Posts Tagged ‘Ben Fong-Torres’

It’s now weeks into the New Year and I was ready to go over all of the same old stuff from last year, but  that is so 2014!

I was even going to mention my disappointment that our local talk radio station does not have a two-way conversation with callers.  Do they understand the extent of damage they have done to the radio product?  I know, it’s a business and they have to make money to stay in business, but when they cheapen the product and try to sell it as better than before, do they think that’s an acceptable business practice?

Do they think their audience will not notice, or just accept it and continue consuming it?

The audience is part of the product, because that’s what they sell to advertisers.  When they cheapen their product, they lose their audience and along with the audience goes the advertising dollars.

These companies think they can just buy up properties and sell bulk product over large regions and take the audience out of the equation.  The strategy seems to be to sell product by Metro land area and see how many people they can catch in their exposure net, but it’s like the ol’ tree in the woods thing – if a radio signal reaches far into the woods, but no one is listening, is there still a sound?

ha ha!  You can bet someone will sneak a PPM meter in there, though, to make sure it picks up hits to sell fathom ratings to an unsuspecting advertiser.

For those interested in the workings of radio ratings, here is a link to an extensive overview of the ratings process:

(Note: You can skip past pages 5-34 of the PDF, they are screen shots of target demographic pages, but the other pages include definitions of the ratings process)

Also, I’ve posted this link before, but this is the PDF that explains PPM ratings:

As I roamed online to find some ratings sources, I noticed Mark Ramsey’s blog page with his summary list of what traditional radio stations should be doing:

His list includes:

  • Consumers are in control: Give them what they want, when they want it,

  • Recognize that you’re in the content business, not only the distribution business …

The last point of the list:

  • Plan for a future which leverages the attention your brand enjoys with audiences and the relationships you have audiences and advertisers. You’re not really in the “radio” business, after all. You’re in the business of connecting consumers and clients via your megaphone across all platforms. Invest in that future.

Read the entire article for more.  You might get an annoying pop-up thing at first, but simply go back on your browser and then return and it will be gone.

Isn’t this what we’ve been complaining about for the last three years?  Forward Ramsey’s article to all of the pseudo radio execs you know.

Maybe we should send it en masse to our local talk radio station.

At one time, I almost believed Talk910-AM would get better.  I wanted to believe.  Then, Gil shoved his amateur wife at us.  Gil’s show had been declining in quality but when his wife showed up every Friday, it became dreadful.

If that wasn’t insulting enough to the Talk910 audience, someone asleep on the job made the decision to put on the air two irritants, not once a week but every weekday from 1:00 – 3:00pm.

Have you ever heard promos for that show?  oh my gawd.  ghastly.  Those guys do not even speak in sentences.  They don’t even speak like they’re from this planet.  It’s as if they are pretending to talk like humans but do not understand the concept.  I don’t think there is any concept those two would understand.

Then, there’s Ed Baxter.

This is a bright spot in Talk910’s programming, but, for whatever reason, he’s limited to that boring talk, talk, talking to himself format.

Although, Ed does have an intelligent, interesting, well-spoken and out-spoken producer, Tim (I think that’s his name), who interacts with him on air.  Why not give Ed’s producer the 1:00pm slot?

Ed Baxter is a mature broadcaster who understands what a talk radio audience longs to hear – an engaging show with callers added to the mix.  At first, I thought, Ed, oh, Ed, why oh why did you lose your backbone on that?

I was feeling disappointed, until I took another trip to Ed’s new site, The Talk Pod:

They also have a Facebook page, but it’s not up-to-date, for some reason:

But, this is what caught my attention on and it reassures me that Ed has a vision that is still in early creation stages, but it is a long-term vision that will unfold and expand into what former talk radio listeners are searching for in this time of content deprivation:

Taken from Ben Fong-Torres’ column, Radio Waves, ( ) from The San Francisco Chronicle dated August 17, 2014:

They are not doing radio. They are writing and voicing short features, and they can be heard at and on mobile devices. Despite the site’s name, Baxter says it’s not a podcaster. Podcasts, he said, “are rewarmed radio shows, or people telling you how to get rid of toenail fungus. Here you’ve got well-known talk-show talent doing original content, in a form you’re not hearing elsewhere.”

and, one more excerpt:

Listeners can respond only by e-mail, but Baxter says that The Talk Pod has plans “for longer and two-way programs. People will be able to call in and communicate with the hosts.” And, yes, he’s talking with a couple of other ex-KGO personalities.


Someone actually ‘gets’ it and is doing something about it.

Hey, Ed *waves*, I like that.

Not to mention that someone actually linked a page of my blog on the Press page.  I was wondering where all of those extra hits were coming from and now I know.  Too bad it’s when I don’t have much time to post lately.  Ever help plan and design a game?  It’s a lot of work and time-consuming!  Sorry, new hits, for my lack of blog performance.

For now, I’ll continue to listen to Ed’s show on Talk910.  If only he can do something about those awful car commercials.  I have to turn the radio OFF every time I hear two words of that excruciating ad.  There have been times I’ve had the radio turned off more than it was on.

This is a long post, and I have more to say about recent posts on Google Groups forum, ba.broadcast (!forum/ba.broadcast – Note: disregard the ramblings of one poster who is obviously unbalanced) and I have more to say about another talk station I listen to before and after Ed.  I’ll end here and talk about the other stuff on a future post.

If you are wondering about that station as an option, it’s conservative in content but all of the shows take calls, all calls, not just the ones that fit into their agenda.  Of course, they respond to them in a conservative voice, but listeners hear both sides of it.  And, they post fun things on their Facebook and show pages.  I’ve been enjoying it more than I’d like to admit.  I’ll add links at the end of this post if you want to explore this option.

The ba.broadcast forum just posted something about them as well, so I thought it’s a good time to bring it up.  Next post!

If you can’t wait, these are the relevant links:

(Note: There is an unbalanced soul on the main forum who keeps posting disgusting content (not in this link of content), so if you go to the main page don’t bother with those psycho posts.  I hope ba.broadcast can figure out a way to get rid of him/her/them.)

 ‘What’s up at KGO?‘ – fourm post:!topic/ba.broadcast/b-e5IlxerXY

Bring down the demographics on Talk radio?‘ – forum post:

(this is the post that talks about the other station I listen to in between Ed)!topic/ba.broadcast/GM4lUaqhyd4

That ‘other’ station in NY:

On the show page/or Facebook page, look for the videos of:

Gilbert Gottfried reads 50 Shades

Nicole Kidman and Jimmy Fallon

Just found this:

This is a link to Ben Fong-Torres’ column about him turning 70!  Yikes.  Where do the years go?

And, how could I forget about our friends at NoMoreKGO Facebook page?

So, it’s full speed ahead into 2015!  Should I mention how that media blogger guy is so 2011 and so 1950s in the way he portrays women.  And that Santa Cruz radio station is so out of the radar of choices it’s not even a blip.

That’s a good start to the New Year!

Photo by Olybrius CCA-SA 3.0






Hey, it’s a long, holiday weekend so we’ll wander off the path of radio a bit and peek into the backyard of the anti-pope where he and Sarge discuss the Miley media moment.


9/5/13 UPDATE: yikes.  I titled this as a play on words for cyber attack, and now I see that the anti-pope really did have a cyber attack that didn’t have anything to do with Miley Cyrus.  He deleted everything and started over, so all old content has been removed.

Here’s what he says about it:

Darn.  He’s hit and miss with his blog, but when he’s on it’s a compelling read.

ANOTHER UPDATE 9/8/13: well, he did  it again!  He deleted his recent purging post!  What is going on over there?  Anyway, here’s what he says now:

You’d better read it fast before he deletes this one!  You’ll now have to read the Purging My Soul post in Google cache.  Oh, well….

You can still find his old Miley content by Googling: opensalon emmerling rumimatopms on mz miley.  You have to look at the cache view to see it.

NOTE: The following link is no longer valid.  You have to view it in Google’s cache.

“I am reading that from some quarters that this is about the ‘’empowerment of women’’. And from other quarters that such ‘’obscenity’’ and bare skin and suggestive twirlings & whirlings are exactly the opposite of empowerment.

I am thinking: it was the teenage boys who are now empowered, if this is their image of the female species.”


Some months back I posted a link to an event promoted by Broadcast Legends that brought together some former KGO staff and hosts at a public luncheon.   Now that the Chronicle has lifted their pay-wall, the write-up by Ben Fong-Torres is visible to the public:

It’s interesting what was said about the financial health of the Dick-eys at Cumulus, especially after the headlines this week of a merger:


Well, I guess we did wander back into a radio theme.  So, let’s finish it off with an interesting bio I found on Gil Gross.  It explains his penchant for crafting jokes out of every other sentence spoken by his show guests.


That’s it!  Get back to enjoying a long, relaxing weekend before it’s over!

We’ll PPM next week.

I’m sure I’m the only one who thinks this is funny, but I’ve been chuckling about it since I read it.

I’m one of those ‘gurlz’ who doesn’t sit around watching or listening to many sports broadcasts.  Well, maybe figure skating and gymnastics once in awhile, especially during an Olympic year.  So, the recent firing of Ralph Barbieri by Cumulus-owned station KNBR interests me only by fueling my complete hatred for that bottom-feeder corporation, Cumulus Media, that has destroyed local radio here and has done it with cruelty and brutality, showing little regard for many radio professionals, public figures as well as behind-the-scene technicians.

I know, I know, I’ve said it before, many times.  But I’ll say it again and again until we can run Cumulus out of town and out of the broadcast business.  They seem to be mucking it up on their own, but let’s try to push it along faster – their total and utter failure.

Anyway, back to Ralph and a reminder of something else I’ve said before: Read the 415 Media blog not for the articles but for the comments.  It’s always sprinkled with some erudite commentary, and, for lighter moments, the usual fare of some name-calling, arguing and debating.  They are always bashing Ben Fong-Torres over there as well, the Chronicle/ sfgate journalist who writes a local media column, Radio Waves.  Here’s a link:

Lately, as you can imagine, the 415 Media blog has been Barbieri-bloated, headlines screaming about Ralph’s abrupt dismissal and, now that the lawsuit has been filed, the article headings have reached a level of hysteria.  It’s an odd thing to watch from the sidelines.

Today, as I glanced through the comments of the latest post, I couldn’t help but laugh.  Even now, I’m having a few more giggles just reading it again.


It starts out with a comment someone made about how many times Ralph had been late to work.

This comment followed in reply:

“Kenn Fong June 19, 2012 10:44 AM

The most rank newbie knows you should be in the building at least half an hour before you go on the air. It’s a matter of respect to your colleagues. Unless you’re Don Sherwood and Ralph’s no Don Sherwood.

I feel badly for him that it ended this way, but if it’s true that Ralph was stupid enough to be late 100 times when they watching him, it’s almost as if he wanted to be fired.”


And, this followed:


“Anonymous June 19, 2012 11:35 AM

Mr. Fong, why would you comment on gossip? Perhaps Mr. Bowman is correct; perhaps he is not. That’s what courts are for. To comment as you have here ~ without irrefutable proof ~ is irresponsible for someone who is a columnist and supposedly guided by a journalistic code of ethics.

Would you like us to post gossip about you Mr. Fong, so that someone may comment: “… but if that’s true, that Mr. Fong was stupid enough to be late 100 times when they {sic} were watching him, it’s almost as if he wanted to be fired.”

Oh, so now, not only are you a gossip-monger, Mr. Fong, but you are a mind-reader? Hey, can you tell me how the stock market is gonna do next week so I can move my investments?

Give me a break. No wonder The Chronicle is tanking.

Secondly, anyone with an ounce of supervisorial experience, HR experience, legal experience, etc., knows YOU NEVER write an email that says, “I am very concerned about your health and on-the-air energy,” as Mr. Hammer did.

That fact that Mr. Hammer did not respond to Mr. Barbieri’s email back is an indication that perhaps Mr. Hammer realized his error, or HR did and hammered Mr. Hammer for a very stupid, and junior-level mistake.

The fact that Barbeieri’s show was first, second, first, second or vice versa (I can’t recall) in the months surrounding this Hammer note is an indication that Mr. Barbieri’s health had no effect on the ratings, whether or not he was No. 1 or No. 2.

As for Mr. Fong’s false assertion about a half-hour early, in my years in radio, that NEVER happened on a regular basis. NEVER.

Now, I worked at mid-market stations managing news, but I observed people. Perhaps in Mr. Fong’s experience, it is true. Perhaps at KNBR, it is true, but to make a blanket statement for ALL radio stations in the world, nada.

Now I know why I never read Mr. Fong’s column.

Disclaimer: I have no association, past or present, with Mr. Fong. I never heard him on air. I don’t read him because he’s clueless and even more boring than Mr. Barbieri.”


um, I can just imagine the look on Kenn Fong’s face when he reads this.  Yes, that Kenn Fong, some innocent web designer out of Alameda who likes to lick one-cent stamps.

Gawd, I’m still laughing….

Here’s a link to the 415 Media article with the comments:


Today, on Gil Gross’ show on KKSF-Newstalk 910-AM, he interviewed local attorney, Angela Alioto, who is representing Ralph Barbieri.  I’ll post that link tomorrow when they add the podcast to the website.

Here’s a link to that podcast (the interview with Alioto starts around 16:00):

Also, Gil mentioned that Gene Burns has added another post to his blog.  Here’s the link to that:

Is The American Dream A Myth?


Bernie Ward has posted something new to his blog as well:

Posted Sunday, June 17, 2012 – Why Don’t We Care More?