IT WAS THE WORST OF TIMES, IT WAS THE WORST OF TIMES. Radio, in 2006, has suffered ratings declines, lost the confidence of Wall Street, and that of some of it's largest conglomerating investors.
There's a death watch on, with media vultures watching the breast of talk radio for its last heaves. Frankly, this ain't the first time it's condition has been pronounced terminal, and probably not the last.
Meanwhile, BlatherWatch has thriven like a little girl skipping 'neath a burgeoning mushroom cloud. By having cast ourselves in the role of radio know-it all, we crammed ourselves into a silly little niche than that no one else would cover, and managed to scrape together a small clutch of stalwarts who cheer us on. (Cheering on is all we need, now that we've qualified for food stamps).
THANK YOU, THANK-YOU, THANK-YOU to the tippers, the sources, the insiders, the threep doats- whose secreted, sensational and accurate information not only always checks out, but have made us more than just another screedblog or Air America fansite. Special kudos and accolades to Mike Webb, Michael Medved, Frank Shiers, the Ron, the Don; Dori Monson, Bryan Styble, Bryan Suits, Rabbi Daniel Lapin, Tim Eyman, Tom Delay, Tom Clendening, Dan Sytman, Dave Boze, George W. Bush, John
Carlson, Kirby Wilbur, Rev. Ken Hutcherson, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Lou Pate, for just being who you are.
TWO SHOWS THAT COULD REDEFINE SEATTLE TALK RADIO: The Commentators (KVI m-f 9a-12p)- dubbed 'The Tators' by Blather-readers- is conservative talk vet John Carlson and KOMO TV editorial blabfly Ken Schram arguing like the Jesuit schoolboys they are. It can be compelling radio, if the two aren't agreeing with each other (which happens too often). Schram's no liberal- he's a contrarian/libertarian with a penchant for speaking in tabloid headlines who pisses people off and will say just about anything to anyone. Carlson is a doctrinaire conservative, sharp debater, and a nice boy who gives the conservative KVI listeners (unused to such discourse) someplace homey to go when Schram gets outrageous. Their media clout gets them gets no one else gets.
They're not our cup of matè- we don't like the frat boy personae, and the schtick of studied ignorance and uncouthiness of Ron & Don (KIRO m-f, 4-7p). But they're bringing a quirky mix of lifestyle issues, local news, politics, and their wacked-out FM personalities in a PM drive Smothers Brothers routine that's addicting a wider audience than the usual crowd who have been waning of late. The broadness of their appeal has a lot to do with Jennifer Andrews' excellent producing. She throws out a wide net for guests and up-to-the-minute topics that stops fingers from wandering the radio buttons. And when our fingers stop wandering, we pay attention.
These shows have both broken out of the traditional talk format- with the sluggishness of radio listenership, new formats may be what's needed to perk stuff up.
BEST SYNDICATED TALKER: We love Rachel Maddow (KPTK m-f, 3-5p). Her smart, funny show is in a tight, and well-produced newscast format- substantive when it needs to be, and hilarious the rest of the time. The substance part might have something to do with Maddow being an honors graduate of Stanford University, and the first openly lesbian activist to win a Rhodes Scholarship. She's pretty funny on her own, but the hilarity part has mightily to do with sidekick, Kent Jones, an Emmy Award winning, 5-year fake news writer from the Daily Show. Maddow's educational bona fides and her lesbianic proclivities would qualify her for a Demonic Award by the Concerned Women of America. But she's so darned likable- once described as a "universal donor of good chemistry,' positive and full of good will towards men, even those vagina-less, Fox-lipped women of the afternoon might not demur.
WORST TOPIC OF THE YEAR: Dori Monson with his "All art is nonsense."
BRILLIANCE OF FORESIGHT CUP: To Tom Clendening for hiring David Goldstein, and Ron Reagan. For promoting Tina Nole, and Jennifer Andrews; for firing the Styblehead, and The Mother Truckers.
THE WHAT-THE-HELL-WERE-YOU-THINKING AWARD? To Tom Clendening for pushing Frank Shiers down our throats; ending live overnight radio; and for letting Dori Monson punk your ass.
HELL HATH NO FURY HONORABLE UNMENTIONABLE: In a perfectly innocent post, BlatherWatch referred to Irene Song, as Stefan Song-Sharkansky's 'Significant Other" and said, as we so often have, he had no visible means of support. We'd been reporting- as we continue to report- that Stefan's Sound Politics blog has long been rumored to be funded by the state GOP (what else do they have to do with their money?) or some mysterious sugary paternal entity. We got a fearsome scolding from Mrs. Song-Shark calling us a sexist, (she's a woman) a racist (she's Asian); and revealed that she (a lawyer) was Stefan's very visible means of support, thank you very much. What's more: SHE IS HIS WIFE- NOT HIS SIGNIFICANT OTHER!! Obviously, If we weren't so racist, and sexist we would have grokked Stefan's house-hubbiness just by looking at him. (that's the visible part) We dutifully Blatherblogged the weird incident and one of our favorite commenters, Lazy Murrow wrote
OUR FAVORITE COMMENT OF 2006:
Oh, the Shark, babe,
has such teeth, dear,
Oh no wait, that's
Just his wife.
He's a blowhard
'neath a skirt, dear,
which explains his
MOST CREATIVE COMMENTS: We have to salute to Tommy 008 who wrote a novella and serialized it in our comment threads. It was a real pot boiler, and followed closely by not only our readers and those in local radio about whom it was obviously about- but also by a spittle of literary agents and TV producers hoping The Tommy would sign up.
READER OF THE YEAR: goes to "Joanie" a bodacious, opinionated, and
literate liberal of the old school who is a prolific commenter; sharp
commentator, lives in Seattle, and never lets us get away with
missteps or misspellings. She even throws us a few bucks once in a
THERE'S MUCH MORE COMING IN THE BLATHERBEST OF 2006- STAY TUNED...