and Congress when you need them?

High fallutin' radio people from Atlanta come into the West Coast radio market and start dictating the news and without notice or accountability, they cut off participatory radio formats by seasoned and well-respected hosts. The owners clearly regard KGO as a money machine and West Coast audience be damned. The owners get the part-time personalities to front for them.

Maybe the station will tank and KGO will become a bargain for a local owner.

Anonymous said...

Adbuyer, the problem with PPM is the sample is so small. While, in theory, it is much more accurate the the old diary system for ratings the small sample negates any potential accuracy, IMHO.

Anonymous said...

Why don’t they go like clear channel fire everybody put it all on automatic including the weather an have the news feed in from St. Louse where they pay the radio people minimum wage. If they just want to improve the bottom line. Last intelligent radio bytes the dust. The signal could be heard over the entire West Coast or is there a hidden Agenda only keeping a token. I hope they go bust.

Dominik said...

Good riddance to the political, National Enquirer of the air – the KGO radio! That radio station was the garbage of all radio stations. It was all, about the liberal misrepresentation of reality, facts and life, about censorship, and above all else – being a flagship Zionist voice – a propagandist for the jews and Israel. KGO hosted: A pure, black imbecile – Ray Taliaferro; a typical jewish, congenital liar, Zionist, the mediocre – John Rothman; the brutal agent of Israel – Bill Wattenburg; the mendacious, wanna-be-European aristocrat – Gene Burns. All other hosts were/are pure mediocrity. The actual reason of the declining listenership rates of the KGO, was that even the liberal Bay Area HAD ENOUGH OF THAT STATION’S DETACHMENT FROM REALITY.

The only good aspect of KGO was its powerful radio signal. That was the only reason I used to call-in its shows. I was that station’s, and for that matter, other Bay Area stations’ best Aryan caller. No other caller was a match to me in reflecting the racial realities and in attacking the Zionist agenda and lies. The “libertarian” Burns even banned me from his show – he just choked on my truths and on his own mendacity!

All major political radio stations in the US nowadays are just Zionist propagandists. People, who want the truth listen to such independents as the Worldwide Rense Radio Network , hosting among others the greatest, living American – David Duke.

KGO: It’s time to go down to the very bottom, now!

Dominik said...

Good riddance to the political, National Enquirer of the air – the KGO radio! That radio station was the garbage of all radio stations. It was all, about the liberal misrepresentation of reality, facts and life, about censorship, and above all else – being a flagship Zionist voice – a propagandist for the jews and Israel. KGO hosted: A pure, black imbecile – Ray Taliaferro; a typical jewish, congenital liar, Zionist, the mediocre – John Rothman; the brutal agent of Israel – Bill Wattenburg; the mendacious, wanna-be-European aristocrat – Gene Burns. All other hosts were/are pure mediocrity. The actual reason of the declining listenership rates of the KGO, was that even the liberal Bay Area HAD ENOUGH OF THAT STATION’S DETACHMENT FROM REALITY.

The only good aspect of KGO was its powerful radio signal. That was the only reason I used to call-in its shows. I was that station’s, and for that matter, other Bay Area stations’ best Aryan caller. No other caller was a match to me in reflecting the racial realities and in attacking the Zionist agenda and lies. The “libertarian” Burns even banned me from his show – he just choked on my truths and on his own mendacity!

All major political radio stations in the US nowadays are just Zionist propagandists. People, who want the truth listen to such independents as the Worldwide Rense Radio Network , hosting among others the greatest, living American – David Duke.

KGO: It’s time to go down to the very bottom, now!