Breaking, Part II: KOGO Changes Becoming Clearer

The Libertarian Lass, Gayle Falkenthal The Libertarian Lass, Gayle Falkenthal 9 Comments

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As originally reported and updated on Rostra, big changes are coming to KOGO-AM Radio, San Diego’s foremost news and talk (make that talk with a sprinkling of news) radio station.

Several sources including afternoon host LaDona Harvey have confirmed to this KOGO alumna the following lineup, starting on Monday:

9 a.m. – 12 noon: Rush Limbaugh (No change here, KOGO isn’t about to commit broadcast suicide)

12 noon – 2 p.m.: A new locally originated show debuts with an interim host at this time. He’s familiar to many San Diegans. Brian Suits was one half of the Suits and Kennedy Show weekday evenings on KFI. Suits has been working as a solo host in Seattle. I found his show enjoyable with good energy and a wide range of topics beyond politics including pop culture. How he’ll fare as a solo act, hard to say.

2 p.m. – 6 p.m.: LaDona Harvey moves her popular politics and current events show into this brand new time slot.

6 p.m. – 8 p.m.: Replacing the departing Chris Reed is Bob “Sully” Sullivan. Sullivan previously hosted on Wednesday nights when the show is just an hour due to an Aztec sports talk show sharing the time slot. Sullivan is also co-host of a popular Internet radio program called the “Big Biz Show” with well-known local broadcast personality and comedian Russ T. Nailz.

AllAccess.com is reporting today that as of Monday, KOGO will begin simulcasting its signal on KUSS-FM 95.7, a ClearChannel station that previously offered a country music format. This is a move being made by leading news and talk stations across the country. Younger audiences have all but forgotten that such a thing as AM Radio even exists. This is particularly good news for LaDona Harvey. She is drawing an unusually young audience for a talk show, (think 30 year olds instead of 60 year olds) and this can only help her increase those numbers.

This leaves one elephant in the room question to be answered. If Roger Hedgecock’s contract stipulates that his show must remain on the air through the end of this calendar year (and I understand that it does), we have two talk show hosts overlapping in the same time slot, Roger and LaDona.

But we ALSO have two air signals, KOGO and KUSS. Might there be a plan to split the difference for the time being? We’re likely to find out Monday.

I’m sorry to see Roger leave KOGO. It’s been a hell of a run for him. I was employed by the station the day he started on the air, January 20, 1986 and I recall it in detail. He had the flu and had to muster all his energy to get through his show, a highly anticipated debut. Thank goodness it was all uphill from there for many years.

But in a way, Roger “left” us, the local audience, many months ago when he ended his local show in San Diego to begin his nationally syndicated show. So any sense of loss I feel at Roger leaving AM 600 is primarily nostalgic.

Say what you will about Roger’s views, he’s a hell of a talent. He would have made a hell of a mayor and he did for the short time he was in office. As it turned out there was a much bigger stage in store for him. I daresay we wouldn’t have nearly the budgetary mess or pension trouble we do now had Roger served two full terms as mayor. Lest we forget, we have Comic-Con and a San Diego Convention Center in large part due to Roger’s leadership. That accomplishment alone gives Roger and the city a lot to be proud of.

Roger is hands down the smartest person I have ever worked with, before or since. We might have tangled but always for the right reasons. I’m proud to have been one of only two permanent producers of the show, along with my successor Jimmy Valentine. Jimmy had by far the longer tenure and I hope he’ll weigh in here.

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Comments 9

  1. Rc’d from Cliff Albert at 5:19 pm…

    Contact: Cliff Albert
    Program Director KOGO Radio
    Clear Channel Radio San Diego

    NEWS & TALK NOW ON FM RADIO

    San Diego, CA – November 4, 2011 For the first time in 85 years on the air, San Diego’s AM600 KOGO is making a historic change in operations by becoming San Diego’s first News-Talk station to simulcast on FM radio at 95.7 FM, bringing more reach and value to the San Diego community. The simulcast begins Monday, November 7, 2011 at 7:00 a.m. PST. KOGO’s new name and slogan is “FM News and Talk 95.7 and AM 600 KOGO. We are San Diego”.

    “AM 600 KOGO has an incredibly strong brand in San Diego with its award winning News and Talk format. The simulcast of KOGO on 95.7 FM allows us to provide complete expanded signal coverage of KOGO’s market leading news and talk programming to better serve our local community as well as our advertisers,” said Debbie Wagner, Clear Channel San Diego President / Market Manager.

    “KOGO reaches nearly 300,000 listeners in an average week, yet many members of the San Diego community have not visited the AM band. In the interest of best serving our community, the benefit of simulcasting on a 50,000 watt FM signal is pronounced,” said Clear Channel San Diego Operations Manager / Director of Programming Jimmy Steele.

    Since its launch in 1994 with the News/Talk format, KOGO has become the “go to” source for news and information. Whether on-air or online at KOGO.com, KOGO is the radio station San Diegans rely on when disaster strikes…from wildfires and earthquakes to the most recent blackout where 900,000+ listeners tuned in for non-stop information. “We’re grateful for the support of our many loyal KOGO-AM listeners through the years and we’re excited that we now can serve even more people in the county,” said KOGO Program Director, Cliff Albert.

    With San Diego’s #1 choice for news and talk expanding to FM, KOGO is also expanding its local talk programming and providing listeners with even more choices. The new local programming lineup at “FM News and Talk, FM 95.7 and AM 600 KOGO,” includes San Diego’s most popular talk personalities, including Chip Franklin, Ladona Harvey and George Chamberlin, all of whom reflect the San Diego lifestyle, along with the most pronounced national hosts, including Rush Limbaugh.

    Joining the KOGO weekday lineup are Bryan Suits, a true veteran of talk radio, having served in the military in Operation Desert Storm, Desert Shield and the War in Iraq; and Bob “Sully” Sullivan, a San Diego native and former local FM radio personality and creator/co-host of the nationally-syndicated “Big Biz Show”.

    In addition to KOGO, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment in San Diego, offers it’s San Diego listeners five other stations, Star 94.1, XTRA Sports 1360 AM, Rock 105.3, 101.5 KGB, Channel 933 and the Total Traffic Network.

    # # #

  2. Just posted and got booted off..I must have hit a bad key…Good reporting Gayle.

    I listened to the show today…Roger was live in DC at a major conservative convention featuring Mitt Romney and Herman Cain among others. First hour went as usual but at the top of the hour at 4pm he disappeared. Walked off the show without announcement, leaving his producer Brett Winterble, back in San Diego at the Mic. Brett told the audience that Roger left to go to dinner.

    Roger never left a live remote broadcast and only once in my 15 years at his service did he leave before a show at home was over and that’s because he was very sick and we sent him home and I finished the show for him. Unheard of.

    I can guess (and only guess) that something happened in the 1st hour or during the top of the hour break that pissed Roger off and he walked off. He does have a temper.

    As to his future….who knows…scuttlebutt is he reappears at KFMB in Rick Roberts slot….where does he originate his national show if KOGO shuts the door to him on Monday. He can stay in DC and broadcast from his syndicators studios or perhaps KFMB will provide facilites.

    KOGO promised an announcement (basically info you have reported) but I’m not sure KOGO feels obligated to tell us about Roger’s future if he is no longer on KOGO. We may have to wait for Roger to reveal all.

    And let me repeat your respect for Roger. He is very bright and can be caring and compassionate. But he is also wary. I don’t think he has ever gotten over being forced out as San Diego Mayor.

    I often think of Roger when I recall Frank Sinatra’s remark: Living well is the best revenge.

    I hope he continues to live well.

  3. But he is also wary. I don’t think he has ever gotten over being forced out as San Diego Mayor.

    Rumor has it there’s an opening for mayor, and with Roger now providentially available . . .

  4. Just to clear up a few things: It’s “Bryan”, not Brian, Suits. On his FB page, he says his show will be noon to 3, not 2, and his old show was “Kennedy and Suits”, not the other way around. He also has (had? dunno about that) a fairly popular weekly show Sundays on KFI called The Dark Secret Place.

    I like Roger fine, when I hear him. But I love love love me some Bryan Suits. I can’t want. And no, this isn’t his mom. I’ve been a fan since he took over for Ziegler years ago on KFI.

  5. O.K., I am one of those who may be categorized as Older (50) and don’t like change. But after reading the unbelievable “pap” from a “Marketing Hack” (I don’t hate marketing, I think it is critical), but I have, too many times, seen marketing types drive decisions that seem logical based on numbers, trends etc. that are completely bogus in reality. The marketing “President” listed above forgets that there are so many other alternatives. Ya, I am older, but I can get radio from many different sources on line via my computer and my iphone. The reason that I would turn on KOGO was Chris Reed. Chris is a true local VALUE. I can get Limbaugh and Roger via many other sources via on-line and iphone. I would prefer getting them locally, but if I can’t, I am going somewhere else. I am sure that it is a cheaper move, but wrong in the long run. No offense, but come on, Ladonna Harvey????? A very nice person, but a single (just recently married) middle aged female who still does hair care commercials, has some sort of life experience to relate to any important issues of the day that are to be discussed on radio? Are will really bringing daytime TV talk to the radio now? Give me a break. I am just glad that there are so many alternatives available now.

  6. I live in Seattle and was in San Diego last week on business. I was very happy to find Bryan Suits has a spot on KOGO after Rush. Bryan is quick with his acerbic wit and humor. When he speaks of his military experience you do not get sugar coated stories about how the military operates or what it is like to be in a combat zone. He can speak knowledgably on a variety of topics and always manages to keep them interesting and funny. If you are not familiar with Bryan’s style I think you will find him very entertaining. Bryan had a lot of fans in Seattle and we were sorry to see him go. I will be tuning in to the KOGO website every day at noon to hear Bryan’s show

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