At the end of last week, KGO Radio announced they were terminating most of their on-air personalities. A few great voices like Dr. Bill Wattenburg are now off the air. Dr. Bill alone has been on KGO for four decades. That makes my career seem minute in comparison.
The nice thing about KGO was that there was radio for all audiences. Yes, it was meant to be the liberal answer to their sister station, KSFO, but it gave a local perspective with fresh content.
I do feel a bit for Cumulus Media. When ratings systems and metrics change, advertisers can run away faster than the blink of an eye. It’s happened to my operations more than once in my career thus far. Ratings in radio change even more than they have on the Internet in the past few years, and are now based around portable monitors… these clunky devices that look like original iPods… that you have to constantly wear. I think it’s a poor metric, and I can see how it has caused KGO’s ratings to tank.
Sure, you can say that liberalism is on the outs in the new “new” economy, but I think this is a matter of lies, damn lies, and statistics.
KGO is basically dead to me at this point, I have no interest in any of the lingering programming on the station. A few personalities were kept, mostly I suspect to keep the schedule from reading “news” all 24 hours long. Advertisers don’t like that, either.
Did Internet kill the local radio star? Probably, I mean, podcasting is still in its infancy, but people are reading their news on smartphones, tablets, and other devices. I think podcasting has a long way to go before it replaces radio, but cars are going to be the lynchpin in that as they embrace tethering to phone apps for radio/podcast consumption. I suspect a lot of the content that made KGO unique will eventually emerge onto that platform in a national manner.
Do I support people planning an “Occupy KGO” movement? No. I don’t think protesting and demanding KGO reverse-course is warranted, or even necessary. I think most of the on-air personalities will be fine, and if KGO wants to make stupid decisions… there are plenty of other options in this industry. Between TuneIn Radio, the retention deals on XM/Sirius, and the rest of the AM band, I won’t have any problem keeping KGO off my dial.