Cumulus has fired talk staff San Francisco KGO veterans Gene Burns, Gil Gross, Ray Taliaferro and John Rothmann, Dr. Bill Wattenburg, Joanie Greggains, today with no notice.
The station will retain bland, local morning guy, Ronn Owens, but scrap the rest for an all-news format. It's longtime slug "Newstalk 810" (see above) will be replaced with "KGO-810 - the Bay Area news and information station."
These guys are as much of the Bay Area as the Golden Gate. And now KGO has been KOMO-ed- yet another faceless all-news format added to the SF market.
More filling, less flavor.
Another major hit for the talk radio: who's next- LA's KFI?
Did we all expect it in our hearts of hearts? Probably. Again talk radio demographics are aging out, and of course it's about entertainment and the ad-inducing ratings that can be eked from it. But instead of trying to build a new talk audience (a la KIRO) Atlanta-based Cumulus, the country's 2nd largest media company, (known as cheap-ass) chose to shred it, invest nothing and replace the format with something cheaper sans the tasty, loyalty-inducing, albeit expensive, personalities.
Ah, the free markets!
This from SFgate.com:
The switches come amid major turbulence in the Bay Area media market. KGO's one-time dominance in the a.m. Arbitron ratings has taken a big dive in recent years as increasing numbers of listeners have switched to satellite and Internet radio. Just two months ago, Citadel Broadcasting sold both KGO (810 AM) and its sister station, KSFO (560 AM), to rival Cumulus Media, which already owned four other stations in the market, including all-sports KNBR (680 AM).
Radio Info's Tom Taylor asks: "So do these cuts amount to cost-savings, as part of Cumulus’ mission to wring out $50 million in costs? Or is this building a better station?"
We gotta to go with the former: It's about corporate disregard for long-term community traditions blah, blah, and the reactive pursuit of short-term ratings (eg: profits, revenues). (Say what you will (and we do) about public radio, but the absence of those jack rabbit commercial concerns from greedy Wall Street investors has given its business plan better legs to stand on during in the recession).
For those of us who first heard talk radio with a transistor in our pillow in the Pacific Northwest late-night ether, KGO was responsible for the beginnings of life-long obsessions with the format. Wikipedia:
Due to the nature of its signal and antenna placement, KGO broadcasts on a north-to-south axis, keeping itself free from interference originating from WGY during the night-time and overnight hours when the station broadcasts at 50,000 watts. KGO's signal is received essentially free of static at night in locations such as Vancouver, Seattle and San Diego, but is difficult to receive in Reno and other points east of the Sierra Nevada mountains due to its signal directionality. That said their overall reach is greater than any FM signal in the Bay Area (according to radio-locator map referenced below).
Cumulus doesn't care about us distant latenight listeners- we're not included in their ratings, but we've sustained a mighty loss as well. It'll be barely live, mostly canned, Bay Area local news beamed up to us from the great Bay Area.
We're sad today.