Since this was published last year, five of 13 the Seattle talkers profiled have been shuffled off the live & local coil. Phil the News Junkie passed on without anyone ever really knowing it (We just looked up one day and he was gone). Peter Weissbach pulled his dick out of KVI, after the pressure from his illegal hiring practices became too much for Fisher to bear. The Mouthing Off boyz (Dave Carson, Kevin Dodrill) shut their collective piehole one fine day in March; veteran broadcaster Mike Siegel’s show on business KKOL passed in February like a watermelon seed though the colon of radio.
~~December 07, 2009
Conservative talk radio was invented in Seattle, now it’s as endangered as the wild Puget Sound salmon. and let’s face it, save Dave Ross, there ain’t no local liberal talk.
With the KVI’s elimination of Kirby Wilbur, another block of local airtime went to out-of-town, out-of-touch, syndicated blabbermeisters- sending a butt-load of ad $ somewhere else.
(Washington conservatives and Republicans suffered another depressing (for them) election defeat despite the talk radio dominance of right-wingers. With Kirby’s demise, right-wing activists are the real losers. Where now on the radio, go the flacks for Evergreen Freedom Foundation, and the Discovery Institute; the BIAW mafiosos; homo-hater Rev. Ken Hutcherson; initiative huckster Tim Eyman; skum-skimming skourge Floyd Brown; or State Auditor and fake Democrat Brian Sonntag). Here’s who’s left:
The Commentators (KOMO m-f, 10a-2p). Veteran conservative and man about Seattle media John Carlson (he was conservative before it was cool) battles each day with scratchy Channel 4 commentator Ken Schram. The show isn’t all that political- much of the time the two Catholic suburbanites debate pedestrian issues like pit bulls, and school dress codes- the disagreement is kinda pro forma. This hale-fellow-well-met debate was moved from KVI because the very presence of the free-wheeling libertarian Schram was unacceptable and the shriveled right-wing listener base couldn’t abide any impurity whatsoever on "their" station. Anymore, the once-mighty KVI community is but a wide spot in the road, and the cranky, codgerly listeners now have bupkis except a bunch of fresh and canned national talkers, and an hour of the damaged Peter Weissbach.
Dave Boze (KTTH
m-f, 3-6p) 37, a Hillsdale College alum, a low-key, Reagan conservative
who worked long as a KVI producer, and finally got his own show- the
only local offering on KTTH. He married into a well-connected
conservative family- his wife, Peggy O’Ban, 53, was spokeswoman for
Washington Women for McCain, and a
Bush-appointed AID official. Her brother Steve is a conservative
attorney who successfully argued against gay marriage before the state
(photo: Producer Jake and Dave Boze)
and unsuccessfully toiled to save us last election from the broadening of gay rights. This all makes for conservative purity, but not, necessarily, for spellbinding radio. Dave’s show is rather ploddingly produced with a penchant for book reports, martial music, clucking like deacon about the moral decline of the Great Unwashed, and genteelly mocking of Seattle Communists and the Bolsheviks occupying the other Washington. He means well, and is congenial enough except when’s doing his sissy-slap act with Producer Jake.Dave Ross is still the sanest, pithiest, and - though some of our readers argue this point- the most liberal live talker in town. He’s not pissed off, he has many talents, interests. One of these days, he’ll retire or do something else… and believe you us, there’s nobody waiting in the (left) wings to replace him… they’ll probably promote Frank Shiers, or Phil the Junkie.
Dori Monson (KIROFM m-f 12-3p) is madder, and louder than Dave Boze- but a more and experienced and gifted broadcaster. His testosteronic slagging, strutting, angry, wall-to-wall denunciations are directly proportionate to his short stature, his long sensitivity over having a girl’s name, and his fall from his erstwhile perch as the King of Seattle Talk Radio. He was once a national security libertarian more interested in round ball games and Las Vegas, but the longer he stays on the radio the farther right he goes. Dori calls the governor, legislators and the president liars, criminals and frauds every single day; then bitterly decries that they won’t come on his show. Voters, politicians and public servants don't respect what he says because they don't have to...because his ranting doesn’t matter in any politically measurable way.Ron & Don (KIRO m-f, 3-7p) are getting a new producer and a bonehead course in current events. It probably won’t save them. They specialize in raising funds for victims of news
(Photo: Ron Upshaw)
events, and it doesn’t go much deeper than that. Our only hope for them is that they're not replaced by Mark Levin.Frank Shiers (KIROFM m-f, 7-11p) is a nice man, who really wants to keep what he’s striven to get- a 4-hour evening slot on KIROFM, the Zippo that once was a blow torch. Although his politics are made-for-Bremerton from whence he proudly came, we’re glad he’s given up teaching where he could do harm to our children. He tries lots of things, like our patience, Monson riffs, Glenn Beck voices, and homemade audio production; often whippings through 2 or 3 topics an hour when his phone doesn’t ring. Evenings, like weekends, don’t count for much in radio, but he IS a new live & local in a market that’s shedding them like underwear.
Phil The News Junkie (KIRO Sundays, 4-7p) Lonesome Phil is arguably the best producer in town (the Dori Monson Show) However, the wry guy whose politics and verbal riffs, for some reason, mimic Dori’s, is charismatically challenged. He’s harmless enough, but unfortunately for him, his show is rarely heard- it’s really a KIROFM fill-in for when the Seahawks or Mariners aren’t being simulcast with KIRO’s AM sports station which exists, supposedly, so the talk would never be interrupted by sports. The paucity of total downtime between football and baseball leaves Phil with plenty of Sunday afternoons at home.
Although it's improved its numbers lately, KIRO's hurting and something needs to change, but it’s hard to know just what they would or should do. Dave and Dori ain’t going anywhere. Maybe the answer is to bulk up the Morning News to better the day, try to wrench it from Glenn Beck on KTTH. Problem is they’ve shrunk their news staff, and dumped their old news brand. (Apropos of nothing: Jason Brooks has left or soon will to become the money erg a stationing in San Francisco).
Peter Weissbach’s weird little Pomposity Hour (KVI m-f, 5-6p) has few listeners, but he's all that's local on KVI during the week. The Seattle Times’ recent revelations about his skeezy and illegal hiring practices would have sank him in less desperate days when Fisher Broadcasting could afford to have a conscience. (Remember when they sacked John Carlson for a conflict of interest? Or dumped Mike Siegel when he gave conspiracy theorists whose smears of Mayor Rice he hoped were given free rein on his show? If the Fisher family were still selling flour and guided by their present-day moral compass, a 1-lb. sack of flour would only weigh 14 oz.) Weissbach is probably only around until the station decides which live, syndicated talker can be finagled onto the roster- Lars Larsson recently declined, we’re told.
Mouthing Off (KVI 6-7p Sundays) bills itself as "The View with Balls" and has slipped through the cracks of Fisher Radio’s ineptitude. Although they don’t get much but an hour of Sunday airtime the station apparently couldn’t sell to penis-mercials, Dave Carson and Kevin Dodrill trade punches, bon mots, and masculine but witty takes on sex, politics, and the meaning of life. More of this on a different station could help turn around the talk radio business, but we're afraid if someone upstairs finds out there’s someone on the air on KVI under the age of 40, the Mouthers will be toast. Not that that will happen any day soon, the Fisher suits don’t really care what’s actually on the radie-yo, just what it costs them.
Mike Siegel, (KKOL m-f, 12-3p) probably doesn’t count: he's a Seattle veteran talker, long irrelevant who does business talk on KKOL, a Salem Communications station (home of LoueDobbs!)that shows up in no ratings lists- it's positioned somewhere below 41st in the market.