KGO radio going to news format - veterans leaving
Phil Matier,Andrew Ross, Chronicle Columnists
Thursday, December 1, 2011
(12-01) 18:55 PST SAN FRANCISCO -- A big shakeup is coming to KGO radio: Many of its most recognizable voices are being let go as the station, which can be heard up and down the West Coast, switches to "all-news" format from 2 p.m. to midnight starting Monday.
"What we are doing is adding a tremendous amount of news content to KGO," Paul Hosley, the station's news and program director, told us late Tuesday shortly after staff was notified of the changes.
Among those who will leave the station are talk-show veterans Gene Burns, Gil Gross, Ray Taliaferro and John Rothmann.
Ronn Owens, who reportedly has one of the highest-paying contracts in radio, will continue his popular morning show from 9 a.m. to noon. Brian Copeland will also keep his weekend show.
The switches come amid major turbulence in the Bay Area media market. KGO's one-time dominance in the a.m. Arbitron ratings has taken a big dive in recent years as increasing numbers of listeners have switched to satellite and internet radio. Just two months ago, Citadel Broadcasting sold both KGO (810 a.m.) and its sister station, KSFO (560 a.m.), to rival Cumulus Media, which already owned four other stations in the market, including all-sports KNBR (680 a.m.).
One station insider told us KGO had simply lost its way and hopes to reinvigorate itself with a news-driven format.
Incidentally, it's longtime moniker "Newstalk 810" will also be replaced. The new slug: "KGO-810 - the Bay Area news and information station."
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