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Monterey Bay area talk radio station harvesting bitter KGO listeners

More fallout from Bay Area talk radio signal KGO 810 AM’s move to cancel some of the station’s most popular on air talent. A demonstration against the purge is planned for Thursday. And Santa Cruz based talk station KSCO has extended an open invitation to all dumped KGO hosts to come over to the locally owned AM signal.

“The abrupt firing of some of the finest talent in the talk radio industry by the new clueless corporate suits at KGO,” declared KSCO owner Michael Zwerling in a Special Message to KGO Listeners, “is an indication of two things”:

    • 1) their total disregard, no, make that CONTEMPT for both the talent and the listeners who made that station so special, and
    • 2) their INCREDIBLE, Darwin-award-qualifying stupidity.

Thus, “KSCO extends invitations to all displaced KGO hosts to come to a station owned and operated by HUMANS with good hearts, good souls, and diverse personalities and perspectives—not by cold corporate weasels and bean counters.”

On Saturday, one of the displaced KGO hosts, Dr. Bill Wattenburg appeared on KSCO and took calls.

“I want to say to everyone listening, and to the listeners to this program,” Wattenburg said in the second hour. “I had no idea of the reach of this station, and the quality of the callers out there. There’s no reason in the world why talk radio on this station can’t take over and do anything for the Bay Area, or most of it, that was done by the station that got wiped out.”

“We’ve always said that we don’t allow stupid listeners,” his interviewer proudly chimed in.

Wattenburg will be hosting KSCO’s Good Morning Monterey Bay AM Drive program all this week. It’s unclear, of course, whether his ex-KGO colleagues will accept the invitation. They include Gene Burns, Gil Gross, Ray Taliaferro, and John Rothmann.

Big demo

Meanwhile, media blogger Rich Lieberman, who broke the KGO story (and also appeared on KSCO on Saturday), says a demonstration has been planned at KGO’s San Francisco headquarters to protest the staff bloodbath. According to his post, it is scheduled for Thursday December 15, 900 Front Street, right outside of KGO’s HQ at 11:30 AM:


THE DATE: Keep in mind the date selected happens to be Ronn Owens return from vacation. I have been told by a few of you, some of the hosts, that you were most unimpressed with Ronn’s comments about the December 1 massacre.


It’s unclear exactly who is sponsoring this event (although it does have a Facebook page). But KGO isn’t far from North Beach and Fisherman’s Wharf—if you want to make a pleasant afternoon of it.

Getting back to the KGO purge, it’s always interesting to see where  dumped talk show programmers wind up. Long time Radio Survivor readers may remember the staff wipeout over at 92.7 “Energy” radio—then San Francisco home of the popular gay identified morning show hosts Fernando and Greg. When another company bought the station and changed formats, candlelight vigils, huge Facebook pages, and San Francisco Board of Supervisors resolutions were the order of the day (I even got to have a testy five minute conversation with the new owner).

None of this stopped Fernando and Greg from getting the old heave ho. But eventually the duo wound up on the local CBS signal: KMVQ-FM.


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14 Responses to Monterey Bay area talk radio station harvesting bitter KGO listeners

  1. lucia antonelli December 12, 2011 at 7:15 am #

    I am absolutely sick over the changes at kgo….i have taken it off my “dial”…

    now green 960 is taking tom hartman, stephanie miller, norman goldman off the air in january…replacing with fox channel’s glen beck,etc!!!!! WHAT is happening with “our” media?????!!!!!!?????

  2. George Marley December 12, 2011 at 8:53 am #

    I stopped listening to KGO since they replaced the real talent with shock fools and drama mongers. I guess they think everyone is stupid.

  3. Tom December 12, 2011 at 10:15 am #

    Very long time listener (60’s) miss one of SF traditions. Substitute for Ray Tal is still apologetic – and should be – a real lightweight.

    Personally will avoid all advertisers who stay.

    Ever repeating cycle of news is obviously cheap… and mind-numbing.


  4. Julie Mendelsohn December 12, 2011 at 10:30 am #

    Great point about reaching out to the San Francisco Board of Supes! Lord knows they go to bat for plenty of issues which have nothing to do with local matters, so they should definately be on board regarding the bloodbath at a local newstalk station.

    I’ll be there on Thursday, along with both my kids, who were KGO listeners. The station lost the up-and-coming generation (read consumers) with their shortsighted, moronic views.

  5. Longtime KGO Listener December 15, 2011 at 7:01 am #

    I’ve been listening to KGO for nearly 20 years … in fact, I remember that I started listening to Talk radio consistently only after hearing Dr. Bill Wattenburg one saturday night. I do listen to other conservative talk as well. KGO quality has diluted over the year. Gill Gross is not a great host. But Gene Burns, Dr. Bill and to an extent John Rothman were entertaining and informative. Ronn Owens has his brilliant days but his is more entertainment format. I’ll probably listen to him some of the days he is on.

    Cumulus’s strategy has been clear. They own both KSFO and KGO. Their calculation is, most of their Talk junkies will gravitate to KSFO rather than KNEW or other stations in the bay area. Their infamous 50KW transmitter should help keep a tighter leash compared to other stations picking up the pieces. Pushing KSFO listenership to a higher tier will probably get them better Ad $$ than trying to pump more money into KGO and expect long term growth from it. They view KSFO & KGO together as part of their “portfolio”. This is simply a portfolio management approach.

    I am not sure if it will work but if their listeners wish to make a point (I see Facebook sites for this now), they should stop listening to KSFO, listen more to Ronn, listen to KNEW or other stations that hire KGO ex-hosts and stop listening to the NPR … I mean KGO news in the afternoon. This will make Cumulus execs realize that their balancing act is not working and it is a lose-lose for them.

    Reading this article, I hope KSCO boosts its wattage, hires quality hosts with balanced views but can be entertaining as well (which is often the issue with non-conservative hosts) and gives Cumulus a run for its money.

  6. Us December 17, 2011 at 10:38 am #

    I have been a long time listener of kgo but I am sadden with the firing of John rotham. As far as I am concerned ray talifero should have been dumped years ago. What a pompus jerk. He projects bad karma and gets what he deserves..

  7. Jim from Napa December 19, 2011 at 4:03 pm #

    Ray Taliaferro, Gene Burns are icons and Bill Wattenburg is good, Rothman is as solid as it gets, and Gil Gross brings up great topics.

    KGO wants to get more hip and younger which is understandable but you dont do it the way they did it.

    Also people forget the fiasco Cumulus did at KNBR. Cumulus; or clueless; need to realize this isn’t Kim Kardashian radio.

    There are many smart people that enjoy the entertainment of listening to liberal or conservative talk show hosts that make us think.

  8. Roger Smith December 20, 2011 at 9:50 pm #

    A joke, that’s what KGO now is.

  9. Barbara Wilson January 8, 2012 at 4:46 pm #

    KGO has betrayed its hosts and its listeners.

    the name of this game is greed

  10. Whisp February 1, 2012 at 7:34 pm #

    I live in Southern Calif. and looked forward every Sat. and Sun. nights to the common sense and wisdom of Dr. Wattenburg. The loss is great to KGO but muich greater to those who might not be able to hear him. I am sure this confounding act by KGO will cost them while it will be all gain for Dr. Wattenburg.

  11. Craig February 3, 2012 at 2:27 pm #

    I’ve listened to KGO for 27 years, much of it in a delivery truck and at the line of my factory where I followed it all day and sometimes all night. It was only when I toured the middle of the US and found only hatred or crop reports on the AM dial that I realized how profoundly fortunate was the west coast to have a balanced view of the world on KGO. When Dr. Dean retired, I cried for days. Then when John Rothmann, Gene Burns,Gil Gross and Bill Wattenburg went, I realized how much these guys were like my best friends. It just tore a hole in my heart. Where ever John Rothmann ends up, I’ll be there streaming if I can’t get a signal.

  12. stinky stew February 5, 2012 at 9:41 am #

    This is part of the dumbing down of america. These fired people simply hit the glass celing too many times. – talking about CARB, and other things.

  13. stinky stew February 5, 2012 at 9:57 am #

    kgo is a flame thrower – it can be listened to farther than any other station on the west coast. I had a gut feeling that when the OWS topic, CARB, and many other things traveled the airwaves from Alaska to South America and beyond these people would get the rollers put under them.

  14. Stanley Moore February 8, 2012 at 12:47 pm #

    I may go back further than most, to the Al Collins days, Jazzbo….and the sounds of Count Bassie over the late night in the slot later given to Ray T. I, too, have deleted KGO after all these years and hope to find a replacement.

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