Friday, October 29, 2010

E-editions constitute 16% of Chron's circulation

E-editions are becoming an increasingly important part of the circulation figures for the San Francisco Chronicle and the Bay Area News Group.

In the latest Audit Bureau of Circulations' FAS-FAX report, the Chronicle reported a total daily circulation of 223,546, and 16% of those copies were e-editions.

The number of daily e-edition subscribers of the Chron has nearly doubled in one year from 16,087 to 30,860.

The growth of the Chron's e-edition masks the decline print copies sold. Including e-editions, the Chronicle's overall daily circulation fell 11.2% from 251,782 in 2009 to 223,549 this year.

Subtract the e-editions, and the one-year slide would have been 18.2%.

Without e-editions, the Chron's daily circulation would be 192,689.

BANG reported 69,499 daily e-editions, which represent 17% of its 477,592 daily circulation.

BANG is the combination of the Mercury News, Oakland Tribune and Contra Costa Times. Those papers reported a total of 30,267 daily e-editions in 2009, indicating that BANG has more than doubled its e-edition subscribers in the past year.

Smaller papers are also using e-editions to beef up their overall circulation numbers. For instance:
    • At the Marin IJ, e-editions constitute 6.6% of its 30,040 Sunday circulation and 4.3% of its 27,027 daily circ. 
    • For the Napa Register, 763 e-edition daily subscribers make up 5.8% of its 13,992 daily circulation. 
    • The number of e-edition subscribers of the Santa Cruz Sentinel jumped from 27 to 468 in one year and now represent 2% of that paper's total circulation of 23,465 daily and 24,126 on Sundays.
E-editions show entire pages of newspapers, as they were printed. They're different from the news displayed for free on the websites of the same newspapers.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

KTVU to add weekend morning newscasts

KTVU Channel 2 announced today that starting in January it will launch a Saturday and Sunday 7-9 a.m. newscast and will begin its weekday morning news 30 minutes earlier at 4:30.

Anchors for the new weekend newscasts haven't been announced.

The additional 4:30-5 weekday newscast will be anchored by Pam Cook along with meteorologist Steve Paulson and traffic reporter Sal Castaneda.

The 5-9 a.m. weekday time slot will continue to be held down by Tori Campbell and Dave Clark.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, local stations were adding weekend morning newscasts, one of the few dayparts without local news. But a lot of those programs were canceled when ad revenues collapsed in 2008.

“At a time when television stations across the country have been cutting back on their news, KTVU is excited and proud to be dedicating more airtime to local news,” said KTVU Vice President and General Manager Tim McVay.

“Lifestyles change and Bay Area viewers are getting up earlier to start their day. We want to make sure that KTVU is there for them with local news, weather and traffic,” said KTVU News Director Ed Chapuis.

The expansion will provide Bay Area television viewers with over 47 hours each week of live newscasts from KTVU Channel 2 News.

“These newscasts will have all the resources necessary for KTVU to cover the major Bay Area news stories of the day,” said McVay. “We are committed to producing high energy, high impact newscasts on weekends and in early morning. This is a great way to serve our viewers.”

Some good news in newspaper circulation report

Cover of ABC's FAS-FAX report.
Monday's Audit Bureau of Circulations FAS-FAX report on circulation in the past year wasn't all doom and gloom for the newspaper industry.

Yes, the Chronicle reported big losses (down 11.2% on weekdays to 223,549 and 7.9% on Sunday to 282,290).

But the Bay Area News Group made the best of things by combining the circulation of its Mercury News, Contra Costa Times, Oakland Tribune and San Mateo County Times into one set of figures — 528,537 on Sundays and 477,595 on weekdays. BANG says its combined Sunday circulation is up 2/10ths of one percent, or 1,076 copies. Monday-Friday circulation is down 3.1%.

There are other bright spots in the ABC report:
    • The Marin IJ saw a 4.3% increase on Sundays (to 30,040) and a 1.8% gain M-F (to 27,027). 
    • The Santa Cruz Sentinel's Sunday circulation is up 13% to 24,126 and its weekday number has jumped 11.8% to 23,465. 
    • And The Reporter in Vacaville, a community hard-hit by the recession, is seeing a rebound in its circulation. The Reporter says its Sunday circulation is 17,604, a 2/10ths of a percent increase over last year at this time. It's weekday numbers are also up by the same percentage, to 17,248.
Newpapers losing ground included:
    • The Herald in Monterey (down 2.9% on Sunday to 27,604 and down 4.0% M-F to 25,179); 
    • Napa Register (down 0.8% on Sundays to 13,805 and down 1% M-F to 13,992);
    • The Santa Rosa Press Democrat (down 6.1% on Sundays to 64,286 and down 7.3% M-F to 59,557).

Friday, October 22, 2010

California Guild leader stepping down

Doug Cuthbertson
(Credit: Guild website)
Doug Cuthbertson has announced in a letter to members that he will not seek another term as Executive Officer of the California Media Workers Guild when his term ends Dec. 31, the Guild is reporting on its website.

Cuthbertson has held the post since 1981, when his predecessor, Fred Fletcher, retired.

Cuthbertson said he was stepping down during a meeting Saturday of the local executive committee, just before nominations were opened for local officers. He has offered to continue working part-time, handling some bargaining and administrative assignments.

Members nominated Carl Hall, a Guild staffer and former Chronicle reporter, to take on the executive officer job.

Another 'hyper local' network launches

As AOL-backed Patch sets up "hyper local" websites throughout Northern California, another network of local sites is getting off the ground, according to TechCrunch. Called Neighbortree, it plans to provide free, interactive neighborhood websites to any type of residential community, including neighborhoods, subdivisions, condominiums and apartment buildings. Here's a live example. Neighbortree, based in Kansas City, launched a month ago and has raised $120,000 in seed money from angel investors, according to TechCrunch.

Examiner owner has $3 billion payday

Remember the scene from "Citizen Kane" when a worried accountant tells Kane that his newspaper is losing a million dollars a year. And Kane responds, "You know, Mr. Thatcher, at the rate of a million dollars a year, I'll have to close this place in 60 years."

So how long will billionaire oilman Phil Anschutz keep subsidizing the San Francisco Examiner? Forbes Magazine says Anschutz just sold some oil fields in Pennsylvania and North Dakota for $3 billion — the biggest payday in his life.

Electronics journalist Jack Robertson dies

Jack Robertson, an award-winning journalist who covered the electronics industry for some five decades, died on Tuesday (Oct. 19) in Arlington, Va., according to EETimes. He was 78. Robertson covered the pioneering days of the military electronics, semiconductors and other industries for Electronic News starting in the 1960s.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Ex-Merc editor Goldberg quits Cleveland paper

Former Mercury News editor Susan Goldberg has stepped down as executive editor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer after three years in the post. She will join Bloomberg News as an executive editor.

Goldberg became managing editor of the Merc in 1999 and named executive editor in 2003. She left in 2007. She left after being forced to make a number of rounds of layoffs. As she left, parent company Knight Ridder was imploding from a shareholder dispute.

“I just wanted to get out of the whole situation,” she told Cleveland Magazine in 2008. “It was just very unhappy. I didn’t see where it was going to end.”

In March 2007, a headhunter called her at the Merc. The Plain Dealer needed a new top editor. Was she interested? No, she said at first. Her stepson was a junior in high school, so she didn’t want to move.

“Then, after I hung up the phone, I started thinking, Let me get this straight, Susan. You’re in a situation that is not going well, and you have just told a top 20 newspaper to basically take a hike,” she said. “So I called the headhunter back and said, ‘Can I have a do-over on that?’"

News organizations seek Dugard records

The Associated Press reports that it and five other news organizations are seeking to have a judge unseal grand jury transcripts and other documents in the Jaycee Lee Dugard kidnapping case.

In a motion filed Tuesday, the AP, Sacramento Bee, Hearst, Gannett, LA Times and the Bay Area News Group are asking El Dorado County Superior Court Judge Douglas Phimister to unseal the documents.

In the motion, attorney Karl Olson says "there is no justification for sealing any records" in the case against the Garridos.

In a lawsuit earlier this year, Olson successfully forced state corrections officials to release Phillip Garrido's parole records.

The Garridos are accused of kidnapping Dugard in 1991, when she was 11 and holding her captive in their backyard until she was found in August 2009.

“Sealed records and closed hearings detract from that appearance of fairness which is so essential to our criminal justice system,” said Olson. “There has already been publicity about the basic facts of this case, and access to court records will only ensure that coverage is accurate and not based on speculation.”

Jackie Davenport, the court’s assistant executive officer, said Phimister will meet behind closed doors with the lawyers in the case during a Nov. 4 hearing to discuss the media’s request to unseal documents. according to the Gannett-owned Reno Gazette Journal.

Olson said the media and the public have a right to be heard on their exclusion from the case. He also said there is no justification for the ruling.

The U.S. Supreme Court has held that “openness ... enhances both the basic fairness of the criminal trial and the appearance of fairness so essential to public confidence in the system,” Olson said in the motion.

“We respectfully submit that there is no justification for sealing any records in this case, but even if a small portion of some document might arguably be redacted, the wholesale sealing at issue here is not narrowly tailored” as court rules require, he said.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Tim Goodman joins Hollywood Reporter

The Chronicle's Tim Goodman is leaving the Chronicle to join The Hollywood Reporter as its chief television critic, the THR announced Tuesday. However, Goodman said he will continue to live in the Bay Area and continue to be heard of KFOG.

THR is a weekly but has a website that appears to be updated seven days a week. Goodman will continue to write TV reviews and have a blog.

Former Merc columnist L.A. Chung joins Patch

L.A. Chung (Photo by
Thu Ly from
Former Mercury News columnist and veteran journalist Lisa Chung has returned to the town where she grew up — Los Altos — and is writing for Patch, the AOL-owned string of local news sites. In a posting Tuesday, she writes:
    I'm covering the towns where I learned to swim, ride and be a part of the Aquacade at the old Covington School. I'm loving it. 
    As a professional journalist for more than 25 years, I reported and wrote news stories. I assigned and edited reporters. I wrote a column at the San Jose Mercury News that some may remember. And now, as journalism makes a full transition to Web 2.0 and beyond, I want to work with community collaborators. 
    The goal: All Los Altos and Los Altos Hills. All the time.

Bay Area NYT affiliate partners with Young Dems

Most news organizations wouldn't even consider co-sponsoring an event with a political party. But as Peter Jamison of the SF Weekly reports, Bay Citizen, the new online news organization that is providing stories to the New York Times, held an event Tuesday night in conjunction with the San Francisco Young Democrats at The Chieftain, an Irish pub on Fifth Street.

Writing before Tuesday's event, Jamison said:
    The event will feature drink specials, pub trivia in which contestants can challenge The Bay Citizen's lead editor and reporters -- and an active volunteer drive conducted by the San Francisco Young Democrats on behalf of three specific candidates in races for the Board of Supervisors. 
    Maxwell Szabo, president of the Young Dems, told us that his organization will be trying to enlist volunteers tonight to work on the campaigns of District 2 candidate Janet Reilly, District 8 candidate Rebecca Prozan, and District 10 candidate Chris Jackson, all of whom the group has endorsed. Szabo said he has also invited representatives of each of these campaigns to attend and woo volunteers. 
    "The Bay Citizen, which is the New York Times offshoot in the Bay Area, they had been wanting to partner with us on some event at some point," Szabo said. "This is something we're kind of doing as a fun event, that we're tag-teaming up with them on." He added, "We're not really co-sponsors. We just said, 'We might come over and do this.' They said, 'Yeah, do that.'"
It appears from reading Jamison's story that as soon as he began asking questions, both the Young Dems and Bay Citizen began backtracking. A Bay Citizen marketing person claimed that the Young Dems were to meet before the Bay Citizen event, and that the website reached out to the Young Republicans (are there any in SF?) and got no response. Later, Szabo was no longer saying Bay Citizen was partnering with the Young Dems, and instead was insisting the events were separate.

Bay Citizen is the nonprofit news organization created when the Chronicle was talking about shutting down. It was started with a $5 million grant from Wells Fargo heir F. Warren Hellman. Bay Citizen provides copy to the New York Times' Bay Area editions.

A's thinking about buying AM radio station

The San Francisco Business Times reports that the Oakland A's are thinking about buying their flagship radio station, 50,000-watt KTRB AM 860, which is currently in receivership and operated by Comerica Bank. The station flipped from conservative talk to sports in May 2009 when it landed the A's English-language radio rights.

Ken Pries, who oversees broadcast deals for the team, says the A's are "just at the beginning stages" of a possibly deal. Buying the station would give the A's control over their baseball broadcasts which have been on three stations in the past five years.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Chron, Merc reject strip's "Muhammad" cartoon

Both the San Francisco Chronicle and San Jose Mercury News quietly killed a “Non Sequitur” comic strip that mentioned “Muhammad” — a move the author of the strip calls ironic.

“The irony of editors being afraid to run even such a tame cartoon as this that satirizes the blinding fear in media regarding anything surrounding Islam sadly speaks for itself. Indeed, the terrorists have won,” Wiley Miner told a blog that follows the comic strip business, The Daily Cartoonist.

Other papers that didn’t run the Oct. 3 strip include the Boston Globe, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune.

Miner’s cartoon asks “Where’s Muhammad?” — a takeoff on the “Where’s Waldo?” books. The comic shows characters in a park buying ice cream, fishing, roller skating, etc. No character is depicted as Middle Eastern.

The fact that the papers had spiked the comic didn’t become public until Washington Post’s ombudsman Andrew Alexander criticized his paper for canceling what he called “a powerful and witty endorsement of freedom of expression.”

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Merc plans to hire two reporters

After years of layoffs, here's a surprise -- the Mercury News is looking to hire two reporters, one for the Sacramento bureau and another to cover startups and VCs. Here's an e-mail that went out to Los Angeles Daily News reporters yesterday regarding the openings. The source of the e-mail is the blog LAObserved.
    From: Carolina Garcia 
    Date: Wed, Oct 13, 2010 at 1:59 PM 
    Subject: 2 job openings at the Merc 
    Dave [Butler, the Merc's editor] has two reporter openings. 
    The San Jose Mercury News has an immediate opening for an experienced state government reporter in our Sacramento bureau. This person will be responsible for all aspects of the California state capital, but with a focus on enterprise and investigative work that will help set the agenda in Sacramento. Working in the MediaNews Capitol bureau in Sacramento, the reporter will produce stories that will appear in newspapers throughout California and likely beyond. The successful candidate will have at least two years covering a statehouse and at least five years total experience with a major metropolitan daily or similar media outlet. Candidates should be well-versed in government coverage and in California's political landscape. Interested? Send a cover letter, resume and 6 clips (PDF copies with online links, preferable) to 
    The San Jose Mercury News is looking for a reporter to cover the Silicon Valley start-up and venture capital community. Candidates must have at least two years experience covering the start-up industry, or a background working in the industry as well as at least two years of reporting experience at a daily news organization. We are looking for a reporter who can produce enterprise stories for the front page, craft an engaging weekly column focusing on the people and companies that are driving the industry, as well as quickly write breaking news for the Web. The ideal candidate will also have solid judgment, since part of the job will be to serve as an "early-warning" system for the Business Section to alert its editors about the "next" Facebook, or Twitter, or other phenomenon that will reshape Silicon Valley. 
    Candidates should send a cover letter, resume and 3-5 clips to: 
    Stephen R. Trousdale 
    Business Editor 
    San Jose Mercury News 
    750 Ridder Park Dr. 
    San Jose, CA 95190

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

October 2010 Press Club board minutes

Oct. 13, 2010 -- Board Room, San Mateo Daily Journal

Present: Jon Mays, Micki Carter, Dave Price, Melissa McRobbie, Darryl Compton, Peter Cleaveland, Marshall Wilson. Absent: Antonia Ehlers, Kristy Blackburn, Ed Remitz

The meeting was called to order at 6:40 p.m.

Minutes of September were approved.

Treasurer’s Report: Darryl reported that $309.30 was spent for refreshments for Boot Camp. He hasn’t yet got the printer’s bill. Food for the picnic came to $63. 65.

High School Journalism Boot Camp: The board reviewed the highly successful Boot Camp Oct. 1 at College of San Mateo. Attendance topped 250 and we admit we weren’t quite prepared for the large numbers. Next year we will offer all 50-minute sessions with a 10-minute transfer period between. We will also utilize the theatre for the two largest sessions and ask for three more classrooms. Dave suggested inviting community college students to attend. We will also invite schools to submit PDFs of their papers for critiquing so we can pass them around and get broader comments. We definitely will invite Jim Wagstaffe back, and perhaps ask the students at Palo Alto High School to lead a session.

Professional Journalism Contest: Darryl is still waiting to hear back from about the price tag for using their software for our contest. Since we can have up to three contests a year, perhaps we could ask RTNDA to join us and share the tab.

Professional development workshop: A March date is planned for a brown bag salon featuring Pulitzer Prize-winner Matt Richtel of the New York Times and a session on records searches at the County Government Center in Redwood City. Darryl suggested that California Aware would send a speaker on the open records topic. Peter suggested Vic Lee or David Louie, and Melissa and Marshall brought up the name of Jaxon Van Derbeken of the Chronicle.

Christmas Party and Annual Meeting: Since the attendance has been low at this event for the past two years, Marshall suggested merging it with holiday party in the Janet Parker Beck Press Room at the County Government Center. Marshall is going to check on the possibility of having it at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 8. It would be BYOB and food could be catered from the cafeteria in the building.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:40 p.m.

Respectfully submitted, Micki Carter, Secretary

Glossy paper didn't increase Chron's ad revenues

Advertisers haven't responded to the Chronicle's switch to glossy paper, Chronicle president Mark Adkins told Josh Tapper of the Nieman Journalism Lab. In the past few months, the Chronicle has scaled back the use of such paper to Sundays.
    The Chronicle won’t be phasing out high-gloss paper any time soon — not with that $1 billion Hearst deal — but Adkins isn’t ready to champion glossy as the savior of the print industry.

29 fired in latest round of layoffs at SacBee

The Sacramento Bee fired more workers earlier this month, it's fifth round of layoffs in two-and-a-half-years, according to Editor & Publisher. This time, 29 employees were shown the door including sports editor Bill Bradley and two newsroom photographers. However, circulation and production departments were hardest hit in the face of shrinking advertising and circulation.

Contract talks open at Mercury News

The Guild reports that it met Monday (Oct. 11) with company representatives Marshall Anstandig, Andy Huntington and Jim Janiga to begin negotiations for a new contract. The following is from the Guild's bulletin:
    They provided financial information documenting declines in advertising revenue, Sunday circulation, staffing and newsprint (tonnage). The company emphasized the need for greater consolidation of newsrooms throughout BANG, which was reflected in their explanation of the goals of the proposal. Here’s the company’s opening proposal:
            • Pay freeze for all current employees. 
                • Reserve the right to call a one-week furlough. 
                    • Remove all assigning editors from the Guild. (Company estimates eight or nine positions)
                        • Create a two-tiered wage structure for advertising and maintenance employees, which reduces the weekly minimum wage rate for employees hired starting in December. 
                            • Greater flexibility to remove merit pay. 
                                • Remove temporary employees (including interns) from the unit, so they are not paid Guild wages and not covered by the contract. 
                                    • Eliminate the re-hire list. (It is currently three years.) 
                                        • Create the right to freely assign photographers and reporters to do each other’s work.
                                          There was no proposed length of the contract. The company proposed no changes to health insurance, holidays and jurisdiction. They proposed no change to vacation accrual, but want a “use it or lose it” provision for vacation not taken in the calendar year.
                                        Talks are scheduled to resume Nov. 3, when the Guild will present its proposal.

                                        New NABET contract at KQED

                                        NABET negotiators Kevin Wilson, Randy Brase and Rich Santangelo report that members have voted overwhelmingly to accept a two-year contract with Northern California Public Broadcasting (KQED's parent) which will result in a 3% pay increase on Oct. 23 and another 3% bump next year.

                                        Press Club board meets tonight (Wed., Oct. 13)

                                        San Francisco Peninsula Press Club Board of Directors
                                        Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010, 6:30 p.m.
                                        San Mateo Daily Journal
                                        800 S. Claremont St., Ste. 210, San Mateo

                                        1. Approval of Minutes
                                        2. Finance and Membership Reports
                                        3. High school journalism boot camp
                                        4. Membership workshop/salon
                                        5. Professional journalism contest
                                        6. Holiday party
                                        7. Other business as needed

                                        Got a great idea for the future of news?

                                        John S. and James L. Knight Foundation will start accepting proposals on Oct. 25 for innovative projects that inform and engage the public. In its first four years, $23 million has been awarded to 56 media innovators chosen from more than 10,000 entries. The fifth year of the contest opens for entries Oct. 25 and closes Dec. 1. Individuals, schools, nonprofits, governments and businesses all may enter. Here's a link for details and how to apply.

                                        Examiner: Don't call us a 'content farm'

                              , which has a reported 55,000 contributors nationwide, is not a "content farm" like Demand or Associated Content, executives of the site told PBS MediaShift's Mark Glaser. They also tell Glaser that the online has little association with the San Francisco Examiner or Washington Examiner, except that they share the same name and are owned by conservative oilman Phil Anschutz.

                                        Tuesday, October 12, 2010

                                        KGO/KSFO sales director to replace Luckoff

                                        Deidra Lieberman, who started in radio in 1990 and moved up through the ranks in sales, was named Tuesday as general manager of KGO-AM 810 and KSFO 560, replacing Mickey Luckoff, who resigned last week in a dispute with the station's owners.

                                        Lieberman was a sales manager with Susquehanna Radio from 1996 to 2003. She joined KGO/KSFO in September 2003 as the general sales manager and was promoted to director of sales in 2006. In her time at KGO/KSFO, she has continually kept the stations sales revenues at the top spot in the market, a press release stated.

                                        Her appointment was announced by Farid Suleman, president and chief executive of Citadel Broadcasting. The release quoted Suleman as saying, "It is a privilege and honor to promote someone from within this fantastic organization. Deidra is a nationally respected sales professional and I look forward to working with Deidra, Jack Swanson and everyone here in San Francisco."

                                        Operations Manager Jack Swanson said in the release: “What an outstanding choice to lead us in the decades ahead. I’m thrilled to be on the team.”

                                        No word on who will replace Lieberman as sales director.

                                        Deidra, a native New Yorker, lives in Marin with her husband, Eric.

                                        Saturday, October 9, 2010

                                        Fire consumes San Jose radio station

                                        KSJX's studio and four towers are located on Highway 101
                                        between the Berryessa Road and McKee Road turnoffs. Source: Google maps.

                                        A five-alarm fire tonight (Saturday) consumed the building that houses KSJX (1500-AM) in San Jose, according to the Bay City News service. The fire began in vegetation near Highway 101 and soon engulfed the radio station. A nearby Kellogg's factory, at 475 Eggo Way, was threatened by flamed and the employees were sent home. No injuries were reported and the cause wasn't immediately known.

                                        KSJX broadcasts in Vietnamese and is licensed to Multicultural Radio Broadcasting Licensee LLC. FCC records indicate KSJX's transmitter towers are located next to the building that was destroyed tonight. The station is licensed to operate with 10,000 watts daytime and 5,000 at night.

                                        RTNDA honors Allen, Davis and Tokuda

                                        Rosie Allen, Belva Davis and Wendy Tokuda
                                        Rosie Allen, Belva Davis and Wendy Tokuda will be honored with lifetime achievement awards from the from the Nor Cal Radio-Television News Directors Association on Nov. 6. The awards dinner will be held at the Hotel Kabuki in San Francisco at 6 p.m. The night's master of ceremonies are Pam Moore and Peter Finch. For more information visit Tickets start at $50 for students, $75 for RTNDA members and $85 for the public.

                                        Santa Rosa paper sues to get pension data

                                        The Santa Rosa Press Democrat reported Friday that it is suing the Sonoma County Employees’ Retirement Association in an effort to force the disclosure of public pension records after the agency rejected numerous public records requests.

                                        The association says a state law governing county-run pension systems requires that such information not be disclosed. But the California Supreme Court and state Attorney General have in the past overruled similar claims about the confidentiality of government salaries.

                                        Wednesday, October 6, 2010

                                        Berkeley dean Neil Henry hospitalized

                                        We don't have much information except this e-mail Tuesday from George Breslauer, executive vice chancellor and provost:

                                          Dear Colleagues, Neil Henry was taken to Alta Bates hospital earlier today. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family. We will update you as we learn more.

                                        Mickey Luckoff not allowed back on KGO-AM

                                        Luckoff and Owens. Credit: Flickr
                                        It's been a tough week for KGO-AM host Ronn Owens. First, Jerry Brown and Meg Whitman backed out of a debate on his show that the station had heavily promoted. Then on Tuesday, he was scheduled to talk to Mickey Luckoff, who had resigned a day earlier after 35 years as general manager of KGO-AM in a dispute with the station's owner, Citadel Broadcasting.

                                        Owens promoted the hour with Luckoff at the beginning of the 9'o clock hour of his show.

                                        Then, 48 minutes into that hour, he came back from a commercial break with a short announcement: "Our 11 o'clock program, which would have had Mickey Luckoff on, has been canceled by management. Period."

                                        He went on taking calls as if nothing had happened. But apparently KGO was swamped with calls.

                                        At 9:55, Owens tried to explain the situation: "Freedom of speech is the ability to say what you want in public. For what it is worth, this is still a publicly owned [station] but still a business. And they have a right to make business decisions.

                                        "Mickey's ability to speak out anywhere has not been limited, it is just been limited on this station," Owens said. "On one hand, I think [putting Luckoff on the air] the right thing to do. It would have been edgy and a good way to just people talk, and on the other hand, I am an employee and I understand the other side of the equation too. ... But Mickey will always be my friend."

                                        Metro apologizes, called black candidate 'slavish'

                                        The editor of the San Jose alt-weekly Metro, Dan Pulcrano, apologized Monday for saying that black Santa Clara County supervisor candidate Forrest Williams has a "slavish adherence to special interest groups," according to CBS5 and the blog San Jose Inside.

                                        Pulcrano made the comment in an editorial page endorsement of Williams' opponent, Mike Wasserman.

                                        “It was a mistake, and it was insensitive,” Pulcrano said in a media event Williams set up outside Metro's offices in San Jose. “We apologize to Mr. Williams and to anyone we may have offended.”

                                        “The word, which has multiple meanings, was not intended in a racial context. We have always been strong supporters of civil rights issues and will continue to be so,” Pulcrano said. “We could have easily come up with a better adjective, such as 'enthusiastic.'"

                                        San Jose Inside said that Pulcrano apologized and shook hands with Williams during the media event. Pulcrano said he will print an apology in the next issue of Metro and re-run the endorsement of Wasserman with the word edited out.

                                        Newsman Ed Pope dead at 79

                                        Ed Pope, a former reporter and city editor at the Mercury News, died Sunday of bladder cancer at his San Jose home at age 79, the Merc reports. Pope was at the Merc for 41 years, taking a buyout in 2001.

                                        "Ed was not a cocky, arrogant guy who was gunning to get people fired. In fact, he was a very kind and good-hearted, thoughtful person," said Reporter Brandon Bailey. "But he just had a conviction that people deserved to be treated decently. I think he felt genuine outrage when someone didn't live up to their responsibilities."

                                        The Merc noted that Pope did many hardest-hitting investigative stories, such as turning a harsh spotlight on abuses at nursing homes and producing articles that sparked reform and won him numerous awards.

                                        Monday, October 4, 2010

                                        Luckoff resigns, citing disagreements with Citadel

                                        Luckoff with his Radio Hall of Fame award.
                                        Longtime KGO-AM and KSFO president and gm Mickey Luckoff abruptly resigned today, citing disagreements with the stations' owner, Citadel Communications.

                                        "The day you're not able to stand behind or believe in the decisions you are being asked to make is the day you must be true to yourself and to those you care about," he said in a letter to staff that was obtained by the SF Business Journal. "Thus I am closing my door for the final time here at KGO and KSFO."

                                        "I have repeatedly assured our incredibly talented and loyal staff that I would stay until they or the on-air product we created became compromised," Luckoff said in the letter. "Unfortunately, that time has come."

                                        Luckoff, who has headed KGO-AM for 35 years and run KSFO since the mid-1990s, said there was no single event that precipitated his resignation, but that his disagreements with station ownership have accumulated over time.

                                        "I've had a resignation letter in my desk for nine months," he said.

                                        Luckoff said he plans to write a book on his 52 years in the radio industry and will remain active with foundations. He's also planning to get married.

                                        UPDATE 5 P.M. — Luckoff told Andrew S. Ross of the Chronicle that he didn't like how he was being treated by his Citadel bosses in Las Vegas.

                                        "I'm used to running a first-class operation, but they were constantly going behind my back and over my head. Nobody knew who they were supposed to report to. That's the way they operate."

                                        Luckoff also told Ross: "These aren't good people ... They don't treat people well. They undermine you at every turn."

                                        Friday, October 1, 2010

                                        Michael Krasny happy with lots of tonnage

                                        TV-Radio Critic Bill Mann says Michael Krasny's "Forum" on KQED-FM 88.5 is the most-listened-to local talk show in the country.
                                          The low-key, witty Krasny, who's been on the San Francisco NPR station 17 years, was bounced from his previous job, on commercial radio, for ... interviewing too many writers! 
                                          The salespeople at 50,000-watt newstalk giant KGO said Krasny's author-laden show attracted - here's a charming term - too much "tonnage." 
                                          "Tonnage," Krasny explains, shaking his head, "Means older listeners. They told me writers attracted too many over-54s." But the bookish Krasny got the last laugh with his subsequent and remarkable NPR success. 
                                          He ripped his old station, KGO, and commercial talk radio in general in a book, "Off Mike: A Memoir of Talk Radio and Literary Life."

                                        Copy editor Rex Adkins dead at 86

                                        Rex Adkins, A longtime copy editor at Chronicle and the Oakland Tribune and a leader in the Newspaper Guild, has died in San Diego at the age of 86, the Chron reports. According to the obit by Michael Cabanatuan:
                                          During the McCarthy era, as a graduate student in history at UC Berkeley, he refused to sign a loyalty oath for a university job, which meant he could no longer afford to continue his studies, said daughter Christine Toscano. 
                                          He resigned from the Oakland Tribune in 1968 because of the conservative politics of the newspaper's owners, the Knowland family, and the publication in the newspaper of ads he considered racist, daughter Madeleine Adkins said. 
                                          "He was very proud of having stood his ground ethically at a fair cost to himself," Toscano said.
                                        The Chron obit notes that Adkins was a dedicated defender of the English language and was once labeled "the philosopher of the copy desk" by columnist Herb Caen for a 1974 observation that Caen quoted often: "San Francisco is a city that wishes people would call her Frisco again."

                                        Hilary Schneider to leave Yahoo

                                        HAPPIER TIMES — Yahoo execs Elisa Steele, Carol Bartz
                                        and Hilary Schneider in Times Square. Credit: Flickr/Yahoo.
                                        Hilary Schneider, a familiar name to former Knight Ridder employees, is leaving Yahoo after four years at that firm.

                                        At Knight Ridder, she was senior vp and was seen as a possible successor to chairman Tony Ridder before the company's demise.

                                        Reuters said it had obtained an internal e-mail from Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz on Thursday said that Schneider was moving on "to the next phase in her career." The e-mail did not say whether Schneider was joining another company. Schneider will stay on to help with the transition, the company said.