I listened for two days to Cumulus' KGO All News (except weekends) in San Fran to get some idea as to what type of job Cumulus does with news. I will say it was not bad. Here are a few observations:
--I was not happy that mid-day they had all women voices... the two anchors... the field reporters... even the weather. There was not one male voice for a few hours. I do not think that was by design... one of the female anchors kept saying every 30 minutes that she was filling in for someone who had a male name.
--They missed one big story local story that KCBS was carrying in the evening about May Day protesters bashing in windows. KGO eventually picked it up and did a great job, but they were a couple of hours late.
--The imaging does not have any pizzazz. It actually sounded cheap. The one news sounder they play four times an hour is very underwhelming. One thing that CBS has shown is an all news station should have good imaging. Very distinctive sounds for different sections of the news cast. If you are zoning in the car, you wake up when you hear the sounder for traffic. Even KGO's traffic sounder was boring. WINS has always been known for it's imaging... CBS' new WNEW in Washington, DC took what WINS had and pumped it up. Listen to the top or bottom of the hour with WNEW and it is real clear what they are going to cover, it is dramatic, and it draws you in. The traffic sounder is loud and high pitched which gets your attention to pay attention. Granted, WNEW has a few of their own issues like saying "repeating the current temperature of 80 degrees". That is a no-no in radio. Never say repeating.
--There is a big push for the 11:00 PM news on KGO. It has the feel they are tying to compete with the TV broadcasts at that hour.
Overall, I would be happy with a KGO type product if they could work on their imaging. Make it sound like a news station.... make sure the sounders don't sound cheap and all of the announcers know where to start talking. Make sure the sounders are bright in sound. The KGO sounders are not bright and actually sound like they are being played on a cart machine with a dirty tape head.
Well, this is enough to begin a conversation on what we would like to see in the station.
The problem with KGO they don't have an FM outlet to compete against KCBS-FM. I know in able for Cumulus to stay in the "News and Information" business they would have to get staff members from ABC-TV affiliate like Disney's KGO-TV to do reports for KGO-AM. I know for CBS all-News O&O's they always borrow people from CBS TV O&O's like KPIX-TV, KCBS-TV (Los Angeles) to do reports for the CBS all-News O&O's.