Fri Apr 5, 2013, 12:27 AM
alp227 (29,700 posts)
Former KGO/KSFO host Lee Rodgers has died at age 75
If you're wondering where Lee Rodgers, former morning show host on San Francisco Bay Area right wing station Hot Talk 560 KSFO, has been after being fired in 2010, he'd been writing blogs on his website RadioRodgers.com. Unfortunately, he had health issues since then too and passed away on Jan. 31 from an aortic aneurysm at age 75.
As the SF Chronicle reported on Feb. 14:
Lee Rodgers, a conservative talk-radio host who was a presence on Bay Area airwaves for almost three decades, died Jan. 31. He was 75.
Mr. Rodgers, whose voice was instrumental in changing California laws and promoting the recall of Gov. Gray Davis, had just undergone 13 hours of experimental heart surgery, due to an aortic aneurism, before his death.
Known as the open-line king because he never lost an argument, Mr. Rodgers used his callers to make his points. One time at a Democratic National Convention, he and Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts nearly came to blows. But Mr. Rodgers worked hard, sometimes preparing for 2 1/2 hours for each hour he was on air.
In addition to pushing the effort to recall Davis in 2003, Mr. Rodgers helped spearhead opposition to the toxic gasoline additive MTBE, which the state eventually banned starting in 2004.
Born in Arkansas, near Memphis, to sharecropping parents, Mr. Rodgers grew up in poverty. He started picking cotton when he was 3. During the winter, he cut wood, and at 13, he cut off his foot with a power saw. All he had was the radio during his long recuperation at the hospital, and he fell in love with the medium. When Mr. Rodgers left the farm at 16, his father gave him a bus ticket and two $20 bills - all that was left after the hospital bills.
As a rock 'n' roll disc jockey for 30 years, Mr. Rodgers bounced around the Midwest, going up and down the dial. He met Susan in Miami before moving to the Bay Area in 1982 to do talk radio for KGO in San Francisco.
"I hired him ... not for his conservatism," said Jack Swanson, KGO's program director at the time. "He was one of the best all-around broadcasters I ever met, a complete broadcaster."
Mr. Rodgers rose to prominence in talk radio during his 11 years at KGO. After a one-year sojourn in Seattle, he returned to San Francisco, where he co-hosted a conservative morning talk show on KSFO until 2010.
The top comment at the Chron website: "He was part of that early 80's KGO line up that was probably the best talk radio line up I'ver ever listened to. His Thursday night debates with Bernie Ward were great." Another comment: "During the 1980's to late 1990's, KGO's all-local talk show talent was easily some of the best in the USA. From conservative Lee Rodgers to liberal Ray Taliafero, they were always interesting to listen to."
Regarding the Barney Frank incident, I don't see any other sources reporting on it. Most likely it was in 1984 as Rodgers covered the DNC for KGO when the convention was in SF.
From the comments I posted it seems that Rodgers might've been a tolerable host in his early KGO career, but once he moved on to KGO's crazy sister station KSFO he got out of hand, for example seriously calling Democratic Party women "ugly skanks". As the blogger Spocko (SpockosBrain.com) exposed in a plea to KSFO advertisers, Rodgers once also said a protester should be "stomped to death right there." This Spocko blog from 2009 also has audio of Rodgers calling for mass killings of Iraqis and Indonesians...you get the picture when you see that Iraq and Indonesia are Muslim majority countries.
Upon being fired in 2010, Rodgers claimed that the parent company of KSFO fired him for not saying enough positive remarks about Muslims. Spocko doubts that story.
Rodgers deserves credit for campaigning to ban MTBE, but for being part of the right wing mob (with Darrell Issa too, I think) that brought down Gray Davis and replaced him with Arnold Schwarzenegger...that's a rather contemptuous part of his legacy. And Rodgers did his KSFO show via ISDN line for around the last 7 years of it because he moved to Tuscon, Arizona! (That's the legacy of the post-Fairness Doctrine, post-localism radio world.)
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