July 28, 2016

A Radio Requiem: Dead Air, Everywhere

Wow ... I hadn't realized that my old blog was still floating around in the Internet's ether. Reading it, I remember how much fun it was writing it, and how much fun it was to hang with great folks like John Mack Flanagan, Dave Sholin, Bobby Ocean, Paul Shinn, Ben Fong-Torres and so many others who are simply great human beings — and would be, regardless of whether or not they worked in radio.

It's been five years since I last posted a bit on this blog, and it's probably been just as long since I really cared anything about radio. It was a hobby I enjoyed since I was a kid of maybe five or six years old. It is a hobby that I care very little about any longer; a bunch of companies that start with C (Clear Channel, Citadel, Cumulus, CBS) and a few that don't pretty much killed it for me, and for many others as well.

When these companies decided that a radio station (or four) (or eight) in San Francisco could be run by one person, using bargain-basement talent voice-tracked from Indianapolis or Tampa or Topeka, then radio was dead. No new talent being developed in Class A minor-league towns like Salinas, Modesto or Stockton, or in Class AA cities like Reno or Tucson, and you've effectively dried up your future Big League stars.

Why develop talent in Salinas or Reno when you can run one-size-fits-all canned crap like Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck or Alex Jones on every AM station in every location, town to town, up and down the dial?

So nobody listens to AM or FM radio any more. Why? Because there are MP3 players and satellite radios, and Pandora, and ... whatever. Why do they exist? They replaced radio because radio could be replaced.

The need to blog or write or report on the doings of local radio people became obsolete. Why do we need talented, well-paid radio personalities when we've killed the business? Why report on some talentless hack programming the Lite Rock, Country and Classic Rock station cluster in San Francisco when he'll be asking "Want fries with that?" in a few months back home in Minot?

I still love radio. I still pop in an aircheck of Doctor Don Rose, or Don Sherwood, or The Real Don Steele, or Charlie Tuna or someone/anyone who made radio worth listening to, who knew how to entertain.

But those days have gone. Radio's greatest generation has passed us by. Nobody will replace them, because nobody is out there to replace them. There's no need.

Long live radio. Rest in peace, and silence.

April 20, 2011

S.F. March Radio Ratings In Review...

In the latest Arbitron ratings, News KCBS (740 AM and 106.9 FM) keeps its grip on the top spot among all listeners age 6+ for the third straight month. KQED-FM (88.5) holds the second spot, followed by Lite Rock KOIT (96.5 FM)

In AllAccess.com's analysis:

Like geological strata revealed on a dig, the P25-54 rankings for March are layered by format from #1 to #10. At the top is the News layer, revealing #1 KQED-FM and #2 KCBS-AM. Next is the Top 40 stratum, featuring #3 CBS Radio Top 40/Mainstream KMVQ (99.7 NOW), #4 Clear Channel Top 40/Rhythmic KYLD (Wild 94.9), and #5 KMEL. Next is the Latin layer, with #6 Univision Regional Mexican KSOL and #7 Univision Spanish Adult Hits KBRG (Recuerdo 100.3). The final layer of the P25-54 Top 10 format stratification is the AC layer, which shows KOIT, Clear Channel Hot AC KIOI (Star 101.3), and Clear Channel Rhythmic AC KISQ (98.1 Kiss FM) stacked at #8, #9 and #10, respectively.

AllAccess also notes that the Wild 94.9 morning show, starring J.V. and Rico, has jumped from #5 to #2 among listeners 18-34, and from #10 to #5 among listeners 25-54.

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February 22, 2010

Clear Channel/SF Rearranges Deck Chairs

AllAccess.com reported just moments ago that two of Clear Channel's heaviest hitters in San Francisco, John Scott and Stacy Cunningham, have "exited the cluster."

Scott was program director of Green 960 (KKGN), while Cunningham programmed KMEL (106.1 FM).

CC/SF operations manager Don Scott takes over programming duties at KMEL, with Ricci Filiar now programming 98.1 Kiss FM, Green 960 and KNEW (910 AM). Filiar had been APD and music director at Kiss FM.

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February 19, 2010

For Stockton's KSTN, Sudden Death

I learned just a few moments ago from a longtime employee at Stockton's KSTN (1420 AM, 107.3 FM) that both stations will go dark tonight.

The AM station will reportedly be dismantled and remain silent. Its future, if it has one, is unclear.

The FM, which has been popular in the Central Valley as La Poderosa, will be off the air over the weekend, then will return on Monday as a "repeater" for Educational Media Foundation's K-Love Christian network.

Both stations are expected to go off-air tonight at or around midnight.

UPDATE (5 PM): I am now informed from personnel inside the radio ranch house at 2171 Ralph Avenue that KSTN/1420 will sign off for good at 6:15 PM this evening.

UPDATE (6:30 PM): Following Queen's "Another One Bites The Dust," KSTN program director John Hampton, who has been with the station for thirty years, and chief engineer Paul Shinn, who has been there for a dozen, said their final farewells and played her out with the KSTN version of the theme from "WKRP In Cincinnati" by Steve Carlisle. Then, sadly, dead air on 1420 kiloHertz.

Click here for an excerpt from the final moments of KSTN/1420.

UPDATE (2/20/2010 12:05 AM): No sentimental send-off for La Poderosa. At midnight, following a quick legal ID, the power was simply shut off on 107.3 FM.

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July 01, 2009

Ken Dito To Join KTRB?

Ken Dito (c. 1985)Unconfirmed -- the I's haven't been crossed and the T's haven't been dotted yet -- but I've heard from a couple of people that Ken Dito will be heading to reconstructed Xtra Sports 860 (KTRB) as sports director and morning show host.

Dito (photo, right) had been reporting sports on the radio at KGO, and is a veteran of KNBR, KSFO and KYA.

No word yet on when the show will start, but Dito's potential presence on KTRB would certainly offer an alternative to KNBR's morning program.

KTRB continues its significant effort in going from third or fourth-tier (and, in some cases, fifth-tier) talk programming to a sports-oriented format, centered around Oakland A's baseball, Sporting News Radio and Ron Barr's Sports Byline USA.

PHOTO: Ken Dito, from the Bay Area Radio Museum Archives, courtesy of Ken Dito.

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June 26, 2009

Dave McQueen Signs Off At KCBS Tonight

Dave McQueen (KSAN)Dave McQueen, one of the best newsmen we'll ever hear, retires after his late-night shift at All News KCBS (740/106.9) tonight. KCBS has been running a tribute piece by Mike Sugerman as their cover story today, and his friends and colleagues will hold a retirement party for him tonight.

McQueen (photo, right) came to the Bay Area forty years ago from Texas as the news anchor at KSAN during its nascent days as "The Jive 95." He had a deep, solid, authoritarian voice -- a "network voice" -- which belied his appearance: Dave McQueen was a full-on long-haired hippie.

He also worked at KFRC, KNEW, KKCY and KKSF. McQueen's last shift tonight (through early Saturday morning) has him on from 9 to 11 PM, then again from 2 to 5 AM, according to the KCBS program schedule.

UPDATE (6/27/2009 5 AM): As I fully expected, Dave McQueen -- who declined to be interviewed for Mike Sugerman's tribute piece -- signed off his final broadcast on KCBS in simple, by-the-book fashion: he mentioned the features that were coming up in the next hour, and then, after the top-of-the-hour time signal, he intoned "five o'clock."

The KCBS audio tribute to McQueen may be streamed at the station's website.

PHOTO SOURCE: Dave McQueen, circa 1973, from Jive95.com.

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June 25, 2009

Karel Show Loses Energy

As tipped by Rich "Big Vinny" Lieberman in his "City Brights" blog this morning, Karel has announced on his own website that he has been dropped from Energy 92.7's schedule.

Energy 92.7 has decided to not carry the Karel Show any longer. The reasons stated were financial reasons and the fact that it’s a new show and so as ratings tend to do they drop off at first and then rebuild. The building process isn’t happening fast enough for management so the money men (and women) said, stop.

According to Big Vinny's blog, Karel emailed him that the show will continue on Peter Laufer's KRXA (540 AM) in Monterey, and that "we are looking towards another station in [the Bay Area], perhaps Green 960 or such," to pick up the program.

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