Tuesday, December 6, 2011


The Thursday night massacre, which occurred at KGO, was not about ratings or people meters or a company bleeding money. What happened at KGO is the logical conclusion to a process started in 1996 when Bill Clinton signed the Telecommunications Act of 1996. De-regulating radio opened the door to companies like Clear Channel and Cumulus to own hundreds of radio stations and to dominate local markets. The Bay Area survived as long as it did because of the strength of KGO and the commitment of General Manger Mickey Luckoff to strong local programming (and because Mickey bought KSFO to give regressive talk a place to go). Over 50,000 jobs have been lost in this industry, not because local radio wasn't profitable, but being able to control hundreds of stations and put syndicated product on enabled these corporations to sell the overall listening tonnage which was even more profitable. As he did with NAFTA and GATT, Clinton gave no consideration to the local community...no consideration to the public good...no consideration to diversity of opinion and no consideration to the public airwaves and the obligation of radio stations to give back to the community.

This move by Cumulus was not about ratings. I heard Karel, and have been told Ronn Owens said the same thing, saying this is about declining ratings and a company bleeding money. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Karel pointed out the key demographic which stations are interested in is people between the ages of 25-54. He says he is getting good ratings in this demographic and has a lot of female listeners, which is also desirable to station management. If Cumulus' move was due to ratings, why not move Karel into an everyday slot? The precedent for such a move is well established at KGO. For KGO, weekends and late nights were places to grow new talent. It was intended to produce a bench to draw from in the future. Ronn Owens was on 10p-1a for years and then moved to days when Owen Spann left. Michael Krasny was replaced by me. (who started doing Godtalk on the weekends) I was replaced at 7p-10p by Gene Burns, who came to KGO to substitute for Ronn when he was out on strike. Ronn's contract dispute also led to the development of Dwayne Garrett who eventually moved to the 7p-10p slot replacing Lee Rodgers. Jim Eason was replaced by Gene Burns; and when that didn't work out, they brought in Pete Wilson. Shawn Nix was the first full time woman on KGO from 10p-1a and she came from weekends as well. If Cumulus wanted to boost ratings, they could have moved Karel and Pat Thurston and Christine Craft into weekday slots. Why didn't they do this? It's because this was never about ratings.

A company like Cumulus, which owns KNBR, KSFO, KGO and a number of FM stations in the Bay Area, doesn't sell ad time based on individual program or station ratings. They sell tonnage. They tell a local business if you advertise with them, your message will be heard across the entire swath of their stations and reach a huge audience. They will sell the raw numbers not ratings. This is the model which has been adopted ever since Clinton sold out local communities across the country. Since Hanbaugh et. al. came on the scene, they never had better ratings than any show on KGO. Local programming trumped syndicated every time. We were #1 for 29 years, the last 15 facing syndication constantly. The irony here is Hanbaugh, Beck, the Winer and others succeeded not because they got better ratings and beat the competition, but rather it was because their competition was eliminated in every market in the nation. If regressive radio had to compete against local talent in every market, it would lose 9 times out of ten.

This move by Cumulus isn't about a company or station bleeding money. Cumulus was able to buy KGO because Citadel Communications went bankrupt. They went bankrupt because they took on too much debt as the depression hit and ad revenues, and station values, plummeted (the whole ABC/Citadel sale was a tax scam to begin with). Citadel didn't want to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in capital gains taxes for the appreciated value of ABC's holdings and ABC had to come up with a way to mitigate that or there wouldn't be a sale. ABC sold 49% of the radio network to Citadel so it could take over but avoid the taxes. You have to love corporate America's patriotism) KGO was still making money, but Cumulus had a problem. It could make more money by getting out of local talk, but face a firestorm of criticism. They decided on a two-step process to achieve their goals. First, fire all the full-time hosts (they would have fired Owens too except for the fact he was smart enough to have a contract which didn't allow it...I bow to his negotiating skills) and pretend to change to an all-news format. Keep some talk on the weekends where niche shows do well. In about a year or less, they will contend they are still losing money and cancel the all-news format and move to syndicated programming. By this time, the passionate listeners who could cause them licensing problems will have moved on. They will abandon any pretense about the local community and bring in shows with no local concerns whatsoever. Cumulus' Thursday night massacre was a bloodletting disguised by a format change in order to get where they really want to go.

If you want proof of my theory, watch and listen. News will be constant from 9am-midnight. Up until now, the news blocks were 5a-9a and 4p-7p. With an increase in news coverage one would suspect KGO would hire a number of new reporters and anchors. They will re-open a bureau at San Francisco City Hall and the Hall of Justice (this was my beat for many years). They will have a Sacramento bureau staffed full-time (this was done by Pat Davis for years) They will have and East Bay bureau (formerly staffed by Greg Edmonds) and an expanded South Bay bureau. (once dominated by Gene Rusco) If they are serious about going all-news, they will spend money, sending reporters to breaking news stories all over the world and nation. (Greg Jarett went to Iraq. I went to Kosovo and Macedonia. We won national awards for our coverage of the L.A. riots and the East Bay Hills fire) The test of the sincerity of the new owner's intentions will become obvious as they spend money on investigative journalism. (Susan Kennedy won a Peabody for her series on Muni and she and I won the Scripps Howard national investigative journalism award for our series on the Catholic Church in the Bay Area.) The reality is almost none of this will be done. They might hire a new anchor, but more reporters, new bureaus, investigative stories and national coverage will never happen. Instead the news product will lighter and fluffier and will involve ripping and reading more than anything else. (This is no knock on the KGO news. It is still a great department with wonderful people who are very talented. However, they will get no help expanding the product and will be hamstrung by lack of resources) This wasn't about ratings or people meters or loss of money. This is about a corporate model which takes advantage of the public airwaves (owned by you) to make a huge profit while ignoring any commitment to the local community. (It’s no accident the new owners dropped the Leukemia Cureathon and tried to get their hands on the money from the Thanksgiving Charity Drive)

The Bay Area is the 4th largest media market in the nation. It will soon be without any place to talk about the issues of the day. (to quote Gene Burns) This was the last market to have local programming. You can't go to New York, Chicago, L.A. or most large cities and find local Monday through Friday local talk, and if you can it is regressive only. This is not an accident. Hanbaugh et. al. aren't great at what they do. They have no competition. Progressive thought has no access. Imagine if, instead of a Fairness Doctrine, every radio license demanded a percentage of programming be locally originated. Hundreds of talk shows would pop up across the nation. They would span the entire political spectrum. Where the hosts were good, they would always beat syndicated product. A diversity of ideas and viewpoints would proliferate. Women and minorities would increase their presence. It would be a tonic for a nation bogged down by a media which starts every debate somewhere near the middle and then regresses.

What happened at KGO is exactly what the Occupy Wall Street movement was trying to highlight. What happened at KGO was designed to benefit the 1% at the expense of the 99%. You watch. There will be syndicated programming overnight. (Red Eye Radio...really? Have you listened to it? It is regressive pabulum at its worst) Oh, you will hear some say the new all-news format will still take calls when there is an earthquake etc, but you and I know the truth. They will take calls on soft, inane topics. (How 'bout them Kardashians?) They will have phone opinion polls on whether Christmas decorations go up too soon? They will conduct interviews and in the end, the Bay Area will be ill served.

There are those who say what happened to KGO was inevitable. It wasn't. They will say it was the natural course of events. It isn't. What they won't say, at least no one who still has a job, is this is corporate greed crushing the needs of the local community. (Oh and KCBS must be laughing and breaking out the champagne)

So what do you do? Seek out local content. Peter B. Collins has daily podcasts and you can listen. Much of this is going to have to done on the Internet and other devices. That is the wave of the future and you can create a local marketplace for content if you are willing to subscribe. I know for me, it will be possibly the only avenue available and I intend to pursue it vigorously even as I fantasize about pulling funding together for another station, staff it with great local talk and kick ass.

What happened at KGO was corporate rape disguised as a change in format, and it was done to maximize corporate revenues for companies who already don't pay their fair share of revenue to support the inner workings of this nation. I have told you deregulation is always designed to hurt the consumer and fill corporate coffers. What happened at KGO is just further proof of the accuracy of this observation.

P.S. Please pass this on to any KGO listeners you know so they too can understand what has really happened.


  1. Thank you LotL for your informative article. I will miss Ray et al as I have missed you. I'm so glad to have found you again and I will check in with you to further my progressive education.

  2. and bernie...you called this long ago...too bad that nobody but me and your audience was listening.

    pretty much shoots down the myth that the rich create jobs...they kill jobs...in order to increase their bottom line.

    btw, not even red eye radio is going untouched. looks like both mcintyre and germaine will be out starting in jan....and fyi, when doug had the show as a local show it was about local issues, and unlike the other screamers on kabc, he is a conservative one can converse with...

  3. another outstanding post Bernie... Your thoughts are so accurate!!!!!!! I hope Karel, Pat and Christine Craft read your blog. We miss you hearing your voice Bernie. Thanks for posting your opinion

  4. Can you post something about how passionate listeners can cause a problem with their license? There is enough anger. Its a matter of setting expectation as to when we can hassel them.

  5. You really must see https://www.facebook.com/FormerKGOListeners

  6. Thank you for posting this I will pass it on!

  7. Great blog! I tuned in only a couple of times over the weekend to get a sense of the new content. When I heard some guy use the phrase "fair & balanced"....I could feel my skin crawl. I'd been an AVID listener since the early 80's.....possibly longer. I spent 23 + years on a 10-12 hr swing/graveyard shift ( SPECIFICALLY so that I could listen from 7:00 pm on thru to the end of Ray's show...) at a 3M plant in Petaluma...until they closed it all down back in 2009. I've since moved to Nevada, and followed KGO online. A touch of HOME.

  8. I can't believe that I am reading your words, and can hear you in my head. Have missed you and glad to "see" you here. Will make sure to pass along your article as far and wide as I can. Now to go and catch up and read your previous blogs.

  9. Thank you so much for this piece. What are your views about how this relates to the upcoming elections?

  10. I cannot forgive what you did to those children, no matter how intelligent and thoughtful and rightminded you are. It is as if you are two people, and of course, the pedophile is always hidden.

    My thoughts about the bloodbath at KGO on Thursday night echo yours and you understand a whole hell of a lot more about radio than I do, but I know and many others do too, that this is about a corporate takeover, which came of deregulation, and that we in the Bay Area have lost our voice now, except for KQED (to which I will devote more money). But KQED isn't the same thing. I am in mourning.

    I hate that you are so right on and so damned wrong. I don't support you and what you did and I am writing now because I am so damned hurt about what happened at KGO that I needed a place to vent...so now I get to vent twice. Because I am so damned mad at you.

  11. Well Bernie, I'm still pissed at you, but you really nailed this. To bad you can't reach a larger audience right now to spread this "gospel". Good job.

  12. PLEASE elaborate about how the Cumulus management tried to get their grubby hands on the Thanksgiving Charity Drive money. That is really shocking!

  13. Wow!
    I can't believe what happened @ KGO this past Thursday, i decided to try and listen to news talk on my new smart phone. Go to my favorite station KGO news talk810 to get their app, what i got made my eye's pop out of my head. News talk @ KGO is no longer on the air and, my man Ray has been fired...What the heck am i going to do, in the wee hours of the night now?

    Who is the lone survivor? Ron Owens go figure! Why do i have a strange feeling that he, had something to do with, job's being lost @ KGO.

    Darn you Ron, darn you KGO Management!

  14. I to miss you and well said . A 30 year listener of kgo . seems that was forgoten . sad .

  15. You hit it on the head, Bernie. Now, do you think Mickey will assemble the refugees and take them to another station?

  16. I miss you Bernie. I checked in the other day on your blog to see if you'd posted anything about the corporate rape of KGO. I am happy to see you wrote this piece. Excellent. I always wondered how KGO stayed so local, and kept such great talent. I am sad. Sad to not have any local radio to listen to. i always listen on my way to sleep. Last night I listened to Catholic Radio . . . Better than nothing. . . Be well, my friend. God Bless and Keep you.

  17. http://ericfromspringfield.com/node/32

    evidence to back up bernie....this is cumulus' biz model

  18. we miss you very much.....hope you are well.

  19. God Bless You, Bernie Ward.

    It is inspiring that you have not lost and can still express your ferocity and insight after a number of years, many struggles, and much adversity.

    So glad to see your intellect and your spirit shining through.

    Godspeed to 12-21-2014, Bernie. Would that you could get 1/2 the consideration that Scooter Libby, Dick Nixon, Marc Rich, and all those Reagan Iran-Contra officials got.

  20. Dear Bernie, I have missed you so! And now I have to miss KGO too. :-( I am glad to find you again. I had no idea you were writing a blog. I'm a big fan from way back, God Talk and your Lion of the Left show, probably been listening to you since 1990. Thank you for your thoughts, opinions and insights on the KGO debacle. The community is devastated. What you say here I think is the absolute truth about this slimy company that bought the station and all that led up to it. I'm very sad about the whole thing. People say Obama is a Manchurian candidate. I think Bill Clinton was too. Well, it's late and I'm tired, but I'm so happy to have found your blog and I'll be reading. As I read this one and a few others, I can hear your voice and that's just fantastic. Pretty awful that our president Obama doesn't express condolences to the families of suicided soldiers! Another reason not to like him. A record number of soldiers are committing suicide now. Wonder why that is? I'd like to say ditto to the post just above mine posted at 11:54 p.m. Goodnite

  21. Hey Bernie, only 3 democrats voted against 1996 telecommunications act in the senate, you cant blame Clinton's without implicating the rest of the democrats.


  22. Thank you, the more I listen, the more I learn.
    Holy D church member #536 I miss you.

  23. Pedofile of the Left:

    You disgust me. Yet your comments are spot on.

  24. This post confirmed what my husband & I suspected. We're saddened & shocked by this turn of events. And we're looking for all those hosts who were let go -- we'll subscribe to their podcasts. Len Tillem is already discussing that.

    We've written to Cumulus & KGO to state our opinions; we've emailed some sponsors to inform them that we won't support them as long as they continue to advertise on KGO. While I feel bad for seemingly abandoning the staff who are left at KGO, I respect their talent & decision to stay. What they're currently enduring cannot be easy.

    I envision KGO's ratings withering to the point that it will be put up for sale cheap, and a group of progressive-minded folks will buy it and restore it to its former glory.

  25. Thanks for your insight Bernie! I remember listening to you back when you had that radio show at KFBF Sacramento, and then you left for KGO. I also would love to hear about these shysters trying to get their hands on the Thanksgiving Charity money.

  26. Please reformat this into paragraphs, so it's more readable!!

  27. I remember when you were on the air you used to say over and over that you were not sure how long a station with the content and talent of KOG would be "allowed to survive". At one point it seemed every night you would mention on the air that despite the huge ratings, KGO would not be allowed to continue in its present form. It was the first thing I thought of after I learned of the massacre.

    As you mentioned, this is not just happening in the Bay Area, for I remember that KABC (Los Angeles) radio had progressive local hosts who were #1 in their time slots and were fired for syndicated national crap instead. What happened to KGO is another clue to why our democracy is sick and not functioning for the majority.

  28. Very good points.

    Yet, I must ask, has he ever apologized and expressed remorse for his crime? I don't believe he has.

  29. and so the dumbing of America continues. a tip of the hat in farewell to the idea that a educated populace is critical to democracy. in closing, listening to God talk on cold Iowa mornings is a past memory of a better time before this great nation was taken to the auction

  30. Thank you Bernie ... a voice of truth.

  31. Bernie,
    I couldn't agree with you more. I listened to "Red-Eye" on the way home,and it was absolute garbage.
    My first instinct was yours: that this was due to deregulation, and was never about ratings. I'm spreading the word to the many KGO listeners I know.
    You've acknowledged guilt for your situation (and are brave to do so), but honestly, I've always found the conditions under which you were fired suspicious...someone who did what you did, but wasn't a brutal critic of the Bush regime or the Catholic Church (among others) might still be among the free.
    Best to you and your family.

  32. To all you ASSHOLES who are calling bernie a pedophile,go get a life,he did NOTHING,but research,and got railroaded for it,while others that did the exact same thing went free,so worry more about the 1% that do not pay their taxes or use loopholes to skirt them than taking the time to find this blog just to rag on bernie.


  33. Bernie, this is a perfect summary of what happened at KGO. If we don't stand up to stop this NPR will be next.

  34. Geez man, I didn't even know you had a blog until someone pointed out it out on DU yesterday.

    Good to hear from you again.. I'll be checking in regularly.

  35. Back in the 90s, Bernie Ward was the only one I heard talking about the way Clinton had given more benefits to corporations than any previous president. His actions led to the fall of the housing market, the bank debacle, and to Disney owning every dang thing. I just went through losing my favorite soap opera, now this! Thanks for the explanation.

  36. Hi Bernie: I miss you & will pray for you. You championed the celebration of free air waves - while it lasted. Help us out here with that creative brain of yours in fighting for our our Freedom of Speech. "Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the journalists, and I ......."

  37. Thank you, Bernie, your analysis is spot on. As other comments have noted above, these are very very difficult times for all of us. We are fighting to survive economically while at the same time our elected and corporate leaders seek to turn worker against worker to further the goals of the 1%. Conservative radio does nothing to build community or national pride; it is hateful, divisive and can only destroy us as a democracy.

    Please keep posting to this blog. Your insights are important to so many of us.

  38. THANK YOU BERNIE! It is such a tragedy in so many ways. I am another activist on "Former Listeners of KGO" and am hoping we can DO something to get the FCC to help but I'm not too optimistic. This is frightening to me. I am sharing your blog with others... Thanks again

  39. Thank God Bernie! I was waiting for you to comment. I have an idea: how about the affected folks start an Internet radio station and continue the program (as time permits). Bernie could join them. They could continue the talk, similiar to what Karel has on Karel Channel.

    Owens is such a zero. How funny that a guy who constantly preaches the "free market" has a contract that prevents the "free market" from affecting him. Given the level of protection that Owens receives from the contract, Owens must truly love the socialist system.

    Keep it up Bernie. Your blog is the first site I look at in the morning!


  40. I'd like to know more about the change from the Arbitron rating system because it seems to me after it went to PPM is when KGO dropped drastically. Is this kind of the how the voting machines got tampered with? Could it be that it was the PPMs and NOT KGO that was bad??

  41. I've been saying it for years. The productive forces become evermore socialized while appropriation remains private. The concentration of wealth into fewer and fewer hands highlights the need for the people, the 99%, to cease the dictatorship of the 1% over ourselves by making a revolution to emancipate humanity, and establish the dictatorship of the 99% over the 1%. Socialism, that is to say. More on this at REVCOM.US

  42. Why would anyone miss KGO? The stuff on this and other blogs is a lot better than anything I've heard on KGO in a long time. And I get to not only "listen" at the time of "my" choosing, I don't have to get through the call screeners or sit through long winded commercials for windows I don't need or can't afford or rug cleaning that will only be dirty again tomorrow anyway.

    KGO can do any silly thing they like as long as the rest of have the same access to global media, which at least for the time being, we do.

  43. Bernie: You are correct in your assessment. Now, instead of entertainment from long drives from Willits to SF. Wow, what a loss.

  44. Thanks Bernie for your explanation. It all makes sense. Though I didn't always agree with you,and that is what talk radio is about, I always loved God Talk. Take care, continue to stay healthy and keep on blogging.

  45. Great comments Bernie, you really said it all! Cumulus has a long road to travel paying down their mountain of debt and it's not going to be easy. I expect these and more of their stations will be sold again. When do all the station swaps begin? Clear Channel, Cumulus, Entercom, Family Radio, Fisher, Cox, Entravision, CBS? You get the idea...Mark

  46. Very interesting, and confirms what most of us on Facebook are thinking. Thank you for your input. I hope to check back later on, now that I know you have a blog.
    Best wishes, Linda Ward (no relation)

  47. Und nun Herr Hauptmann. Was koennen wir TUN? In English we are esking wat ze fock kann we DO?
    Himmel, Herr, Gott, Sacrament da lechs mich!!!!!

  48. Hey! I checked out that anonymous person's asking for a look at REVCOM.US.
    I couldn't get out of it for two hours, it is so great!

  49. Bernie, you are right. Clinton started it with the 1996 Communications Act. I wrote Cumulus and told them what I thought about their gutting KGO. Don't expect a response. I live only a few miles from where you are. As you know, only regressive radio in our area. I am forced to do most of my listening on the internet. Thank God for the BBC.

  50. Well put Bernie .... it indeed is a sad day for local programming and a progressive voice. I often wonder how a clear channel station is allowed to pump out non-local syndicated programming, particularly from such populated markets. Maybe internet radio will come into its own. I was listening to KGO from the first stages of streaming some years ago. Maybe that's what will save local talk. I hope.

  51. To truthsayer 1,
    Do you even know what he (the Lion) actually did? I've tried to follow this as closely as anyone, and to the best of my knowledge not one child was touched let alone molested! The conviction had to do with exchanging fotos of children over the internet, something not to be be condoned to be sure. But let's get the facts straight,

  52. Spot on there, Bernie. I also heard that Green960 will be off the air in January to be replaced by more right-wing radio. Incredible. What's a liberal gonna do now?

    I miss you so much these last few years. You were wronged on your sentence. 3 years should of been more than enough. Can't wait till you get out.

  53. "Truthsayer" - You don't know the truth, actually. Line up your facts properly or change your handle. Quit the martyred stance. If you don't like Bernie then don't read his blog.

  54. Dear Bernie,

    Thank you so much for writing what has to be the best explanation of the demise of KGO that I've read anywhere else to date. Your startling insight combined with first hand knowledge really set off quite a few light bulbs in my head reading it - it was, oh wow ... wow ... I didn't know you had a blog, but now that I do, I'll probably check on it more often to see if you've written anything new on this subject. We at the "Former KGO Listeners" clan really appreciate the clarity and insight you have offered. The whole Bay Area is reeling - or is it just me? I don't think it's just me. There were too many listeners out there to not be affected. And gosh, I've had KGO in my life for probably 50+ years by now (since I'm a Baby Boomer). Grew up on KGO, in all its incarnations. But I've never remembered anything like this before. I used to listen to your show on the way home from work when I worked swing shift, usually between 10 and 11 - 11:30 at night. Have many memories of hearing you as I climbed out of the Silicon Valley and up Hwy 17 into the Santa Cruz Mountains. I never called your show, but listened most nights driving home, as I bet thousands of other anonymous folks did, the thousands of us that listened but rarely if ever called in, the ones these new owners think don't exist - but most likely do, in fact. KGO was part of our mass cultural heritage, as much a part of our cultural Bay Area experience as The Grateful Dead was in its San Francisco heyday; as much as the Haight Ashbury was in the day, as much as Bill Graham was. Whether or not one was involved with that "culture", we were all influenced and affected by the environment it created, even for years and decades later, and KGO was a staple as surely as that, a constant thread running through everyone's life in one form or another for those that lived in this area. It was the station to tune in to during the Loma Prieta Earthquake when everyone was terrified and had no electricity. It was there during 911. (In fact, I would never be certain whether or not I had just felt an earthquake until I tuned in KGO to verify it a few minutes later, and to find out what the Richter scale reading was. KGO was good at announcing them shortly after they happened.)

    So we're all grieving. And it's just such lousy timing - the middle of a bad recession, nearing an election when we feel we might make a difference, just before the holidays, trying to cheer up from so much all around hardship, and then they take one of our only few, and free, comforts away. KGO provided a lot of stress relief for a lot of people, for those listening and for those talking. It allowed us to gauge what other people were thinking and feeling about things. They took that away.

    But you already know all that.

    Be Well, and thank you again for a brilliant piece of writing.

  55. Bernie,

    You almost have an obligation now to let this blog morph onto the airwaves once you get out. A few posters, above, have noted this already. We're all hunkered down in horror @ the new KGO. You must rise up like a phoenix when the time is right and take them all on - the daily issues, the politicians and yes, your critics. The 99% need you. It's a must.

  56. long-time canadian listener saddened. now there's just 1090am out of seattle

  57. Hey Bernie! I used to listen to your show and I even called a few times. I agree that this is pure profiteering by Cumulus. I also agree that the way to put live and local talk shows on will probably be the Internet and possibly satellite radio. Right now there is a free way to get a show online using Shoutcast. It can support thousands of listeners for a show. But the real leap will come when hundreds of thousands of listeners are supported. Some stations are doing this right now but it's mainly for syndicated shows, not local. This is where KGO's former hosts could shine. They have a huge following and could probably bring a lot of listeners to an Internet station. They would never need to register call letters. They could use something like Kay-Geo for the name. Bill Wattenburg did an Interview on KSCO Saturday and said he was already approached by two companies looking to start an Internet talk based station.

    Only problem is, anyone wanting to go the web route will probably not get paid much. It would be a labor of love until it can produce advertising or perhaps get a subscriber base.

  58. Hey, I just found this on the Former Listeners of KGO
    There's an occupy KGO rally on the 15th at 11:30 which happens to be the day Ron is back from vacation. I heard people weren't too impressed with what he had to say about the firings.
    Anyway, I might just have to get sick and have to go hone early that day from work!

  59. Great analysis Bernie. I had enjoyed downloading Len Tillem's program now that I live far outside California. I was shocked to learn today that KGO was virtually dismantled. I had listened to the station since being a young kid. You will soon be out and I can't wait to hear whatever format you resume. Our prayers are with you 24/7 my friend.

  60. Bernie,
    You and several others here - the post Stargazer wrote at 9:20 tonight - are saying exactly what I'm feeling about this. My world really just got alot darker and emptier. I felt this way when you left KGO too. I just don't express it as well as Stargazer did..
    Please, let's figure out a way around this - our own radio station somehow. I miss you, I miss Gene, John and I miss hearing the regulars that always called in.
    Rita in Oakland

  61. Thanks for this. I will come back and read more. I moved to SF in1984. I used to listen now and again before that at night fromPortland. I find this situation deplorable. I can't believe the ratings will be any good. I had the same thought about KCBS. They must be happy. With iPhone was listening to Rothmann on his last show. I knew something was wrong. Cumulus will hear from me. Post more stuff please. I am of the mind that you were set up somehow. Something just never seemed right. I miss hearing you at night. Like right now.

  62. even though i never agree with your politics, i think your analysis is insightful and credible. much better than Ronn and Karel were able to say due to their Cumulus employee status.
    i am a Rush Limbaugh conservative however, i also love John Rothmann, Gil Gross and Ronn. i especially love the "local" nature of KGO even though i haven't lived in SF since '00. i think your assessment is dead on. KGO is just another station on the dial. very sad.

  63. I had KGO on my iPhone App and listened every night since I live in OR. For a couple of nights I was getting weird news and a strange man..I think Peter Finch, begging us to give him a chance. F*&k that.. I then googled KGO to see if there was a change and was absolutely blown away. I have been a fan, a constant listener and an occasional email and caller (I was one of the last to be awarded the Wholy Donut membership)..But more then my personal withdrawal is the real concern of how money and corporations are taking over EVERYTHING..giving little or no voice to all voices.. not just the ones that brainwash those not willing to stretch in their thinking.

    Although I was not a fan of Dr. Bill, I did listen to him on occasion to hear what he had to say and understand a different point-of-view, something I am pretty sure we will no longer be getting from KGO.. I miss John, I miss Bernie, and I will miss all of you that would call in to state your point of view.

    My App has been deleted!

  64. here on Maui, KAOI has a good morning hour. Today the Mayor Arakawa is fielding calls, and the community is calling with questions. They however generally have bad programming. After this one hour, it goes into delayed syndication. Starting with Rush, then into the night with Coast to Coast. Only 1 hour of local?
    Not GOOD! At least KGO has more.. But it needs it all talk! Come back to yer senses Cumulus!

  65. The occupy KGO protest set for the 15th at 11:30 AM should provide interesting. It happens to take place right during Ronn Owens first day back on the air after a very convenient vacation time.

    Now KGO being a total news station will be obilgated to cover it, right?

  66. Mr. Ward,
    About 10 years ago I was traveling home from Oregon along I-5 listening as you spent a show discussing KGO's amazing run.
    (I didn't realize Rusco and Edmonds were gone - those guys are champs.)
    That show made a fitting eulogy to the station we once knew - I wish there was a way for others to hear it. A sense of community in the often frazzled, chaotic Bay Area has been lost.
    The station hasn't been the same without you.

  67. Amazing and insightful post! Thank you for reminding us all about the motives behind deregulation (not that we didn't know).. but I totally forgot that this had affected the radio airwaves too. Wow.

  68. Excellent article, Bernie!! I too have had enough "it's a business decision, it is not making money, wrong demographic, blah, blah, blah" to last me a lifetime when I knew from the beginning that Cumulus had its self-serving interests at stake. This is one of the saddest events in my Bay Area history -- and I have been a listener and a resident of the Bay Area since 1970.
    Miss you, and now all of the other hosts. Keep up the good work! I sent your article and directed 7 friends (and fellow listeners) to your site.

  69. Have you heard from anyone what happened to the Thanksgiving Charity money they were still collecting in to December? They can't take that can they?

  70. Dear Bernie,

    Thank you so much for explaining everything in your outstanding article. I understand things much better now.

    Miss you so, so much.

    Please know how much you are missed, and how much support is out here for you.

    When you do get out, I hope you will let us all know where you land, so we can start listening to you again.

  71. KGO had a few interesting programs, but was dominated by garbage like Ron Owens, Gene Burns, Dr. Bill etc. After reading this blog post, what happened at KGO sounds more like a coup than a sound business decision. What kind of country are we living in?

    Bernie, your incites are always so interesting, savy, and precient. That coupled with your passion makes you one of the preeminent progressive talkers. I have no doubt you could be sucessful with a subscription podcasting service and I look forward to subscribing when you are ready.

  72. Bernie makes a lot of good points here, but I do disagree with a few:

    1) Move Karel, Pat Thurston, and Christine Craft to weekdays to increase ratings? Oh please. Christine was old leftie angry toast, Karel could be humorous or inane, and Thurston never showed me the full chops needed.

    2) Dwayne Garrett worked the 10-1AM slot; Bernie inherited it when Garrett committed suicide.

    3) Try as you want to bash syndicated shows from the right, Hannity, Beck, the evil genius (Savage) and Rush have far more talent than you displayed. Your national show failed. Bernie, you were a more level headed liberal in your earlier days, but you sadly digressed.

    I too believe and hope that Dr. Bill, Gene Burns, and either Rothman and / or Gross can re-emerge at another station.

    Does Luckoff have another fight in him? Add Dr. Dean, part time, into the mix?

  73. Thanks Bernie -

    I live in Seattle and have listened to KGO for many years (after sunset, when the reception improved). Our local radio market went through exactly what you descibed, and now the only local talk is center-right, and very lame.

    The demise of KGO is depressing and frustrating as hell. So much has been lost, and these corporate a##holes couldn't care less. It's a downward spiral, because without local media, there's nothing connecting people in a community - except the shopping malls and big box stores.

    Keep telling it like it is.

  74. I would love to hear what could be done beyond the Dec 15th Occupy at KGO radio...

    1) Can we petition the FCC per the license?

    2) Could we have a wave of bogus callers call KGO the coming weeks...???

  75. Dr. Bill, PhD in physics, Apollo engineer, partied with Clint Eastwood in his younger days, fought forest fires in his 60s, and nibbly answered questions from nuclear physics to love ... an all-time radio classic, and probably the smartest man ever on radio.

  76. Anyone (inlcuding Bernie): what is Ray Taliaferro's current status at KGO? I always liked his program, though I didn't always agree with him.

    Bernie: after you get out of the clinker, please do an indie radio show or something.

  77. http://tinyurl.com/c67nmxa

    everyone must read the above...written in 2006...study proving that the deregulation of radio has hurt communities across the usa

  78. This hurts...I've been listening to John, Gene, and even Ray for the last 5 years, and KGO in general for about 15 years

  79. The deregulation of radio and media is designed to keep Americans stupid. It's working

    NPR will be next

  80. I have listened to KGO since Ira Blue. Bernie great column on demise of KGO.

  81. Thanks for enlightening Bernie. I wish you were back on radio saying these words. I will have to write to my congress woman about this whole issue.

  82. BooHoo...Nobody but a few left wackos really care. You are crying because someone took your toy away and you can't play anymore. Where was your outrage when Michael Savage was forced from the radio on 910? Oh wait, that was you that forced him off the air.

    I listened to your crap for years. Not because I enjoyed it, you and Ray T. I found highly annoying in your delivery. Ray T made my head want to explode. This was good for late night studies when I was out of caffine and needed to stay awake.

    The fact is left leaning radio both national syndicated and local has been in decline for years. It lasted as long as it has in the Bay Area simply because of our high amounts of left leaning population. As typical leftists though you will cry about the big bad conservative business man. That's the way it goes, suck it up...Life is hard and maybe not even fair sometimes.

    From the sounds of it BW, you were so far gone even prison hasn't given you an old school education on life. Your Blog's tone convinces me of that.

    Ron Owens survives because he was the most central thinker of the bunch. But it's funny how quickly you Libs turn on your own. Suddelnly Owens is the bad guy?!?! HA.

    Go ahead and write to good Ol' Nancy P. You think she cares about any of you, or this cause? Please. She is too busy staring at her online account deciding when to buy and sell. Why doesn't any of THAT piss off you lefties?

    At the end of the day, besides Dr. Bill, no one else from the collection of these bozos will be missed, except by the few that won't have sound fill their empty lives.

    As of this writing 2240 people have liked your facebook page. I've seen kids lemonade stands with greater followings. It's unfortunate for you that in 1 week, only a couple thousand people cared enough to even click a little thumbs up on their computer screen.

    My advice, come to the center. Trully open your minds and see that there's good arguments on both sides. Understand how real freedoms and rights are being eroded. Seriously, jump in...the water is great, we won't bite, even if you are Gay, of black, or illegal. Try it, you might like it.

    BW, hopefully you have spent some time working on some physical fitness in prison..cause no offense you were getting a little hefty...and we care about you man...even way over here a million miles away from you in the center. We know you can change and become a better person, both inside and out.

    Be well.

    PS I use michaelsavage.com in my headline simply for comic reasons. I am totally unrelated to the man or his business.

  83. SP is the typical conservative sociopath who a) doesnt get it about what is really going on, The elimination of differing opinion on talk radio.

    He then tops it off with a fat joke. Why? because he really has nothing to add to this conversation. No argument, nothing. Oh well. It's a symptom of the collective intellectual decline in the US, and why we will be owned by China by the end of the century

  84. TeleCommunications Act of 1996
    Election 2000
    Election 2004
    KGO bloodbath of 2011
    Gingrich elected in 2012
    Help! Help! Help!

  85. Here we have an example of the effort of the right wing/conservative/republican propaganda machine destroying any and all differing opinion on talk radio, and we have morons like SP not only in agreement with it, but encouraging it too.

    Satellite and internet radio is the future for content driven material and talk radio.

  86. Bernie failed to mention that the way they tabulated radio ratings changed, and this hurt KGO ratings.

    I also find it amusing how Bernie calls the folks on the right names, and how he has a woody for Sean Hannity.

    But I'd really like his friend on the outside - one of his children? his wife? - to ask him this question. What should Obama do about a $1.5 TRILLION dollar a year deficit? And please, get beyond the "tax the rich", which would only add about $150 Billion per year under Obama's tax plans. So how would he come up with the additional $1.35 Trillion per year, to balance the budget? Fact is, we need to modify Social Security. Medicaid, Medical and the Military. Those are the lion's share of the budget.

  87. To the guy above, Taxing the uber rich, making them and corporations pay their fair share, will in fact help pay off the debt.

    Middle class people like the person above defending the rich and corporations so they can continue to screw them are the very definition of stupid.

  88. Why must you read my comment on Bernie's weight through those lenses? My comment was not a joke not was it sarcastic. Contrary to how the wacky left seems to always project, I do not hate anyone, including Bernie. So if you walk around with those types of feelings don't assume I do as well. I trully do wish the man the ability to heal. Bernie host of "God talk" knows that God says we should treat our bodies like the temple of God. That means living a healthy life style. If you disrespect yourself by eating unhealthy you get Fat. Why is everyone so sensitive about that world??? The world if full of fat people, and I as an evil right wing conservative call other more evil right wing conservatives fat too...Jezus.

    Perhaps I didn't write clearly above, or perhaps you again projected...I am not a mean evil conervative that wants to abolish the left as an idea, its people, its media avenues or anything about it. I think an opposite view is healthy and I am open to debate ideas (With the occasional "Fat joke" thrown in) If advertisers don't want to pay money to keep a broadcast on the air IT'S NOT MY FAULT. I do not think however, I should have to pay out of my pocket in taxes just so some station can stay on the air...right or left leaning.

    I must say I do find the irony in the fact that when I use rule #1 from the liberal playbook (When you have nothing else to say, resort to personal attacks) I get called on it. Then again, I guess they are your rules you can call foul whenever you want. Let me know how many minutes I need to sit in the penalty box listening to Obama speeches, or where I should go pay my tax.

    Doug-e, why am I a moron??

    You think you know me?

    I've never walked into a course with the title "Right wing propaganda machine meeting here tonight at 7"

    I have never given 1 cent to the republical party. I give money to my church and to other people around me who are less fortunate...Without judging or trying to impress my social ideas upon them.

    In regards to anons timeline above:
    Who signed the telecommunications act in 1996? Why wasn't it veto by Ol' slick himself?

    And God help us if Newt is elected president in 2012.

    To another anon - Why do you blame the decline or apparent decline of KGO's rating on a new measuring system? Is it possible the new system is better than the old and gives better results? In ancient times the foot was a unit of measurement, and the average foot varied across cultures and regions. Then we started getting more precise and standardized measurement systems. Technology evolves, it gives us better precision...Don't blame the system of measure because now the results don't suit your argument.

    More reasons I think nobody cares abour your cause...Only 143 more people have liked your little Facebook page since Friday...Between 7 million people in the SF Bay area, probably 10 million more the starship 50K Watt KGO could reach along the west coast and internet radio reach world wide, only 143 more people liked your facebook page...I trully feel embarassed for you...

  89. Wait, I need to explain it to you? You come on here encouraging and going along with the right's stranglehold over differing viewpoints on the radio. You see no problem with Americans getting only one viewpoint. You appear to have no problem with one company owning 1500 radio stations, essentially controlling your opinion. It's one of the ways the right wingers were able to convince the brainless masses that Saddam had WMDs, and he was behind 9/11, and it's a tool that gets millions of mindless drones voting against their own interests in mass. I wonder how many of these broke drones are going to be voting for Newt if he gets the nomination?

  90. Sorry, I didnt read your entire previous statement.

    Your previous entry made it sound like you support and encourage the elimination of the liberal viewpoint.

    I assume you're for regulation of the radio right? For example....for every 2 right wing stations, there should be at least one progressive station in each market. You support that right?

  91. Doug - I am humble enough to know and say I do not have an answer for everything. Generally speaking I don't like regulation. So for some government entity to come in and make a rule because you have this you must now have this just doesn't feel right. If the general population is trully split 50/50 you don't need regulation, the market will dictate that both sides should do just as well...or close enough. But when the population isn't split even and is weighed more heavily to one side, how do you get the other view point out? The market certainly won't support the lesser view, as we have seen here.

    Do you really think that these big companies would turn away advertiser money if they were throwing it at them for placing their ads on highly listened to left radio? Of course they wouldn't.

    Again, Newt is not the answer. Some of his ideas are not great, but maybe ok. Something about the man though makes me feel slimmy at the end of the day. Romney is too smooth. At the end of the day neither of these guys will get the nomination. Paul will win. The Republican machine has a big problem with him and I love it. They can find no dirt on him in order to elimintae him from the game. The man says what he thinks which may sound crazy but he has been saying for 30 years. He is a true conservative, not what has come to represent the republican party.

    Just like I am smart enough to separate true left ideas from wacky Nancy I hope you can also see just because I am a conservative, it doesn't make me a republican.

    At the end of the day here is what I want: A leader who will protect this country when we are under attack...not go looking for wars (I knew there were no WMDs and I never was a real supporter of Bush...he was simply the best of the worst choices we had) I want someone who will let businesses thrive, but pay their fair share and not be greedy. Capitalism works just fine until greed hits. I want the less fortunate to be given every help they need to become contributing citizens in society. I want the government to stay out of my business and not make decisions they think are best for me.

    Government needs to be more localized so that it can best serve the needs of people in their own specific regions. This has traditionally been a "Republican" view but unfortunatly has become bastardized and now we have two parties that at the end of the day really are not much different minus a few big ticket items.

    So, Doug, how do we fix the "elimination" of the left point of view from talk radio?

  92. We put the "fairness Doctrine" back in effect for one thing. that's never going to happen though, because the right wingers need their propaganda machines to continue to tell the brainless masses how to think and vote, all the while making sure they remain among the permanent underclass.

    Sociopaths like Newt want the United States to be a society based on social Darwinism

  93. This is the most comprehensive report I've read on all of the KGO changes which seem to impact KKGN as well. I'll be listening whereever you show up.

  94. Nice to hear your "voice" again Bernie. I've really missed you. And now I miss all of the the other KGO hosts (except for Ron Owens.)

    There is another element not mentioned here about why right wing radio is prominent. They have many deep pocketed ideologues like Rupert Murdock who are willing to spend as much time and money as it takes to have their right wing ideas adopted by the country as a whole. Sad to say - they have been somewhat successful.

    The deep pockets on the left are not ideologues. They tend to support candidates, the Democratic Party and certain causes. But they are not into planning for the long term.

  95. What you did was SICK, but I do agree with what you have written here.

    Ronn Owens may have been spared by his contract, or it may be because his insipid program is popular with the largely mindless masses while not threatening anyone on the right because, well, it is insipid.

    Some of the fired hosts got on my nerves, but at least they made me think about politics and presented viewpoints largely unheard on mainstream radio. Their firing marks another scary day in America.