Yes! Public radio listeners finally got a taste of real-time political debate, and some actual partisan friction.
Bloggers were lefty David Goldstein from Horsesass; and righties Eric Earling of Sound Politics; Eastern Washington's Tom Forbes from Palousitics; and non-partisan blogger Liz Burlingame, a recent UW poli sci grad who blogs at Seattlepoliticore.
(photo: Weekday's hottie, Steve Scher).
We're always complaining that public radio KUOW, the leading talk station in Seattle leaves political talk to a few revolving newspaper harrumphers, whose tedious room temperature opining are restricted on-air by their journalism jobs, and their hypotension. Their comments are often their columns regurgitated and delivered in soporific tones that threaten drivers' wakefulness even in the crack of the morning. (Maybe it's OK they re-deliver their columns on the radio since so who few actually read them in their typeset and inky glory.)
We've often kvetched about rarely hearing conservatives on KUOW. This is a liberal town, but unless a rightie is a viable candidate, or in the news in a way that can't be ignored, they must stay in the woodwork they call home.
(photo: David Goldstein, Eric Earling by Carmen Santos)
Eric Earling is a thoughtful conservative who makes larger points than just talking points; and he does it with none of the pathological meanness of his co-blogger, Stefan Sharkansky. Tom Forbes is a clonservative talking point machine, but he spews them well, and there was a place for at least one of those in today's conversation. Burlingame, who's traveling around the country with campaigns might have been a little cowed by the seasoned and more verbally aggressive company -- she didn't much get into the partisan fray.
It's good for Seattleites to hear this stuff, but more important, it was great radio!
Kudos and accolades to producers Katy Sewall, and Jenny Asarnow. [We originally wrote incorrectly that a producer on the show was David Hyde. while he's still producing at KUOW, he is no longer at Weekday].
We do a have a crochit or two. It was a bit out of balance -- Goldy, as the liberal, was outnumbered; though with his famous... er, loquaciousness, he made up for it. And, did we have to take our medicine with this historic show, giving up some of the precious time to the pledge drive, which, because of lagging donations is going into its second week?
Goldy tells us that this is the first time he's appeared in studio at KUOW. Here's to that it won't be the last time for any of these and other bloggers to get onto the public airwaves in the election months ahead.
Steve Scher knows a lot about a lot of things. He has to. But he's clearly not up with new media. He asked the bloggers if they considered themselves "part of the blogosphere." That took these active bloggers by surprise -- it was like maybe he thought the "sphere" part was an attainment to be reached, or possibly a pejorative or unhip cliche or stereotype. He also showed surprise and delight at the terms, "dead tree" or "legacy" media -- had obviously never heard these, the chestnuttiest of new media slangos.
He treated the bloggers a little condescendingly as if they were albino lemurs -- cute but rare -- a flavor of the month that the "real" media must cover (and endure) until they fade so the "real" media can go back to being boring and terminally "objective." (albino lemurs, have been given considerably more air time on NPR than have bloggers over the years, as well they should).
(photo: albino lemur & his agent)
(We kid Steve Scher, and have known and liked him for years. We could never understand the forces he must contend with in the dynamics of KUOW station politics; or the learning curves he must scale on a weekdaily basis to do his job as well as he does it. He's also "a towering hunk" and sexually-objectified in the community-at-large and must work hard to both maintain that and yet appear to disdain it. Although he's an intellectual and fantasized superman to so many, he can't know everything, and we understand that. It's not easy to be Steve Scher).
But his ignorance of what is happening, Mr. Jones is endemic of KUOW, and it's no more obvious than it is on their website which was last updated in the late 20th century. It's celebrated as the least interactive site this side of the Sheriff's sexual predators list. (which we think the county should open up as an online dating site, and make it earn its keep. you'd be surprised at how many Puget Sounders would love to meet nice, single men who love children).
There are no blogs on the KUOW site; there are no comments threads; there's no way to voice an opinion other than call in to the show, or send a check.
This top-down approach is another reason why they're not getting younger listeners any more than is AM radio.
We, for one wish they'd allow staff blogs. Then they'd begin to get it. We've heard at one point this was discussed -- permission was granted for a blog or two, but then reneged upon. Maybe they're afraid somebody might be exposed as actually HAVING A POINT OF VIEW!!!
We'd like to hear what Ross Reynolds might opine; what Steve Scher's irks might be; what Marcie Sillman or Dave Beck really think.What are some outtakes from the shows? Which guest said what to another during the break? What wasn't there time for to talk about? What it's like when someone like Al Gore walks in?
Why can't listeners continue the discussions online after the show? You know, basic fucking Internet 101?
We're sure there are others around KUOW who could
add to the discussion and voice some less-than-objective POVs' that
might sprinkle a soupçon of salt into the oft-times bland slumgullion.
How about creating an up-to-date online platform that would complement the old? And you know what? In the process, KUOW might challenge a new audience, and reinvigorate the rest of us.