Dick Mason signs off from KKJL

December 31, 2015
Dick Mason

Dick Mason

Veteran radio newscaster Dick Mason exits K-Jewel, 1400 AM and 106.5 FM. Mason was terminated on Thursday by station management because of budgetary restraints.

Mason says his dismissal is not related to recent discord with a local public official or attempts by management to temper his reporting.

“The station is facing year-end budgetary issues,” Mason said.

K-Jewel was operated for several decades by Guy Hackman. He sold the station in 2014 and Mason started shortly afterwards.

Last summer, Hackman, who many of the station’s loyal advertisers had long-standing relationships, died of a heart attack.

Mason started in radio at KZOZ in 1976. He later reported news at top stations in Salinas, Fresno and Sacramento before returning to start a successful FM station in San Luis in 1984.

In 1990, Mason renovated KVEC, changing it from an under performing music station to a 24-hour news/talk format. After selling both stations during the recession of the early 90’s, Mason worked in San Francisco, reporting news, sports and traffic on KCBS, KSFO and several other stations.

In the past ten years, he’s reported news at a local, liberal Air America news/talk radio station and with KPRL in Paso Robles. Mason worked at K-Jewel from July 2014 until this week, when station management elected to eliminate local news coverage.

“It is disheartening whenever a radio station drops its news programming,” Dave Congalton said. “We now have one less source of local news.”

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It could be worse, you could have an elected official (say, a sheriff) tell a private broadcasting company (like KVEC) exactly who they are not allowed to have on the air.

That would be much, much worse than a cheesy back-room, bottom-feeder deal. I mean, an elected official telling a media outlet who they can have on the air? That’s out in the open and in your face, SLO, and what was done? Other than a certain manager (oh, my nom de plume suffers) slithering off with his tail between his legs, nothing!