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KGO Newstalk radio in San Francisco is going to call itself KGO 81, the News and Information Station (a rip-off of the old NBC News and Information format slug from 1978.)

For those of you who are not familiar with the San Francisco radio market, this is a shocking development followed by a series of deeply upsetting years long lay-offs that have claimed not only myself (in 2008) but my husband Jack Swanson (former Operations Director, 2011) and so many of our friends.

That's of the most venerated radio stations in the country will no longer be talking about local, state and national news - forget about politics or lifestyle issues.

Talk is gone.

KGO  is going All News - right up against KCBS and KQED - and it's not gonna be pretty.

Gone are Bay Area favorites such as Gill Gross, Gene Burns, John Rothman, Ray Taliaferro, Lloyd Lindsay Young , Bill Wattenburg and Len Tillum. All of their producers were fired today. And more dismissals are likely to follow. UPDATE: My BFF Joanie Greggains, Queen of health and fitness, let go too.

I started my career in San Francisco at KGO TV in 1981 - the same weekend a relatively obscure weatherman by the name of Lloyd Lindsay Young ....he became a local legend, and inspired many laughs and good times on KGO Radio. I worked at KGO Radio from 1982 until 1989, traveling the world as an international hotspot reporter, from Beijing to Beirut. I had the privilege to return to the best damn radio station in the world in the most beautiful city by the Bay.

WOW. I still can't wrap my brain around the vast changes to the lives of so many good people. My good wishes to all of them and their families as they struggle to find new jobs and re-gain their emotional bearings, right before Christmas.

Way to go, Dickey Brothers.

Sometimes things just suck. But then they get better. I can say from personal experience that getting laid off is sometimes the best game changer in the world. But it sure doesn't feel that way for quite some time.


"....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."


Chronicle columnists Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross appear Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays. Matier can be seen on the KPIX-TV morning and evening news. He can also be heard on KCBS radio Monday through Friday at 7:50 a.m. and 5:50 p.m. Got a tip? Call (415) 777-8815, or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..