Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wednesday Wash; More Ronn Owens; KGO Hires Weekend Reporter In Case The World Ends; KCBS Discovers 'Live and Local' Is Innovative; KPIX Promotes: 'Game ONNNNNN!"

 Wednesday Wash

As a result of the early Sunday morning fiasco in which there was literally no one in the building to so much even answer a phone, KGO Radio hired a weekend reporter who ostensibly will be on hand to cover things, like earthquakes, for example.

Real revolutionary stuff--next thing you know they'll buy some more mic flags too.

*From a station insider on Ronn's future: "Yes, he, (Owens), makes them money but not that much money. No one gives away money for free. If they sign him for a year I'd be surprised but they're so lacking in ideas they probably will."

*More Ronn Owens: When Napa and the Bay Area were recovering and reacting to Sunday's quake, Owens opened up his KGO show talking about his medical disclosure for a good half-hour Monday morning. Instead of waiting until the final hour to talk about his malady, (which would have been the wiser choice), Owens instead chose ego over basic news judgment. Nothing surprising there.

*The "Live and Local" crappola that is all over KCBS is redundant and corny. Of course it's live and local! As opposed to Taped and National? Another dumb slogan that dumbs down the audience.

*Speaking of KCBS, word from 855 Battery was, "Where was Stan?, (Bunger)--indeed it was quite strange that their most popular anchor was nowhere to be seen or heard. PM drive anchor Jeff Bell instead handled the main proceedings.

*KTVU Never Learns: Only seven hours after the quake Channel 2 began running promos of its quake coverage complete with shots of Downtown Napa and reporters covering the scene. You couldn't wait one day? No wonder no one respects them anymore.

*More annoying than "Live and Local", KPIX's dreadful 10 PM CW Sports header, "GAME ONNNNN!" --Oh, please, shut up!

*"I wanted to come out now after Robin Williams." Yeah, sure, I'm sure the contract had zilch to do with it.

*I'm pretty sure Robin Williams didn't sell himself out and pimp mattresses.

*Cumulus and Parkinson's Disease: Not a winning combo.

*I have an aunt with early-stages dementia. I don't need someone to "come out" to become educated.

*Steve Bitker update: Good Morning Stan, Good Morning Susan, Good Morning Holly, Good Morning John, Good Morning Jason, Good Morning Ed, Good Morning Dan, Good Morning Paul, Good Morning Jennifer, Good Morning Janice, Good Morning God.....


*Larry Baer called in KNBR staff Monday after the quake to complain that the shaker cut into Giant's "Diamond Notes." ...Just kidding but with Baer who knows.

*Wait a minute, KNBR barely mentioned the quake. Their idea of "news" is a new Brian Murphy UCLA reference.

*Ronn could have gone en fuego Monday: half hour of his malady and 30 minutes on his new gadgets.

**Follow me Twitter

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Nobody Does This Better


*Follow me on Twitter

Ronn Owens Quick Bullet Points; It's All About The Money; And Numbers Too

*He has a lot of overhead --needs to get paid so coming out now, the timing, as many have speculated here and other places, makes perfect sense. Don't believe for a second he did it because of Robin Williams --baloney.

*His contract is up soon and although there's an option, his ratings are terrible --how bad? The sad sack opposite him at KSFO is beating him and has younger listeners. All Cumulus has to do is simply not renew his contract. It's all business and the Parkinson's disclosure will not affect that move, remember, this is Cumulus.

*He still makes a lot of money for the company and that might propel him an extension of his current deal but probably only for a year. With a buyout. Cumulus has all the leverage here as they did with Ralph Barbieri but Barbieri had an existing contract. Owens's deal is coming up.

*He once told Gene Burns at a lunch at North Beach Restaurant that he couldn't work for 300 grand and that he'd probably quit. The only reason he's still working is he managed to get a better deal at a much less lengthier time. 2 years and an option. He said it himself: he has no hobbies except doing a talk show, traveling and eating good food and drinking expensive wine. He still has a mortgage on his home. He needs the money too.

*He's nowhere near the top of his game but he can still do a decent interview every now and then and, as I said, he makes money for the company. His popularity has dwindled as has his numbers --like everything else his future at KGO will be determined by two men in Atlanta.

*Follow me on Twitter

Ronn Owens

Many of you have asked me about my reaction to Ronn Owens coming out publically to disclose he has Parkinson's disease.

I wish him well.

What? Would I wish him anything else? Please.

First off, I knew about this for years and held off because I wasn't a hundred percent certain.

And what would be accomplished by me going public? His personal life and professional life are separate. I would hope most of you sort of get it.

Just because one is critical about one's professional behavior has nothing to do with health and well-being.

Again, I wish him and his family the best.

*Follow me on Twitter

Monday, August 25, 2014

CNN Gets 'BabaBooeyed' in Napa Quake Coverage; Captain Janks Strikes Again

Howard Stern's proxy somehow makes it through the CNN wilderness.


*Follow me on Twitter

Napa Earthquake Coverage Was Overall Pretty Good on Bay Area TV Airwaves; Not So Much on Radio Except KCBS; 415 Media Monday Breakdown

 THE TEMPTATION to second-guess immediate media coverage when all hell breaks loose on an early Sunday morning is quite inviting and that's what took place when a moderately strong earthquake rocked the Bay Area and Napa 3: 20 AM.

QUAKE! Strong. Scary. Rolling sensation. And long too. Over twenty seconds.

The immediate reports soon after was that all was OK within the immediate SF-Oakland-San Jose Bay Area, courtesy of KCBS Radio which was on the air live only moments after the quake. Thank god for Dean Danos, whose veteran  presence made for comfort radio at a time where those of us that felt the shaker live, (like me), were a tad unnerved to say the least.

We soon discovered, on the other hand, that Napa was not so good.  KCBS assistant news director, Todd Smoot, who lives near the region, delivered some sobering news about buckled roads, loss of power and massive building damage downtown. Fires too.

Smoot's live reports were impressive given the shaker had occurred only moments earlier. Danos was soon joined in the studio by Janis Wright. Within thirty minutes KCBS had a virtually full force of anchors, reporters, traffic updates and people on the scene. Furthermore, given the gravity of the situation, their decision to go commercial free for the better part of six hours was both welcome and a community service.

Meanwhile, over at the other "all-news" outlet, (for now), KGO Radio, things could not have been more ludicrous, ridiculous, hideous, take your pick. KGO was running canned Bloomberg Radio content which they normally do on Sunday morning. Only Bloomberg went on and on and on, forever. It was only after 5 AM, a good hour and a half after the quake, that "God Talk" host, Brent Walters, played newsman and offered sporadic reports. Dismal. Fortunately, reporter, Scott Lettieri soon landed in the studio and managed to save a little face. It was still dreadful, mind you--farcical too. No knock on Lettieri who is a capable newsman, but KGO's fallen star was never more evident on Sunday morning. No surprise there. Soon, some of the sycophants were defending the albatross station--"hey, it happened in the middle of the night on a Sunday!" Yeah, real difficult to get an anchor and reporter on the cell and order them to get their ass to the studio immediately. Be advised that if the world ends on an early Sunday morning, don't tune into the Sweetjack station.

It could have been worse.

Or worser. On KSFO, some radical, right-wing rabbi based in Seattle was yapping away, on and on never once mentioning the earthquake. Good community relations, then again it's KSFO, why bother making a fuss. Real radio stations, even in the Cumulus byzantine world, would have figured it out and made a plan.

*Bay Area TV stations, for the most part, got it right. KGO and KPIX were out front and center with immediate crawls. Soon after, anchors broke in and reporters were on their way to the scene of the story.

Downtown Napa, as first light rose, looked every bit like a war zone. Pictures of crumbled houses and buildings on fire permeated the screen. Fortunately, as it turned out, there was no loss of life--injuries, some serious, were reported. Stations soon began utilizing news choppers and the surreal scene of destruction was in plain sight.

Special props to KNTV, (NBC Bay Area), in particular, for its commercial-free nonstop coverage with Laura Garcia Cannon and Raj Mathai. Mathai went nine and a half hours straight from 7: 30 to 5 PM. When Garcia-Cannon departed, Mathai was joined in-studio by co-anchor, Jessica Aguirre.

Both KPIX and KTVU were effective early on, with solid anchor work and reporters in Napa relaying eyewitness accounts and MOS reactions. That soon changed as both stations had to cut away to sports events, apparently contractually bound to carry golf and a 49ers exhibition game.

I criticized KPIX for its curious move to go to golf. I understand it's a network call and PIX is owned by CBS which controls sports programming and no doubt wanted the 6th largest market in on its PGA tour, however, given what happened in Napa and the fact that the region was still in a reactive mode, it would have been a good PR move had PIX higher-ups called NY to ask that the station stay with the more important local story. The LEAD story that dominated both the national and local domain.

KTVU was no different but the fact that the 49ers are the dominant sports franchise in the Bay Area, I can understand and give KTVU a pass. To its credit, KTVU ran several updates during the game and cut away from the Fox Network halftime show to go back to Napa.

KRON stuck to the basics.

KGO, which eventually got its A-team crew of  Dan Ashley and Ama Daetz into the mix late Sunday afternoon, also did a fine job on the scene, particularly, a great Dan Noyes live shot in front of an old church downtown in early ruins. Wayne Freedman's live reports from an apartment complex was also effective and quite visually-stunning, albeit depressing considering the events of the day.

*Follow me on Twitter

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Inexplicably, KPIX Switches To Golf During Quake Coverage; KTVU Covers Fox NFL 49ers Game

Just as I laud their quake coverage in an earlier post, KPIX inexplicably switches to a CBS golf tournament --how insane.

My best guess is that since PIX is an O and O station, (owned and operated by CBS), the network has control over programming but I can't imagine CBS forcing Channel 5 to carry golf over the continuing Napa quake coverage.

This is patently ridiculous. Inexcusable really.

KPIX and CBS have a lot of explaining to do.  Yeah, I know, it's all about the money, but please.

KTVU has switched to the 49ers game on Fox--however NFL football trumps golf, even a meaningless exhibition game, so I understand that call.

*Follow me on Twitter