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Thread: downfall of 770 WABC ,810 KGO and others ,what caused it ?

  1. #1

    downfall of 770 WABC ,810 KGO and others ,what caused it ?

    I was in the SF area up until 2018 and recall when KGO took a turn for the worst ,but I never really understood why. I heard people blame Cumulus, PPM's , static on the AM band , older demographics , change in talk radio ,the Internet, etc. I recall in the case of KGO it seem to happen overnight.
    Suddenly they wiped out a number of on air personalities and shuffled around others, it is like the station went from good to bad causing these changes . . . at the flip of a switch.
    What happened ,because I am sure a similar thing happened at WABC,WLS ,etc. I realize these are all Cumulus stations but other AM"s owned by other groups also went downhill quick it seems.
    I know . . . things ain't what they use to be . . . any ideas,thoughts,etc. out there ?

    Until then ,NOW !!!! … MORE MUSIC ON "77 WABC" !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    Al

  2. #2
    They were all former ABC radio stations. When Disney bought ABC in the 90s, they stopped investing in radio. They just left things on auto-pilot. Then they sold the radio stations in 2006 to Citadel, a company that wasn't really able to handle that kind of expansion. They didn't have deep pockets. They went bankrupt. Then Cumulus bought them after bankruptcy. Cumulus overpaid. By that point, ABC was already damaged goods. Then a few more things happened. But if you're asking about in cause, the origins of what happened to those four stations, you can trace it to Disney's decision not to invest in radio, not to buy more stations at a time when CBS and other companies were growing, and the ultimate sale and bankruptcy of Citadel in 2008. So now, one by one, Cumulus is selling off those former ABC stations. Call it amputating the rotted limb so the rest of the body can live.

  3. #3
    Almost all AM stations are in some amount of distress, so the band is a big part of it. Most portable radios made in the last 20 years don't even have an AM tuner. I do not have a working AM tuner in my home, and have not for a number of years -- and I work in radio.

    I think KGO is a bit different than 77WABC. KGO had a legacy air staff like Gil Gross and Ronn Owens, who had their fans but did not change with the times to keep a fresh audience. That led to KGO's format flip to all-news in 2011, which was poorly received and probably hastened KGO's demise.

    In New York, WCBS and WINS won the talk radio battle with all news almost the entire time that 77 has been a talk station. Certainly WABC has struggled enormously in recent years, where the decision to replace Rush Limbaugh with Mike Huckabee was probably a loser -- a loser that came right from the top of Cumulus at the time.
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  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by PTBoardOp94 View Post
    Almost all AM stations are in some amount of distress, so the band is a big part of it. Most portable radios made in the last 20 years don't even have an AM tuner. I do not have a working AM tuner in my home, and have not for a number of years -- and I work in radio.

    I think KGO is a bit different than 77WABC. KGO had a legacy air staff like Gil Gross and Ronn Owens, who had their fans but did not change with the times to keep a fresh audience. That led to KGO's format flip to all-news in 2011, which was poorly received and probably hastened KGO's demise.

    In New York, WCBS and WINS won the talk radio battle with all news almost the entire time that 77 has been a talk station. Certainly WABC has struggled enormously in recent years, where the decision to replace Rush Limbaugh with Mike Huckabee was probably a loser -- a loser that came right from the top of Cumulus at the time.

    In San Francisco KGO-AM got run over by NPR News/Talk affiliate KQED-FM and KQED became the top rated talk station in the Bay Area. CBS Radio (The former owners of All News KCBS Radio) responded by putting a simulcast of 740AM on 106.9 FM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheBigA View Post
    They were all former ABC radio stations. When Disney bought ABC in the 90s, they stopped investing in radio. They just left things on auto-pilot. Then they sold the radio stations in 2006 to Citadel, a company that wasn't really able to handle that kind of expansion. They didn't have deep pockets. They went bankrupt. Then Cumulus bought them after bankruptcy. Cumulus overpaid. By that point, ABC was already damaged goods. Then a few more things happened. But if you're asking about in cause, the origins of what happened to those four stations, you can trace it to Disney's decision not to invest in radio, not to buy more stations at a time when CBS and other companies were growing, and the ultimate sale and bankruptcy of Citadel in 2008. So now, one by one, Cumulus is selling off those former ABC stations. Call it amputating the rotted limb so the rest of the body can live.
    San Francisco was a unique case. Mickey Luckoff, the manager, had some firm and ultimately inflexible rules of radio. He quit KGO in 2010, just before the failed switch to all news. Of all the former ABC AM stations, KGO did the least to adapt to the PPM, and it hastened their demise.

    From the San Francisco Press Club site:

    “Radio Equalizer” Brian Maloney reports that Arbitron’s switch from diaries to Portable People Meters has crushed KGO 810’s legendary ratings into tiny bits. He writes: Late last week, the first PPM report representing July 2008 was released to clients and obtained by your Radio Equalizer. … While the station did retain its number one position in the overall 12 and older demographic, it was killed in the all-important Adults 25-54 segment.

    Luckoff went on to blame the PPM panel and, of course, Farid Suleman for the station's collapse. In fact, the issue was that the PPM showed that the huge TSL of KGO was a myth when the more granular system of the PPM came along. People who wrote that they listened to whole shows actually listend to 10 to 20 minute chunks. And the cume did not increase much with the PPM so the share, particularly in 25-54, collapsed.

    As PTBoardOp has mentioned, the station had failed to update and freshen. What was brilliant programming in the 80's and 90's was stale by 2008 when the PPM arrived.

    After Lukoff resigned and KGO went all news, he tried to take the whole staff to another station but found nobody was interested in his package deal.
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  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by DavidEduardo View Post

    After Lukoff resigned and KGO went all news, he tried to take the whole staff to another station but found nobody was interested in his package deal.
    Hard to say which will be harder to sell: KGO or KABC. They're both DOA. The thing that really hurts KABC is it's by itself, and KGO is part of a cluster.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RadioPatrol View Post
    In San Francisco KGO-AM got run over by NPR News/Talk affiliate KQED-FM and KQED became the top rated talk station in the Bay Area. CBS Radio (The former owners of All News KCBS Radio) responded by putting a simulcast of 740AM on 106.9 FM.
    KGO and KQED co-existed in the top 5 nicely in the last decade of the diary survey. But when the PPM arrived, KQED's 25-54 proved to be real, while KGO collapsed. The issue was not that KQED took the audience... it was that KGO did not have the TSL that the diary method had indicated.

    I went back two years before the PPM, and looked at 12+ for SF: KGO was #1 and KQED was #3. They had different audiences and did little sharing.

    I even went back to 2003, and KGO was #1 and KQED was 4th.

    As the KGO audience matured, KQED was able to add 25-54 listeners but KGO was not. By 2008, KGO hit the PPM with declining TSL and an aging audience. The fault was KGO management.
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  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by DavidEduardo View Post

    As the KGO audience matured, KQED was able to add 25-54 listeners but KGO was not. By 2008, KGO hit the PPM with declining TSL and an aging audience. The fault was KGO management.
    You can see similar problems at the other ABC talk AMs. They became complacent. Sooner or later, the audience ages out of the demo, and you need to prepare for it. They didn't. Then you had a number of critical events: PPM, the recession, and the change in ownership, all at the same time. Which contributed to the downfall? All of them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheBigA View Post
    Hard to say which will be harder to sell: KGO or KABC. They're both DOA. The thing that really hurts KABC is it's by itself, and KGO is part of a cluster.
    But KGO has perhaps the best signal in the market... it is directional to the NNW and SSE, but so is the market geography which runs from Santa Rosa down to Campbell. It's actually a better signal than KNBR and considerably better than KCBS.

    KABC simply does not cover enough of the market. KGO more than covers its market. It could be viable, as there is still good usage of AM in general in the market.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidEduardo View Post


    KGO and KQED co-existed in the top 5 nicely in the last decade of the diary survey. But when the PPM arrived, KQED's 25-54 proved to be real, while KGO collapsed. The issue was not that KQED took the audience... it was that KGO did not have the TSL that the diary method had indicated.

    I went back two years before the PPM, and looked at 12+ for SF: KGO was #1 and KQED was #3. They had different audiences and did little sharing.

    I even went back to 2003, and KGO was #1 and KQED was 4th.

    As the KGO audience matured, KQED was able to add 25-54 listeners but KGO was not. By 2008, KGO hit the PPM with declining TSL and an aging audience. The fault was KGO management.
    Yes and also around 2008 when the PPM came out was when KCBS-AM responded by putting an FM simulcast on 106.9 FM once CBS Radio realized that KGO-AM is not their main rival anymore its KQED-FM over ratings and demos.

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