Archive for February, 2012

In a recent post I warned that while we are getting cozy with Clear Channel, who scooped up our former KGO hosts and gave us a reason to listen to talk radio again, we should not forget that Clear Channel is in the same business as the hated Cumulus Media and follows similar practices to get the biggest share of the radio pie.

I’m not saying Clear Channel treats their hosts in the shabby way our former KGO hosts were treated – after decades of shows, being handed a check in a five-minute meeting and shown the door, but how well do we know the business practices of Clear Channel?  Are they a quick-fix solution to our local radio or are they part of the problem?

I found this interesting recap of Clear Channel in a WordPress blog:

http://thelineinthesand.net/2012/01/13/bain-capital-owns-clear-channel-rush-limbaugh-sean-hannity-glenn-beck-michael-savage-etc/

It’s not looking good for the future of radio, is it?  I’ll listen to Clear Channel now, but only to the former KGO host spots.

At least it gives us something in this dismal year of the radio.  But it’s a reminder to not sit back and assume everything is right in the world just because we have some of our hosts back on the air.

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Note:  After posting the above information, I searched for more WordPress blogs that address media.  One includes a quote by the big Dick-ey and the other goes in-depth about media consolidation and the FCC.

This guy has the same background as my blog (sheesh! – it’s like two women wearing the same dress at a party):

http://jdobypr.wordpress.com/2012/01/16/article-is-internet-radio-a-substitute-for-radio/

This is the one that examines the FCC and media consolidation:

http://stearns.wordpress.com/2012/01/15/private-equity-and-media-consolidation/

I’m sure to find more as time goes by.  This is the first time I’ve used the WordPress feature to search for blog content by tags.  Who knows what I’ll dig up next.

Someone must have handed over a new pen to Bernie Ward after he used up his ink allotment on his last three posts.  That is the only explanation I can come up with for all of these new postings on his blog.

Note: I haven’t read them yet so I can’t comment on what you are getting into:

http://lionoftheleft.blogspot.com/2012/02/youll-never-work-in-this-town-again.html

http://lionoftheleft.blogspot.com/2012/02/when-johnny-comes-marching-home-again.html

http://lionoftheleft.blogspot.com/2012/02/freedom-of-speech-lion-of-left-superpac.html

Do I see the word superpac in there?  hee hee, this will be fun…

Why the Rush, Cumulus?

Those who follow talkers.com ( http://www.talkers.com/ ) have seen these little gems of information already, but those who haven’t – here they are in all of their glory (or, should I say gory)…

Excerpts from talkers.com February 9th. article here:

“Now CMN decides to develop a three-hour talk show for Huckabee – based out of Florida – airing live from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET and beginning April 2.  Already, industry watchers are viewing the move as Cumulus “taking on” Premiere Networks’ syndication dominance in the time slot with Limbaugh while Cumulus COO John Dickey tells The New York Times that it is positioning the show as an alternative to Limbaugh.”

“Within the industry, the big question is will Cumulus push Huckabee onto its news/talk stations that currently carry Limbaugh, especially at such major market stations as WABC, New York; WLS, Chicago; WJR Detroit; WBAP-AM/FM, Dallas and WMAL-AM/FM, Washington?  All are markets where Premiere parent Clear Channel Media and Entertainment doesn’t have a news/talk outlet (or a strong-performing talk outlet) on which to move Limbaugh.”

Read the article here:

http://www.talkers.com/2012/02/09/thursday-february-9-2012/

Want a peek at what to expect on the airwaves?  Read it here so you won’t have to actually listen when it’s forced on our airwaves:

http://www.rightwingnews.com/interviews/huckabee.php

Nope.  Not done yet with all of this exciting news.  Can’t talk about this without mentioning the big Dick-ey.

In a February 7th. talkers.com piece, they reported that Lew the big Dick-ey spoke to “the Atlanta Journal Constitution about his business and the role private equity firm Bain Capital played in its progress.”

“The piece ran Sunday (2/5) online and in print and was written from the perspective of giving insight into Bain Capital – the company formerly run by presidential candidate Mitt Romney.  However it also probes the nature of corporate radio as it rides the rough surf of an economic downturn and a dramatically changing media business – complete with layoffs and job consolidation”

“…they had to “wholesale re-engineer the way these operations work” in order to cut costs and that the company learned this process while working with the private equity firms.  Hannan said the company was able to cut $70 million in costs.  Lew Dickey tells the AJC the business has to work that way to survive.  He says old-line media companies have become “inherently inefficient.  We run the business as efficiently as technology permits us to do.”  Interestingly, Bain Capital took a loss on its involvement with Cumulus.  Cumulus ended up buying out Bain and the other private equity partners.”

Read the February 7th talkers.com article here:

http://www.talkers.com/2012/02/07/tuesday-february-7-2012/

Interesting, isn’t it?  Want more?  Here’s the ajc.com article:

http://www.ajc.com/business/bain-capitals-atlanta-forays-1331588.html

Is this the future of our airwaves?  Financial battles for turf to broadcast what one behemoth corporate management wants us to hear?  Syndicated programs to support their incoming cash flow and political parties?

We need to come up with a plan, fast.  As I said before, all of our voices united in one cause is more powerful than any 50-thousand watt radio station.

Do NOT support Cumulus Media, do NOT listen to KGO.  Do NOT fall for their SweetJack crap.  Boycott their advertisers.  Tell others about it.  Show your support and ‘like’ the Facebook page of FormerKGOListeners.  Post your ideas.  They do a great job keeping everyone informed and they have thousands of followers.  We all need to figure out an effective way to voice our opposition to this corporate raider or looter mentality.  Or, do you think it’s a lost cause?

http://www.facebook.com/FormerKGOListeners

Dr. Bill Wattenburg’s idea of anyone being able to write out a message, any message, on a piece of paper and pasting it up in your neighborhood is a start.  The laundromat, the coffee shop, anywhere others will see it.  What message would you write?

Or, we can do nothing and hope that Cumulus has a bad year all on its own.  It seems they are heading that way with no help from us.

And, we have to figure out the role our best new friend, Clear Channel, plays in all of this.  They are Cumulus’ biggest competitor, and they are also the “… largest owner of full-power AM, FM, and shortwave radio stations and twelve radio channels on XM Satellite Radio, and is also the largest pure-play radio station owner and operator.”

Clear Channel has welcomed our favorite former KGO hosts to their station, KKSF Newstalk 910-AM (http://www.newstalk910.com/main.html ).  They are making some good business decisions in offering both Gene Burns and Len Tillem their own time slots.  We support those decisions.  We also understand it was a move to increase listeners (not to mention ad dollars).  So, how can we communicate our disgust with radio today without including Clear Channel in the discussion?

The issue of our present-day airwaves includes the history of Clear Channel and Cumulus Media as well as the FCC.

Read the Wikipedia entry on Clear Channel ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clear_Channel_Communications ):

“Clear Channel Communications, Inc. is an American media conglomerate company headquartered in San Antonio, Texas.[3] It was founded in 1972 by Lowry Mays and Red McCombs, and was taken private by Bain Capital LLC and Thomas H. Lee Partners LP in a leveraged buyout in 2008.[4] Clear Channel specializes in radio broadcasting, concert promotion and hosting, and fixed advertising in the United States through its subsidiaries. After 21 years, Mark Mays stepped down as President and CEO of Clear Channel on June 23, 2010.[5] Mays will remain as Chairman of the Board, a position he has held for a year prior. The Board has engaged Egon Zehnder International, a leading executive search firm, to lead the search for a new CEO.

“Clear Channel is the largest owner of full-power AM, FM, and shortwave radio stations and twelve radio channels on XM Satellite Radio, and is also the largest pure-play radio station owner and operator. The group was in the television business until it sold all of its TV stations to Newport Television in 2008.

“The term “clear channel” comes from AM broadcasting, referring to a channel (frequency) on which only one station transmits. In U.S. and Canadian broadcasting history, “clear channel” (or class I-A) stations had exclusive rights to their frequencies throughout most of the continent at night, when AM stations travel very far due to skywave. WOAI in San Antonio, Clear Channel’s flagship station, was such a station.”

Any thoughts?

I realized something the other day.  I noted earlier this week that Gil Gross would be filling-in for KKSF Newstalk 910-AM early show, 6:00am-9:00am on Monday and Tuesday this week.  Well, normally I would say, sorry, you missed it.  But Newstalk 910-AM has podcasts of all of these shows listed on their website.  Not just for one week, as that old-station-most- of-us-will-never-listen-to-again posted, but all of the past shows are there for your listening pleasure.

This week, look up the Armstrong & Getty podcasts to hear some of our favorite former KGO hosts.

Len Tillem and Gene Burns’ podcasts are listed as well, right from the beginning of their shows on the new station.  You can hear many of the former KGO hosts sitting in for Gene – listen to Bill Wattenburg on the first day of Gene’s show when he sub-hosted the show.  Most of the former hosts can be heard on podcast, taking over for Gene Burns while he recuperates: Gil Gross, John Rothmann, Ed Baxter and Rosie Allen.  Even a few good shows with Jim Gabbert.   The guest host is listed in each podcast summary so you can find your favorite and listen again, or hear it for the first time.  Commercial free!

Want to hear Len Tillem flub his lines on his new show on his first day there, the very first sentence out of his mouth?  Yep.  You can hear it.  Here’s the link:

http://www.newstalk910.com/player/?station=KKSF-AM&program_name=podcast&program_id=tillem.xml&mid=21699060

I love it.

You can find Len Tillem’s full listing of podcasts here:

http://www.newstalk910.com/cc-common/podcast/single_page.html?podcast=tillem

Want to hear John Rothmann again?  Here he is – look for his name under Gene’s show listings:

http://www.newstalk910.com/cc-common/podcast/single_page.html?podcast=burns

Find Gil Gross, he’s in there.  Listen to his show from yesterday morning when he referred to himself as a pumpkin fill-in.

Or, listen to his broadcast from this afternoon when he makes a former breast-feeding woman laugh at his lactose joke.  (I’m sure that was Gil’s show and not Len’s).  Or, hear how all of Gil’s calls were going to Len’s house.  Ah, gotta love live radio.

These podcasts fill the empty air-time in the time slots when our former KGO host are not on the air.  With one single click on Play, talk radio as we remember can be heard.   Did I mention no commercials on the podcasts?  Never have to worry about turning down the volume for an awful Cars for Kids spot.

One thing I haven’t been able to find yet are the podcasts for Dr. Bill’s Sunday night syndicated shows.  Anyone know?  I don’t want to register on a site just to hear it.  I tried to Google it but found nothing that was as simple as playing a podcast.

I love hearing Gil Gross on the radio.  When he was hired as a replacement host after Pete Wilson’s untimely death, many of the on-air hosts let us, the listeners, know that Gil would never replace Pete Wilson but they were sure we’d welcome him as a worthy addition to KGO’s talk-show family.  Even Ronn Owens said it, and Ronn was the one who hated Pete Wilson’s chair but kept it in the studio after Pete’s death, promising he’d never move it out of there.

It’s wonderful that KKSF-Newstalk 910-AM is keeping some of the old KGO hosts on the air, in a rotating host spot to fill-in for Gene Burns until he recovers from a medical leave-of-absence.  You can hear these former hosts weekly after Len Tillem’s show, Monday-Friday, starting at 4:00pm through 7:00pm, except on Monday’s when they cut away an hour early for a prior sports commitment.

I want to embrace 910 from doing this, for taking on these great talents for us to enjoy.  But, it’s not yet a station I can click on in the morning and leave it on during the work day.  For one thing, I want to make sure I don’t listen to one word of the Rush show and the two guys in the early morning sound like they should be packing their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches into their lunch bags and heading off for fifth grade.  Have you heard those promo spots for those guys?  Makes my head ache to hear that one guy screaming at the top of his lungs to make an idiotic point.  If I’d wanted to hear that sort of stuff in the morning I would have had kids.

But those guys have to take a vacation some time, right?  Well, yes they do, thankfully, and they will be gone for the next two weeks.  Hooray!

For the next two weeks, it will be safe to turn on 910-AM in the actual AM!  Former KGO hosts will be filling in on some of those days.  Gil Gross will be there from 6:00am to 9:00am both Monday and Tuesday.  I heard that Ed Baxter and Rosie Allen will be filling in on a few days as well.  Maybe even John Rothmann will show up.  I’m not sure, but we’ll have to listen to find out.

Also, I’m not sure who will be filling in for Gene on those days.  But at least it’s a start.  We’ll be able to hear some entertaining, intelligent talk radio once more.   Maybe when Gene is able to return, 910-AM might consider rotating these former hosts in another time slot.

Until then, all of you Gil Gross fans, tune in to 910-am for the early show!

Here’s the link to listen live:

http://www.newstalk910.com/main.html

…at least until 9:00am anyway, and then come back at 3:00pm for Len.

Two more posts from Bernie Ward on his blog The Lion of the Left Speaks.  One is about the Catholic Church so I barely skimmed through it.  Maybe I’ll read it over the weekend.

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In his other post he comments on the upcoming election.  Here’s the link:

http://lionoftheleft.blogspot.com/2012/02/stiff-upper-lip.html#comment-form

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The most interesting part of his blog, to me, was this brief comment left yesterday on his January 25th post Odds ‘n Ends:

Anonymous Feb 1, 2012 10:25am
“BILL OREILLY IS DOING A STORY ON BERNI WARD CONVICTION FOR CHILD PORNOGRAPGHY AND THIS BLOG.”
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Here’s the link to that article:
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The people who upload Bernie’s posts to his blog commented on it as well in the February 2nd post Note From Girl Friday:

“The Lion has written two new blogs. The IT Guy and I are amazed that Bill O’Reilly would even notice us or comment about this blog on his program. I am all for free speech as long as it is tasteful and not pointless, derogatory diatribe.”

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I tried to look online to see if there was any substance to the O’Reilly comment or if it was just some smarta** attempting to spread a rumor to see how many would fall for it.  Didn’t find anything.  So, has anyone heard of this?  I think Bernie and O’Reilly have gone head to head before, but that’s only because I saw some interesting Google Search headings.  Doesn’t mean they’re true.  Maybe I’ll search more over the weekend.

So, what do you think?  Would Bill O’Reilly bother doing a story on Bernie Ward?  Or, is some commenter trying to be funny and spread misinformation?