MZ at the helm, making talk radio happen!

When KGO decided to crush it’s listeners by firing their talent and moving from talk to all news, I was devastated. Until the change, I didn’t realize how much the rhythms and sounds of the station were my queues for daily living. News on the hour helped me stay focused. Gil Gross’ dulcet tones helped me write in the afternoon. Len Tillem meant Katie would soon be home from school.

And then it was gone: in an instant.

In the noise that ensued, a local station, KSCO here in Santa Cruz, made a move to grab listeners because it offers something we care about: talk. Listeners can call in and actually discuss issues with the radio hosts. Wonderful.

I noticed KSCO didn’t appear to have a social media strategy and since that’s what I do, I sent an email to Michael Zwerling (MZ to his fans), the station owner. I honestly didn’t expect to get a response – the man was so busy with all chaos created by KGO. He was courting new talk show hosts, boosting his online streaming to extend his reach; he was busy. When he called me, I was surprised! We started a conversation that has been going on for a couple weeks now.

So yesterday, Michael invited me down to the station for a tour. I arrived at 11:58 and had no idea he was going on the air in two minutes. He ushered me and a nice guy named Glen into the studio. Glen had planned to be there and had no idea what I was doing there. I assured him I was only there for a tour. MZ had me sit down in a chair – in front of a microphone – and had me put on the headphones. And away we went!

I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to talk. But I was invited into the conversation which was interesting, rangy and provocative. Since the subject was media and content, I actually had something to say and spoke to those topics. Glen was working hard to get the audience engaged and we ended up talking about sex, Howard Stern and Rush Limbaugh – did I mention it was a rangy discussion?


I have to admit, I had a blast. I can cross that off my bucket list. It was fun! I loved hearing the callers from the “host” side of things and listening was a very different experience. KSCO’s audience is very passionate and I can tell they love their station as much as we KGO fans loved ours.

I still need to nail MZ down on that social media strategy, but in the meantime, I am grateful for the very unique experience. What a great time I had talking, listening and participating in such an interesting form of communication. Wow!