March 31st, 2016
Bay Area Talk radio legend Ronn Owens, who has been heard in middays on KGO/San Francisco for 40 years, told listeners today that he is moving to talk clustermate KSFO, where he’ll debut in that station’s 3-6pm afternoon drive slot (hours currently occupied by Westwood One’s syndicated Mark Levin Show) on Monday (4/4).
With a long reputation as a moderate host from his years on the air at KGO, Owens will join a heavily conservative lineup at KSFO, including the aforementioned Mark Levin, along with syndicated talkers Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage, Glenn Beck and local morning hosts Brian Sussman and Katie Green.
Commenting on the pending move to KSFO Owens said, “What a unique opportunity to keep doing what I’ve been doing for the past 40 years, in the place I love doing it — the Bay Area — and I’m just a couple of clicks down the dial.” Word is expected soon on who, or what, will fill Owen’s weekday 9am-noon slot at KGO.
Meanwhile, word has been slowly trickling out of Cumulus Media/San Francisco all day that the shift of Ronn Owens over to KSFO is not the only major change happening at the heritage News/Talker.
NTS MediaOnline Today has learned that a number of pink-slips — primarily in the KGO News department and at sister station KFOG-FM — have been handed out today as part of a repositioning plan for both stations.
Meanwhile, no specifics have been released yet on just what any additional programming changes might be coming to KGO, but more announcements are anticipated.
Following a number of major programming and management changes at KGO in the past few years, the former perennial Bay Area ratings leader has suffered a significant decline in ratings, and currently sits outside the Top 20 in the market, posting just a 1.8 share (6+) in February 2016 Nielsen Audio estimates.
From Sept. 1982 to Dec. 2011, I use to listen to KGO810 most every night on the skip signal. Some thought provoking hosts over the years held my attention and at times Pi**ed me off too, LOL, from Bay Area, to California to USA/International news and politics. Since the GREAT LET GO DEC. 2011. I’ve probably listened to KGO810 less than 2 hours… SAD SO SAD to what was one of the top news/talk radio stations the USA.
And then there were none.
Owens is the last of the full-time KGO talkers from the great lineup from the late 90s, when I first began picking up the monster 810 signal during my nightly walks in Victoria, until the Thursday afternoon massacre in 2011 when he was about the only survivor of the Cumulus Media purge.
Not much to listen to since, although the delayed 10 pm-2am broadcast of John Batchelor covers Asian geopolitics, the American economy and US politics from a vastly less hysterical angle than most conservative talk shows. (Ironically, I was finally able to listen to Owens as they re-aired his morning show between 2-3am.)
Still, the KGO signal remains so strong, it seems a waste of a great resource by Cumulus. Even indoors, I can often pick it up much louder than CKNW 980 in Vancouver.
Perhaps the financial reckoning that could be severe enough to put Cumulus into chapter 11 creditor protection will entice a deep pocketed San Franciscan to buy the station and return it to glory.
I listened to Ronn a couple times
Finished! Sad times. The station is running looped promos, including a lengthy bit by Ellen Degeneres, and promising a new look next week. All programming info, save for the CKNW-like junk weekend programming, has been removed from the station’s web site. And, yes, the signal remains as strong as ever at night here in the Vancouver area. How the mighty have fallen.
Well, not only do they not understand KGO’s audience, they are turning the wrong direction with KSFO. In an area when there is a true hunger for conservative radio, Ronn, while interesting at times, is not the trend.
When KSFO originally took Rush off a couple of years ago, in an email conversation with Brian I predicted that if they kept up the move away from conservative talk that one day in the next couple of years they’ed all be pink slipped to be replaced with an all music station. The reply was,”I know, I know!”
I put up with the move of Hannity, to another time slot, replaced with Savage, because Rush was back. But these days with with “I Heart Radio” it has become easier to plug the Smart Phone into the room’s or car’s sound system and listen to a single station that really supports the conservative talk show addict.
The addition of Ron Owens will not replace the audience lost by the absence of Levin.
A couple of good reads on the demise of KGO: