Posts Tagged ‘Ray Taliaferro’

Yeah, that darn Rush Limbaugh and his big, flapping mouth is the reason Cumulus Media lost millions in recent quarters.

As reported by Politico:

Notice the last paragraph in this report, to quell this mess Limbaugh is going to promote some smarmy campaign of ‘Rush’s Babes’.  uh, good luck on that one, Rushie boy.  That will really show them wimmin’ in the world that you are not sexist.

Here’s a MarketWatch press release detailing the First Quarter results of Cumulus Media with this special little blurb by Dick-ey:

“The first quarter of 2012 was marked by significant progress in our integration of Citadel as we build Cumulus into a robust platform company that strategically monetizes content, distribution and technology. Complementing this progress was the continued deleveraging of our balance sheet, as well as strategic portfolio management that will enable us tremendous financial flexibility going forward.”

Here’s the full report:

And another one, the Wall Street Cheat Sheet:

I love the final assessment:

Looking Forward: Over the past sixty days, the outlook for the company’s performance next quarter has become increasingly unfavorable. The average estimate for the second quarter is 8 cents per share, a drop from 13 cents. The average estimate for the fiscal year is now 26 cents per share, down from 44 cents sixty days ago.”

This looks like fun reading from, especially the attached forums:

Cumulus Media is the worst form of corporate blight on our media landscape.  They come into a market and destroy all local radio, to the detriment of a community, so they can profit off of a cheapened product with an anticipated revenue-producing bottom line that only lines the greedy executives’ pockets, leaving communities and local jobs with local talent in the financial gutter.  Shame on you, Cumulus Media!  BOYCOTT Cumulus Media, write to their advertisers and protest.  Let their shareholders know not to approve any pay raises or bonuses to these bottom-feeders.  Do NOT listen, not ONE minute, to any of their stations.

Do you approve their business practices dealing with KGO, KFOG, and KNBR, some of our local stations?  If you google Cumulus Media, you will see we are not the only market destroyed by these money-mongers.  We have to build up our power as a community against this type of corporate bully.

I think Rush and Cumulus belong together.  Let them go down together.  Let them blame something else for their bad decisions.  Let’s watch them sink into the muck.

Let’s rise up as a community.

Here’s what Bernie Ward says, short and sweet:

Also, in my last post I mentioned that MZ of KSCO Santa Cruz read a letter on the air written by Lisa Golanty who is a member of the Facebook page of FormerKGOListeners  ( and told her to call in to the station to talk about it.  This happened in the last five minutes of Dr. Bill’s program on Tuesday so I was hoping to hear the call on Dr. Bill’s Wednesday show but nothing was mentioned about it.  Except, Dr. Bill did say, again, how he thought the boycott uproar over Rush Limbaugh’s syndicated program was orchestrated by only a few loud-mouths who wanted to make it sound like a huge following but were, probably, only a handful of listeners.

Now, I see that KSCO has posted a poll on their radio website ( ), as well as a question on their Facebook page (, for listeners to vote whether or not KSCO should pull Rush’s show.  In some of the comments I see Lisa joined in the discussion.  You Go, Girl!

Oh, and be sure to ‘Like’ the Facebook page of FormerKGOListeners when you go over there!

I listen to Dr. Bill Wattenburg now every Monday-Wednesday from 12Noon-2:00pm on Santa Cruz station KSCO.  Yes, that station.  The one where Ray Taliaferro lit up the phone lines during his Ray vs. Kay match-up.

I, also, used to read the Facebook page of FormerKGOListeners several times per week to get my old-KGO news.  That is, I was able to read it until a few days ago when Facebook changed its user interface to a timeline format and I can’t read the discussions on there without a Facebook account.  Not ‘gonna’ happen.

But I sure wish I could see what’s going on in the postings there.  One of the admins from FormerKGOKListeners wrote a letter to station manager, Michael Zwerling (who likes to refer to himself as MZ), about the recent Rush Limbaugh uproar.  Long story short, the Admin, Lisa Golanty, is not happy with Rush’s behavior and wants MZ to stop carrying Limbaugh’s syndicated programming.  Until that happens, Lisa will not listen to KSCO and will boycott the local advertisers on his program.  That is the extent of what I can see on the Facebook page.

So, today, I’m listening to Dr. Bill’s program on KSCO and at the very end of the second hour, MZ calls in to Dr. Bill so he can read a letter on the air.  First, Dr. Bill makes some sort of statement about how surprised he is that more women are not calling his show to talk about Rush, and that, in his opinion, the letters and email the station KSCO has received to date seem to be only a handful of out-spoken people.  He said that the response has been so minimal that he believes MZ will no longer hold back any local advertising on Rush’s show and will go ahead and play the spots from now on.  MZ chimes in that he just might do that.  Why should he run Rush’s show ad-free now that it seems there is no threat of a boycott to his local sponsors?  Then he and Bill have a good chuckle about it.

MZ tells Bill, you know, let me read you one of the letters that threaten to boycott.  They both laugh, and Bill says, go ahead.  So MZ reads Lisa Golanty’s letter to him on the air and tells her to call his show tomorrow to talk about it.

I was working so I’m not sure if I heard everything correctly, so please let me know if I’ve misunderstood something. (I’m sure the station will post the podcast eventually).

It’s as if MZ is making fun of Lisa for writing him a letter of protest and now he wants to talk to her on the air.

Why would anyone call that station?  I don’t think anyone is even listening to that station any longer (except to hear Dr. Bill).  I don’t see anything about this incident on the Facebook where Lisa is Admin (but I can’t see half of the discussions since the format change).

So, if you have a Facebook account, go over there and let her know.  It’s on! (and, no, I’m not going to say like Donkey Kong)

Don’t forget to ‘Like’ their page!

I hope I can listen tomorrow.  If not, then Dr. Bill is not on the air again, locally, until Monday.  There is no reason to listen to that station after Wattenburg signs off.  But I would love to hear what MZ has to say.  I think Lisa will be able to hold her own against that guy.  If only she knew about it…

I’m not sure what to think of Rich Lieberman’s 415 Media blog about the Bay Area broadcast market.  He’d been plugging along, sharing information and posting his opinions about the goings-on behind the scenes at our local television and radio stations long before I knew about him.  Then Cumulus Media showed up and in early December, 2011, their management, in typical Lew Dick-ey style, unceremoniously fired many of the popular hosts on our top News Talk station at the time, KGO, and Cumulus basically turned off 50,000 watts of radio for thousands of loyal listeners by replacing the news-talk format with all news.

We had no place to go to voice our outrage.  KGO turned its back on us, pretending not to hear the outcry of thousands.  Even Ronn Owens, one of the few talk-show hosts left standing at KGO, treated it as a non-topic of discussion, dismissing it as a good move and he had other things to talk about.  That was the last time I listened to KGO.

No one knew why it’d happened.  I scoured the internet for news about it.  That’s when I found a newly formed Facebook page FormerKGOListeners ( ).  The first postings were all cries of disbelief it had happened.  I started this blog as well, as a former listener, to reach out to others who wanted to talk about it.  We had no where else to go!  Thankfully, the Facebook page of FormerKGOListeners took off in popularity and it became the go-to place to find out about what the heck was going on at KGO.  I continued this blog because I’m not on Facebook and don’t plan to open an account there any time soon.  But I do enjoy reading the posts at Facebook’s FormerKGOListeners.  And I support them, as much as I can without actually opening an account there.  I like the WordPress format here because posts are easy to find, tagged and dated, and it feels more like writing an article than posting a quick thought on a Facebook page.  But that’s my preference.

That’s how I heard about Rich Lieberman’s 415 Media blog, from a link on Facebook’s FormerKGOListeners.  Finally, there was someone who talked about what was happening at KGO.  None of the fired KGO hosts were talking publicly, only polite little comments about ‘that’s the way radio is, comes with the job’.  Rich had some media connections, so he gave us the good stuff we wanted to hear.  Details of the day our favorite hosts were fired, what happened next behind-the-scenes at the station, and which staff members had survived.

I’ve been reading him weekly, at times daily, since the December day I found his blog.  I’ve linked to it on my About page.  He’s not the most professional writer/blogger out there.  He uses words like ‘tonsils’ at times when describing a broadcast personality.  Makes me cringe just typing it.  But that’s his style.  Speaking of cringe, he co-hosted a show on a Santa Cruz radio station one day and it really turned me off about promoting this guy.  He was awful.  I wrote about it here:

Then he began posting stuff that was so gossipy and juvenile about various people around the Bay that I almost deleted his links off my blog.  But I continued to read, glancing through the posts.  The good stuff was always in the comments.  I read them to this day.  It brings back the old days of KGO when people discussed and disagreed and even went on a rant or two.  That’s what I enjoy.   And it’s a place where everyone stops once in awhile to sit down and chat.  To put in a good word about Rich, he’s posted some interesting news that I hadn’t heard elsewhere.  A word of caution, though, there is a crack in his believability, some of the things he posts as breaking news or stay tuned for a big event, never happen.  So, read at your own risk and know that he’s just trying to find his way in this crazy media world and I’m sure he’ll even-it-all-out somehow.

He’s posted about some of our KGO hosts, I love that, and he even wrote about Ray recently.  Here’s the link to his Ray Taliaferro post and following are links to posts about the other hosts – with pictures, too:

Post about Ray Taliaferro (Note: Ray has even responded under the Comments section)

Post about John Rothmann:

Post about Gil Gross:

Remember when I said Rich needs time to even things out?  Well, this crazy bit of rambling makes me scratch my head.  I just hope it was an off day for his meds or something.  It once again brings into question his believability factor.  But it’s still a fun read.

As I said, huh?

Not only do we have taxes to look forward to in April, but for those of you who’ve migrated to Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio service to listen to KKSF Newstalk 910-AM and you’ve expanded into using iHeartRadio’s Custom Station feature, the commercial free ride will soon be over.  They will be adding advertisements to Custom Stations on April 1st.

Not sure if that will change on the iHeartRadio Podcasts.  We’ve been able to listen to podcasts of our former KGO hosts on KKSF Newstalk 910-AM (Podcasts found here: without commercial interruption.  We’ll see if that changes.  I guess they ‘gotta pay the bills’.  If they do add commercials, maybe that will pay for another host or two to go full-time on Newstalk 910.

Here’s more information from, written by Paul Riismandel, posted in December. 2011.  It includes an overall review of the service.  It’s favorable overall, with one limitation.  Here’s an excerpt of that one little nitpick:

“Fidelity is what I find to be iHeartRadio’s greatest limitation. I’ve listened to the service on my iPhone, iPad and two different Mac laptops. At home I’ve used both my MacBook Pro’s built-in headphone jack and two different USB audio devices. Across all devices I found that the custom stations sound the best. While quality does vary some from song to song, overall fidelity is roughly equivalent to Pandora’s free service.”

Here’s a link to Mr. Riismandel’s article:

Paul Maloney of RAIN (Radio and Internet Newsletter) posted a video of Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman’s interview with Kara Swisher of AllThingsDigital.  Maloney recapped several points of the half-hour interview.  Here’s one:

“Pittman likened Pandora more to Spotify and iTunes as “music collections” and even “retailing,” and though Clear Channel offers personalized streaming, stressed that this is “not what we do… it doesn’t play to our core strengths.” He also hit on the difficulty the company has had with consumer acceptance of advertising on personalized streams.”

hmmmm… maybe Clear Channel won’t add commercials to the podcasts if we, the consumer, object…

Anyway, here’s Maloney’s post that includes the video here:

Want Jersey Joe’s opinion of the iHeartRadio app?  You got it:

Had to include that because I like the name of his blog.  Reminds me of that hysterical video of Donny Osmond in Weird Al Yankovic’s green-screen first take of ‘White and Nerdy’.  How could I not include that link?  Enjoy:

Or, if you prefer following the link to YouTube:

What about the future of iHeartRadio?

And they are certainly ‘sync’ing their future with Ford:

And Cumulus Media?  They are ‘sink’ing their future, too.  In the homophone sense.  hee hee… (fingers crossed)


* Quick note: Bill Wattenburg will be on vacation next week (Feb 20-26, 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:

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.



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):

This is the one that examines the FCC 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.

Why the Rush, Cumulus?

Those who follow ( ) 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 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:

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:

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. 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 article here:

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

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?

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 ( ).  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 ( ):

“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?

Many have speculated over the whys of Dickey’s decisions in the radio market and some have mentioned the word politics.   I found an Atlanta article that states, yes, Dickey’s got politics on his mind for 2012.  He wants his hand in the pockets of politicians, grabbing the easy cash thrown at broadcasters for political advertising.

Dickey anticipates so much money rolling in that he’s hired a full-time political sales manager in Washington D.C.

This is all too convenient now, isn’t it?  Just in time for politics he’s gutted the airwaves in many regions.  SweetJack my a$$.  We’re going to need a heavy-duty pooper-scooper to clean up after this media mess.  I don’t think it’s only money he’s after, either.  But he won’t be so quick to share quotes about that part of his political game any time soon.

Again, I ask, what can we, thousands of us in this market alone, do to stop this?  Do not support SweetJack.  Do not support the new KGO.  Do not listen.  Do not support their advertisers.  Let the community know.  We are losing local radio in our communities so one big Dick-ey can grab more profit in an election cycle.

What else does he want us to lose?  Maybe an election?  Think about it.

In case any of you missed it, Nikki Silverstein of the Pacific Sun News interviewed Mickey Luckoff after the recent take-over of KGO Radio by Cumulus Media and their December firing of most of KGO’s popular talk-show hosts.

In the article, Nikki discussed Mickey’s attempt to put together a business plan to keep the former hosts together and the reality of that happening in the end.



You can read the article in its entirety here:

I’ve highlighted a few excerpts for you:

Nikki Silverstein: What’s the biggest obstacle you face?

Mickey Luckoff: The business plan that I developed was so good, that when I looked at it, I said why are you giving this away? Why are you bringing this to someone else? The problem is that all the facilities are owned, basically, by four operations. Two are not broadcasters. They’re venture capital types that are buying, stripping and trying to maximize a nationally syndicated product, which is the ruination of local radio.

Nikki Silverstein: Is it all about money? Don’t broadcasters consider what the public wants? After all, the public owns the airwaves and allows the corporations to use it.

Mickey Luckoff: It’s about money. I don’t think the public realizes how badly they’re being fleeced by the radio industry. I think a story like KGO talk going away awakens people. It’s in all the blogs. I don’t read blogs, but my wife read them to me on the way home from Tahoe. Then there was the rally (listeners protested the format change outside the station’s San Francisco studios on Dec. 15). But, it’s over quickly. People realize there’s nothing they can do about it.

Nikki Silverstein: When did the ‘public fleecing’ begin?

Mickey Luckoff: It started with the government deregulation of broadcast ownership about 20 years ago. There used to be limits on the number of stations companies could own. When the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) removed the limits of the number of stations that these companies could own, that was the beginning of the end. Then Wall Street people started investing. They came in and pillaged the product. Run it cheap. Throw syndicated programming on the stations. To hell with the listeners.

Nikki Silverstein: Isn’t the FCC watching out for the public interest?

Mickey Luckoff: The FCC and the government have abandoned it.

Nikki Silverstein: It doesn’t seem fair. A few people are making a lot of money on public airways. And the public gets…

Mickey Luckoff: Crap. It’s getting worse now. There’s creative financing happening again. Broadcasters figure out a way to go into court with a planned bankruptcy. Ultimately what happens is they fleece the shareholders; they come out of it with no debt and they own the stations free and clear. They trade debt for equity.

Nikki Silverstein added a Postscript to her article days after the interview.  It was correspondence she’d received from Mickey Luckoff.  Again, read the article in full for Nikki’s complete interview and final assessment.

Excerpts of Mickey Luckoff’s letter sent to the team of former KGO hosts:

“As promised, I have made every conceivable effort to accomplish the goal as we originally discussed. I have exhausted every conceivable opportunity to package and relocate our incredible NEWSTALK team in its entirety.

Much to my dismay there is not a single facility with a market wide signal available to purchase, lease (LMA), or to be made available by one of the multiple owners to adopt the format at this time!”

“…Other facilities available simply DO NOT have adequate market coverage to justify the team!”

“…, it ultimately is the total lack of courage and imagination among current-day owners and operators which prevents us from returning as a (profitable) format which would also have dominated Bay Area NEWSTALK audiences for the foreseeable future.”

We know, now, that Cumulus Media is buying up stations all over the country and CEO, Lew Dickey, plans to shove his new marketing baby, SweetJack, into our faces every ten minutes.  That is, if you still listen to any of those stations anymore.  I can say, proudly, I have not heard one SweetJack ad.  But I have to read more about this deal before I can formulate a coherent post about it.

Here’s a start to learn the basics:

It’s important for those who oppose this to develop a clear message before spreading it to the masses.  When Dr. Bill Wattenburg was hosting this week in Santa Cruz, on that strange little station KSCO, he mentioned to callers that a cheap, easy way to get a message out about any issue was to do something so simple that anyone of any age can do it.  Imagine how powerful that could be to multitudes who have something to say about Cumulus and SweetJack and the corporate takeover of local radio in our communities.

What was Dr. Bill’s suggestion?  Take a marker and a piece of paper and write down what you want to say.  Then, post it where other people can see it.  In your car window (where it’s legal), on a telephone pole, in the laundromat on the message board, in a local coffee shop, even stick it to your coat when out walking.  You get the idea.  It’s really a brilliant idea.

But to be effective, the message must be clear and consistent.  It wouldn’t hurt to add a few names of local government officials who have the resources behind them to create change.

It’s something that can be done now.  Today.

The only problem, though, is what should that message be?  I’m not sure and that’s why I want to find out more about this Cumulus deal.  They’ve partnered with Clear Channel to spread their SweetJack, but Clear Channel is the station now hiring some of the former KGO hosts as their on-air talent on 910AM. Clear Channel is even bigger than Cumulus and in more markets.

And, what was really behind the Telecommunications Act of 1996?

Some think it’s useless to try and save radio as we know it, that it’s declining into the dustheap of outdated technology.  So, why are we outraged?  What is our message?  Do we only want to vent our anger at change or do we want to effect change?  What would you write on that piece of paper?


By the way, I just found this interesting tidbit on Cumulus about their firing practice.  hmmm, I wonder if Ronn Owen’s has seen this little gem…