By Tokyoship (Own work) CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

I’ve given up on local talk radio.  I know I’m not the only one, just look at the ratings.  As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been listening to WOR710-AM in New York and BBC Radio 2.  WOR710 is going up in the ratings so I wanted to find out more about the station.  There is a site that discusses all things radio,, and it includes all major markets in the forums.

There isn’t a lot of activity in the San Francisco forums, but that’s not surprising given the lack of listenable talk radio content in this market.  No one would listen by choice to most of the programs offered.

Some discussions in the forums on address the same issues about our local choices:

Thread topic: Talk Radio Fans

I too, am a big talk radio fan, but I’m afraid it’s a dying genre. Younger people don’t care for it, and what’s left of “talk radio” is more “monologue radio”, not taking any callers but just a host talking. I’m extremely disappointed in Gil Gross’ show on 910 for that very reason. I miss true talk radio.



There are other general topics overall:

Thread topic: Production Standards

… Attention is radio’s product and it is not in a broadcaster’s interest to degrade the product to make a quick sale. It also explains why blue chip “customers” no longer buy radio.

The phrase “the customer is always right” was coined by Harry Selfridge and he was was talking about customer service in a department store. He did not sell shoddy good nor compromise the integrity of his operation to pander to a customers’ whims.

-Oscar Madison

Are you quoting the Ferengi “Rules of Acquisition?”

The line between “business” and prostitution is so fine, most people in radio can’t see it – or refuse to. Either way, it’s a key factor in radio’s current state of distrust and irrelevance.

-Oscar Madison


Thread Topic: How Many Hosts Are Left?

Terrestrial radio still has the advantages of ubiquity (with a small u) and convenience. Not so true for AM due to decreasing signal viability and lack of am receiving equipment, but it’s generally easier to turn on a radio than to search for stuff on the Internet. You can tune radios all over the house to the same station without latency issues — try that with Internet streams. You don’t need Internet, WiFi or a phone data plan. But we’re training people — especially young people — to avoid radio because, when they happen to tune in, it sucks.



Thread Topic: An Investigation Regarding Talkers

This discussion dismisses the idea that radio stations purchase fake callers, but others continue to disagree.


There are a few threads about Limbaugh, and one comment describes what I hear when I listen to him.  It’s especially fitting, I read it as I watched the Simon and Garfunkel concert in New York that aired on KQED-TV last weekend.  I didn’t see the entire show, only the segment where they sang the song mentioned below.

Aside from the political monotony and maybe as significant, Rush today sounds like a cranky old man. His voice is hoarse and strident — he sounds like the guy in the nursing home clip at the beginning of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Old Friends!”


That’s an interesting thought. One of the characteristics of GenY is they prefer interaction to a lecture. One way to lose Gen Y is to talk AT them. It’s a big issue among educators. This is a generation that’s used to call & response, pushing a button and seeing a light come on. Talk radio, by definition, doesn’t work that way. Talkers need to learn from music DJs who conduct interactive shows on social media, while using their on-air show as the punctuation point.


Rush’s search for a home in Boston has been finalized. He’s moving from 50,000 watt WRKO, Boston’s top Talk Radio station, owned by Entercom, to iHeart’s 5000 watts by day/1000 watts by night 1430 WKOX. iHeart is switching the station from Latin Hits to Talk, where Rush, Hannity and Beck will have a home in Market #10. But no local weekday shows will be heard. It will be all network Talk except mornings and overnights when iHeart doesn’t have any of its own shows available.



Okay, enough about Rush.

Here are the New York rankings:


There is one reason I listen to WOR710 – the Mark Simone show.  I love that guy.  His show is a mix of callers and news and celebrity phone guests.  It gives me my talk radio fix for the day.  They have some fun calls on that show.  You never know what to expect.  Mark Simone plays with his callers and his callers play back.

Of course, it’s hard to hear the conservative talking points fed to his show and he does have his detractors as I found in this New York forum thread:

I agree about the prehistoric guests — especially Dick Cavett — but on the whole I enjoy Simone. Aside from those interviews the show is quick paced and fun. Simone has a good sense of humor and I think what some people see as rude and condescending is just part of his act. I don’t get the fault a lot of people find with him.



Overall, I’m not a fan of talk radio. But the times I tuned him in on WABC (and when he did that Saturday Night Oldies show) he was an easy-enough listen. On one occasion it was he on WAEB who kept me sane while I was part of an historic Allentown traffic jam on the way to catch a plane for my Dad’s funeral a few years ago.

I can’t say one way or another I’m a fan of his WOR talk-only show. As I said, I don’t listen to that much talk radio except for a half-hour, here and there, of a sports-talk. And WOR doesn’t come in here that well, whereas his old WAEB gig was a loud signal. Strict ‘talk’ may or may not be his truer metier, but whoever said that being the heavy hotdog in NYC doesn’t have as much prestige as it used to was spot-on.

-Steve Green NEPA


That was back in March.  Recently, Simone mentioned that he can’t walk down the street without people stopping him to say ‘heard the show today’ or ‘great show today’ so he knows people are listening.


hmmm, just saw this thread in the New York forum about the Library of Congress searching for content to archive from local radio:


I would love to see Bay Area local radio archived with the LOC.  Then, I could hear some Gene Burns shows and listen again to Pete Wilson.  sigh…


  1. Henning Bjerre says:

    Still Get Gene Burns here via & !

    • Thank you so much, Henning. I’ve looked for clips of him on YouTube but there’s not much there. I will definitely check out these links. I am one of those unfortunate ones who didn’t listen to the old KGO during the time slot when Gene was on. I’m sure I heard him as a fill-in host at some time, but not enough for it to register. I really missed a great talent and would love to go back now and find out what I missed. It was the same with John Rothmann, I was unfamiliar with him until Cumulus came along and destroyed local radio. At least with John I’ve been able to hear him here and there on local radio in the past few years (not much lately, though) and I understand what people are talking about when they reference him with much respect and why everyone wishes he would have a regular show.

      Has anyone heard anything more about Ray’s book? I would love to hear what he has to say about what’s going on now with Hillary and Trump, although I did stop listening to him after some of the things he called Hillary the last time around.

      • Bruce K. says:

        Some of the things I heard of Gene’s and Rothmann’s shows were really great. Most calls and shows are sort of forgettable, but those guys really kept things interesting and knew what they were talking about for the most part. I’m so sorry you missed hearing Gene and John … I listened to them both for many years … and I just have a hole in my gut that there is no decent talk radio to listen to any longer. How could Cummulus or whatever it was just kill the best talk radio station in the area, maybe the nation, and replace it with something that does not work, and then not admit their mistake?

        To me, even if the new dumbed down format did work. broadcast radio needs to have some kind of public service – they should be operating in the public interest, and I see nothing. This country is falling apart that is a huge consequence of it.

      • I have been puzzling over the dumbing-down of the airwaves for some time now. They all explain it away as needing a younger demographic who have a short attention span. I think it’s more to do with no money and no staff to run a station as they used to before PPM was introduced. PPM is certainly one factor in everyone chasing for the bottom now.

        Also, we’ve lost the people who used to investigate and report news for a living. Now, we have news readers who read teleprompters text that some intern had to cough up during lunch hour. Anyone can lie now to benefit themselves and no one can properly research what is being fed to us.

        Even in talk radio, they all seem to read word-for-word articles from sfgate. Then, they don’t take calls so they are reading off the internet and then talk about it without allowing anyone else a voice. Your buddy Gil Gross does that often. I used to be a fan, but he is taking it easy and playing around without any substance. It’s really disgusting. Not to mention torturing his listeners with the sound of his wife’s voice every Friday. I stopped listening to him, even when she’s not there. When he mentions her name, I cringe. She has destroyed his brand but he can’t see it. I agree that he used to be a good host. I don’t know what the heck happened to him.

    • I forgot to mention, is the audio something that can be used by the Library of Congress if they are, indeed, collecting old audio shows to archive? I don’t know if the LOC archiving is local to the New York market only. Or, if local radio shows are copyrighted by the station in the market they aired.

  2. Bruce K. says:

    Lately I have been thinking about talk radio and how much I miss it. Oddly enough I started looking for videos on You-Tube to keep up with Bernie Sanders. Then for some reason thought about Bernie Ward and what a disappointment and embarrassment Bernie was to Liberal. I really liked Bernie a lot when he first started on KGO, and even some of his shows before he was a regular. Ugh.

    But then I went to thinking about John Rothmann who I used to listen to all the time on that late night weekend slot, and all the other talk show hosts. But virtually any reminiscence of talk radio has me thinking back on what a great diversity and selection there used to be in the Bay Area.

    It’s ironic that when I first moved to CA in 1970 KGO to me was an right-wing old man irritant that I never could listen to. Always yelling down the callers, insults and idiocy … a lot like what we hear today after everything has been cut.

    There used to be great talk shows on the rock stations, sex advice shows, psychologist shows, political talk shows, science fiction, etc. I could literally be in my car driving and have a selection of very good live spontaneous entertainment and education. I must have spend thousands of hours listening to talk shows. And they started getting better and better.

    With a couple of Liberals on KGO finally I felt a little more like something other than right-wing nonsense was being broadcast. The solid middle of the road of Ron Owen, who runs a pretty good show, that is too early for me to listen to very often. But there was Gene Burns, who whether he was Liberal, Libertarian, or whatever could really hold and intelligent conversation. Gene was one of my favorites. And John Rothmann, who I still think is a Republican still used to have really good conversations and let peolpe talk. Same with Pat Thurston, and others.

    It has been a very long time since they shut down KGO, and I can only give that Orwellian causes, because there days there is nothing any longer. There used to be all kinds of good TV shows as well, and even speakers in local venues. Almost all of that is gone. There is very little talk radio anymore, and where there is there is about 10 minutes of talk for every half hour.

    It just makes me feel sick. There is a great movie out now “Best Of Enemies” about William F. Buckley and Gore Vidal’s 1968 Presidential debates during the two partys’ conventions. It is amazing what was going over the air back then … and we have none of that now.

    I wonder if it would be possible to have a talk show of people who like talk shows and do a podcast or talk show, don’t know about radio time, but generations now are going know nothing about this way to communicate … and you know, so far I don’t see the web as an alternative to talk radio, simply because it is all too much commercial and watched over. Are we living 1984?

    Oh, I do appreciate Gil Gross, who reminds me a lot of Gene Burns in that he is just a quick thinking guy who can reason and be honest on his feet. The problem is that none of the shows any more have a political overtone … they are all very careful about being apolitical for the most part.

    • Hi, Bruce. What a wonderful comment. So much to it, and I just arrived from work and don’t have the time now to properly respond. I’ll get to it this weekend. Thank you so much for giving us all something to think about.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s