Friday, March 23, 2018

Ask Rich Lieberman

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YOUR FAVORITE FEATURE...415 Media answers (or tries to) your questions on Bay Area TV/ Radio/Internet ...oh, and opinion too. Name and city please.

*415 MEDIA is the Bay Area's only independent media site and relies solely on donations and contributions. PLEASE, help keep this blog sustainable by making a contribution (any amount helps) It's fast and easy: simply go to the Pay Pal "Donate" icon on the right side of the blog and click on it. It takes but a minute and it's safe, secure and completely confidential. I will personally e-mail and/or call you thanking you for your contribution.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Aveson is a Goner. But KRON Still Stuck in Eternal Banality; Thursday Open

Image result for KRON TV San Francisco building THE WORD ON THE STREET? At KRON, now that Steve Aveson's contract won't be renewed, who's next? And where exactly is KRON headed? Eternal banality in my book.

So Aveson's dullness and vanilla wafer personality on the air landed him a goner. He is dull and dreary but seriously, J.R. Stone isn't exactly Mr. Excitement either. Stone isn't getting the coin Aveson got but you get my drift.

Image result for Grant LodesAnd while Grant Lodes is competent and average he's only rather ordinary. Doesn't exactly excite the senses (which is OK) but does he move the needle? No.

And that's KRON's problem; a boring, mismanaged, under-performing independent that likes to say it's the "Bay Area's News Station." Yeah, when you throw out the furniture store infomercials and the barrage of "People Behaving Bad" segments (which are OK, but not exactly worthy of the amount of runs they get).

Simply stated, KRON continues to be an albatross. They have good people. They have a few stars (Pam Moore, Radnich, Vicki Liviakis, Cathy Heenan, etc) and they even occasionally beat the competition every now and then. But a broken clock is right two times a day too.

The question: does anyone care?

That's what I thought.


*415 MEDIA is the Bay Area's only independent media site and relies solely on donations and contributions. PLEASE, help keep this blog sustainable by making a contribution (any amount helps) It's fast and easy: simply go to the Pay Pal "Donate" icon on the right side of the blog and click on it. It takes but a minute and it's safe, secure and completely confidential. I will personally e-mail and/or call you thanking you for your contribution.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

415 Media Exclusive: Aveson OUT at KRON

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Steve Aveson OUT at KRON
Steve Aveson is OUT at KRON, a source tells 415 Media.

Aveson, the weeknight co-anchor who came to KRON in April, 2016, contract is up at the end of the month and won't be renewed.


Station brass did research and Aveson never warmed to the Bay Area audience and they never warmed to him. In fact, said the source, he wasn't even known. Ouch.

How shocking.

I'm being flip. Frankly, I'm surprised Aveson made it this long because his personality was not exactly peachy; furthermore, not helping matters, he was not especially liked by a majority of his co-workers. Especially one bigwig.

There's this thing called chemistry and Aveson never developed any; not only to the people who still watch KRON but many inside the newsroom. Shockingly, but not surprising, KRON tried to build its news brand around Aveson and it turned out to be a disaster.

There's no word on a replacement but anyone other than Aveson will be an improvement. Harsh? Yes, but true too.

It's a tough business.

#415Media Exclusive
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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Posey Tube Story Highlights Repetitious KCBS; No News-Talk Radio in City Disgusting; KTVU Star Cristina Rendon: I'd Like To See More; Losing Count of All New Reporters at 'PIX; The Ageless Vicki Liviakis; Did Ken Wayne Become a Robot? Tuesday Coffee

Image result for Morning coffee and newspaper KCBS went to great lengths to tell its listeners Sunday that the Posey Tube would be shut down for most of the week --(the tube connects Alameda to Oakland); I mean, great, great, great, lengths ...I counted at least ten times in just the space of an hour including a reporter at the scene, Bob Butler, and endless traffic reports mentioning the shutdown. Butler's report was replayed at least a dozen times in the span of three hours. Maybe more, I lost count and interest.

Image result for kcbs radioGranted, this artery is a significant crossway between Oakland and Alameda but when is enough is enough? Moreover, Butler's report included sappy MOS interviews with people who reacted as if their pets had been injured.

Turns out, the closure of the tube lasted only a day (and not a week) but it made the all-news outlet sound ridiculous and repetitive --which unfortunately is a KCBS staple on the weekend --ALOT on the weekend and almost as annoying during the week.

*My disgust about the fact there is now no news-talk radio station here is based on the fact of such station that do still exist in big markets like, NY, Chicago, Philly, Miami, Boston, LA (although LA talk radio is el crappo but they at least still have a talk outlet. It is outrageous to me that this market is devoid of a news-talk station and even more outraged that very few consumers seem to care. Once again, thanks FCC.

*Joke among industry wags regarding KRON referring to the albatross as "The Summation Station."

*Mind-blowing, speaking of KCBS: add up the amount of time devoted to weather and you'd be astonished. I'm not necessarily pooh-pooing the method just that when it's the same report broadcast over and over and over...why not just a quick, usual update and devote more time to interviews and actual news? I know, common sense is out the door.

*The absurdity of KGO's repeat program nightly from 7-10 PM really exposes itself when a major news event takes place during the day yet at 7 PM the nitwit is talking to some woman about the health benefits of garlic.

Great programming.

*Just ten years ago, KGO Radio was billing about $30 million --now? You don't want to know.

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Cristina Rendon/KTVU
*Cristina Rendon: way too under used at KTVU. She anchors well; she's great in the field; she can do a crisp, incisive interview but for some reason we hardly see her; it seems as if someone at KTVU doesn't know how to promote a rising star.

*Meanwhile, the rotating menu of new reporters at KPIX continues at a record pace. Frankly, I can't keep up with all the new faces but it sure keeps the Fresno Greyhound station in business.

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Vicki Liviakis
*Funny, there's male anchors in this town that aren't on the air because in their mid 50's they're deemed too "old" irony: the gorgeous, competent, terrifically talented, Vicki Liviakis, well into her 50's is still a knockout.

And pretty much the only reason I watch KRON.

*What is it with KTVU's Ken Wayne? I used to really like the guy as both anchor and field reporter but he seems to have 86ed his personality --assuming, that is, if he has a perso

I'm not saying he should put on a clown show but an occasional laugh, ad-lib, aside, you know the drill, seems to have evaded Wayne's sudden switch to Mr. Robot.

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Ken Wayne/KTVU
Not a knock, just an observation.

If Wayne keeps this up he's closing in on Kenny Choi territory.

*415 MEDIA is the Bay Area's only independent media site and relies solely on donations and contributions. PLEASE, help keep this blog sustainable by making a contribution (any amount helps) It's fast and easy: simply go to the Pay Pal "Donate" icon on the right side of the blog and click on it. It takes but a minute and it's safe, secure and completely confidential. I will personally e-mail and/or call you thanking you for your contribution.

Monday, March 19, 2018

415 Media Special Report: NBC Bay Area 'Investigative' Reporting About Presentation High School Backfires: Public Turns Against Media to Help All Girls San Jose School

Image result for presentation high school nbc bay areaTHE SLOPPY and misleading reporting by NBC Bay Area (KNTV) Investigates into allegations of sexual misconduct cases at Presentation High from 20 and 30 years ago has backfired. 


When we last visited this story, NBC Investigates Reporter Vicky Nguyen had landed in hot water with NBC brass for reaching out to minors under the age of 18 in phone calls, texts and online messages, to see if she “could learn something” about the allegations. It would be hard to learn anything from current students since the claims were made from 20 and 30 years ago. Nevertheless, Nguyen took it upon herself to unethically contact minors without their parents knowledge.


Image result for nbc bay areaOf course, this effort landed no interview and no information. Instead, it backfired on Nguyen.  Now it looks as if the entire effort to tar and feather the administrators at PHS has not only backfired on NBC Bay Area and the Mercury News (which also engaged in biased reporting against PHS), but it has turned into a nuclear disaster for NBC, Vicky Nguyen and the Mercury News.  


Instead of getting people all riled up at PHS, the news reporting has been so one-sided, sloppy, biased and unfair that Presentation alums, parents, students, and community members have turned out in droves to support the school with major donations and financial aid.

Read this news release from PHS. It shows that when the media is openly biased, the public takes notice and votes with its wallets:

San Jose—Officials at the all-girls Presentation High School today announced the school broke all records in its annual crowd funding drive this week. 

“The support for Pres has never been stronger,” said Kristin Cooke Schneider, the school’s Alumnae Director. “Pres alums, past and current parents, past and current teachers, and community members have a positive shared experience and they sent that message loud and clear.”

Pres raised $116,000 in its crowdfunding campaign this week, an increase of 97% over last year’s total of $59,000.  The money will be used to help provide scholarships and support other student programs.

Schneider said an effort backfired by “Make Pres Safe,” a group of alums who are claiming the school failed to properly report sexual misconduct cases that date back 30 years ago.

“We’ve never seen a response like this,” Schneider said. “Make Pres Safe” sent out letters and contacted alums and other donors to urge them to withhold donations, but just the opposite occurred.”

Schneider said a large number of the PHS alums called and wrote to say they were disturbed by misleading claims and questionable accusation’s that are being made by a personal injury attorney who represents a couple of alums. Donors reported feeling harassed by the group’s letters, many of which were sent to their home address. Presentation is unclear how the addresses were obtained.

Schneider said the “Make Pres Safe” letter writing campaign infuriated people who felt their privacy was invaded and that they were being harassed and bullied into withdrawing their support from school.” 

“It’s nice to see these misleading claims not only haven’t made a dent in our reputation, they have encouraged people to stand up and fight the falsehoods by voting their consciences with their wallets,” said Schneider

Watkowski-Silva All But Has New GM Gig at KGO-TV; Daetz Returns To Anchor Desk with Ashley From Maternity Leave; Samantha Mohr Still Kicking in Atlanta; Rothmann and Thurston Broadcast Actual 'News-Talk'; Personal Note; 415 Media Monday

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Tracey Watkowski-Silva
MY SPY at 900 FRONT has told me what we reported back not so long ago: Current KGO-TV ND, the less-than-people-friendly, Tracey Watkowski-Silva, is "most likely" getting the GM job.

It's been kind of murky.

The position has been vacant since Bill Burton left to take a network position and has left the station (ABC7) without someone filling the top gig.

Several staffers at KGO were (and still are) "stunned" when told of the news that Watkowski was named the new GM. "No way!" was a common reaction and that may still be the sentiment but a prominent ABC on-air talent (I can't name the person because the spy said so) says "ABC network chatter" was that the job is all but ready for TW to take over.

I've written several times about Watkowski's controversial management style in which she rules by intimidation and fear. She's also got more baggage than the United terminal at SFO. Says who? The majority staff at KGO who routinely tell me (via e-mail and conversations) of her mercurial style; that's not a good recipe for long-term success, most certainly when you're about to become the biggest suit at KGO.

I can just imagine the reaction in the newsroom later in the day.

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Dan Ashley and Ama Daetz
*YES, Ama Daetz returned to KGO the other night after four months off from maternity leave and is back on the desk with Dan Ashley.

*Had a chance to say "hi" to former KPIX weatherwoman Samantha Mohr, who's forecasting these days in Atlanta at the NBC station.

"Wild weather here, Rich," says Mohr who looks and sounds great as ever.

*Wasn't so long ago that I said that a few good storms in March would wipe away the frequently-used "D" word (drought) and lo and behold, the weather gods have us lined up for several rain makers this week; the Marin hardware stories and "storm desk" updates are in order along with the usual live shots from downtown Mill Valley.

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Samantha Mohr
*No news yet on the Mark Ibanez and Jessica Aguirre contract negotiations (both have expiring deals this month) but I'm betting Ibanez' deal is a near formality and that Aguirre's re-up is close only because both are still significantly popular at their respective stations (KTVU and KNTV/NBC Bay Area)

That said, when it comes to money, throw out common sense.

*The fact that the Bay Area now is devoid (essentially) of a truly "news-talk" radio station is not only sad and embarrassing but dumb too.

Every day, every hour, is a new bizarro emanating from the Trump White House; cable news ratings are off the chart; water-cooler chat in offices centers around "what's happening next?" and "is this for real?" Yeah, it is and the fact there's no outlet here to vent and opine is ridiculous and pathetic.

I was reminded of that last (Sunday Night) listening to a three-hour tapestry of the great political guru, John Rothmann and Pat Thurston on KGO, the former legacy station that has deteriorated into mindless "lifestyle" issues and taped financial show babble.

Rothmann and Thurston had jammed lines and interesting, entertaining, and informative talk radio; timely too and easy on the ears. It was three hours chock full of enlightening and provocative discussion --and not a word about cheesecake recipes.


FINALLY...a personal note

Again, thanks to all of you who wrote expressing condolences and support over the passing of my mom and aunt.

I'm still not all there (insert joke) and even writing today has been difficult. To those of you, especially those I have taken shots (professional) who still wrote, thanks for making this very difficult time somewhat bearable.

I'm hurting, emotional and otherwise. I can't bear the pain because I'm still numb and in shock. Your words of encouragement and support are greatly appreciated.

And to those of you who made donations to my site, THANK YOU; as 415 MEDIA relies on donations and contributions to be 100% independent and sustainable.

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Pat Thurston

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John Rothmann

Friday, March 16, 2018

A Tribute To Mom


Last week, late Thursday, my sister informed me my aunt Claire had died. She'd been battling dementia and had a myriad of health issues for years. Of course I was still saddened and in shock.

The very next day, late Friday night, my mom, also tragically passed away. Only hours after my aunt (my mom's sister) had died.

I was crushed. How cruel. I sobbed and buried my head into my pillow and cried and cried and cried. I'm sobbing.

We buried my aunt Claire on Sunday and are planning a memorial for my mom sometime in the next few weeks.

I am still in shock. During the past few years mom has battled and survived some serious health issues but she was a fighter and would no doubt persevere. She cheated death and this episode would be no different--I had no doubt she'd survive.

I came back home to help her and take care of her and felt she was bulletproof --and why not? She was always there for me; comforted me when I was down; defended me when I needed help no matter what the circumstances. She was my rock and best friend.

Mom raised me; my father was pretty much never around so it was mom and my brother (who passed too young in 2000) and my two sisters and brother-in-law. Small family.

I write with a heavy heart and am still profoundly sad over this tragedy in my life; it's so cruel but it's inevitable and mom would have told me to get on with my own life and move forward. Even though I feel empty and broken.

This column is the beginning of that endeavor.

I want to again, THANK YOU ALL who have sent kind words; supportive and otherwise. Your words have made this a lot more bearable but I am still shaking and asking "why now?" It's so darn painful and depressing. I will try to carry on. But it is a difficult time.

415 Media will resume Monday with Bay Area TV/Radio news and commentary, God willing.

In the meantime, mom, Mrs. Anne Landau, I love you and miss you. RIP.

And you too, my aunt Claire Lerch.

Rich Lieberman