Lou Penrose
Lou Penrose. Courtesy KOGO

iHeart Media’s KOGO-AM News Radio 600 has named Lou Penrose as host for the 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. weekday afternoon talk show.

“Lou Penrose is an exciting talent and a perfect addition for the afternoon drive show,” said Brian Long, director of news and sports programming for iHeart Media San Diego and Riverside.

Penrose, with a 25-year career in political consulting, legislative affairs and radio broadcasting, replaces Carl DeMaio, who left the station last week to focus on his political career in a bid to represent California’s 50th Congressional District, the only Republican-held congressional seat in San Diego County. The former San Diego City Councilman has previously lost in races for San Diego mayor to Bob Filner in 2012 and the 52nd Congressional District to Scott Peters in 2014.

DeMaio, who has been hosting the radio talk show since 2015, is hoping to succeed Duncan Hunter, who won a sixth term last November after being indicted a year ago for allegedly misusing campaign funds. The California primary is scheduled for March 3, 2020.

Penrose has filled-in for DeMaio more than a dozen times over the past year. “When it became clear that Carl was considering a run for political office, the station approached me and asked me if I would be interested,” Penrose said. “I love talk radio. How could I say no to an opportunity like this?”

For 10 years (1990-2000), Penrose was a talk-show host on KNWZ in Palm Springs. During that decade, Penrose and his team won three Golden Mic Awards from the Radio & Television News Association of Southern California.

Then, in December 2000, Penrose left radio to work as a deputy chief of staff for Congresswoman Mary Bono, widow of singer Sonny Bono, who passed away in 1998. After four years with Bono, Penrose worked for other Republican Congressional members, including Ed Royce, Christopher Cox and John Campbell, until 2013, when he was named executive director for the Apartment Association of Orange County. Last year, he opened his own political consulting firm called Lou Penrose Government Relations.

“I loved my time while working as a Congressional staffer,” said Penrose, who recalled a favorite story about Mary Bono. Six months after joining her office, Bono approached Penrose and asked him if he regretted leaving radio to work for her. “At the time, Mary was in her second term,” said Penrose. “I told her that finally I was feeling a little more confident and not so stupid. Mary started laughing with this hilarious belly laugh and I asked her, ‘What’s so funny?’ She responded, ‘I’m not there yet.’”

Not surprisingly, Penrose’s show, called “The Penrose Report,” focuses on the latest local, state and national political headlines. Input from listeners also fuels the political conversation.

“There’s no better time than now to be tuned into the news of the day,” said Penrose, 51. The San Clemente resident, married for 14 years, is raising three sons, ages 10, 8 and 6.

He said the commute to Kearny Mesa takes about 45 minutes.

Over the years, Penrose has assisted statewide in presidential races for George Bush, John McCain and Mitt Romney. When invited to join the 2016 Trump campaign, Penrose declined. “I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be associated with what was expected to be the worst loss in Republican history. Everybody was saying Hillary would win 51 states. I consider myself a political scientist and, boy, was I wrong.”

After 16 Years at Mighty 1090, Darren Smith Joins 1360-AM

Darren Smith has joined sports talk-show radio station KLSD-AM XTRA 1360 Fox Sports San Diego as weekday host from noon to 3 p.m. XTRA is operated by iHeart Media San Diego.

Darren Smith with Marty Caswell

Smith is the latest local sports broadcast personality to get a new job after previously working at rival sports talk station XPRS 1090-AM The Mighty 1090, operated by Broadcast Company of the America. BCA, operators of three San Diego radio stations that used Mexico-based transmitters, ceased business operations in April of this year. Smith had worked at XPRS for 16 years since April 2003.

Joining Smith for “The Darren Smith Show” at XTRA will be Marty Caswell, senior reporter and producer, who has worked with Smith since 2007. Caswell is a native San Diegan and graduate of San Diego State University.

Prior to joining BCA, Smith worked from 1998 to 2002 in Bristol, Conn. at ESPN Radio, where he helped launch ESPN’s 24-hour format and produced several shows, including “The Dan Patrick Show.”

The station said Nick Hardwick, who had been hosting the noon to 3 p.m. show with Jon Schaeffer, will reduce his work schedule and provide football analysis on Monday and Friday mornings at 8 a.m. as part of XTRA’s morning show with Mike Costa and Judson Richards. Schaeffer is joining Steve Hartman and Rich Ohrnberger on the station’s 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. “Loose Cannons” show.

Mindgruve Nabs Skullcandy as New Client

Mindgruve, a San Diego creative marketing agency, has been selected to lead SEO and global website analytics for Skullcandy, maker of wired and wireless headphones, earbuds and speakers.

Mindgruve said its SEO team will optimize Skullcandy’s website to improve visibility in organic search, increase traffic and drive sales. Also, the firm’s analytics team will install heat maps, improve website tagging and analyze media metrics to provide key insights and strategic recommendations.

“Skullcandy is constantly innovating and evolving our products, our brand, and our approach to digital commerce,” said Mark Hopkins, CIO, Skullcandy. “We needed a partner who understood our audience and who took a fresh, flexible, and like-minded approach to data and analytics. With Mindgruve’s partnership we look forward to streamlining our online presence and creating a customer journey that sets our brand apart from our competition.”

“Skullcandy is an iconic global brand that’s leading the way in audio technology and shaping culture,” said Chad Robley, co-founder and CEO, Mindgruve. “This is a great opportunity for Mindgruve to share valuable insights and recommendations to enhance the customer journey, increase visibility and grow online sales.”

San Diego AMA Going to Padres Game

The American Marketing Association’s San Diego chapter will host a night at Petco Park to watch the Padres-Dodgers game on Tuesday, Aug. 27. Game tickets are located at the Bud Patio. Admission is $35 for AMA members, $45 for nonmembers. A pre-game mixer will be held at Tap Social, 815  J  Street in downtown San Diego. For information, visit sdama.org.

Rick Griffin

Rick Griffin is a San Diego-based public relations and marketing consultant. His MarketInk column appears weekly on Mondays in Times of San Diego.