The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

12 June 2008

Pesky San Francisco Mayor Finally Set To Begin Air America Show


Newsom Sure To Have AAR Suits Nervous

As he gets a second shot at hosting a talk show for the Bay Area's Air America Radio outlet this weekend, station management surely must be nervous.

Given that San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom was a no-show for his previously- scheduled broadcast debut, they certainly have good reason to worry. But the pesky pol's local star power is hard to deny, so KKGN 960 AM has decided to gamble on him a second time.

(photoshop by David A Lunde for the Radio Equalizer, based on a real image of Newsom appearing to "eat" a television microphone)

Beyond his grandstanding on the gay marriage issue, however, what really does Newsom have to say? Agreeing to do this show may be riskier for him than KKGN if it reveals his true lack of substance on the issues.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, KKGN suits have eliminated the flake factor, at least for the first week, by pre-recording the show. But that means no listener phone calls and a format that is a lot like boring Sunday morning public affairs programming:

He isn't getting paid for the job, but the political rewards of having his own radio show could be priceless. The show provides Newsom an unfiltered forum to publicize pet projects and discuss just about anything he wants - a politician's dream come true.

"There are no rules," Newsom said. "I meet with so many fascinating people, and we have these great conversations. We want to ... ask those folks if they can meet on the radio show."

The first show, which airs at noon, was prerecorded and will feature the 40-year-old mayor interviewing political commentator Arianna Huffington.

Each week, Newsom will interview local personalities and newsmakers in "a relaxed, intimate conversational format," a news release about the show said. The plan is to eventually have Newsom host the show live, take phone calls from listeners and, at some point, to take the show on the road to feature people he meets on his travels.

"To have him talk to a peer who is also a celebrity, that will be some incredible radio," Scott said.

As soon as the show does switch to a live presentation, however, the issue of Newsom's shaky commitment to the program will inevitably return.

Incidently, Nuisance actually represents the station's second attempt at generating publicity by hiring a San Francisco mayor to serve as host. In 2005, KKGN (then known as KQKE) brought Willie Brown in as morning co-host.

The predicable end result: low ratings and surprisingly little buzz after the first few shows. Is there any reason to believe this move will produce a different result?

One key difference: at least Willie Brown had the decency to keep his appointments.

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  • Brian, I don't want to a hear a WORD about your having to redact obscene language in your blog comments when you post that first photoshop of the mayor, front and center, under the headline. Totally inappropriate.

    He MIGHT make a decent host, with an unusual take on things. I think the logistics of his day job, however, might prove problematic for the production staff, on an ongoing basis.

    Huffington, however, is a ridiculous and stale choice for a guest. Her lack of real relevance and substance, as well as objectivity, get this show off to a terrible second start, IMHO.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 14 June, 2008 04:00  

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