After 98 years on-air, Bay Area radio station station KGO 810 shut down Thursday.
Since 1924, KGO 810 has informed and engaged local residents on news, politics and entertainment, according to former executive producer John Daly. Mark Thompson, one of KGO 810’s former radio show hosts, said he found out about the station closing down only “minutes before” the show aired Thursday morning.
Daly noted that announcing the decision to close a station at the last minute is standard practice in the radio business.
“It was a corporate decision made out of the corporate entity that owns KGO, which is Cumulus Media,” Thompson said. “It was kept from me and everyone else at the station since everyone, not even the local management people, knew.”
According to Daly, radio has been on a gradual decline for the past 20 years and KGO has faced many budget cuts in the past decade. KGO, Daly added, descended from being the number one radio station in 2003 to being ranked 2oth.
Thompson said the station had been operating at a deficit, noting that the broadcasting environment has been challenged by alternative formats such as podcasts.
Although Thompson was aware of the challenges facing the station, he said he did not expect the format of the station was going to radically change.
He said he believes it will be replaced by a sports talk station focused on sports gambling.
“(Cumulus Media) looked at the bottom line and saw they were not getting enough ad revenue to justify keeping the station going, which I understand,” Thompson said. “What I don’t understand is why I was not allowed to say goodbye to the audience who I feel deeply connected to.”
Since KGO shut down, many have voiced support for the station on social media. Thompson said he has received an outpour of emails from listeners.
KGO’s Facebook page currently has around 1,500 comments from listeners who were devastated by the news, Daly added.
“I got a tremendous outpouring of love from the audience,” Thompson said. “People are deeply affected by the loss of KGO.”
KGO fan Daniel Madrid said she is a “die hard daily listener” of KGO and relied on it for her source of news for the past 40 years.
She said she was saddened to hear that Cumulus Media purchased KGO.
“It is becoming one big monopoly,” Madrid said in an email. “This is scary and sad to lose a local voice.”
For Daly, having a local media outlet is integral to maintaining a healthy democracy.
He said KGO informed people about politics not to influence people’s voting decisions but to ensure they have the information they need to make an informed choice.
“It is really sad that we are losing yet another local media outlet,” Daly said. “It is important that we have local media to keep the Bay Area population informed and it is most critical when it comes down to politics.”
Ava Andrews contributed to this article.