We're thinking a lot about KVI's folding its tent and turning the 'waves over next week to '60's and '70s Top 40 hits.
What went wrong with conservative talk in Seattle?
There's a theory around town that we just might decide to subscribe to. It's that the downfall of Seattle talk radio is because the political environment is so boring.
It's so ho-hum around here, so predictably blue, the Republicans so down-trodden and blandiose, that right-winger radio talkers simply end up mirroring them.
Dino "Shrugs not Hugs" Rossi is a prime example. He turned into a baggy-faced, slightly-bored, and distant observer: The fire in his belly is suppressed by Tums.
His past opponents Governor Gregoire and Senator Murray can be described, as the cliche goes, "work horses, not show horses." Rossi, who might have qualified as the former at some point, reflected, eventually, his opponents' innate boringness. He was a clothes horse, a stalking horse, but never a race horse (to beleaguer that already beleaguered metaphor).
Neither Patty Murray nor Christine Gregoire are exactly lovable, but they're not really hate-able, either. They're simply very good, and non-nonsensical at their jobs. They're wonkish, and serious. They're counter-inspirational. They just work, and win elections. Nobody of consequence can be stirred up enough to run against them, much less build a career around ranting against.
We think of such talk radio target-rich environments like San Francisco, Boston, and Chicago with crazy-pants libs who say and do nutty stuff, and have created a generation or two of wild-eyed talkers.
Even Seattle talk radio at its apex in the '90's was pretty tame, if you think about it... KVI's Kirby Wilbur although as conservative as a shot-gun funeral was avuncular, and overly polite. John Carlson (KOMO m-f, 3-6p) who used to hang-out with William F. Buckley, has always sounded like a closer on a Christian college debate team (he's even tamer, now). Dori Monson (KIROFM m-f, 12-3p) does his deliberate, self-conscious little rants, which sound pretty angry the first you hear them, but on second or third go 'round they just sound formulaic and feigned. The late, great Bryan Suits on the late, great KVI was sarcastic and cutting, but never mad or passionate. Frank Shiers, (KIRO m-f 7-11p) the actor that he is, does outrage, but you can usually hear whoever else's schtick he's imitating (Glenn Beck, Sideshow Bob, Dori). It's hard to imagine Dave Boze, (KTTH m-f, 3-6p) actually emoting -- we've often wished we could step on his foot, just to hear what would happen.
It's sad. Of the six conservative talkers we just listed, only four are working. Wonder what radio would look like today if there had only been a few more Republicans in this town...
(Don't get us wrong: We love Seattle's monotone blue. We're liberals and we like that politicians we agree with run the state. It's part of why we live here).