Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I'm stealing this headline from Rick: "What rhymes with no comment?"

As he said, it would be weird to not post this since it's on the internets and in a prominent Portland paper:

Stop the Music: Rick Emerson Show Fans Fight for More Talk.

4:57 PM May 11th, 2009 by Kelly Clarke
Culture / media / music | Email This Post Email This Post |

Die hard fans of the Rick Emerson Show, the geekcentric local radio program that recently emigrated to KUFO Rock 101.1 from sister CBS Radio station AM 970 have started a campaign for more talk, less music during the show’s new, prime 5 am-9am time slot.

The sonic kerfuffle started last Monday, May 4, when fans like Seuman Froemke noticed that there was a whole lot more King of Leon and Green Day playing than usual during RES than Emerson’s trademark offbeat rants about obscure rock lore, Portland politics and the unifying power of bacon.

It turns out that the show’s daily mix of talk with a little music in between had been upended by CBS Radio. The new schedule, as of last week, slashed the amount of time Emerson and longtime co-hosts Tim Riley and Sarah X. Dylan spend dissecting the minutiae of the day down to a mere 90 minutes over the course of four hours. That’s down from 140 minutes when the show moved to KUFO in early March. When RES aired on 970 AM, the trio had 190 minutes to jaw. (Note: I appear on RES most Thursdays to talk about WW’s top stories, but was not exactly aware what changes had taken place when I was at the studio last week. I can confirm the existence of a piece of paper printed with a pie chart taped to the wall in the set, noting that the breakdown for each hour of the show is now 24 minutes of music an hour, 22 minutes talk and 14 minutes ads.)

Froemke, a 31 year old former Portlander who now obsessively listens to the show via podcast in Denver, Colorado, noticed the change immediately. And he was not pleased. Here’s a bit from Froemke himself:

Rick, Sarah and Tim have always been the kind of fantastic [show] that brings the geeks and freaks and artists and the creative together in the Portland area… That’s why the show always worked before someone mucked with their formula….The Rick Emerson Show traditionally wasn’t something you listened to. It was something you participated in with your fellow audience members. You contributed content to it. You gave feedback directly to it… It is that sense of belonging and community and appreciation that has always kept the audience not just dedicated to Rick, Tim and Sarah, but to their advertisers. Companies like Viso and Everybody’s Garden Center and Secret Aardvark among many others…. How do you develop that loyalty if you strip a show of everything that makes it great and you reduce it to a bunch of rock records?

So he created “Save the Rick Emerson Show,” a new blog devoted to mobilizing the show’s legion of hardcore fans with the ultimate goal of cajoling CBS to changing RES back to the way it used to be. The blog lists public contact info CBS Radio and KUFO honchos as well as advertiser names and emails for local reporters (RES fans have sent me nearly a dozen heated and/or passionate missives so far).

Why the devotion? Froemke says it’s important to fight for quality, local programming: “I’m a 31 year old successful professional with disposable income that I’m willing to spend. I’m a marketer and program director’s wet dream,” he wrote WW last week. “But after so much noise and a lack of unique content out there, I’ve grown very particular about what I consume. I consider my time and my ears and my mind to be very valuable, so what I stick in them has to be good.” (Apparently that doesn’t include songs like this in KUFO’s current morning rotation.)

It’s not the first time the “Emerson Army” has gone to battle to save what they see as one of the only truly unique, local radio programs out there in a sea of sports commentary, on-air fart jokes and robotic music programming. When Entercom canceled the Rick Emerson Show on Portland’s now defunct MAX 910 in 2005, his fans sent hundreds of coffee cups to the corporate media behemoth’s Portland office with notes that said “I need my daily fix.” Rallies, parties and other RES devotionals also took place around town—more than 1,500 fans showed up one event. The fierce loyalty of the show’s listeners ended up helping RES find a new home with CBS Radio in 2006.

It turns out at least some of the show’s advertisers are fans too: “We’re not thrilled with it either,” says Scott Moritz of Secret Aardvark when asked about RES‘ new more rock, less talk format change. The local hot sauce company has been a longtime RES advertiser. They hadn’t heard of the “Save the Rick Emerson Show” campaign yet. “I like Rick, I’d rather hear him more,” Moritz says. “It’s a talk show. That’s what I signed on to advertise with.”

I couldn’t reach Rick Emerson for comment, but I’ll update the post once I hear back from him. He’s probably busy watching reruns of Mystery Science Theater 3000. At least, that’s what I always assume he’s doing when he’s not on the air…

I also left a messages for Dave McDonald, CBS Radio’s General Manager for Portland and KUFO programming director Chris Patyk. Again, I’ll update once I hear back.



Jake said...

How do I join this fight against the 30,037,729,768,273,647,823rd run of "Do You Know Your Enemy?" during the RES? The only reason I turn on a radio is for Rick, Sarah, and Tim.

Let's change the world!! WOOOOO!

dlock said...

Thanks for reposting this, Sarah. I was aware of the reduced amount of talk, but wasn't aware of the campaign to restore the earlier format. (I nearly typed "original format", but I've been listening since the "Rock Chick Katy" days, so... maybe not so much "original".)

More Rick! More Sarah! More Tim! More news! More talk! More pop culture! Less rock! w00t!

Joe said...

I think its funny how Rick says "we'll be back in 13 minutes!"

Save said...


Complete list of steps to politely express your opinion to CBS and KUFO: save-res.blogspot.comJoin the Facebook group for info, updates, discussions: Rick Emerson Show Bottom Line BrigadeDefinitely hit the Willamette Week article and share your comments there for the world to see.

Larry said...

How about we all send Viso caps to the station with a request to stop the music?

Shovelhead said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Amber said...



Nancy Coffelt said...

I'm so glad this isn't going unnoticed.

I didn't like the lost 50 minutes of talk in the first place.

Those are minutes we'll never get back, folks.

Sickly said...

Thanks for the links, Save!
In the meantime I will have to just listen to the podcasts!

Shovelhead said...

Again; There are literally hundreds of choices to get music - there is but one Rick Emerson show. If CBS wanted yet another music outlet show they could have done so without compromising the uniqueness of the RES we all thought they bought AS IS.

smr35516 said...

Had a conversation with Patyk over email today. His position is KUFO has always been a music driven station. When I asked why then was the Adam Carolla show replaced by a show that eventually became half music he said that the financial landscape had changed since Adam got his morning show and the station reflects that. My question is does the show's cast get paid less if they play more music? Because if they're paying them either way then why not let them play the game that got them to where they are. I then pointed to a station in the CBS family, WJFK that is still producing interesting talk radio, he responded with well they're a talk radio station. Why the hell did KUFO higher a talk show to be their morning zoo? Why produce adds saying how different you are if you're just going to make the show devolve into another crappy morning show with news headlines, weather, and traffic but zero exposition?

gay bob said...

One would have thought the dumb fucks learned from Entercom. Guess not.

Save said...

I don't see what it matters that the economy was different when Adam Carola *started*. That was ages ago. What was the landscape sixty DAYS ago? That's when they brought RES to KUFO. So when they said it would be the exact same show SIXTY DAYS AGO was that a flat out lie even then? If the landscape has changd since carola STARTED, then there was plenty of time to decide that "the landscape" was not right for moving a talk show to FM like that and they should have left it alone.

It just doesn't add up.

wang williams said...

To: Rick Emerson Show
From: CBS Radio Management

Show Staff,

Due to our strict policy of keeping your talk segments to under 3 minutes, "Lost in 4:08" must now be "Lost in 2:04" with the remaining 56 seconds to be used for station ID and a lengthy dramatic pause in preparation for that amazing Kings of Leon song that coincidentally sounds a lot like Widespread Panic.

More ralk, less talk!


Shad from SE said...

Fortunately the Lost in 4:08 involves Patyk so it won't be trimmed any. WWeek posted an update full of corporate BS about the show evolving to meet the needs and never promising to keep the show the same. You can find it at http://blogs.wweek.com/news/2009/05/15/update-rick-emerson-show-fans-want-more-talk%e2%80%94cbs-radio-talks-back/ happy reading.

Rao said...

What I want to know is how much of a kick back does KUFO get from their "New Rock" Page that shows music in the rotation and the iTune links to these songs.

Is this a flash back to 98 when the then PD took 5k to play Limp Bizkit's "Counterfeit" 50 times.

Does KUFOs iTune click rate drop during the talk segments of the RES? Is this the reasoning behind removing the Talk?

Dean Wormer said...

Holy cow the radio seems to be heading more and more toward bland, generic programming.

The RES is one of the most uniquely Portland things around right now. I like Green Day but don't need the same songs over and over. I tune in to KUFO in the morning for the talk not the music.

Andy said...
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Andy said...

I'm so glad I'm not alone on this! It pisses me off so much that I can't listen live any more. I have to download the podcasts to avoid the 20 minutes of music. I want the RES, not music!

And can someone please let Tim read more than 5 news stories over a 4 hour period? Must we listen to the same stories each hour?! Do you only care about the listener on the way to work? What about people like me, who listen for the entire show?!?

Mark Lawler said...

Yes, the music does suck and I want to hear more of Rick, Sarah, and Tim. I find myself changing stations to avoid the music, then getting angry when I either change back too soon or too late! We just want to hear Rick and the gang. I'll tolerate commercials, but you can play your music during other slots...

SherwoodLarry said...

Unbelievable. I only listen on the podcast but you can really tell the difference. I tried listening live and the music is rediculous. We listen to Rick Emerson for the talk--not music. Also, there used to be callers--now there are no callers. That was one reason to listen live so you could call in and be snarfed at by Rick. If KUFO is going to kill off what was the Rick Emerson magic--then put it back where it was in midday where it belonged.