If it wasn’t for the fact that I am a long haul driver and have so much time to listen to the radio I might not care that KGO radio dumped most of its talk show hosts and has replaced the ones I especially enjoyed and had the most occasion to listen to, the ones in the evening hours, with an all-news format.
(There is still some talk, I guess, such as Ronn Owens in the morning. But he is not going to be as good without the rest to complement him, I think, and notice I used the form of complement that means goes with or completes, as opposed to “compliment” with an i, saying something nice. He seemed to cry crocodile tears the day he acknowledged the format change and their departure — I’m thinking they would not feel like complimenting him too much now.)
But it was great to hear the issues of the day discussed and hear the wide variety of opinions from the callers and it was great that it was not just a constant ideological-driven diatribe that allows no real analysis or consideration. To be sure there was ideology. Gene Burns went through a metamorphosis in his long tenure at KGO from Libertarian to, I guess progressive, or, dare I say “liberal”? The Bay Area effect, no doubt. John Rothman, the college professor and expert on American political history (I would love to take one of his classes), was liberal but not always predictable and would listen to differing points of view and discuss them.
And for those who reside in the Bay Area, they had a public forum on community issues — that’s all gone.
I really don’t get it. The Bay Area already has an all-news radio station that plays the same stories over and over again, hard to figure that it needs another one. And since radio, that is not NPR, is limited in its ability to carry stories in depth, you really only need a five to ten-minute recap every hour or maybe on the half.
But business is business and while the new owners and management may or may not have made the right decision, they apparently had to do something to deal with the sagging ratings — ratings generate advertising and advertising pays everyone’s salary and the costs of running the station. But I did read that KGO has lost some advertising over its format change. I also read that the new management pays itself quite generously. Milk that cash cow for what its worth till it runs dry I guess.
I have read that even some KGO talk supporters thought the station was getting kind of stale.
I guess I saw KGO talk as an alternative to the right-wing diatribes and left-wing diatribes (a lot fewer outlets across the nation for the latter). Both the extremes on the political right and left are killing political discourse in this nation. Why do I want to simply turn into something that tells me what I want to hear (or all of what I don’t want to hear)?
I’ll even miss the egotistical, but highly intelligent and science and math savvy Dr. Bill Wattenburg — he was fairly right wing in his politics, but I think he was just trying to be patriotic (it is possible to be patriotic and left wing, but it is some of the lefties that burn the flag and such.) Anyway, Wattenburg spent most of his time answering questions on subjects ranging from how to get a Caterpillar tractor unstuck from the mud to the theory of relativity. He is the rare college professor that feels as much at home with heavy equipment as heavy books. He did not suffer fools — even though he often said there is no such thing as a stupid question, he would as much as call a person stupid for asking one — except he was quite patient with kids, many of whom called in with a wide variety of questions.
So anyway, maybe I’ll have to invest in satellite radio or just go back to listening to oldies music, but they seem to be dumping a lot of that too. We baby boomers are being edged out of the market.
I have listened to a little bit of Peter Finch doing what they call an evening newscast on KGO and well, like I say, more than five minutes of straight news on commercial radio is just too much, and besides, I’ve already heard the news — I want talk man. I saw a TV interview with Finch. An odd, but seemingly pleasant fellow, I thought.
Karel, the raving homosexual, is still on. He has quite a following that includes the straight community. As my mom always says: “they’re always so talented”.
I might have to get that satellite just so I can get NPR everywhere, except most of those stations play classical music much of the time (even classical music might be okay if I had a better speaker system in my truck).
And maybe I was listening to too much KGO anyway. I should be listening to foreign language tapes.