Friday, October 31, 2008

Jewish Radio Station Owners Upset by Swastika Cartoon

Read my column in today here.

Follow the link and search my name: Brad Kava and that will get you there. Don't ask me why it won't directly link....probably some right wing conspiracy.

I get paid for your a guy out!!!! I need it. Sign up for the RSS feed from I'm getting better pay at that site, although this one gets a lot of play. I don't know why I haven't earned one cent from Google ads, but I haven't. Not one.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

KGO (Yawn) Announces Solar Powered Transmitter

photo courtesy

San Francisco Number One rated talk station KGO-AM (810) had a big announcement today that left me less than thrilled.

They hyped it in ads, saying that it would come at 10:30 on 10/30...and the radio boards were abuzz with speculation.

Over at ba.broadcast, "experts" claimed that they were announcing who would be the new 10 p.m. host, the slot that has been fought over for the better part of a year, since embarrassingly vacated by Bernie Ward.

One claimed that Karel has bought a house in the Bay Area, so it would be him (a call to Karel proved that one false).

Another claimed that Alex Bennett, who was celebrated along with Mickey Luckoff by the Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame, would get the show. (ha. no way).

Still another claimed that his sources knew that KGO would open an FM signal.

(All these so-called experts "swearing" they knew the truth, tells you why reporting on the Internet can be so...shall we say...dubious?..and why traditional methods of fact-checking, sourcing and not reporting something until it is confirmed still are needed in our instant gratification culture.)

The speculation was a lot more interesting than the result.

At 10:30 House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a guest on the Ronn Owens show, tripped the switch that opened up the connection to a solar-powered unit, partly sending electricity to a transmitter. Great. Whatever. Good for them. It meant a whole lot more to the station than to the listeners.

Bravo. Anything solar is ok by me, but why waste self-congratulating airtime on it.

If I were them, I'd be a lot more worried about KCBS's announcement that it has put news on FM. What does that mean? That the news station may finally bump KGO off the top ratings slot, by combining ratings from the FM and AM. It will cut into the bottom line, which is the bottom line for the folks at Citadel, and the ad rates it can charge.

A little quote from Jack Swanson, KGO program director, today. He is going over the new People Meter figures, which can not only tell him who gets the highest ratings, but what listeners tune into when they push the button away from KGO.

"It's like we now have the Hubble telescope focusing on planets, instead of a telescope under cloud cover. We can see so much more."

Monday, October 20, 2008

Ben Fong-Torres Says Goodbye to KFRC

KFRC-FM (106.9) really had a great style for oldies, with some big name local talents, including Ben Fong-Torres, the former Rolling Stone editor and current SF Chron radio columnist.

He dropped me a sad note:

"If 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.

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."



Ben Fong-Torres

CBS Puts News in Place of Oldies at 106.9

Ever since it lost Howard Stern, CBS has been stumbling around like a drunk trying to find his way home in a blizzard. Or like moody John McCain.

It keeps trying things and dumping them (remember David Lee Roth, Stern's first replacement?).

Well, a year after beefing up KFRC-FM (106.9) as an oldies station, it will now simulcast its AM news content on the FM signal.

I give it a year.

Two years ago the signal was an FM talk station, home to Adam Carolla, the Doghouse and Darian O'Toole, which fizzled out. I liked that one. The ratings didn't.

The New York based network is moving the San Francisco oldies programming to its HD2 station, and online at

“With this announcement we are ensuring our listeners will have access to the superior news and information they’ve come to rely on no matter how they choose to receive audio content,” said Doug Harvill, Senior Vice President and Market Manager for CBS Radio San Francisco. “And not only that, having the station on the FM radio platform will afford us the opportunity to amass even more consumers of the station.

“The benefits of this move are plentiful – from improved sound quality and ubiquitous distribution, to increased brand exposure. We’ve always had a great product and we’re thrilled more people will be able to experience what in excess of one million already do on a weekly basis.”

I don't really get it. The only way I'd look for news on FM is if I was on that band for NPR and wanted to catch CBS without having to push the extra button over to AM. Not exactly a big motivator.

What do you think?

PS: speaking of Howard Stern, did you see that the New York Times chess column Sunday was about him? Check it here.

By the way: CBS was fourth in the San Francisco ratings for listeners over 12; KFRC was 23rd. If CBS combines both signals, it could possibly beat KGO, which is No. 1, in the ratings.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

SuperBooty Versus Skippy: My Column in SF Weekly Today

This turned out to be a fascinating story. Who knew?

You can find press about the history of the Skippy legal battle here. What ran as a short column in the SF Weekly could be a bigger story, I think....Check it out here.

The sad thing is: I really like both characters I interviewed. Mark O'Hara is a colorful, charismatic guy trying to make ends meet in the world. Among his other projects, he is starting a company to lease electric cars. Smart idea, since the cars require more maintenance, at first, than others. Hear his music here.

Joan Tibbetts is a classy woman, sharp as a tack, who went through the first depression and sees a lot of similarities to current times. Check her views at the afforementioned She owns the right to the site, not the peanut butter company.

They are both passionate about their subject. Tibbetts has spent years fighting for the Skippy name; O'Hara has been a touring and recording musician with a 15-piece band, in an era when that means a lot more work than money.

(Drawing: the original Skippy, courtesy

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

KBAY Cuts Traffic Reports

Brad Kava

S.F. Radio Examiner
Brad Kava has been a journalist for 26 years, with the Kansas City Star, the Bradenton Herald and the San Jose Mercury News. He wrote music and radio columns for the Mercury News until July 2007. His work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times and Rolling Stone.


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KBAY Cuts Traffic Reports: Says Listeners Don't Want Them.

courtesy Kbay
In answer to a reader here, KBAY (94.5) general manager John Leathers says the easy listening music station has cut traffic reports during its popular Sam and Lissa Morning Show, not because of costs, but because that's what listeners want.

Says Leathers:

We felt traffic reports were not a core reason our listeners were either tuning into us or staying with KBAY

· Although people certainly may have “appreciated” the occasional traffic report, statistics show most people in Silicon Valley in 2008 get their traffic info from sources other than a “music focused” station like KBAY (Handhelds, In car services like Navteq, online, stations that do traffic every 5 minutes, etc.)

· Had there been no other viable source(s) for South Bay traffic, we would not have considered such a move. As such, there are NUMEROUS/COUNTLESS sources for South bay traffic as it is

· As such, we wanted to devote the bulk of our morning airtime to the things an overwhelmingly majority of our listeners told us were important: music, the chemistry/interplay between Sam and Lissa, Sam and Lissa’s phone interaction with listeners, etc.

· We believe eliminating the relatively few traffic reports we did every morning helps us broadcast a better morning show.

Radio Equalizer Owes KGO an Apology

Brian Maloney, the self-proclaimed "Radio Equalizer" predicted back in August that KGO would fall from its perch atop the San Francisco ratings heap this fall. He was wrong, according to the latest ratings.

I told you back then that he would be proven wrong.

This is the preliminary report from Arbitron,
by way of Radio-Ink, which shows that news stations were stronger than one could expect. KGO, KCBS and KQED were in the top four.

In a study of 18-34 local ratings show heavy listening to urban (read minority) stations, something that has provoked a battle in New York, where Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has claimed that minority stations were being treated unfairly in the new ratings system.

Monday, October 6, 2008

New York to Sue Arbitron over PPMs

New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo says he plans to sue Arbitron over its use of the new Portable People Meters, which use a beeper-like monitor to determine exactly what stations listeners have tuned in. The new techology replaces a system where people kept diaries to tell surveyers what they had on---leading often to people "voting" for what they liked, rather than an actual fair study.

However, Cuomo says, according to Radio Ink, that a "significant and improper decline in ratings under a PPM system would cause minority stations to suffer drastic reducttions in advertising revenues," which would "distort the marketplace and severely harm and possibly destroy minority broadcasting in New York."

I don't buy it.

So far PPM results have been skewing more toward rock than urban stations, but I suspect it's because white males were being underreported in the diary studies. They just didn't bother to fill out the paperwork. Women did, and it led to a plethora of soft rock and urban stations.

Minority station owners claim that their listeners are less inclined to wear the monitors because they aren't fashionable. I don't buy that either. Minorities are often early adaptors to a lot of technologies (although they may argue that if they are still listening to conventional radio, not satellite or Internet, that would show they are in the late wave of adaptors).

San Francisco has been using the PPMs all summer, and I'll be curious to see the final results here. They should come out next week.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Leo Laporte on the Computer is Better than on the Radio

I'm at this morning, watching Leo Laporte, "The Tech Guy," tape calls for his weekend radio show, which I usually tune in.

But why listen, when I can watch at my leisure and hear all the calls, not just the ones that make the show. Plus, his feeds during the commercials are funny. You see him in his studio, eating brown rice sushi and getting a feel for what the show is REALLY like.

Also: he's taping his December 27 Segment 2 right now...amazing that I'm watching it three months early.

He's on 40 hours a week doing tech talk, on the web. I can't hear it in my car, but while I'm doing chores around the house, it's awesome. You can also twitter him during the show and get a response.

The web is becoming more and more competitive with commercial radio, and it's got to be frightening. It's a matter, though, of making it a habit. I forget to tune in a lot of my favorites on the computer, but always remember in the car.