Archive for July, 2012

Photo by Infrogmation CCA-2.5

I received a comment on my blog post, ‘Loud Lindsay Young Never Gets Old’.  I don’t know what to think of it yet, I debated about approving it.  I even sent a copy to the email address of Gil Gross at KKSF-Newstalk 910-AM, but it was returned undelivered.  Rejected by their station servers.  Probably because the way I copied it, it appeared as if I’d pasted an image in the body of the email instead of plain text.  Oh well, universe, I tried…

I’m not a big poetry fan.  I read all of the time.  I even attempt to write.  But the lure of poetry has never attracted me.  The sight of stanzas makes me roll my eyes and I can’t click away from it fast enough.  So, imagine my lukewarm reception at the sight of a long, stanza poem sitting in my new comment section waiting for approval.  I was sure it was some new kind of spam.  I was ready to delete it for eternity when the word KGO caught my attention.  What?  Someone was sending a poem about KGO?  I glanced through it, hoping it was some spam or scam so I could delete it.  But, I couldn’t stop reading it.  There is a raw intensity to it.  And the poet knows about KGO and Len and Gene.  He writes of them.  And, the protest against KGO.  I decided it should be shared.

I’m unfamiliar with the author.  It’s written by Majid Naficy.  I’ve also noticed someone by the name of Azad Naficy posted a comment on the Facebook page of FormerKGOListeners recently of what could be the full text of this poem, but I can’t read more than a few words of the comment and I can’t see the Facebook page of that person named Azad so I don’t know what anyone has said of the poem.  But I do know that I think others will enjoy reading it. I’ll write my thoughts about it later when I have more time.  What are your thoughts?

Here’s the poem:

A Fight for KGO

by Majid Naficy

You deserters of San Francisco Bay Area,
San Jose and Oakland!
you less than Adam and Eve!
You big mouths, little chimps!
How come you let go of KGO without a fight?
How come you did not fight for your dignity
And let a bunch of crooks and con artists
Wipe out your huge radio community
In the name of the invisible God of market
At the merger of two media companies?
How come you let go of that elegant soul
With a big body: Gene Burns
Who has the free spirit of a Libertarian
With the benevolence of a New Deal Democrat?
He can fight against mean-spirited profiteers
With reason and passion,
A good piece of salmon
And a glass of chardonnay.
How come you let go of that funny lawyer
With his R-less New York accent?
He can entertain and educate his listeners
With the colorful stories of his callers
And show how to compromise or fight
In the labyrinths of courts and law firms.
How come you let go of Len Tillem:
That icon of Northern California?

It takes you a Southern Californian
To show you how to fight,
It takes you a Persian,
An Iranian-American
To tell you how to stand.
Because I come from a line of fighters.
My first wife Ezzat Tabaian
Was executed in Evin Prison
On January 7, 1982
Because she stood for her dignity
And said NO to mullahs.
I come from a line of survivors
My brother Sa’id
Disappeared on the streets of Tehran
But his hope for freedom remained strong.
My ancestor was Nafis, son of Evaz
Who served Ulugh Beg, the grandson of Tamerlane
As a physician in Samarkand.
He taught The Book of Healing
Written by the Persian philosopher Avicenna
When the ancestor of greedy Cumulus
cleaned his dirty ass
With the palm of his right hand!
Yes, You have to fight, men, women!
And do not let go of your talk radio
Just because big money talks
And follows the law of market:
Supply and demand.
No! Money is not speech
And corporations are not people.
That radio community was more tangible
Than a gold mine turned into a ghost town
In the nineteenth century, California.
KGO was born in 1924
And became a voice of democracy in our state
And one of the best talk radios across the country.
It could create meaningful conversations
With interviews and listeners’ participation
Without the demagoguery and bigotry of Rush Limbaugh.

I know it for a fact, first hand.
It was the symbol of independence for my American girlfriend
When she divorced her husband
Who did not let her listen to KGO
More than twenty years ago.
She craved for an intimate companion
Who could carry a conversation
Intelligently and passionately
And she found it in KGO.
Even after we became intimate
She still called me Gene or Len.
While my girlfriend was driving between home and work
She would listen to KGO in the car,
And while cooking, dining, washing, gardening
Going to the bathroom or taking a shower
And making love at home
She would constantly listen to KGO
On her three separate sets of radio
Working simultaneously in her kitchen, garden and bedroom
Even when she was not home.
Sometimes she would dial KGO’s number
and open her heart on the air
To tens of thousands of other listeners.
Sometimes she would go to KGO public gatherings
To meet Gene and Len in person
And participate in a public conversation.
Yes! I saw her beautiful trembling shoulders
When she called me one night couple of months ago.
she sobbed hysterically on the telephone
And told me that her KGO was gone
And its new owner, Cumulus Media
Had laid off Gene, Len and others
And changed the format of the radio
From a news/talk station into all news
Because the rating had been low
And the profit meager.
Yes! I saw her beautiful wet eyes
When she was sobbing into the phone
Telling that there was no one to stand forKGO
And she had lost her radio community,
Which was more important to her than her neighborhood.

One evening, my girlfriend and I
Went to a small vigil in front of KGO building
And held candles and listened to a speaker
Who asked us some simple questions:
“Will you occupy KGO’s building?
Will you take part in a rally?
Will you write an article?
Will you talk on the air?”
You losers of San Francisco Bay Area,
San Jose and Oakland!
You lost your democracy to Cumulus
Which is an inheritor of a Californian crook
With the emblem of a rattlesnake
Who said: “I am not a crook”.
You lost your goodwill to Cumulus
Which is a follower of a Californian con artist
With the emblem of a poison oak
Who began a war against the poor
By calling them “welfare queens”.
No one stood up to him
Who gave welfare to big corporations
But denied it to the mentally-ill.
I bore witness to it
When in May 1984
I moved to Venice Beach
And saw thousands of people homeless.
In the day that Cumulus took over KGO
Did you sleep overnight without a pill
And in the morning switch from KGO
To KSFO without an afterthought?
Shame on you!
You have no life instinct left in you.
You are totally useless.
Too much TV for you.
Too much booze for you.
Too much pot for you.
They have drained out the passion
That you need for a fight.
Yes! I am from the city of Isfahan
We don’t fight by fists
We fight by words
and why not?
When a Polo shirt is $ 89
And a pair of Levis jeans $ 100
And an Adidas snicker $ 79
And a cotton hat 30 bucks
Why should I get into altercation
And ruin my costly shirt or hat?
No! We fight with words.
This is my art from the city of Isfahan.
I will fight you word by word.
You go on the other side of the bay
I stay on this side.
Let us curse each other
At the top of our voices
Until the mermaids of San Francisco Bay
Hear and judge between us.
I am a man from the city of Isfahan
I know how to put words in a poem
Even if they are bitter as curses.
No matter what the editors of Poetry magazine say
Or the ideologues of the Cato Institute think.
I will transfer my anger into poetry.
Get up! Howl!
Let us fight for KGO!

February 23, 2012 San Mateo

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Len Tillem made an interesting comment to Gil Gross as Len passed off the end of his hour to Gil before the 4:00pm news and the start of the Gil Gross show.  I’ve tried to find the comment on podcast but it’s not there.  The podcasts do not include that back and forth between Len and Gil as they trade off air-time.  I think the conversation occurred on Thursday, July 26th.

So, I’ll have to write what happened according to my memory.  It was a quick comment.  Len was saying hello to Gil Gross and then blurted out, “You know, when Ronn Owens’ contract ends, he can come over here and do the 12-3 spot.  It’ll be great.  Ronn and me and you.  Just like old times.”  Again, that is not exactly what he said but it’s a close approximation.

I was stunned.  I think Gil was a bit taken aback as well, because he didn’t say anything in response.  Then, after some silence, Len said something like, “Maybe I shouldn’t be speculating about things like that on the air.  This should be a private conversation.”  Gil gave a nervous laugh, and then went on to talk about other things.

It made me think.  Would I listen to Ronn Owens if he moved to KKSF-Newtalk 910-AM?  I’m unsure.  I don’t even know who has the 12Noon to 3:00pm slot on KKSF-Newstalk 910-AM now.  I don’t listen to that station at all before 3:00pm.  The promo spots I’d heard of the morning show that airs there, Armstrong and Getty, were a big turn-off and, then, when I’d heard how disrespectful that duo had been to the former KGO hosts who’d filled in for them during a vacation week or two, that was it for me.  I wasn’t going to waste my time listening to Armstrong or Getty pop their prepubescent pimples on the air.  No thank you.  I’ve noticed that the promo spots for Armstrong and Getty have been toned down lately, but I know what they really sound like.  Not wasting time on that.

That leaves Limbaugh in there somewhere.  I know his show airs on KKSF, but I’m not sure when.  That’s why I avoid that station in the morning and then wait until 3:00pm to turn on Len.  I listen to the archived online podcasts of Len and then Gil until the three o’clock hour.  Sometimes I listen to Dr. Bill Wattenburg on KSCO from Monday-Wednesday at 12Noon-2:00pm, but that schedule has been inconsistent.  For the past month Dr. Bill hasn’t shown up on Mondays and in the past two weeks hasn’t aired even on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  I don’t know what’s going on over at that Santa Cruz station.  I noticed that they’ve removed Dr. Bill Wattenburg Presents from their station’s web banner.  I’m not too worried.  It’s one thing to listen to Dr. Bill at night when you are half-asleep and hearing bits of pieces of his broadcast.  It’s an altogether different show in the daytime when you’re awake.  You actually hear what he has to say and most of it is repetitive.  Bubble butts, eco-freaks, read his website about that lawsuit, he narrated the save the dolphins documentary, Farr Out, Sierra Club and NOAA frauds, etc.  It’s slightly less irritating than the KSCO commentaries by the 90-year-old station owner.  Overall, KSCO is a strange station and not one to take seriously.  There are always annoying glitches in their phone system and they have some really funky ads, bordering on porn.  It’s embarrassing to be a listener at times.

With that said, would I listen to Ronn Owens if he moves to KKSF-Newtalk 910-AM?  Not at first.  Would I listen eventually?  I guess it depends on how Owens explains the messy way he handled the KGO fisaco.  We’ll see…

What about you?  Would you listen to Ronn if he moves to KKSF?

I used to hear him on the old KGO, when it was a real talk-radio station before the bottom-feeders at Cumulus Media destroyed the property value at that former prime location.   Now Bay Area consumers wouldn’t buy into that junk station even if it was promoted by Captain America himself.  The obvious choice of spokesman for Cumulus Media can only be Uncle Scrooge, who fits nicely in with the company of the heinous Dick-ey brothers.

But, we all know about what happened over there in the land of greed.  SweetJack my a**,  it’s more like Jack the Listeners and sweeten the Dick-ey pot.  Do NOT listen to one SECOND of that station or any of their stations.  You are contributing to the demise of broadcast sanity and locally shared on-air community.

There is one station in this market that has heard what the Bay Area has to say about local radio and has reached out to our local talent, creating a broadcast home for some of our favorite on-air personalities.  Yes, it happens to be Clear Channel Communicatons, Inc., the largest radio-station-group owner in the U.S.  And, it’s privately-held, in part, by Bain Capital.   So, Clear Channel’s history has contributed to the mess we now find on-air in this country, so they don’t get a free pass when it comes to serious discussion of the state of radio today.  But, they do get some credit for recognizing the need for local talent in this market.

Yes, they plan to profit from it.  But there seems to be more heart in their iHeart than just dollar bills.  Let’s look at what they’ve done so far:

1) When Cumulus Media unceremoniously dumped our favorite KGO talk-show hosts and production staff, our local Clear Channel station, KKSF-Newstalk 910AM extended invitations to many of the former KGO hosts.  Our favorite loyah!, Len Tillem, accepted a 3-4:00pm slot.  Gene Burns followed Len’s show in the 4-7:00pm show.

2) When Gene Burns suffered a stroke and could not meet his contract obligations, did KKSF – Newstalk 910-AM point him to the door?  No.  They kept Gene on contract and several former KGO hosts filled in for him as guest hosts.  We, in the Bay Area, could once again listen to Len Tillem, Gil Gross, John Rothmann, Ed Baxter, and Rosie Allen.  Even Jim Gabbert joined in, but I’m not sure if he’d been a host on KGO during the mass firing.

3) When it became clear that Gene Burns needed more time to recuperate, KKSF – Newstalk 910AM hired Gil Gross to take Gene’s slot, but kept Gene on in a blogger capacity.  That way Gene could continue to communicate with his loyal listeners as he recovered from his stroke.

4) KKSF-Newstalk 910AM also hired John Rothmann as a political correspondent, especially focused on the upcoming election.

5) 910AM also kept Ed Baxter on to create his own :30 commentary Monday-Friday that can be heard during the Gil Gross show.  Ed’s pieces can be found on Podcast and they are called ‘Making Sense with Ed Baxter’.

6) Now, the latest act of this iHeart station, is the hiring of that unique weatherman voice of good ol’ Lloyd Lindsay Young.

I remember Lloyd Lindsay Young from KGO, and always smiled at his boisterous ‘HELLO – (insert city here)!”  It was a bit much, but it was a bit much with joy and enthusiasm.  Unlike those blow-hards heard all of the time on the radio, Lloyd Lindsay Young has so much heart in his greetings the over-the-top style is endearing.  It’s wonderful to hear a voice on the radio that is not beaten into corporate-speak and has not broken the spirit of delivery to blend into a corporate landscape.

His joy of delivery comes through loud and clear on Clear Channel’s spot on the dial.  Thank you, KKSF, for giving us the loud, merry greetings once again of Lloyd Lindsay Young – the local weatherman whose unique style will never get old.

Find all of these hosts at NewsTalk 910 – San Francisco’s Talk Station, here’s the link: http://www.newstalk910.com/main.html

Gene Burns Blog: http://www.newstalk910.com/pages/gene-burns.html

Gil Gross Podcasts of his show: http://www.newstalk910.com/cc-common/podcast/single_page.html?podcast=gil_gross

Ed Baxter’s Commentary: http://www.newstalk910.com/cc-common/podcast/single_page.html?podcast=baxter

John Rothmann Highlights Podcasts: http://www.newstalk910.com/cc-common/podcast/single_page.html?podcast=rothmann

And, how could I forget our buddy, Len Tillem: http://www.newstalk910.com/cc-common/podcast/single_page.html?podcast=tillem

Here’s the Wikipedia page of Lloyd Lindsay Young: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lloyd_Lindsay_Young

Lloyd Lindsay Young’s website: http://www.lloydlindsayyoung.com/

By the way, I haven’t heard Wickes call into KKSF 910AM lately.  Where in the world is Wickes?

And, I’m really liking the news with Sebastian Kunz and his after-news banter with Gil Gross.  I missed Sebastian when he was on vacation last week.

I’ve listened online to BBC Radio2 for years (http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio2/ ).  It’s a nice mix of oldies, new pop, and celebrity interviews.  Also, I enjoy hearing a broadcast without commercial interruption.  I used to listen to the Steve Wright show until it ended at 9:00am Pacific Time (5:00pm London time) and then, in my daily routine, I’d turn on KGO and listen to it for the remainder of my work day – starting with Ronn Owens.  That is, until December 2011, when Cumulus Media decided to destroy talk radio in this market.

I continued to listen to BBC Radio2 through all of this, but without KGO as an option I listened longer to the BBC shows.  Still do.  There is a show that follows Steve Wright, a drive time show in the U.K., hosted by Simon Mayo.  He’s been doing a segment every Monday-Thursday that he calls Drive Time Confessions.  People call in and confess their past misdeeds and Simon and his co-workers decide if the confessor should be forgiven.

Some of the confessions are fun, some are lame, but it’s entertaining to listen to them because sometimes there’s a gem.

On Wednesday, July 11th, I heard a gem.  Just wanted to share it.

I laughed so hard I was crying.  It’s hysterical.  Made my entire day.

Want to hear it?  You can download the podcast and listen.  It’s available online for about a month, so you have some time.  But, don’t forget!  It’s worth taking the time to listen.  It’s only a few minutes, but you’ll be laughing about it for days afterwards.

This is where you can find it online:

Simon Mayo’s Confessions Podcast

http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/confess

(click on the Download for:  ‘Everybody Wants To Be A Cat and other tales 13 Jul 12’ and the Larry in Love Land confession begins at 15:00 on the Podcast.)

Just listening to it again makes me laugh-  every time!

How could I post this and not include the YouTube accompaniment?

Listening to it, how can you not laugh hearing those lines again?  They are at the end of the recording, approximately 10:25 in.  Enjoy!

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And my name is Larry and I like a woman who loves everything and everybody …