Magazine article Insight on the News

Hot Talk Has Frisco Shakin' (San Francisco, CA Radio Station KSOL Talk Show Host Lee Rogers Drives Up the Ratings)

Magazine article Insight on the News

Hot Talk Has Frisco Shakin' (San Francisco, CA Radio Station KSOL Talk Show Host Lee Rogers Drives Up the Ratings)

Article excerpt

Lee Rogers gets up at midnight so he can drive San Francisco liberals crazy in the morning.

Conservative talk radio may be a national phenomenon, but far behind the ideological lines of the enemy (just blocks from the site of the first "Hippie Be-In" in Golden Gate Park) are the offices of radio station KSFO. The station's "Hot Talk" is shaking the status quo like a .5 tremor on the political Richter scale.

"This is the environmental lunatic fringe trying to use this phony approach to clean air that is causing us this problem," talk-show host Lee Rogers admonishes his drive-time listening audience one fog-bound May morning. "We've got to beat back the bureaucrats."

The topic is the use of the gasoline additive MBTE. Despite the claim for its environmental curative powers, it seems the chemical compound could cause cancer. Rogers and his KSFO counterparts are riding such issues to higher ratings.

Reviled by the local Democratic elite and grudgingly admired by its airwave rivals, KSFO is competing surprisingly well in a tough market. Although San Francisco is the self-styled capital of the Left Coast -- a city where conservatives could qualify for inclusion on the endangered-species list -- the station has tapped into the hidden gestalt of the region's inland counties. And it benefits from a plethora of good material. Is there any other town in America where the mayor would attend a birthday party with entertainment by a self-proclaimed Satanist? Or where a gay bar would attempt to ban heterosexual kissing on its premises because the activity oppressed its homosexual clientele?

"I always knew that this particular segment of the Bay-area listenership was being drastically underserved," says Rogers, the morning drive-time host who, with his on-air sidekick and off-air spouse, Melanie Morgan, has galvanized his audience into a political force. …

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