AM radio station KGO 810 just announced “Today we say goodbye,” and now they’re playing nothing but songs about money and gambling, which could be a staff revolt, or might be a strange casino promotion?
We understand that AM radio is a tough racket in the modern era, as that industry’s advertising revenue had already been eaten up by competitors long before Craigslist, Facebook, and internet advertising ever came along. But San Francisco’s KGO 810 AM had been an exception, and was the Bay Area’s top-rated radio station up until 2010 with its original news content (which is around when they declared bankruptcy).
But the station announced Thursday morning that they were going off the air effective immediately, according to SFGate, and it sure appears this was an abrupt closure.
“Today we say goodbye to the legendary KGO,” the station said on both Twitter and on its website. “On Monday, 810am begins a new era. We hope you will tune in.”
Here’s a partial answer to the abrupt interruption of @MarkTLive ‘s show this morning. KGO is playing endless music loops w/Kenny Rogers “The Gambler,” AC/DC’s “Moneytalks” &Pink Floyd’s “Money. Ads refer to “the biggest gamble in Bay Area radio history” - clues to new format. https://t.co/17ddSa7Fc8— Carolyne Zinko (@CarolyneZinko) October 6, 2022
Okay, so a format change. But something extremely odd is currently happening at 810 AM airwaves. If you tune in to the radio station (and their website has removed the “Tune In” button, but you can still get an online stream on iHeartRadio) there is something on the air. But it’s an automated loop, playing a lot of songs that reference money: Pink Floyd’s “Money,” AC/DC’s “Money Talks,” The Pet Shops Boys’ “Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots of Money)” and the Steve Miller Band’s “Take the Money and Run.” Is this a sign of disgruntled, fired employees making editorial comments about their owners and corporate overlords at Cumulus Media?
But there's another, more likely explanation. Some of the other songs in the loop are about gambling: Kenny Rogers’s “The Gambler,” and Elvis Presley’s “Viva Las Vegas.” The promo announcements in the loop say “The most unique radio station in the Bay Area is coming Monday. Bet on it!” and bill that the new station will be “The biggest gamble in Bay Area radio history.”
So, like, is KGO 810 becoming gambling-themed station? Is this all an elaborate casino promotion? Are the sports gambling Propositions 26 and 27 buying a radio station for a political advertising blitz? These all seem plausible theories in the era of increased normalization of sports gambling.
"On Monday, 810AM begins a new era." https://t.co/SbB8UsOJWW— ABC7 News (@abc7newsbayarea) October 6, 2022
Many of the media reports, including the one above from KGO 810 former sister TV station, say that KGO is signing off "after 80 years.” This is not correct, though, KGO signed on in 1924. So it really is 98 years old.
The “80 years” figure is apparently a reference to 1942, when NBC sold the station to what would become the ABC Radio Network, and is now called Cumulus Media Networks. In recent decades, KGO 810AM had been widely respected as a talk-radio station, but maybe now if you're not running 24-7 conspiracy- and Trump content it doesn't pay the bills. And Cumulus is now shutting down the KGO 810 AM radio we always knew, and perhaps placing all their chips on some sort of gambling promotion.
Image: KGO 810 AM (RIP)