October 31, 2008

An Hour Of Fear & War Of The Worlds...

From the great Norman Davis (www.radiothrills.com), formerly of KYA, KSFO, KSAN, KMPX, et al., comes word of a programming note:

Norman Davis' special tongue-in-cheek program for Halloween, "The Hour of Fear," will air tonight (Oct. 31) at 9 p.m. on KYOU Radio 1550, San Francisco. Also available as a download after airtime at www.kyou.com.

Sidebar: Largely unnoticed went the 70th anniversary yesterday of the infamous "War of the Worlds" Halloween broadcast by Orson Welles and the Mercury Theatre On The Air, which took place on Oct. 30, 1938.

If you haven't experienced James Gabbert's 1964 Bay Area-ized version of "War of the Worlds," I invite you to turn down the lights tonight and enjoy:


(Scroll down to "1964" to launch the audio.)

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October 30, 2008

"Countdown Clock" On New KGOFM.com

This morning, a linked line of text reading "Countdown Clock by Zoodu.com" has appeared on the brand-new KGOFM.com website ... but nothing happens.

As the website loads, it shows that it is trying to pull a file from http://mailhost.citcomm-sf.com/pics ... but nothing happens.

The corporate parent website for KGO (radio 810 AM, not TV Channel 7) shows something unusual, though.

...But wait a second!

Because the KGOFM.com page is trying to drag some Flash code from the Zoodu.com website, and since it isn't connecting, the KGOFM.com front page isn't loading correctly (at least for me).

But if you pop open the source code for KGOFM.com's front page, you find this in the HTML:

It begins
Tune into AM 810 to learn about the future

Three-and-a-half hours and counting...

UPDATE (9 a.m.): Br'er Rabbit, we've been had...

No FM simulcast. No new 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. host.



WHAT: KGO Newstalk AM 810 will be the first commercial major broadcast media outlet in California to reach its listeners by harnessing the power of the sun and reducing its use of the power grid. In partnership with PG&E and SolFocus, KGO will unveil its new state-of- the-art solar power system during the Ronn Owens Show with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi this Thursday, October 30. The system will generate clean, renewable energy, marking the first of many new green initiatives by KGO Radio.

WHY: KGO takes leadership in making eco-friendly business practices “the norm” through promoting public awareness about the benefits of renewable energy and sustainable practices. KGO Radio’s website [kgoradio.com] is featuring photos and blog updates that will allow the public to learn more about solar power. In addition, the station will be conducting a Bay Area-wide search for a student reporter who in 2009 will report on green initiatives in his/her school through KGO Radio’s “Making the Grade Green Program.”

UPDATED UPDATE: Although it may change down the line, here's what the KGOFM.com website looked like post-announcement...

Thanks for playing, indeed.

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October 28, 2008

KGO Hints At Big Announcement

Newstalk behemoth KGO (810 AM) is promoing that they'll have an "illuminating" announcement coming up on 10/30 (this Thursday) at 10:30...

Speculation in the ba.broadcast Usenet group (in threads here and here) has run to the naming of a new 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. host on the station, such as Alex Bennett (doubtful) (I think).

Christine Craft, posting in ba.broadcast, noted "Engineers (were) building a new studio where the old Dean Edell studio used to be ... All seemed hush/hush when I worked all last week."

Could the "103" in 10:30 and 10/30 refer to an FM dial position ... 103.7? 102.9? Is there a chance that Citadel could buy or LMA either KKSF (from Clear Channel) or KBLX (from Inner City)? Perhaps another FM signal can be lassoed, such as KNGY (92.7), KCNL (104.9), KRTY (95.3) or Stockton's KSTN-FM (107.3, which actually covers a lot of the Bay Area).

A WHOIS search shows that Citadel/KGO has registered KGOFM.com, just a few days ago:

Domain Name: KGOFM.COM
Created on: 24-OCT-08
Expires on: 24-OCT-09
Last Updated on: 25-OCT-08

Administrative Contact:
webmaster, FM engineering@abc-sf.com
Citadel Communications
900 Front Street
San Francisco, Ca 94111
415 398-5995

Technical Contact:
Berry, Ken engineering@abc-sf.com
ABC Radio
900 Front Street
San Francisco, Ca 94111
415 954-8100

Comments? Go here...

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October 27, 2008

It's 7:40 AM. Do You Know Where Your News Is?

Rather anticlimactic, the crossover this morning to the KCBS simulcast on AM 'n' FM...

Journey ("Don't Stop Believing," rather than "Lights," which I thought would be more of a nod to the old KFRC), some stunt-ish stuff (news timeline audio clips, reminding me of the stunting used before 106.9 became Free FM), then Stan Bunger spake "Well, welcome to FM 106-9, and let's get back to doing what we do here at KCBS."

A time check (7:41), over to Susan Leigh-Taylor and, just like that, we now have a KCBS news simulcast at 740 AM and 106.9 FM.

The top of hour ID?

"What's happening, and why. KCBS AM and HD, KFRC-FM and HD-1, San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose."

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October 22, 2008

KFRC "Farewell Show"? Not...

The Classic Hits KFRC "Farewell Show" that was hinted at in the SFPPC blog the other day ain't going to happen.

I just heard from the lovely and talented Celeste Perry, who said (among other things):

Just read a post on the blog about Dave, Sue and I doing a farewell show at KFRC. Not true. We recorded little goodbye promos after we were unceremoniously laid off on Monday morning.

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October 21, 2008

"Farewell Show" For KFRC's Sholin, Perry?

The terrific S.F. Peninsula Press Club blog reports that the Classic Hits KFRC crew will return to wrap things up this week:

KFRC's Dave Sholin, Celeste Perry and Sue Hall have been let go, but they will return this week (we don't know when) to do a farewell show.

There's also an interesting snippet of conversation from the company meeting that is reprinted in the SFPPC blog.

CBS is also in the process of putting in a booster in Pleasanton to increase 106.9's coverage in the Tri-Valley area. Right now, when driving, the station's signal begins to decay as you head east on 580 past Hopyard and Hacienda.

Of course, KCBS' signal is loud, strong and clear all the way out into the Valley on 740 AM, so I'm not certain why this is an issue now.

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October 20, 2008

Hello, Goodbye: KFRC Dies Again

Not much more to say beyond what Ben Fong-Torres broke in this email blast to a few friends this afternoon:

"We expect this music to live forever..."

Just heard that liner on KFRC ... it's 1:47, and -- I'm sure you've heard -- KFRC is just about gone.

New KCBS 106.9 LogoIf you haven't heard: CBS Radio just announced that KFRC is being replaced with the programming on KCBS; at a meeting this morning, KFRC staffers were told the station is over as of today. Since then, it's been just music, liners & commercials. Dave Sholin, Celeste Perry, Sue Hall, Jay Coffey, Dean Goss (fill-in/weekender)-- all gone.

CBS is saying they'll keep the KFRC call letters on FM and run KFRC music online and on the HD-2 channel linked to 106.9. Up to now, it'd been the opposite. KFRC was on HD-1, KCBS on HD-2.

I'm sure you both know who to call for details. I'm running just a tiny item in my next col. (still nearly 2 weeks away), bec. of coverage of the radio hall of fame inductions...

Oh -- needless to say, my show, Backstage, is out the rear door. 52 shows, 100 or so hours (there were some repeats); absolute fun.

That's what radio is: fun and heartaches.


Damn. I had just commented to Ben about what a great show "Backstage" is (was). This past weekend's program was phenomenal. How can you beat Leo Sayer doing karaoke to his own "When I Need You" in your living room?

It's funny how much I listened to KFRC this past weekend, digging my old buddy John Mack Flanagan doing the Beatles shows, and Big Tom Parker playing back-to-back hits.

Oh, well. If you need a good 1960s Oldies fix, give a listen to the radio museum's Classic KYA. Since old-fashioned radio is being killed off by its caretakers, you might as well invest in a WiFi set and join the future.

Radio is dead. Long live radio.

Comments? Get on board at Radio-Info.com.

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October 17, 2008

Dave Morey Bidding KFOG Adieu

So I'm off listening to KNBR's Gary Radnich this morning (still smarting from a sassy email gone wrong yesterday) when The Great Radu mentions in passing that the great Dave Morey is retiring from Cumulus sister-station KFOG (104.5 FM).

Hustling over to KFOG, we learn that Morey's retirement isn't immediate -- he'll hold down the morning shift until December 19, then head off to Michigan. (Strange ... most Michiganders do just the opposite, it seems, as you'll witness at any Sharks, Warriors or A's game.)

On KFOG's website, the terribly underrated Morey blogged:

To: All
From: Me
Re: The Master Plan.

It is time to announce my retirement … EVEN THOUGH I AM NOT THAT OLD.

My decision.

Last show for KFOG will be Friday, December 19th.

Here’s the deal:I’ve been thinking about this for a couple years. Thanks to excellent planning and despite global collapse of the financial industry, I will be able to realize a dream I’ve had for a long time.

I’m leaving the Bay Area – returning to Michigan. It’s hard to explain to someone who’s not from there so I won’t even try. I think y’all know how I feel about the Midwest.

Dave Morey has spent 26 years on the air in the Bay Area, beginning at KSFX before crossing over to KFOG. He will continue to host the popular "10 at 10" daily feature by long distance following his retirement.

More details in Dave's blog at http://tinyurl.com/morey-kfog

UPDATE: Ben Fong-Torres' "Radio Waves" column in Sunday's Datebook is awash in Morey minutia. Somebody got the advance scoop!

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October 15, 2008

KKDV Tower Temporarily Toppled

The great John Higdon notes in the ba.broadcast Usenet group that the KKDV (92.1 FM) transmitter tower -- essentially an old-timey wooden telephone pole -- was deliberately chopped down by the station's engineering staff, and soon will be replaced by a new tower of more metallic origin.

The untreated wooden "tower," which was estimated to be more than thirty years old, had been braced with a second, shorter wooden pole; both were victims of extensive rot.

The KKDV transmitting site is situated on the hillside near the junction of Highways 680 and 24, west of 680 on the north side of 24. The antenna, for those of you who are wondering (and you know who you are), was a Jampro three-bay antenna.

In his ba.broadcast post, entitled "The End of a Pole," Mr. Higdon noted:

Within a week, a large hole will be drilled at the [exact] location of the pole, a caisson will be poured and a genuine steel self-supporting tower will be erected in its place. We expect the new tower and its modern antennas will provide a noticeable improvement to KKDV's signal in the Diablo Valley area.

The station is transmitting with a "makeshift temporary antenna" in the interim.

Photos of the tower toppling, courtesy of Mr. Higdon, are on display at:


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October 02, 2008

Capacity Crowd Cheers BARHOF Class Of 2008

Radio Hall of FameAn overflow crowd of fans, friends and colleagues was on hand to welcome the latest group of inductees into the Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame on October 1 at the Doubletree Inn on the Berkeley Marina.

Sixteen of the seventeen members of BARHOF's Class of 2008 were represented at the gala luncheon, including Broadcast Legends Red Blanchard and Don Klein.

New inductees Rosie Allen, Alex Bennett, Renel Brooks-Moon, Bob Fouts, Mickey Luckoff, Terry McGovern and Dave Sholin were all present for the ceremony.

(That's me between Messrs. McGovern and Bennett après the ceremony.)

Roy Storey, who could not be present, was represented by his sister Marcia Johnson, while Bill Gavin, Hap Harper, Mikel Hunter Herrington, Russ Hodges, Dude Martin, Doug Pledger and Russ "The Moose" Syracuse, inducted posthumously, were represented by friends or family members.

Presented under the auspices of the Broadcast Legends, the BARHOF 2008 program was emceed by David Jackson, executive director of the Bay Area Radio Museum. Joe Starkey, radio voice of 49ers and Cal football, inducted the four legendary local sportscasters -- Hodges, Storey, Klein and Fouts -- into the Hall of Fame.

NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Fouts, a successful sportscaster in his own right, presented his father, Bob Fouts, with a funny and heart-warming speech. "We've all worked for a variety of stations with a variety of call letters -- KFRC, KCBS, KPIX," Dan Fouts commented. "But this is one set of call letters that's for life -- BARHOF."

The senior Fouts, early voice of the 49ers on radio and television as well as a longtime sportscaster on KSFO and KCBS, regaled the audience with tales of his the Niners ... and pro wrestling!

Other presenters included Bill Faust (for his step-father, Doug Pledger), Bob Matheson (for Red Blanchard), Ed Baxter (for Rosie Allen), Ronn Owens (for Mickey Luckoff), Dana Jang (for Mikel Hunter), Mike Preston (for Dave Sholin), Ted "Hezzie" Johnson (for Dude Martin) and Al Newman (for Terry McGovern).

Ben Fong-Torres and Tommy Saunders presented their memories and an audio montage of their friend, Russ Syracuse. New Hall of Famer Dave Sholin presented his former boss, Bill Gavin, for induction.

More than 6,000 votes were cast in the BARHOF 2008 balloting. Renel Brooks-Moon, host of 98.1 Kiss FM's morning show and voice of the Giants at AT&T Park, was named on more than 25% of all ballots -- most of any nominee -- and, along with KGO's Rosie Allen, was one of only two women to be inducted this year.

Other notable guests in the capacity crowd included sportscaster Barry Tompkins, KGO production superstar Mike Amatori, popular KYA disc jockey Chris Edwards (now an account exec with KFRC), legendary R&B disc jockey John "Bouncin' Bill" Doubleday, longtime radio personality Ward Glenn and voice artist Gary Mora (now hosting Classic KYA Radio).

But it was Celeste Perry, Dave Sholin's partner on KFRC's morning show, who got off the line of the day. During his acceptance speech, Sholin introduced Perry, noting that she, too, will someday be inducted into BARHOF.

Perry quickly replied "I'm not old enough!" and was met with raucous laughter and applause from the multitude.

Photograph by courtesy of Robert Mohr.

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