November 18, 2008

Dots & Dashes (Nov. 18 Edition)

A few quick hits...

* All News KCBS (740 AM and on 106.9 FM, as they say) switched to a new, fresher "sounder" package today, obviously intended to brighten up the sound of the presentation on the FM side. The new package is close to the previous set, but with a livelier, more "techno"-ish feel.

Karel: A Stand Up GuyThe new sounders are heard leading into various news segments (sports, traffic, weather, business, etc.) on KCBS.

* Deposed KGO Newstalk 810 (and FM Don't Get Me Started) weekend performer Karel will be back in San Francisco at the Nikko Hotel's Rrazz Room (222 Mason St.) on Wednesday, Dec. 3, at 7 p.m. for a stand-up gig appropriately titled "Karel Stands Up."

Mo' info at Mr. Bouley's utterly fabulous website,

* Speaking of KGO, heartiest congratulations to the almighty Ronn Owens, who celebrates his 40th anniversary on the air (including stops in Philadelphia, Miami, Cleveland and Atlanta) this Friday, Nov. 21. Here's a tip of the cap to you, Ronn, for four decades of greatness, and a wish for many more years (if not decades) of outstanding entertainment on the air.

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November 10, 2008

"Skyrocker" Post Disappears Into The Ether...

Bobby Ocean by Bobby OceanOver the weekend, an exceedingly interesting post by one of my favorite radio people (writing under the nom de tableau "Skyrocker") appeared on one of my favorite radio boards.

Unfortunately, Skyrocker's comments apparently violated the rules of that board, and it was deleted, along with all links and replies, as if it never existed.

Since I ain't got no such rules, and since I asked Skyrocker politely, what follows is his original post:

My Story Is Your Story.

I have worked in this radio broadcasting swirl for decades -- maybe too long. More than that, I love it. Consequently, I feel more at home in radio as I do in my own skin.

Early on (we all seem to live by decisions made by our teenaged selves) I chose an all-California career path, informed from several years hitch-hiking across the USA, which was my personal Right Of Passage.

I was too late for a ride with Huck & Tom on their raft, so I made use of Route 66 and our nation's hiway system to get a good up-close look at our country's diverse regions. And quite an earful of our differences in audio preferences. Like its listeners, each radio station was different.

Way different.

Fortune was on my side in that I met "guides and spirits all along the way," in the form of weathered jocks, insightful program directors and great characters. Within my chosen state, I made my way up through the various California markets -- from the Monterey Peninsula, through small towns (Pittsburg, Fresno), medium markets (San Diego) and into San Francisco and L.A., learning and improving as I went.

I realized my voice wasn't as deeply textured as many of my contemporaries, so I learned to work it. I studied timing, phrasing, inflections -- not from any licensed schools, but from the masters themselves; in other words, like you, I watched a lot of TV. And, just like you, I learned.

I became intricately connected with the sound image of each station that brought me into play. They all had their own jingles, some their own production packages, or, when there was no budget, great shelves full of movie and instrumental music. I learned to use a razor and splice the music to fit my vision. I discovered images in my mind that mirrored the sound I was working with and brought them into my work.

Once, in the 70s, I wrote a magazine article about radio production ("Imaginative Radio Production," Broadcast Programming & Production, Oct. 1975), featuring cartoons I drew to illustrate my points. Many years later, as computers entered our lives, imagine my amazement when I saw these exact same images on the screens of wave editors. Ooh.

These days, broadcasting is going through a dark period. The bottom line has always been about profit, but NEVER BEFORE at the expense of the product. Once, one simply wouldn't allow themselves any vulnerability in the commercial marketplace. Apparently, not now. There seems to be an unquestioned assumption that the audience will always be there, no matter what.

No matter that their listeners are finding other outlets in which to listen, investing in MP3 Players, whereas the radio just came free with the car. Pay no attention to listeners who all now have computers that play music from either online or a collection on their hard drive. No matter that former radio hot-shot programmers are now designing channel after channel of mostly commercial-free music on satellite radio. No matter that, any day now, shareholders are going to be demanding to know where the listeners are and who's responsible.

Bad news.

And good news: This means that I can out program practically any radio station in the USA. I've worked with the best, radio geniuses that are simply no longer available. I have understood not only their visions but that which the listeners could percieve as such while being entertained. Compellingly.

Now, I, with a small cadre of pro friends, are willing to take on a very few projects. We don't need the money -- by now we've proved everything we needed to prove - to ourselves (hell, I don't even put anything on my web site other than an email and telephone number anymore: -- we just love this stuff and we do it well. There's a lot of satisfaction in that.

And we play it to win. We think that'll impress the shareholders, too. Interested, call and learn more. It's not the budget buster you may fear, but it won't be inexpensive. Winning never is.
Just a couple stations, though.

Then - door closed.

More Osh things:

* The Bobby Ocean Sunday Radio Cartoon

* Bobby Ocean In The 93/KHJ Boss Blog

Image: Bobby Ocean by Bobby Ocean (2008), by courtesy of Bobby Ocean.

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November 09, 2008

Rumor: Salem Buying KLOK/1170?

The rumor being bandied about last night in the high-altitude press box at HP Pavilion in San Jose was that KLOK/1170 has been/is on the verge of/might be sold to Salem Communications by Univision.

KLOK Radio 1170 LogoFrom there, the scenarios started being thrown about: perhaps Salem would either (a) move the KDOW/1220 programming to 1170 and put the KLOK programming on 1220; or (b) abandon the plan to build a new transmitter plant for 1220 in Hayward and diplex both KLOK and KDOW off the same 1170 towers on South King Road in San Jose, which seems like a more NIMBY-proof way of doing things.

All of this is, of course, rumor and speculation, as far as I can figure at this point.

The San Jose Fighting Sharks, by the way, defeated the Dallas Stars on a last-minute slam dunk by Patrick Marleau, and are easily the best, most talented and most exciting sports team in the Bay Area in many years — the perfect tonic for those of us disenchanted by the moribund Raiders and 49ers.

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November 02, 2008

Hello, Eye! Calling All Idiots...

Great news this afternoon from the great M. Dung, who announced (by way of that he's returning to the airwaves with his popular Sunday Night Idiot Show, after a brief hiatus.

...Okay, it's actually been sixteen looooong years.

The return of The Idiot Show comes in two weeks, on November 16 from 6 to 8 p.m., on K-You Radio (KYCY 1550 AM), a station which Dungboy incorrectly notes "no one listens to!"

(Not true, M! To quote the legendary Bob Falfa, "I ain't nobody, dork.")

The show will also be streamed online on the K-You Radio website.

According to Dung, The Idiot Show -- once a staple of KFOG's lineup -- was last heard on reg'lar radio in these parts back in 1992, when it was broadcast by the old Double 99 FM (98.9 KDBK).

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