KGO Radio self-destructs; Reasoned discussion on the radio gets poor ratings

UPDATE (Dec. 3, 2011):

KGO Radio has sunk so low that it played re-runs of talk shows on topical themes, with references to news events that took place weeks ago as if they just happened, and was completely useless. Of course the new management is going after a different market — apparently the thinking public is not worthwhile to them anymore. And as I said in my original post, I did not realize that their ratings were slipping, falling for their self-puffery as the most listened to station (shame on me).  Also I did not mention all the fired talkers’ and other on-air staffers’ names , but they had an interesting and diverse group (although not enough women for talk show hosts).  I liked KGO because they aired incoming calls of all points of view, whereas the usual right-wing talk radio does not or only when they want to turn the tables on the caller and put them down (although some callers even got that treatment on KGO, depending on the topic and the mood of the host and whether they were actually making any sense at all). Worse yet, some right-wing callers to the most popular wingnut show have no brains and just tell the host “ditto”.


KGO Radio, San Francisco, has basically said F You! to all who like reasoned talk as opposed to hard right or even hard left talk (except in was hard left through the middle of the night).

In a format change just announced, KGO is supposedly going to all news, with the exception of keeping on their most popular talker and highest paid (highest paid in the nation, maybe) talker Ronn Owens (and he is pretty good alright, and quite full of himself). He said he was sorry to see his pals leave, but you know, he’s got a job, so that’s life, let’s move on.

And actually he is right. Although I was dumbfounded and even outraged when I first heard the news, I then realized that is life. The bottom line is that KGO was losing listenership, something I did not realize because they always say things like: “KGO, the most listened to station in the country” and so forth. It’s like sales puffery, it’s legal to proclaim things that are, well should we say, a slight exaggeration.

The culprit, I am pretty sure, is that with each succeeding generation beyond the baby boomers (that’s me, a baby boomer), the attention span has gotten less and less. Today if you cannot say it in the word limit of a Tweet (and I don’t even know how to tweet), they’re not interested (too much information man!).

I particularly enjoyed Gene Burns at night who could see every side of an issue. He began with the Libertarian bent, but did seem to turn rather progressive/liberal since the Obama election. But despite what his politics are or were, he could discuss the many sides and nuances of the issues (something we need). And John Rothman maybe was my favorite. A super liberal for sure, and curiously, he used to work for Nixon. But Rothman, a college professor, is an excellent political historian and very enthusiastic. He too could see all sides, even if he did promote the liberal one.

Ray Talliaferro, the night guy, an urbane black man, was kind of strange, I thought, and bombastic in his railings against conservatives and old white women who would say they really like their black maid. But he was cultured and interesting nonetheless.

Don’t know who or what I will listen to now. Discussions with the various sides of an issue presented or at least acknowledged, is something we are getting short of.

Mostly it is just yelling and screaming and a lot of ignorance — no wonder a lot of people shy away from both politics and current events. We are losing our journalists in favor of one-sided talkers.

Now KGO is supposed to be going practically all news, but will it be news or just little short bursts with not much effort put into it? We’ll see.


I guess there’s always NPR (even if it is a little left wing), but it is not as available and in as many time slots. When I want to hear some talk on the issues of the day, I often get classical music.

UDATE 2: (Dec. 3):

And so after writing all this I ran across what might be the real inside story on how the bloodbath at KGO proceeded:


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