Billy Bob (whose real name is neither Billy nor Bob) worked long in the Seattle radio market wearing a suit. He says the experience ironed his shirts, drank his milkshake, augmented his influences, and diminished his circle of friends. He says he knows more than we do, but not as much as he used to.
by Billy Bob
I've got the Common 'Taters on the boom-box on the
back deck of my double-wide in Monroe. Got the garden hose fillin' up my blue plastic pool and
I'm stealin' my neighbors wi-fi to answer more of your e-Bob-queries:
Billy: Recently one of your letters was complaining about news gal
Jessica Gottesman always starting news stories with
a question. But you know what bugs me? Hotcakes. I drive a lot for
work and my radio is pretty much glued to KOMO. But
every time they do a story about something selling well, for example, I-phones,
they always say, "They're selling like hotcakes." Now first of
all, do hotcakes even sell that well? Secondly, who the hell says
"hotcakes?" "Hey, let's all go down to the International
House of Hotcakes!" Fercrissakes, I
don't know anyone under the age of 80 who says 'hotcakes." I guess I
should be glad they don't call them flapjacks. If they sold that well, don't
you think we'd see more "Hotcake Houses?" Signed, Bill Le Petomane
Dear Bill: Speaking of Hot Cakes, have you seen a picture of Jessica Gottesman?
Dear Billy: I know all you Seattle latte-lovers get all worked up about your liberal radio stations. But do you realize that in the latest ratings, KPTK has fewer total listeners than KNHC, the radio station run by Nathan Hale high school? Signed, Mongo
Dear Mongo: Yes, but KPTK is ranked ahead of STITA taxi-dispatch radio.
Dear Billy: One of your readers a while back asked if KIRO moving to FM was the biggest blunder in the history of Seattle radio. Actually, it was the second biggest blunder. The biggest was getting rid of KBSG, the oldies station. Have you seen the latest People Meter ratings from New York City? The #1 station is WCBS-FM, the oldies station. They're #1 for the first time ever and they're in the top 5 25-54. Guess who is the Program Director of WCBS-FM? Brian Thomas, who was the Program Director of KBSG before Bonneville brought in their Utah firing squad. Here's what's puzzling: Arbitron started switching to People Meters in some markets about two years before they made the switch in Seattle. So, if you were paying attention, you could see that some formats, like oldies, were doing well with People Meters. And you could also see, in some markets, big AM news and talk stations were doing very well. But even with that information, Bonneville killed off KBSG a few months before People Meters started in Seattle and they took KIRO off of AM the very day that People Meters started. One thing we'll never know is how well KBSG would be doing with People Meters and how well KIRO would be doing if it was still on AM... Not to mention that Frank Shiers would be doing something useful. Signed, A Radio Music Guy
Dear Music Dude: Give them more time. I think at some point KIRO-FM will be selling like hotcakes.
Dear Billy: Wrong Upshaw and Dong O'Neill crack me up. They're like the Click & Clack of commercial radio. I love the Wrong & Dong Show! Signed, Van Johnson
Dear Billy: I like KPTK, but I really get tired of the sameness and the lack of any local discussion. I think Stephanie Miller is funny, but if you've heard one hour of her show, you've heard them all. It's just juvenile banter. Why not put a good local, liberal show on in morning drive? Signed, Lili Von Shtupp
Dear Lili: Speaking of Hot Cakes, have you seen a picture of Stephanie Miller?
Dear Billy: B-B is hilarious, if you're IQ is less than your shoe size, that is. For the rest of us, it's as boring as watching paint dry. Signed, Rob
Dear Billy: The Billy Bob column sucks balls. Just sayin' yo. Signed, Fatso
Dear Billy: It seems to be conventional wisdom that Rush Limbaugh saved AM radio. Even Blatherwatch repeated that refrain recently. But my theory is Rush Limbaugh has helped lead to the demise of radio. Oh, I don't really blame him, I blame the corporate CEO's who were able to eliminate ownership restrictions and bought out all competitors and then proceed to slash and burn any real local content. But Limbaugh's show became the easy thing to grab for to put on a lot of stations that were always live and local before. And Rush is talented. He got good ratings. But then his show was purchased by Clear Channel and in many cities they started charging big money for the show. So now, stations are giving up big chunks of their commercial time to the Limbaugh show and they're paying annual fees, in some cities as much as a half-million dollars a year. Think about how many local reporters or talk shows a station could hire with a half-million dollars! Sure, Rush is talented and gets good ratings. But he became like crack cocaine for radio owners. Because of the cost of they show, they had to lay off local hosts and reporters and go pick up cheaper satellite shows, the Rush wannabes. They kept spending more and doing less, and today local radio is a mess. Call me crazy, but that's my theory. Signed, A Talk Consultant
Dear Talk: Okay, you're crazy.
Dear Billy: Now that he's been dumped by Freedumb 570, what's Kirby Wilber up to these days? Signed, Taggart
Dear Taggart: About 295.