by Billy Bob
Howdy. I'm all decked out in my wife-beater t-shirt and my Tea-bagger Speedo, waiting for summer. And while we wait, let's go to the electronic mail-bag:
Billy: What the hell does "hyper-local" mean. I read
online that several radio groups are launching "hyper-local"
initiatives, attempting to do more and more local coverage with their
websites. But these are the same radio companies that for the past 4 or 5
years have gotten rid of all their local news reporters and all their local
talk hosts. Are radio CEO's really that
stupid? Signed, Tom in Tumwater
Dear Tom: Hyper-local means just what it says. The radio bigwigs realized they've lost all local credibility. And now they're hyper.
Dear Billy: Is it just me or does KIRO newswoman Jessica Gottesman begin every newscast with a question? Whenever she comes on I feel like I'm back in first grade. Not to mention the sing-song delivery and condescending tone. What is her deal? Signed, Transplanted Texan
Dear Tex: I think you're being entirely too harsh. It sounds much more like third grade.
Dear Billy: I thought I read a while back that station managers would never allow a talk-host or DJ from a competing station to do a commercial on their station. So how come on KOMO now I'm hearing Dave Ross all the time doing commercials for Dux Beds? Signed, Yvette in Everett
Dear Yvette: Station managers only have three rules these days. Rule #1: Take the money. Rule #2: Cut costs. Rule #3: See Rule #1.
Dear Billy: Hope you're happy now. Several times you made fun of the name "Freedom 570" for KVI, and now the Fisher brass have deep-sixed that moniker. What do you have against freedom? Signed, Ben in North Bend
Dear Ben: Now that I see it on paper, I'm not as critical. All that time I thought they were saying "Free-Dumb 570."
Dear Billy: That late night show on KIRO is gawd-awful. I always put on my bedside radio as I'm falling asleep, but I can't keep it on KIRO anymore because Allen Hunt is just another right-wing Jesus freak. Why in the hell does KIRO run his Atlanta show in Seattle? Signed, Lacy in Lacey
Dear Lacy: I think they run Allen Hunt so that we won't complain about Frank Shiers.
Dear Billy: I just read about a Boston financial talk show host who has been sentenced to seven years in prison for bilking his clients and listeners out of millions. Turns out he was paying for the airtime to do his show. I listen to some of these odd-sounding financial and home improvement shows on KIRO and KOMO and KPTK every once in a while. I thought the FCC used to require stations to make very clear announcements about what is paid programming. How do we know who is being paid for their expertise and is legitimate and who is spending money to push a scam? Signed, Paulie in Shoreline
Dear Pauli: If it's on the radio on weekends you can pretty much assume it's a repeat or it's a paid program.
Dear Billy: I've read some excerpts from Glenn Beck's new
fiction book, The Overton Window. It's
the worst clap-trap I've ever read in my life. Why did he write his drivel? I
can't stop laughing. Signed, Marilyn in Monroe
Dear Marilyn: Glenn can't stop laughing, either. All the way to the bank. Besides he didn't write it, it was a "team effort."
Dear Billy: How come all the local right-wingers on KIRO and KTTH and KVI are ridiculing Al Gore for his marriage ending after 40 years of success and raising very happy, successful children? But Rush Limbaugh can get married four freakin' times and not have any kids and we don't hear a peep out of these same hosts. Are they hypocrites or cowards? Signed, Nash in Graham
Dear Nash: You're looking at this wrong. Gore is a quitter. Rush keeps trying to make a marriage work.
Dear Billy: Can you help me understand something? I work in radio for a local company and twice in the past 18 months I've had to take a pay reduction. In addition, we were forced to use up all of our accrued vacation time before 2010. If we didn't use it, we lost it. Our 401-K match is gone. Benefits reduced. Plus, more than a dozen people I worked with lost their jobs in the past 18 months. But did you see the news about radio CEO's? Start with Citadel. A company which declared bankruptcy and anyone who owned stock simply lost their investment. But the company's CEO, Farid Suleman was just given a new 5-year contract with a base salary of $1.25 million PLUS bonuses. Then take Salem. They own 4 or 5 bottom-feeding stations in Seattle and many of their employees have had to take pay cuts and many of their employees are part-timers with no benefits. But Salem just gave CEO Ed Atsinger a new 3-year contract worth $900,000 per year, PLUS bonuses and benefits. So if the business climate stinks. If radio is down. If advertising is down. If I'm being asked to reduce my pay and give up benefits. If my buddies are being fired. How come these fat cats at the top are all getting new contracts and big pay raises? Signed, A Money-Squeezed Radio Survivor
Dear Survivor: I must disagree with your use of the term "fat cats." Mr. Atsinger and Mr. Suleman are both quite svelte.
Billy: I'm not one to question anyone's
sincerity or be a cynic, so let me just ask you a question. Would you
allow your wife to go for a walk, by herself, at 1 a.m. in Lake Forest
Park? Signed, Dingy in Belltown
Dear Dingy: I've forced my wife out of the car in Lake Forest Park many times late at night. But, so far, she’s always found her way back home.