Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Chak's Follow-Up and Take: The New Face at KRTY named McGirk

Three days after my initial blog was posted about Adam McGurk, McGurk was surprised about how I ended up writing about him, just only after my initial test of listening to KRTY on Saturday mornings and instantly enjoyed McGurk a lot. I wrote my blog about the new face at the radio station the week after a local news format was discontinued in Santa Clara County. That person's name is Adam McGurk, a KRTY personality, who I wanted to review on him after the local news format changed to classic country music at KLIV, but maintaining sports and local essential information. And like my last blog about McGurk, nothing is negative about what I'm about to write...

Although country music is not necessarily the only type of music to listen to, country music is a special type of music that reminds me of home. I would sometimes mix country music with electronic dance and techno, as well as adult complementary and rap to showcase some of the best of my favorites from all genres. I also have listened to music in Cantonese and Mandarin, as well as in Spanish, French, Russian, Korean, and Japanese (the latter two I focus on is related to anime music). At least one of the songs I heard in Cantonese as a child did have a country music element - this sometimes reflected my evaluation and personal thoughts of my experience listening to McGurk.

So I decided to think what was in my mind, including to think more about McGurk and my reasons of listening changes - which sometimes incorporated my thinking about the simulcast of KRTY's "Gary and Julie in the Morning" over on KLIV (referring to Gary Scott Thomas and Julie Stevens), as well as Randy Jones (9AM-2PM on KRTY; 3-7PM on KLIV), and KLIV fan favorite John McLeod. I also took a listen to McLeod, of which he now hosts his own show from 10AM to 3PM, plus traffic updates between 3-6PM on KLIV.

KRTY morning host Julie Stevens noticed my tweet about my article on "McGurk" shortly after my post, and so she decided to notify McGurk and tell him about my blog that I wrote on McGurk - yes, the son of the morning host on KRTY. Yes, I do tweet randomly, but I also handle 2 other social media tags as well - one of them has the same handle as my tweets. I was almost unaware that McGurk apparently decided to share my blog to prove how I have proved to be a big fan of his unique voice - although more in a country way compared to how I listened to Kris Rowberry when he was doing the news. 

Meanwhile, the combination of "Gary and Julie in the Morning" on weekdays and McGurk on Saturday mornings has nearly completely entertained my mornings using the unique voice of country music in Santa Clara County. However, listening to any San Jose Earthquakes' or a San Jose State game continues to be my favorite part about KLIV overall despite the change in format to country music and changing between KLIV and KRTY on the radio dials all day trying to interchange between Gary Scott Thomas, Randy Jones, and John McLeod - and sometimes McGurk. 

For both "Gary and Julie in the Morning" and McGurk, country music in Silicon Valley also reminds me of the Gilroy Garlic Festival, of which garlic is the main ingredient in many of the Asian dishes that I cook often with. I so far heard nothing about whether any of the personalities from KRTY would make appearances at the Garlic Festival, and if any of them are garlic fans. But looking forward to both "Gary and Julie in the Morning" and Adam McGurk is one of my favorite things about tuning in to KLIV and KRTY as country music stations. While listeners like me do love the voice of Gary Scott Thomas, I also like the unique voice of Adam McGurk, knowing that McGurk cares about the Silicon Valley and his fans like me - that's probably why I'm a big fan of McGurk! Since McGurk did notice my tweets, he's another reason why I'm probably having fun interacting on all of my available social media platforms...

The sad part is that because McGurk is very busy with his schedule, I'll probably have a very slim chance of seeing him in person. If I do happen to see him in person, I would thank him for inviting me to listen to his unique voice on KRTY every Saturday morning without interruption. 

Original Work: Kyle Chak
Twitter: @KyleSChak
NOTE FROM BLOGGER: Please be careful of how you pronounce my last name - it's not pronouncing the word "Chalk." Think of words like "bat" and "calf" using the "a" vowel, which is part of how my last name is pronounced. 

Saturday, June 18, 2016

McGurk: The New Face of KRTY on Saturday Mornings?!

As KLIV said their goodbyes to all the news personnel, there was a scramble of personnel changes at KRTY and the new classic country music format at KLIV known as "country gold." After a lot of careful decisions, I've been told by KLIV when I asked them about the change from news to music that there will be personnel from KRTY programming their schedules to include a simulcast of KRTY's "Gary and Julie in the Morning" show, plus John McLeod and Randy Jones - and even more. KRTY listeners who were used to hearing the voice of Kim Vestal in the past might want to be accustomed to the changes. While I have enjoyed KLIV for local news in the past as I drove along Story Road (across from Walmart) past their studios near Lucretia Avenue, it was also time for a change in regards to me. But with Vestal moving away from news and continuing to do commercials for the station, there is a new face at KRTY that has a country-like voice with a Silicon Valley feel that reminds me of San Jose State University (despite me being an English major guy)...

That name is "McGurk," or Adam McGurk, the new face on the radio at KRTY heard every Saturday morning that I'm reviewing in this blog. McGurk, as the name would say on KRTY, loves Silicon Valley as much as I do, putting his love for San Jose. Waking me up at 6AM to hear McGurk on the radio is a surprise for me when KLIV changed formats from news to "country gold." McGurk has a modern voice that feels like home for me in Silicon Valley, which is why I have tried a small sample of listening to KRTY the whole time when McGurk was on air.

In the entire time that I have listened to McGurk online via the KRTY website, McGurk voice is so unique that I've decided to tune into KRTY every Saturday morning when he's on the air from 6 to 10AM! But it's likely unaware that McGurk knows that I'm a big fan of his unique voice with both a country voice and knowledge of the Silicon Valley as much as I do practice pronouncing unfamiliar names daily like San Martin, Ohlone-Chynoweth, Tamien, and Penetencia Creek. For country music fans, the Silicon Valley is definitely in need of a local voice that sounds like country, and Adam McGurk has proven to listeners like me that he is the next voice of country music in Santa Clara County... and beyond!

So the bottom line is why I listen to Adam McGurk - he's the voice of the next generation of country music in the Silicon Valley. I've enjoyed Gary Scott Thomas and Julie Stevens in the morning on KRTY and KLIV, with Randy Jones and John McLeod covering the drive home on KLIV during my first week listening to them. Despite my Asian ethnicity, country music in Silicon Valley with McGurk on the radio does remind me of San Martin, my current home nest. Listening to Adam McGurk on Saturday mornings does convince me to wake me up and get out of bed! However, I will be surprised if Adam McGurk does notice my social media pages after he reads this blog and/or if the morning team of Gary and Julie at KRTY reads it... But I do promise that this blog will never embarrass McGurk or the morning team at all - instead, I personally want to say thanks to Gary and Julie (on weekday mornings) and McGurk (on Saturday mornings) for inviting me to listen to them on the radio!

Original Work: Kyle Chak
Twitter: @KyleSChak

Chak's Statement: The Official End of an Era at KLIV for News In Silicon Valley

The end of an era is now at KLIV, who for the past 25 years has been remarkable. I've realized that looking for essential information on the road is very essential. The team that woke me up and got ready for traffic is the same team that also guided me home, especially when there are incidents on the road. With the flip to music format at 10pm on June 10, 2016, that signals the beginning of "country gold," or classic country music on the radio.

KLIV has been seen many times by me on many of my trips to Walmart just across the street on Story Road in San Jose. The studios there are relatively small from the outside, but the building is very familiar for those who drove along Story Road to Little Saigon. Robert (Bob) Klive, who in turn leads Empire Broadcasting, is still living strong as one of the oldest owners of the radio station that I have respected.

Much like the game of Age of Empires series, there are many acts and/or scenes. Classic music was the first act for KLIV, followed by the big band station in the second, and all-news in the third. Flipping the switch to classic country music is the fourth act for KLIV, as it goes from all-news to partial news and mostly classic country. But what will remain with KLIV is country music accompanied by talk and informational shows in the evenings and on weekends. Occasionally, sports like the San Jose Earthquakes and San Jose State will still be on the air.

The Age of Empires game has nothing to do with KLIV's owner Empire Broadcasting, which the two do share a common name in some way, but not in terms of the way Klive wants to play the game with conflicts - instead, Klive wanted to maintain local coverage of our current events in Santa Clara County. I wanted to mention the Age of Empires game as one of my favorite games, but in such a way to express how the history process at KLIV moved from one format to the next.

Local news on the radio seemed to be losing the battle against increasing costs and decreasing advertising revenue, and KLIV is not the only station to have suffered from that fate. That has been the case at all Canadian news stations and their affiliates, forcing those to decrease news time to only one hour or less in the early evenings. This also applies to radio stations across the country, and the fate of all-news stations in the United States when listeners need to hear what's happening while on the road is up in the air. Sadly, with the change the way listeners get their news, it's going to be hard for the station to maintain the owner's wishes.

There is a big comparison between KLIV and KGO in terms of format changes and how their process went. Unlike KGO, KLIV made the move in advance before moving on to the next format. Unfortunately for KGO, their next move was made only less than a week in advance, of which that station moved away from a partial news and talk format to entertainment, angering many of their listeners and putting the blame on KGO's owner, Cumulus Media. Cumulus management has unfortunately made poor judgement in notification of viewers, and that leaves listeners with many questions about the future on local information. KLIV made the notice of change to listeners months in advance instead of doing the same method as KGO. That kept listeners better informed than what KGO did.

The only local information of news on a commercial station is KCBS-AM (740), simulcasted with KFRC-FM (106.9). Klive wants KCBS and KQED-FM radio (88.5) to step up more Santa Clara County coverage. KQED is only partially a news station, with National Public Radio (NPR) and other programs to fill in the void. However, it is going to be tough for KCBS or KQED to step up Silicon Valley news coverage with KLIV no longer operating an all-news station.

Various personalities have often woke me up and at times, laughed my mornings, especially George Sampson, who got me up to wherever I needed to be with the accompaniment of John McLeod. Originally, McLeod will remain at KLIV as he might be reading only news or doing a commercial for KLIV and KRTY, but it turned out that it was not true. McLeod is now host of the classic country music on KLIV during the midday hours and handles traffic while Randy Jones entertains the afternoon drive time hours.

KLIV has made the very difficult decision despite the listener base, but I do know that KLIV will be in very good hands as a new chapter begins with KRTY personalities like Randy Jones, Gary Scott Thomas, and many others who are big fans of country music. While KLIV has now discontinued it's news format, I hope that there will be some a return of some "secret sound" contests after a few weeks of the format change, which I enjoyed hearing viewers their guesses!

But another of my blogs focusing on current events in Silicon Valley is now online...

Original Work: Kyle Chak
Twitter: @KyleSChak
NOTE: This blog has been edited several times since the original post.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Investigative Blog and Chak's Take: Who is going to do KLIV's new "country gold" format? Plus, a KRTY personality that is also on KLIV?!

My investigative blog and personal take covers the upcoming changes announced by the station that I've been listening to for several months. But digging deep into how long the station was a news station is questioning to me, as I saw in a Wikipedia article I read questions the accuracy of the articles by the most recent various sources - which I found something that felt was not right.


For a little over 25 years, KLIV has been the station that radio listeners have relied on for years, but that will be no more after June 10, 2016. Robert (Bob) Klive, the owner of family-owned Empire Broadcasting, believed in the beginning that local news is essential for Silicon Valley. KLIV has been on the air since 1946, which was originally a classic music format - which by the way changed formats several times up until April 1991, becoming a full-time all-news station.

I have done some digging to fact-check the various sources and did my own calculations. I revealed that the sources, from the Mercury News to the Silicon Valley Business Journal, did mention about KLIV putting at least 30 years of experience covering weather, traffic, and current events in Silicon Valley. Neither of them, however, mentioned the actual date that KLIV became a full-time all-news station in late-April 1991.

The main problem for both articles was the fact checking from the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Datebook that was dated on April 28, 1991, where KLIV went from being a big-band station and a part-time news format to a full-time all-news format - the article was mentioned in a Wikipedia page on KLIV. None of the articles that I found mentioned "full-time all-news" station.

The fact-checking was not the only problem that I see. There were others that I also had to address.


I also question who is going to cover the shifts for KLIV's new classic country format, promoted on-air as "country gold." Klive maintained that in the interview with the Mercury News and Business Journal, he noted that the station has lost money and never gained profit in the years as an all-news station. But with the switch to classic country format comes questions about KRTY's personalities, which includes Gary Scott Thomas and Julie Stevens in the mornings, Randy Jones, Tim Anthony, Indiana Al, Michael Moore, and Jenna Johnson.

I've made inquires about who is going to be doing the classic country format on KLIV, and they said that KRTY personalities will be on the air at KLIV. They have yet to announce as to which personalities will cover which shifts. The upcoming announcement before the switch to classic country could mean that some on-air personalities at KRTY could be changing time slots to cover KLIV's new format and possibly adding more personalities to fill-in for any of the current KRTY personalities and cover KLIV as well.


Viewers may have heard that out of the 12 people on-air at KLIV doing news, only John McLeod will be staying - and I'm told that McLeod won't be covering traffic after the transition. One particular personality that I've been seeing twice on both KLIV and KRTY's websites is Kim Vestal, who also handles voiceovers and does her digs on Saturdays at KLIV and Sundays at a radio station named KKIQ - that covers Pleasanton, Dublin, and Livermore. But with Kim Vestal not being at KLIV for news when the station puts in classic country music questions me as to whether Vestal will remain at sister station KRTY, which she has the capabilities of doing both news and music in addition to her voiceovers. Despite the uncertainty, Vestal's voice is very unique and soft enough for me to patiently listen to KLIV.


There are two of the personalities that I have enjoyed talking to, and they are worth listening to.

One of the people at KLIV that will surely be missed is Kris Rowberry. While Rowberry is known for his history around Silicon Valley, perhaps my favorite is his unique voice and his tagline asking listeners to call in for traffic tips...
"We appreciate the calls from our KLIV traffic spotters."
I also enjoyed Rowberry's history on the Silicon Valley, of which I hope that he will continue voice history on his YouTube page - that part is filled with a lot of history of theme parks and much of the Silicon Valley from Rowberry's days at KLIV!

Another personality that may one of the people that I enjoyed listening to is Josh Daugherty, who often would work behind the scenes in helping the station put on sports for listeners to enjoy, including being the radio home of the San Jose Earthquakes of which I met the president, Dave Kaval, at least three times - yes, this is not a joke. For Daugherty, I've often called in to report traffic late at night or on weekends whenever I'm on the road.

One of the most serious calls I made to KLIV while Daugherty was on the air was an accident that happened right outside my window on 101 northbound between San Martin and Tennant Avenue exits. Daugherty initially reported the mainland Silicon Valley "green," as in no accidents or stalls. However, I told Daugherty that the southern part of Silicon Valley was not so "green" at all and the accident was "pretty serious." The traffic was a nightmare in both directions, repeating the effects of a typical rush-hour commute that would not normally occur on a weekend or holiday. Many other calls to KLIV when Daugherty was on-air included accidents in Campbell and San Jose that tied up traffic.


Overall, KLIV has yet to announce as to which KRTY personalities will be doing which time slots. Some of KRTY's personalities have been made aware about the change happening to KLIV. But it's not exactly known as to when KLIV plans to unveil the schedule for the new classic country format. However, it's clear that KLIV does plan to retain some of their special programming, which will make the station not necessarily a 24-hour "country gold" music station.

Original Work: Kyle Chak
Twitter: @KyleSChak

Chak's Short Take: The Citizen-based App that Reports on What's Going On

A few months ago, I tried an app that does not require any profession with any news-gathering organization, but reports on what's going on with a simple app. That app is known as Fresco News, where users can submit photos and videos, and then get paid. Yes - that is true.

A local news partner that sees any interesting item can grab a video from a user for a small fee - more if the content is on video. That fee is actually paid to the user, not Fresco News themselves. Whether the user is on assignment or not, and if the video does catch the attention of anyone, I can really get something out of the video. 

There is a caveat, though. Any user that does make significantly more cash will have to file an IRS 1099 form. On a more positive note, this is a great app for those that is interested in telling their stories (like me personally), and I don't have to be a specific major (e.g. English) to do so. 

I will still be testing out the Fresco News app, and will eventually make a decision, hoping that I'll be doing the Gilroy Garlic Festival. I primarily focus on Santa Clara County, and knows many of the street names in Silicon Valley unlike most Fresco News users. My favorite part about the app is that I can join in the conversation on social media and talk about the events, whether it's a live video or a still image for Fresco News users. However, keep in mind that I am very lenient on how I pronounce unfamiliar words - I do practice saying those words daily several times (including holidays). 

In terms of Santa Clara County, there are some of the words that I think many Fresco News users tend to pronounce incorrectly, so I hope that many users will know of what I may pronounce at any time. Below are a few examples that I often hear from people not pronouncing words correctly. Not all words are listed, but below are what I may say when Fresco News wants to hear the words during a requested report. 

Most common mispronounced words to my take:

San Martin
Penetencia Creek

Other words that also may be mispronounced:

Alum Rock
Pacheco Pass
San Tomas

Fresco News users that hears these words might want to take note. From time to time, I'll be posting my reflections about the app from the stories I uploaded. Let's hope that Fresco News is probably ready for more. There will be more in store soon... hopefully...

Original Work: Kyle Chak
Twitter: @KyleSChak
BONUS: The following is a YouTube video that I originally uploaded to Fresco News exclusively, which showed a couple of arrests made at a rally that ended up to be more than satisfactory...