May 23, 2006

Tuesday oddems: ripe, juicy morsals, illegal alien houseboys, lasered pubes, intern sex, mike webb, billo reilly, dan restione and he said, he said, he said...

~~back to the radio doldrums. Yikes, this is the slow time- summer in the radio business. Summer vacations, bum listenership. Dave Ross in his new/old ayem spot, John Procaccino filling in for Ron Reagan both having a helluva time scaring up callers.

Wish somebody would get fired, arrested, light themselves on fire like a Buddhist from the old school. It sure would help if Rove would get indicted.

~~Too darn many ripe tidbits come in over the Blathertransom that we can't go with because we've only got a he said; or- despite an item's intrinsic beauty and corroboration, we judge it nobody's business. Or if the truth could not only set us free, but get us killed, what with the talk Mafia out there busting kneecaps. We heard a juicy one we'd love to think is true about the right-wing talk host with an alleged illegal working as a houseman- he said. There's another about a conservative talk host who now has a wife and kids, but supposedly, he said, had a boyfriend in college. A producer's perfectly lasered private parts seem to be very public parts- at least the bare facts seem to be well-known around the KIRO newsroom- at least that's what she said. A very married local rightie has a girl in every port- even in the landlocked city of Cleveland. There's the talker who's schtupping his producer, the newsie who was allegedly once a stripper, another off-air exec, he said, turned tricks before she was radio- that's one we'd love to verify. Down in Category C.2: there's  KOMO guy who looks at porno while on the air; an intern schtupping a board op, an Entercom intern schtupping an Entercom intern; a board op smoking joints in a stairwell; a PD who looks lustfully at saleswomen; an off-air personality who haunts the Lusty Lady; another with a jones for Fritos. Yawn. Will the doldrums ever end?

~~It's been a year since Lou Pate, the former KIRO overnighter, Mike Webb, the former liberal, and Mike Siegel, the former KTTH morning guy pushed decertification of their union to a vote and got AFTRA thrown out. It passed by one vote. Note the single adjective these three talk hosts share- former. With the legal the interim between the votes now passed, certification can be reconsidered. And it will, we're assured by someone who's working hard toward that end. Hard to say how a new vote would come out, but with the 3 perpetrators now all gone, it's entirely possible the employees could bring back basic union standards to the Entercom workplace. Ironically, John Sandifer, the union guy told us that the union would have "gone to the mat" for Webb if he'd asked for representation after his firing from KIRO which he bitterly decries, today. Both he and Siegel were fired after the decertification. These corporations just ain't grateful to those who do their dirty work.

~~Fox Radio's Billo Reilly threatened a boycott of Mexico if the country's foreign secretary, Luis Ernesto Derbez makes good on a promise to sue if evidence emerges that the National Guard is directly helping to detain Mexican citizens trying to illegally enter the United States. This according to Media Matters. O'Reilly warned Derbez, "If the Mexican government files one lawsuit in the U.S.A., one, pertaining to the National Guard, I will call for a total boycott of Mexican goods and no travel to your country. O'Reilly claims he "bought down the French economy," with his bogus 2003 boycott of goods and travel after France's opposition to the Iraqi War. In reality, O'Reilly's battle against France, won him only victories in the ratings war on cable TV and the radio. Brie and chablis sales were unwavering.

Continue reading "Tuesday oddems: ripe, juicy morsals, illegal alien houseboys, lasered pubes, intern sex, mike webb, billo reilly, dan restione and he said, he said, he said..." »

May 20, 2006

We'll give you the last word, bill...

The Sphincter Factor meets the No Spin Zone.

April 24, 2006

TALKERS MAGAZINE Heavy 100 weighs heavily on its own credibility

Talkers Magazine, the self-proclaimed "Bible of Talk Radio and the New Talk Media," ranks the "100 most important hosts" in the business every year in its "Heavy Hundred."

It's an honor flaunted up by those who make it and pooed upon by those who don't. It's an annual ritual.

The list is dominated by conservatives, naturally.

The Heaviest Five are, not surprisingly: Howard Stern, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage, and Dr. Laura. Randi Rhodes at 10th beat out O' Reilly, (the bastard) who's at 11th; the nasty scold, Laura Ingraham, 7th; Progressive Ed Shultz came in at 13th; while Air America's Al Franken was 18th; and Hannity's bitch, Alan Colmes, 16th.

Local honors: Seattle talkers John Carlson, (no.76) Michael Medved (no.29) were ushered in this year, Medved for the second time. This is a big deal for Carlson who is not nationally syndicated, and hasn't even been doing that well in the ratings. These rankings aren't about ratings (we'll get to what they are about later).

Continue reading "TALKERS MAGAZINE Heavy 100 weighs heavily on its own credibility " »

April 18, 2006

Talk radio survey measures the fair and the unbalanced

So whaddaya think? Are liberal talk hosts are more likely to let you on the air if you disagree with them?

To hear conservative talk hosts like Bill O'Reilly or Sean Hannity tell it, you wouldn't think so.

But you'd be wrong.

A survey released last week by Research 2000 President Del Ali tested how six nationally syndicated radio talk programs handle incoming calls among listeners who want to become callers.

They chose 3 progressives and 3 conservatives:  Liberals Stephanie Miller, Randi Rhodes and Ed Shultz; and conservatives Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and Rush Limbaugh.

Big Eddie Shultz, (KPTK, m-f, 12-3p) won the prize.

The Best: Shultz was the easiest to get on the air with regardless of view point for the simple reason that the show is the only format of the six that does not ask the caller what they want to discuss. In fact, the only question the screener asked our ten callers was simply where are you calling from, radio call letters and your name. The only other interaction reported was the screener was polite enough to let the caller know when he/she would be on the air with Ed Shultz.

The Worst: Sean Hannity. None of our callers with a different point of view was able to get on the air with the host. Two of our callers with dissenting view points were told by the screener that "I will pass it on" and disconnected. A third caller with a different view was told that the host would not have time to take the call today, however, if the caller would give his name and number to the screener, the Hannity program would call him back first thing the next day. We gave the screener our number. The next day, there was not a returned call within the first two hours so we decided to call in and received a recording that stated, "Calls are not be accepted from this number" The fourth and fifth calls with a dissenting point of view were put on hold during the first hour and those callers were kept on the line for remaining two hours until the show completed, never getting on the air without feedback from the screener.

Continue reading "Talk radio survey measures the fair and the unbalanced" »

March 24, 2006

Friday oddems: mike webb sheds shyster, KIRO tapes its parts, bare-naked wimmen flop on the buzz, mccain takes it in the shorts, ron & bomb suffer gastritis, toe tent city invades eastlake, bill o'reilly steps into it, pat o'day rocks the blogosphere

~~Mike Webb update: he fired his fancy celebrity lawyer, Bradley Marshall who was probably too darned expensive for what he needs him for. We still expect him to cop a plea- besides what we've already reported, the charging papers say that the Geico Insurance (the company he's accused of ripping off) policy numbers are issued by computer in sequential order. Mike's policy number falls between two others bounded on the day after the accident; even though Mike claims he took out the policy the month before the accident. We predict a plea bargain will be negotiated, and Mike will plead guilty to something lesser; but will never not claim he's innocent. He's that kind of guy...His current attorney appears to be one Mark Larrafiaga of Walsh & Larrafiaga.

~~Worst radio commercial nominee, 2006: "The Toe-Tent is a totally new and unique product that solves an age old problem. The problem of twisted feet has been going on since the first caveman covered himself with the first animal skin. This problem predates writing, it predates music, it predates speech, it predates every problem except the battle of the sexes (which also involves being in bed). To finally be able to sleep on your back and not have your toes jammed down by the bedding is GREAT! It's like a blessed relief from heaven!!"

~~Taped dayparts on KIRO? Well yes. Thoughtful reader Tom reports and we've now heard it too- Ron & Bomb, (m-f, 9p-1a) the shock jocks filling in Mike Webb's old slot, actually play old tapes of themselves presumably so they can get home early. Tom sez: "I’d never heard tape in any daypart [on KIRO] before, always live guest hosts when the regulars are absent. Poor show. They’re not even playing tapes from actual hires – it was tape of fill-ins. (I’d rather hear Dori tapes!) There goes 'live and local'.” We're betting KIRO has no idea that's happening- this is the station who does no airchecks- we hear it over and over from talent, "It's obvious," one told us recently, "they've never heard my show."

Continue reading "Friday oddems: mike webb sheds shyster, KIRO tapes its parts, bare-naked wimmen flop on the buzz, mccain takes it in the shorts, ron & bomb suffer gastritis, toe tent city invades eastlake, bill o'reilly steps into it, pat o'day rocks the blogosphere" »

March 11, 2006

OPEN THREAD (and cheapest of cheap shots): who'd win in a fist fight- bill o'reilly or dr. laura?

We'd put our money on Dr. Laura- click here for pics of her perky self naked.

January 25, 2006

KTTH: all sports?

We always seem to be in the conduit for some of the most fascinating rumors in the business.

As we reported yesterday, KTTH, the mostly moribund Seattle Entercom talker got the bid to be the voice of the Sonics starting next (2006-07) season; taking it from KJR after 21 years! Read all about it in Bill Virgin's weekly PI column "Radio Beat, which also had this piece of fascinatia:   

Dave Pridemore, vice president and general manager for KTTH and KIRO-AM (710), said landing the Sonics doesn't mean massive change to sports talk. "Our format on KTTH is going to remain the same as it's been," he said. KTTH will do a weekly coach's show and other features during the season, and will look for opportunities to add programming, but those additions will be within the talk format.

One interesting wrinkle is that Limbaugh's contract with KTTH expires this year. Entercom grabbed Limbaugh away from KVI-AM (570), and KVI would like him back. "Rush is a perfect fit on KVI," said Dennis Kelly, Fisher Radio's AM group program director.

But Pridemore said KTTH intends to continue the relationship with Limbaugh, and he has a one-word answer to the occasional conjecture that Limbaugh might be moved to KIRO: "No." He added, "We feel Rush has a strong following on KTTH."

Of course, Rush has been limping badly on KTTH, and we're not sure how he'd do much better on KVI, but it's a fascinating thought. (Boy those were the days when Rush and Dave Ross punched it out every day and Dave came up good most of the time- we were so proud of KIRO then...)

Another heavy rumor that's going around- from our readers (thanks JDB) and now in an email from a Seattle radio exec:

Continue reading "KTTH: all sports?" »

December 28, 2005

THE BEST, THE WORST, THE MEDIOCRE OF SEATTLE TALK RADIO, 2005

OUR FIRST YEAR has been quite a year in talk radio. We've seen the half-hearted emergence of liberal talk; we've seen the mighty KIRO writhing like a piglet on a platter, stations reformatted, programming tweaked and molested; out of town bigwigs from making decisions for  local littlewigs; talk hosts  hired and fired, slapped down by judges; charged in a felony; burrowed, borrowed, belittled, banished.

THANK YOU, THANK-YOU, THANK-YOU to the tippers, the sources, the insiders, the threep doats- whose secreted, sensational and accurate information not only always checks out, but have made us more than just another screedblog or Air America fansite. Special kudos and accolades to Mike Siegel, Mike Webb, Michael Medved, Frank Shiers, Dori Monson, Tom Delay, Tom Clendening, Dan Sytman, Dave Boze, George W. Bush, John Carlson, Kirby Wilbur, Rev. Ken Hutcherson, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Dave Irons, Lou Pate, Dino Rossi, Rabbi Daniel Lapin for just being who you are. And a special mention to Allan Prell.

We've divvied up the goodies into seven categories: TALKERS, READERS, ABSURDERATA , COMMERCIALS, BLATHERING, QUOTES and RADIO STATIONS. Click & read.

Continue reading "THE BEST, THE WORST, THE MEDIOCRE OF SEATTLE TALK RADIO, 2005" »

December 27, 2005

holiday oddems: mike webb's coming back! casualties of the war on xmas, fill-in duds, dried mucus from rev. moon

~~According to the Seattle Times, Mike Webb will be back on the air tonight after his hiatus following his being charged for felony insurance fraud last week. He's vehemently denying the charges and claims- in fact he claims that it is he who is the victim. He's all lawyered up, so don't expect him to say much about it on-air, and he'd be a fool to talk it up any more than he has already.

~~Having said that (and having said 'having said that') join us in calling in to Mike tonight to show our solidarity or ask him for his side of the story. It should be a fun holiday night!

~~Despite all the incoming, the casualty count on the 'War' on Christmas stands at zero. The remarkably resilient holiday saluting Jesus Christ's birthday and exercising our sacred right to go shopping, went off without a hitch- even with the Fox News campaign and the dire predictions made by the America moral leadership like Bill O'Reilly, Jerry Falwell and Sean Hannity. Media Matters counted 58 segments in just 5 days on Fox News  devoted to a secular conspiracy against the holiday. Our favorite quote is by the Washington Post's Ruth Marcus who said "If the anti-Christmas forces are winning, then the war in Iraq is nothing short of total victory."

~~ BLOW-OUT SALE! 1 slightly-used right-wing blog. Brian Couch the Bothel Bleeding Heart Conservative, contributor to (un)Sound Politics, and infrequent commenter on BlatherWatch is selling (!) his Michael Medved Fan blog. It's been on the market since earlier this month, so maybe you could get it cheap. He says it tops out at over 1800 hits a day sometimes, so it definitely needs some marketing...maybe changing it to the Ed Shultz Fan blog would help...

~~Things are tough over at KIRO with all the vacations and Mike Webb missing. It makes for some pretty lame radio. Dave Ross is in Africa checking his Hoodia plantation, and his 3-6p fill-in was some guy named Ron who got up an endless yet numbing conversation with Carl "Words" Jeffers about pumpkin bread then switched to pure Seahawkian jargon that needed a translator. (which prompted many of us to dawdle over to KUOW where Ken Vincent was playing delightfully, absurd holiday music). Lou Pate is out, so the insufferable Frank Shiers spewed his pablum all over the highchair on the 9 ta noon. Erin Hart, who has clearly been working too much, is filling in again for Webb tonight, Bryan, "rhymes with horrible" Styble fills-in for Pate on the overnight; and the rest of the world is doing best-of shows (Sean Hannity's best, it turns out, is no different than his worst).

~~Are you on the inside of radio and wanna get it out?  Bet you know something the world should know about management, the talent, or what your fellow workers are whispering. Let's talk. Discretion assured. Send us an email at [email protected]

~~We've been trying to work in these totally off-topic quotes by the Rev. Sun Young Moon for a long time. Since it blows on talk radio this week, here are our favorite quotes by the owner of our favorite conservative newspaper, The Washington Times.

This is a Moonie gift from our house to your house- Happy Holidays!

You may think it rude if I share this with you, but I would like to give you an example. You use the bathroom each morning. When you defecate, do you wear a gas mask? This is not a laughing matter but a serious one. If you are near someone else defecating, you will quickly move a good distance away. But when you smell your own feces, you do not even notice it. This is because that fecal matter is one with your body. Therefore, you do not feel that it is dirty.

When you were young, did you ever taste the dried mucus from your nose? Does it taste sweet or salty? It's salty, right? Since you can answer, you must have tasted it! Why did you not feel that it was dirty? It is because it was part of your body. Reverend Moon has figured out something that no one in the world knew.

December 17, 2005

Holiday oddems: critches, defects, o'reilly, olberman, mike webb, john dingell, susan paynter, knute berger, steve scher, allan prell, erin hart, your mother

~~please forgive our recent tardier-than-usualness and that some of our recent posts are unclickable. Typepad (the low-rent blog provider we depend upon to save America) has been suffering crashes on its Roy Rogers model servers and rodent-run hardware. They owe us.

~~The "war" on Xmas wages on. The cynical exploitation of Christian "victimhood" continues to put gas in the Lexi for right wing talkers. O'Reilly's December 2 promise to "bring horror into the world of" those he claims are waging a "war" on Christmas earned him the "Worst Person in the World" title on MSNBC's 's December 8 Countdown with Keith Olbermann. The prestigious award was based on false O'Reilly claims, noted by Media Matters, that a Texas school district and the township of Saginaw, Michigan, enforced bans against red and green clothing during the holiday season. Olberman told Rep. John Dingell: Would it surprise you, sir, that as they have warned us about this rush to change "Merry Christmas" into "Happy Holidays," that the biggest transgressor in the area might be Fox News itself?...they sold O'Reilly "Christmas decorations" and called them "Holiday" ornaments for your "Holiday tree." And instead of a Christmas party this year, their parent company has just held a Holiday party?"

~~The best news and political discussion on Seattle radio happens not on KIRO or KTTH, but at 10a each Friday on KUOW's Weekday, the wildly popular public radio news talk show hosted by the evervescent plodder, Steve Scher. Unfortunately only an hour long, the debate's always wide-ranging with a regular clutch of liberal print media graybeards: PI columnist Susan Paynter, Seattle Weekly editor and columnist, Knute Berger and Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat. They have the benefit of age, and long experience reporting in Seattle- virtues not often celebrated in local radio these days. Paynter isn't the cute little trick she once was scandalizing the newsroom in a micro miniskirt; and Berger still looks like the hippy who sneaked past the security guard. We love this weekly discussion, though there's a little too much about Seattle city politics, an exasperating topic we'd rather know less about. We think that coots rock and we're all for fogey power; what's more, we're crazed liberals. But we'd like this weekly dust-up even more if there were a conservative among these pundits. Of course, most radio conservatives we know live in the suburbs or are too heavy-breathing for NPR- but stick in someone like Carlson or Medved who could hold up their end of an argument with minimal demagoguery and we might have some real radio.

~~Cliches we feel confident will be gone by the end of this month: "Monday morning quarterback;" "deja vue all over again;" "the People's Republic of Seattle."

~~A reader who must be inside at KIRO writes: "Mike Webb has a guy who calls himself Dr. Mortimer S. Weems D.D.S. who is always instant messaging him a written butt-kicking. He shows up on Erin Hart's show also. Since I can't stand the uber-arrogant Herr Webb, or the annoying Hart, I get a real charge out of this Weems."  We don't know how the reader could know about this unless he is Dr. Weems or a KIRO board op or producer. Dr. Weems: could you please drop us a line at [email protected]? We probably have lots to talk about.

~~Fans of Allan Prell, late of KIRO 9 to noon will be happy to hear he's reached some kind of agreement with some moneybags interested in syndicating the Allan Prell Show. According to Prell, all they need is a Director of Affiliates, whatever the hell that is...if you are one and need some work, write him at [email protected]

November 16, 2005

liberals make talkers magazine list, slinky's suck, sleek geeks are peaking, dr. laura perky after all these years, michael savage kicked to death by donkeys

It's the talk radio doldrums again...Blathereaders will remember July, August and September when hosts were all stretching and tap-dancing and changing topics every hour and talking about sitcoms and movie stars.

It's after the elections, and the good guys won one--so conservatives have little to say. The Bush administration is struggling and paying the piper for their years of incompetence, guile and dissembling--so most right wing talkers are changing the subject, if not spinning the debacle as a birthday party with a new pony for everyone.

Dori Monson talks about the his troubles with Slinky's and even liberal Erin Hart recently led a thrilling conversation about geeks being the new hotties.

Yes, we're all bored...readers are bitching that BlatherWatch is dropping the ball. We wish something would happen at KIRO (we're hearing it will). We wish something would happen at KTTH (we're hearing it might).

The latest (yawn) Talkers Magazine semiannual "Top Talk Radio Audiences" list of the top 15 spots in national talk radio came out and it was more interesting than usual--the liberals finally broke onto the list!

Last spring's list made right wing blogs such as our friend Brian Maloney over at RadioEqualizer scream that Air America (which had only celebrated a year in business) had not made a showing.

This year, we're happy to say, four new liberal talkers made it to the list. Ed Schultz, (sharing 11th place with Bob Brinker) Al Franken (shared 13th place with Jim Cramer and Tony Snow) Stephanie Miller and Allen Colmes (shared 14th place with liberal Dr. Dean Edell, Phil Hendrie and Rusty "Pants" Humphries).

The Radio Equalizer failed to mention any of this in a recent post, instead he criticized the list and its methodology.

(It's the shooting the messenger for how we say it: one of the few tactics conservatives have left. Instead of addressing criticisms, they scold us for being "shrill," or "hateful" or "hysterical" or "inappropriate)."

Besides being in deep partisan denial that liberal radio is growing, Maloney has a point--it's not scientific. Most in the industry don't trust the Talker's Mag survey-  especially if they lose their place on it.

But it's influential because it's the only attempt at making a public national talk radio ratings list and media always refers to it.

The survey is conducted through a suspect and dubious process of listener interviews, chats with radio professionals and advertisers; a Ouija board is involved, also tea leaves, nepotism, (or incest) and intrigue.

In the '90's there was a great kerfuffle when Big Pants, the king of talk radio ratings, was displaced by Dr. Laura or Howard Stern or somebody and he made such a stink, he was re-installed after some "new calculations" by Michael Harrison, the dapper, high toned publisher who's ubiquitous on talking head TV whenever a talk show host gets his butt in a sling and makes some headlines.   

This time, the top five were essentially the same as last time and as we said then--it's a discouraging commentary on the taste and entertainment threshold of the consumers of talk, not to speak of any assumptions you might make about their politics.

Designated GOP Liar Sean Hannity at #2 (an appropriate number) again is within shooting distance of #1, Rush Limbaugh. Many speculate Hannity has passed Big Pants in reality, but Harrison is too timid to publish the powerful Big Pants in 2nd place. Many think the big guy's peccadilloes (drug addiction, trading his 3rd wife in on a CNN anchor, on-air blow-job talk, the celebrity farting) might very well be catching up with him and losing the values crowd who make up so much of his audience.

The well-scrubbed Hannity, whose on-air persona is that of sexy het altar boy is, so far, squeaky clean in the morés dep’t. (Oh, how we'd love to see him caught with his penis in a strange location. Some say Hannity's penis is in a safe deposit box in a New Jersey bank, and is taken out only on Holy Days in the presence of his wife or a priest). 

Hannity got a tremendous knee-up back when he was first syndicated. ABC Radio actually bought his show into major markets all over the country. Here in Seattle, Michael Medved was literally shoved out the back door at KVI when Fisher got the big offer from ABC to install Hannity in the noon-to-3 spot. (In retrospect, considering today's ratings, it wasn't a bad business decision).

Hannity and Bill O'Reilly have perfected (or have had perfected for them) the cross-marketing of cable TV shows, and radio syndication, which have boosted book sales which have boosted audiences. It's brilliant, and depressing.

Michael Savage is at #3, by himself this time--Howard Stern has dropped down to #4 with evil nag, Dr. Laura, (we can't help it--see her perky naked self here) who jumped up from #5, proving that the S&M crowd really is a viable market.

BlatherWatch sincerely believes the most potent sign that American culture is declining is not "freaky dancing," or bellybuttoned fashions on 5th grade girls--it's the popularity of Michael Savage, the snarly homophobic nutbuster whose schtick it is to pounce on pathos and gut out empathy and compassion wherever he sees them skulking.

Stern won’t be a contender after January when he goes to satellite radio.

We were happy to see Big Eddie Schultz (KTTH m-f, 12-3) make it up onto the list. He's the midwestern talker who can speak to red staters like nobody else on our side of the political fence. He's smart, well-prepared, and if his good ol' boy manner grates on urban ears, just be happy to know that his politics are right in there, he's doing the Lord's work and taking it to the outlanders. Ed recently got re-accepted recently by Armed Forces Radio after the powers that be reneged on their offer to make him available to the troops who'd otherwise had little in the way of talk radio other than Limbaugh.

Michael Medved has come back up to 9th place from 11th last time. He's sharing it with liberal newcomer Jerry Doyle, and our favorite KTTH talker, Digital Goddess® Kim Kommando, the sexy, technobabe. (Maybe geeks are the new sex symbols, except our darling Kim doesn't talk geek or blonde, even though she is and she is.

The bombastic coot Bill O'Reilly, who ties Sean Hannity for highest talk radio ratings for lying and lying about lying went from #9 to a shared # 7. A relative newcomer to radio, he reaps the benefits of cross-marketing and can be counted upon to make it into the MSM with his impolitic remarks.

Bill Bennett, the disheveled, disgraced former "virtues" czar, went from 14th up to #10; probably the fruits of the publicity stirred up around his racist misspeaks a few months ago. He's such a blow hard, you can hear the cigar smoke in the back ground. He should be giving advice to poker and horse race fans, an audience that's growing and a subject he's well familiar with.

Still well below the tropic of cancer in ratings is Michael Reagan, the half-witted adopted son of Ronald Reagan pere and Jane Wyman. He was at the level of his incompetence as a playboy racer of motor boats, but just had to demonstrate the Peter Principle to became one of the most ungrammatical, ill-spoken, slow-studies on talk radio. He has a reading disorder and no cliché filter.

Also missing is misinformation guru Matt Drudge (KVI Sun. 7-10p) whose talk show show reaches hundreds across the nation each Sunday night with such revolting regular guests as Luciane Goldberg, the Republican pit viper who helped set up Monica Lewinsky. (The post-menopausal Goldberg shamelessly flirts with the peculiar 40-something Matt, which can bring up some very disturbing images for some of us more imaginative listeners).

November 14, 2005

beware the evil crèche-crushers,the menorah mongers and the weak of heart

Now that the election is over, conservative talk show hosts will be grasping for subject matter that's  within the narrow confines of what they have left to talk about now that the Bush is running, creeping and hiding-- that takes so much off the table!

(Most defenses of the indefensibles of the sad but deadly administration fall on the deaf ears of a public fed up with the crappy little war based on lies and carried out with ineptitude, while shedding lives, human rights, and the Geneva Conventions; they're tired of the chronic blameblitzes on the Democrats who are not in power and haven't been in 7 years; they're disgusted by the broadening stain of the pernicious scandals reaching  daily into the highest levels  of government; they finally question the drunken sailor budgeting, and the senseless if not neverexistent foreign policy; they've heard all they want about the domestic programs which were DOA; and above all: they no longer believe the stumble-bumbling of a president who cannot or will not defend himself and his policies in a way that's articulate, passionate, or meaningful.)

All the explanations are so well worn we won't be hearing them much defense except from the most craven spinning monkeys in right-wing media like Sean Hannity, Michael Medved and Rush Limbaugh.

The right needs a distraction. And you can make book on that they'll fall back on a well-worn one--  'tis the season.

Brace yourself for a month and half of the annual Yuletide bemoaning of the evil crèche-crushers who insist on honoring our sacred separation of church and state. Right-wing cultural cluckers like Sean Hannity, John Carlson, Michael Medved, Dori Monson or Bill O'Reilly will be filling their "churns," (opening monologues which are supposed to prime the pump for the ensuing debate) with horror stories of ACLU lawyers having jack-booted thugs ripping mangers off courthouse lawns; Satanists demanding for equal time with the Baby Jesus in elementary school Xmas Christmas pageants.

We hear sad tales of little Christian kids with tender faith shattered by a crossing guard forced to say, "Happy Holidays," instead of "Merry Christmas." Humorless atheists will taunt the faithful listening over the air-waves insisting that god be stripped out of Christmas carols and Christmas trees be called "gifting bushes."

Oh, the horror of pagans forcing public servants to include their cannibalistic Kwanzaan rituals in the holiday parade, and pushing the Christ out of Christmas while worshipping Rudolph the otherly nosed raindeer or other false idols. Church/State separation is not in the Constitution, they love to say.

There will be shocking stories of vandalized menorahs and crushed crèches. Everyone knows what a persecuted minority Christians are in this country-- but for a few conservatives and evangelical preachers who do what they can do, poor believers would be drowned in a tsunami of secularism, paganism, humanism, false gods, hedonism, New Age-ism, free love and all those Moslems coming over the Mexican Border to cut off your heads.

It's laughable seeing these holiday displays in malls and town squares with their menorahs, their Christmas trees, their Channukah Bushes, their Kwanzaa kinara and muhindis, their Buddhas. If you try to make everybody happy-- as Lisa Simpson can tell you-- you make nobody happy.

Those Hare Krishnas start whining, and the Zens come running; the Zoroasterians want a piece of the action; and the Scientologists and the Klan and the Oddfellows and the Campfire Girls...

(Remember last year when Carlson and Medved got the goods on County Executive Ron Sims for suggesting that County employees not use the C-word in their holiday greetings? The Irons campaign tried to pin the same secular humanist label on Sims for that act during the election, but it didn't stick since Sims is Washed In The Blood, an ordained Christian minister and knows how to talk Jesus better than Irons ever did, that creepy little apostate.)

Born-again Christians always say they're persecuted, and just want a fair shake and don't really want church and state joined, but if you as a non-Christian have ever been around them someplace where they've reached critical mass, they turn into little theocrats and you can't shut them up and they will trample you to death.

First blood in the annual Xmas teapot typhoon was drawn last week when a Wal-Mart temp lost her job after she responded to a woman complaining that the company was replacing "Merry Christmas" with "Happy Holidays." The customer service worker, identified only as Kirby's fatal heresy was describing Christmas as a "combination of world traditions."

"The colors associated with Christmas red and white are actually a representation of the aminita mascera (sic) mushroom. Santa is also borrowed from the Caucuses, mistletoe from the Celts, yule log from the Goths, the time from the Visigoth and the tree from the worship of Baal. It is a wide wide world," said her e-mail.

Poor ecumenical Kirby was sacked, but that wasn't good enough for apoplectic Catholic League pecksniff, Bill Donohue, who demanded WalMart (those godless secular liberals of note) make a) an apology for insulting Christians by effectively banning Christmas and b) a withdrawal of its insane statement regarding the origins of Christmas and c) a revision on its website."

Knowing talk radio, another reason this topic comes up like a greasy buñuelo every year is because it churns up callers-- so we're probably stuck with it ad nauseum again this year.

While a few of these outrages may be caused by pissed off atheists or ruffled agnostics playing out their anti-religious resentments, many of these incidences of watering down or removing secular displays are caused by trembling bureaucrats or timid businessmen or tremulous school administrators who just want to take the issue off the table.

That's because people who feel strongly enough (and a lot of atheists care about this shit way too much, too) to send faxes or call or write letters or shriek in some public way about such trivialities can be really, really nutty and the shrieking wheel, as the saying goes, gets the worm.

Then they get trouble from people like Donohue or Michael Medved or Jerry Falwell-- they just can't win. They don't usually know what the law is, so they over or under react. Here's some rules published by the Christian Rutherford insitute that spells out what you can and cannot legally do in this great land with our blessed  separation of church and state.

The Twelve Rules of Christmas (Compiled by attorneys for The Rutherford Institute)

    1. Public school students’ written or spoken personal expressions concerning the religious significance of Christmas (e.g., T-shirts with the slogan, “Jesus Is the Reason for the Season”) may not be censored by school officials absent evidence that the speech would cause a substantial disruption.
    2. So long as teachers are generally permitted to wear clothing or jewelry or have personal items expressing their views about the holidays, Christian teachers may not be prohibited from similarly expressing their views by wearing Christmas-related clothing or jewelry or carrying Christmas-related personal items.
    3. Public schools may teach students about the Christmas holiday, including its religious significance, so long as it is taught objectively for secular purposes such as its historical or cultural importance, and not for the purpose of promoting Christianity.
    4. Public school teachers may send Christmas cards to the families of their students so long as they do so on their own time, outside of school hours.
    5. Public schools may include Christmas music, including those with religious themes, in their choral programs if the songs are included for a secular purpose such as their musical quality or cultural value or if the songs are part of an overall performance including other holiday songs relating to Chanukah, Kwanzaa, or other similar holidays.
    6. Public schools may not require students to sing Christmas songs whose messages conflict with the students’ own religious or nonreligious beliefs.
    7. Public school students may not be prohibited from distributing literature to fellow students concerning the Christmas holiday or invitations to church Christmas events on the same terms that they would be allowed to distribute other literature that is not related to schoolwork.
    8. Private citizens or groups may display crèches or other Christmas symbols in public parks subject to the same reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions that would apply to other similar displays.
    9. Government entities may erect and maintain celebrations of the Christmas holiday, such as Christmas trees and Christmas light displays, and may include crèches in their displays at least so long as the purpose for including the crèche is not to promote its religious content and it is placed in context with other symbols of the Holiday season as part of an effort to celebrate the public Christmas holiday through its traditional symbols.
    10. Neither public nor private employers may prevent employees from decorating their offices for Christmas, playing Christmas music, or wearing clothing related to Christmas merely because of their religious content so long as these activities are not used to harass or intimidate others.
    11. Public or private employees whose sincerely held religious beliefs require that they not work on Christmas must be reasonably accommodated by their employers unless granting the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the employer.
    12. Government recognition of Christmas as a public holiday and granting government employees a paid holiday for Christmas does not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

November 02, 2005

bill o'reilly, rand’s glans, tony snow, ex-gays, scooter libby, naked republicans, arragghrrorwr!

~~Whyinell would the fill-in/auditioning John Procaccino (KIRO 9-noon m-f) who seems otherwise like a level-headed liberal, ask syndicated neocon talker Michael Medved (KTTH m-f, 12-3p) to act as an "expert" guest on the subject of the indictments and the burgeoning White House scandal around the hyping of the Iraqi War? Medved has been a staunch Bush supporter since at least 1999, and has rarely broken with the party line--even in the Republican insurrections of late. Procaccino's earnest interview was reminiscent of Fox News, like when Bill O'Reilly  recently "interviewed" Tony Snow, "political analyst" who spoke "in depth" about the scandals. A lot of that famous Republican poo-pooing was heard --maybe because Snow is no analyst at all but a partisan right-wing talk host and Republican political operative. Who knew? Well, just about everybody...We hope Procaccino, who's not doing a bad job, (he's not Frank Shiers!) can get some objective observers on the subject like say, James Carville?

~~Jeez, we're really getting bored with Seattle talk radio. Conventional wisdom is that Dave Ross is coming back to the 9-noon; Dori Monson (KIRO m-f, 12-3p) seems to stay put no matter what he says or does; it'll take 'em 2 yrs to get rid of NY Vinnie now that he's stuck in there. Mike Webb seems to have something on somebody upstairs--he's still spinning the same platters, and ranting the same rants. Is KIRO trying to duplicate itself from 3 years ago? (Sorry, boyz, the Mariners won't come back, and neither will your listeners if you won't come up with something new--beware the next Book--it's gonna be a lulu...) Meanwhile, Carlson (KVI m-f, 3-6p) bores us with the political rah-rah so hot when he was trying to unseat Governor Gregoire, but now that I-912 has lost its speed, it's just tedious, and the ratings show it. Bryan Suits' show (KVI m-f, 6-9p) has come down to just letters and numbers: acronyms, calibers, and distances in klicks. If you know what he means, you know what he means, the rest of us try in vain to listen to Vinnie or just go off somewhere and shoot ourselves. Mike Siegel rails away every morning to himself with his peculiar, angry litanies, Rush Limbaugh blarts his way through the mornings and no one in listens. (You can now buy a minute of Big Pants' ad time, they say with frequent flyer miles). Nothing seems to change around here on the radie-yo, except the ratings--they get worse. Satellite radio is starting to look good...

A new "ex-gay" radio network which hopes to start broadcasting in eight states, has given the movement a real boost. It started with Straight Talk Radio, a half hour program launched by Stephen Bennett and his wife Irene. Bennett, who describes himself as "a former homosexual," and has a long history in the 'ex-gay' movement--he's the Stephen of the famous "Adam & Steve" that were not, as many of us had hoped, Adam & Eve. Bennett's ministry firmly believes no one is born gay and that homosexual attractions are tragically unnatural. He claims that by dealing "Biblically" with same-sex attractions, homosexuality can be completely cured "just as drug addiction, alcoholism or any other sinful behavior." Bennett says although he abandoned his 11-year promiscuous homosexual lifestyle after becoming a Christian in 1992, he still has over 70 pairs of shoes.

Interesting to hear all the talk hosts talking about Bush SCOTUS nominee, Sam Alito's marvelous legal accomplishments and scholarly ways. He was picked for one reason and one reason only: he's against abortion and his nomination can be sold to evangelical Christians because he will rule against Roe vs. Wade if given the chance.

~~We watched the Republicans with their 2% approval rating among African Americans with all their cynical solemnity and crocodile tears as they got photo ops at the bier upon which civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks lay. Conservatives (not necessarily Republicans) were against the integration she so firmly and bravely stood up for. They called those acts in the South at that time, "an insurrection."

It seems the indicted Scooter Libby's 1996 bestselling novel The Apprentice, has gotten a revival, what with his career's latest movement. As you can read in this delightful New Yorker piece, it's just one in the long and distinguished annals of the right-wing dirty novel.
"Libby has a lot to live up to as a conservative author of erotic fiction. As an article in SPY magazine pointed out in 1988, from [William] Safire (“[She] finally came to him in the bed and shouted ‘Arragghrrorwr!’ in his ear, bit his neck, plunged her head between his legs and devoured him”) to [William F.] Buckley (“I’d rather do this with you than play cards”) to [G.Gordon] Liddy (“T’sa Li froze, her lips still enclosing Rand’s glans . . .”) to [John] Ehrlichman (“ ‘It felt like a little tongue’ ”) to [Bill] O’Reilly (“Okay, Shannon Michaels, off with those pants”), extracurricular creative writing has long been an outlet for ideas that might not fly at, say, the National Prayer Breakfast. In one of Lynne Cheney’s books, a Republican vice-president dies of a heart attack while having sex with his mistress." Libby has a feel for the scatological: "The narrative makes generous mention of lice, snot, drunkenness, bad breath, torture, urine, “turds,” armpits, arm hair, neck hair, pubic hair, pus, boils, and blood (regular and menstrual)." 

   

October 21, 2005

Friday autumn oddems: irons in the fire, john procaccino, tom skerrit, bill o'reilly, kirby wilbur, john carlson, and not much about kiro for once!

~~Don't miss our David Goldstein on the Kirby Wilbur show (KVI m-f,5-9a) Friday at 7a. He'll be talking about his scoop on County Executive candidate Dave Irons' mother's allegations that he struck her to the floor and ripped the phone off the wall so she couldn't call 911. Read Goldy's story here, and The PI's report here. This shabby tale, with all its internecine hatred and familial he-said, she-said, calls into question Dave Irons' executive skillset and general balance. Even without the violence, if he can't negotiate successfully within the circle of his own family and keep the brushfires from breaking out into the public--why would you think he could handle the big arbitrations with the big players in this big county's business?

~~Republicans have been afraid this incident might come out in this election; this, according to a reader, a self-described Republican. Irons' mother, Janet C. Irons made the same allegations a few years ago on the John Carlson show. "She was believable as hell," says our guy, "I never could support him after that."

~~So who's this John Procaccino trying out in the 9-noon Ross/Prell Chair on KIRO? First we'll tell you who he ain't: he's not John Procaccino, MD, the legendary scourge of colorectal diseases on Long Island and Queens. Our John is well-known around town as an actor and for doing the movie news and reviews on Saturday mornings on KIRO 7 Eyewitness News. Here's his filmography and notable TV appearances. He does plays, C and B grade movies and some guest-ons on some big name TV shows like Lawn Order. After a few more B movies, he could give localite Tom Skerrit a run for his money. We liked what we heard from Procaccino on the radie-yo and our picky, picky readers have been complimentary if not downright indifferent. Indifference is a good thing, John--Frank Shiers goes to bed every night praying for indifference. 

~~Outrageous! is what John Carlson (KVI m-f,3-6p) said Thursday on his show, after the Public Disclosure Commission, who enforces state campaign laws, phoned KVI Honcho Rob Dunlop to tell him the I-912 campaign is near the limit of allowable contributions for the last weeks of the campaign. That would have meant Kirby Wilbur and Carlson would have had to shut up and stop their on-air campaigning for the irresponsible veto of the road repairs bill. In July, Judge Chris Wickham ordered nonew gastax.com to report the on-air campaign exhortations by the talkers as in-kind contributions. This means the No’s, long the underdog in this fight, would have the media arena almost to themselves for the last two crucial weeks. Carlson and Wilbur are undecided whether they'll continue to campaign on-air despite the . We'd love to see some Republican white collar civil disobedience--the two scrubbed radicals chained to a cart rack talking on and on as the fascist pigs in SWAT gear beat the doors down to stifle their free speech.

~~The job of a talk host is to get you riled up and establish absolutes, because only an absolute point of view produces phone calls, which are really hard to generate. ~~radio consultant Walt Sabo

~~Can it be true? Be still my fribulating heart! Bill O'Reilly, in a rare interview by Verne Gay in Newsday, said he may be retiring! "Now it's so bad that I spend an enormous amount of money protecting myself against evil," he said. His enemies have become so vicious he says he's considering walking away from it all. Once considered (by himself) for a senatorial bid or a 3rd party presidential run, he now "rules out a future in politics." The gigantic tub of scum fails to say, he was ruled out of politics, after he was caught in the delicious (not vicious) sex scandal after creepily hitting on a Fox producer who taped a phone conversation. After paying her millions, he was the butt of jokes across the country, disinvited to the Bush Inauguration and is a pariah in the very Values Community he so blusteringly defends. Part of the sexual harassment settlement, is that O'Reilly must have a third party present whenever he talks to a female or even talks on the phone. (!) It's all the press's fault, of course. Do we think he'll really quit? Hell no. They'll have to pry that loofah out of his cold, dead fingers...

~~Sunday, we'll wrap up our totally worthless poll on who should be taking over the 9 to noon slot on KIRO. We should post the results on Monday. It's really been a bust, as we'd planned--what a transparent "strategy" to get clicks! It's blogwhoring at its worst! We're not surprised at who got the most numbers, but we're delighted at quality of the remarks by our literate and funny readers.

August 14, 2005

the lives of the talk hosts no.66: stayin' alive, stayin' alive with bill o'reilly...

My thing was the music: I was a dancing machine. Sock it to me, Donna Summer! Let’s shake this place, Gloria Gaynor! Get down!
Now, this was the lad of a quarter century ago, okay? But I make no apologies. I loved the all-out dancing, and quite a few girls loved to dance with me. The dancing got me dates. The dancing said (since you couldn’t hear any words in those places under the rotating mirror balls), 'Hey, let’s have some fun and see what happens next.' 
Even Catholic girls had their inhibitions lowered by the howls of the Bee Gees or Sylvester. A few hours at clubs like Septembers or Shenanigans and most of my dates wanted to extend the evening at their place or mine. 

         - From "The O’Reilly Factor: The Good, the Bad and the Completely Ridiculous in American Life"  by Bill O’Reilly. 2000. Broadway Books. New York.

Thanks to Sweet Jesus I hate Bill O'Reilly.com for reading this book so we didn't have to.

July 08, 2005

friday oddems: i-912: wrap that rascal! limbaugh blows and blows hard as do sean hannity, mike siegel

Rush Limbaugh was in the news this week:

~~His medical records were finally turned over to prosecutors in his attempt to evade legal acountability for his drug abuse and alleged" doctor shopping." Big Pants' celebrity lawyer Roy Black is the guy who got William Kennedy Smith off on a rape charge, and helped sportscaster Marv "Jaws" Albert, cop a plea after admitting he sank his teeth into a woman during "lovemaking." The Lovable Blowhard, who has admitted he sank his teeth into a few thousand OxyContins, is defended by his supporters as having a "medical problem." 
"He's no different than any other junkie," said drug recovery specialist Rollup Gridd, Phd. "he just likes getting baked." 

~~In another incident involving public flatus, Limbaugh reportedly passed gas in a limo he shared with four interns from the Heritage Foundation, causing one of them to resign rather than ride back to the office with Limbaugh.
"EEEEUUUW," said Brittany Sparks, a Patrick Henry litany major, "Now I know why he's called the farter of AM talk radio." Limbaugh raised eyebrows (and some windows) in May with gaseous indiscretions in the close quarters of the EIB studio with Lynn Cheney. These incidents have reportedly landed Limbaugh on the White House social C list with the likes of silly little man, Bill O'Reilly whose attempts at phone sex with his Fox News producer last year embarrassed even us.

~~Defying President Bush's call to "tone down the heated rhetoric," Limbaugh blarted, "I'm tired of these Democrats acting like they won the election. Somebody needs to stand up and say, "When you win the election, you pick the nominees. Until then, SHUT UP. JUST SHUT UP! Just go away! Bury yourselves in your rat holes and don't come out until you win an election. When you win an election, you can put all these socialist wackos, like Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, all over the court, but until then, SHUT UP! You are really irritating me."
A dittohead told blatherWatch: "You won't hear this type of information in the mainstream media---that's why I listen to Rush instead of reading the papers."

~~Be listening to the John Carlson Show today on KVI at 3:05p, for the very first release of the numbers of signatures the anti-roads repair initiative effort collected. They need somewhere around 275-280k to make it on the ballot, and they've already delivered 232K. It's going to be to be a close call, here. But win or lose, expect Carlson and Kirby Wilbur to claim an historic victory. Meanwhile, if you get a chance to sign that historic petition, don't.

~~GOP Designated Liar Sean Hannity, went on the radio Weds to paint Carlson and Wilbur as First Amendment martyrs not unlike NY Times' reporter Judith Miller who went to jail the same day. It's really not the same issue at all, a judge said Carlson and Wilbur's direct campaigning on the public air waves required reporting the airtime as an in-kind contribution by the radio station. No free speech stifled, just good campaign law. The comparison was a rhetorical contortion even for agile dissembler Hannity, since he neither believes Miller is a martyr, nor can he see "what the big deal's about" in the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame. He thinks the real martyr is Robert Novak despite that he's faced no consequences whatsoever for actually publishing her name.

~Morning guy Mike Siegel (KTTH m-f 6-9a) turned down Kirby Wilbur's personal plea in May to help the 1-912 campaign on his competing radio show. After all, Siegel has nearly 30 listeners and every signature counts. He refused. Last week, in case 912 might make it on the ballot, (besides it was too late to do anything) Siegel climbed aboard...telling 912 consultant Darth Bader he's started a "defense fund" for the appeal of last week's court decision that the KVI talkers' direct on-air campaigning needs reporting as an in-kind contribution. Don't hold your breath waiting for that appeal...Meanwhile the former public school teacher Siegel writes stirringly on his website about free speech rights: Our First Ammendment (sic) gives every citizen the right to express his opinions about government, culture, or society, and we will allow you every opportunity to do so. But once you are done complaining, whining, and griping about our flag, our pledge, our nation (sic) motto, or our way of life, I highly encourage you to take advantage of one other great American freedom: THE RIGHT TO LEAVE.

May 24, 2005

air america wins talkers magazine poll, dr.laura naked, sean hannity threatens rush, mike reagan falls on his tongue, michael savage hunted down & killed

It’s not scientific and it’s always controversial. No, we’re not talking about Intelligent Design, we speak of the 2005 Talkers Magazine Talk Host Survey.

It’s from the ubiquitous Michael Harrison’s trade journal that every year, through a mysterious and sometimes dubious process of interviews with listeners and radio professionals; tea leaves, nepotism, (or incest) and intrigue comes up with a top 15 spots in talk radio in the country ranked by audience size.

The spots this year are taken by 26 talkers and there are a few minor, though depressing, surprises.

The headline across the right-wing blogosphere is that no Air America talkers are on the list. Radio Equalizer Brian Maloney waxes adamant that this, of course, means the failure of Air America which only recently celebrated its first anniversary.

It took a over a year for Bill O’Reilly, Michael Medved and others to show up on this list and we think it’s premature to chalk Air America’s absence as failure.

The top 5 make for a very discouraging commentary on the taste and entertainment threshold of the consumers of talk, not to speak of any assumptions you might make about their politics.

Designated GOP Liar Sean Hannity is within shooting distance of Rush Limbaugh. Not too surprising, Big Pants’ peccadilloes (drug addiction, trading his 3rd wife in on a CNN anchor, talking about blowjobs on-air, farting while talking to Lynn Cheney) might very well finally had some effect on the values crowd who make up so much of his audience.

The well-scrubbed Hannity, whose on-air personna is that of sexy het altar boy is, so far, squeaky clean in the morés dep’t. (Oh, how good it would do us to see him caught with his penis in a somehow compromised location).

Michael Savage has zoomed there up to #3, catching up with Howard Stern who won’t be, he says, a contender next year when he goes to satellite radio. If nothing else signals the decline of our American culture, it’s the rise of Michael Savage.

The evil scold Dr. Laura Schlessinger, (See her perky self naked as Sean Hannity’s ambition,) has hung in there at 5th place, proving that sado-masochists really are a viable market.

Michael Medved has dropped down to 11th place (from 9th last year). This is unfortunate, as the neoconservative Medved is at least literate. It might be because he doesn't to this day support the 1964 Civil Rights Act. He must be hanging his head in shame that talkers like Bill O’Reilly, Laura Ingraham and Michael Savage kick his ass.

Dropped below the tropic of cancer is Michael Reagan, the half-witted adopted son of Ronald Reagan pere and Jane Wyman. He was at the level of his incompetence as a playboy racer of motor boats, but just had to demonstrate the Peter Principle to became one of the most ungrammatical, ill-spoken, slow-studies on talk radio. He has a reading disorder and no cliché filter. 

Also missing is misinformation guru Matt Drudge (KVI Sun. 7-10p) whose talk show show reaches hundreds each Sunday night with such revolting regular guests as Luciane Goldberg, the Republican pit viper who helped set up Monica Lewinsky. (The post-menopausal Goldberg shamelessly flirts with the peculiar 40-something Matt, which can bring up some very disturbing images for some of us more imaginative listeners).

Here’s some official blatherWatch spin to justify the salacious, misleading headline: Air America wins by not being on this list with all these pathetic, reactionary losers.

Here’s the whole list:

The 2005 Talkers Magazine Talk Host Survey*
1. Rush Limbaugh 14.75+
2. Sean Hannity 13+
3. Michael Savage  8.75+
3. Howard Stern 8.75+
4. Dr. Laura Schlessinger 7.50+
5. Laura Ingraham 5+
6. Jim Bohannon 3.75+
7. Neal Boortz  3.5+
7. Mike Gallagher 3.5+
8. Clark Howard 3.25+
9. Glen Beck 3+
9. Don Imus  3+
9. Bill O'Reilly 3+
9. Doug Stephan 3+
10. Dr. Joy Browne 2.75+
10. George Noory 2.75+
11. Kim Kommando 2+
11. Michael Medved  2+
11. Dave Ramsey 2+
11. Jim Rome 2+
12. Bob Brinker 1.75+
12. G. Gordon Liddy 1.75+
13. Jerry Doyle 1.5+
13. Tom Leykis 1.5+
14. Bill Bennett 1.25+
15. Jim Cramer 1+
15. Dr. Dean Edell 1+
15. Phil Hendrie 1+
15. Rusty Humphries 1+
15. Tony Snow 1+
                                 *in millions

April 10, 2005

kvi radio: an irreverent histoire

Conservative talk, the rattlesnake in the baba ganouche of Seattle nice wriggled in quietly one day in 1992, nearly unnoticed.

Station manager Shannon Sweatte was willing to try anything. In a desperate move to save the failing oldies station, KVI, (then owned by Gene Autry, “the singing cowboy”) Sweatte brought in newly-syndicated Rush Limbaugh and bare-knuckle talk jock, Mike Siegel, a liberal New Yorker freshly fired from the now defunct, KING AM.

Grokking the possibilities, Siegel became a born-again conservative, liberal hosts were offed, and Seattle “hot talk,” was born.

Michael Harrison, publisher of the trade, Talkers Magazine says,“Conservative talk radio appealed to the anger and independent-mindedness of people in the early ‘90’s."

Spurred by hatred for the Clinton presidency, there was a geometric national expansion of conservative talk stations like the pioneering KVI. They became distributors of Republican talking points, sources of presumptive gossip, gleeful scorn and heavy breathing by Clinton enemies.

In Seattle, short time listeners became first time callers by the thousands. Suddenly, the right had a voice. Anti-abortionists, states' righters, anti-tax grouches and the prayerful in schools took to the airwaves like rats to cheese.

They came preaching the gospels of family values, free markets, sexual abstinence, and Official English. They railed against the evils of the welfare state, gay rights, flag burning, the Post Office, condoms, the UN, political correctness, fluoridation and the mainstream media elite.

Inheritance taxes became “death taxes;” public schools became “government schools.” Diversity replaced the demon Communism. Big government's “jack-booted thugs,” be they agents of HUD, PUD, IRS, DSHS, or the County Extension Service were trashed as overpaid, lazy, incompetent, and/or down-right evil.

Political homeboys with no radio experience were hired and became trusted and beloved. Affable conservative KIRO TV commentator, John Carlson; Republican activist Wilbur; and Tacoman Floyd Brown, notorious for the 1988 anti-Dukakis Willie Horton ads, all got their own shows.

Programming flowered with all stripes from the right: a perky suburban home-schooled 17-year old cheerleader whose main conservative credential was her allegedly intact virginity had a weekly show as did libertarians, Perotistas, gun-dementalists, and a bad stand-up comic whose schtick was jokes substituting “liberals” for “Polacks.”

The Saturday morning car guys bemoaned the big government injustice of smog devices; the weekend real estate host held forth on the Growth Management Act. Even poor old Ed Hume, the mild-mannered Northwest gardening icon, found himself fielding irate calls about the government regulation of garden chemicals.

There was an energetic politicization. Folks who’d previously done nothing more political than eating Ben & Jerry's, now started jamming legislators' fax machines,  canceling their daily papers and replacing them with the truth according to KVI blabber-jockeys.

There was plenty of smoke, but Seattle media and Democratic politicians dismissed it as an amusing anomaly until the fire broke out in the 1994 Republican landslide.

Talk radio is still stunningly under-reported in Seattle MSM. It’s the elephant in the living room, covered only when its excesses blast their way into the comfortable local sensibilities buttressing pre-conceived notions of its inherent "hatefulness."

And the excesses have, over the years, been high-profile.

Siegel had success confronting Seattle establishment politicians and officials over a wide range of issues. He shed real light on the weird Wenatchee sex/civil rights abuse case and Olympia's OK Boy’s Ranch scandal and made national news by exposing Frugal Gourmet Jeff Smith’s juvenile sexual dandling abruptly ending the food celebrity's TV and publishing careers.

  But his investigations didn't involve the shoe leather and sourcing that constitutes responsible journalism. Callers, many with personal agenda unrelated to the public good, would phone on-air tips to be followed up by Siegel. This led to raw rumors flying around and someone was bound to get hurt. Ultimately it was Siegel and KVI radio.

In 1996, Siegel encouraged (or at least didn't discourage) on-air discussion about an apocryphal sexual incident involving Mayor Norm Rice who was running for governor. Rice held an emotional press conference denouncing the rumors as "hate talk." Siegel was fired.

  A year and half later, John Carlson was hired to take the reins (from Tim Eyman) of the failing anti-affirmative action initiative, I-200. Signature gathering perked right up--and no wonder, given the hours of free on-air daily spin by Carlson. When 2,500 mostly black high schoolers marched around the station with signs reading "KKK: KVI, Karlson, KOMO," Fisher Broadcasting, faced with a broadside of blistering editorials and retreating advertisers, fired him.

After the stunning success of I-200, Carlson triumphantly returned to his drive time slot where he remains today (the only hiatus being his intensely futile campaign for governor in 2000).

Talk falls below the ratings of music programming--country music KMPS FM has been number one in Seattle for years. Tom Leykis, testosteronic syndicated shock-talker on KQBZ FM, says, “When conservatives say talk radio speaks for any kind of political majority, it’s just bullshit when you know that talk listeners comprise only 15% of the total radio audience--and only 1% of them actually call in.”

But in these days of tight elections and slim majorities, those numbers represent a lot of voters and the Republicans have played that well.

Talk radio hasn't elected any Republicans to statewide offices, but it has certainly driven the debate and loomed large in the state.

  • "Talk radio--particularly KVI--was really helpful getting out the word for I-695," says anti-tax activist Tim Eyman about his first successful initiative campaign. Indeed--and it didn't cost him a dime. Talk hosts statewide aired campaign logistics and activated citizens who'd never before voted to make the grassroots tax revolt an historic success. 
  • "We made a real impact defeating R-51," says Kirby Wilbur of the 2002 transportation package that infuriated the talk radio demographic with a 9 cent gas tax increase.
  • Ward Connerly, the black University of California regent and businessman who spearheads anti-affirmative action movements all over the country said said, "KVI radio was absolutely crucial in passing I-200 in Washington."
  • In just two drive times in April 2003, Wilbur and Carlson raised $70,000 in small donations for a national pro-war TV spot. "We even put it on 'The West Wing.'" Wilbur laughs because the national show is often excoriated on talk radio as leftist propaganda. A drive for a similar anti-war ad never got off the ground.

    parts of this are from The Jocks of Talk, by Michael Hood, Seattle Magazine, Nov. 2003

March 13, 2005

talkritique: talk radio's Top 5 most narcissistic talk-jocks/national edition

“Egotism is the anesthetic that dulls the pain of stupidity.” -Frank William Leahy

I judge talk-radio talent by how much they talk about themselves. The more of my precious time that's taken up by a host's self-analysis, self-quotation, self-promotion, self-abuse or just plain old bragging; the more likely my Subconscious Censorial Finger will do the walking around the am dial punching buttons until it lands someplace where first person pronouns are scarcer.

(If you asked: if your time is so precious, why do you listen to talk radio? I'd say...touche.)

Vanity, obviously, is not death in the Wally World of talk-talk. My critieria is not shared by audiences--otherwise Limbaugh, Hannity, and Savage would be at the bottom of The Book instead of the top. O' Reilly is relatively new to radio but has made a steady climb and rules the few 100,000 or so who watch cable news at any one time.

It's dreary, but it seems the talk-consuming public adores braggarts and self-aggrandizing bloviators.

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1. BILL O'REILLY "What say me?"

Paranoids are the most self-centered of any neurotic or psychotic persuasion. And O'Reilly is talk radio's most paranoid personality. He spends lots of time blarting about how victimized he is by academia nuts, the pinheads of the radical left; and the swells of the establishment media. They'll stop at nothing, he says, to bring him down--they short-sheet him, give him wedgies, smear him, snub him and never invite him to their fancy parties--all because He Tells the Truth and They Can't Handle the Truth. All right?

He doesn't wanna go to their stupid old parties anyway. Got that?

But even Republicans get out the 10-foot pole if O'Reilly's name comes up when they're tweaking the invites to their fancy soirees. He wasn't invited to the Inauguration, not because the White House can't handle his "truth." Not because he's blue collar and they're a bunch of fancy-pants elites. Not because he didn't do everything he could to re-elect the President.

No.

It's because of last Fall's revelations that the moral crusader's No-Spin Zone is not necessarily a No-Sin Zone. His creepy hypocritical harassment of a subordinate cost him millions to make go away. It was most certainly about his hilarious attempt at phone sex, the script of which still lives at Smoking Gun.com. Even Republicans give better phone sex, and few of them would confuse a loofah with falafel.

He recently threatened Canada with the Terrible Swift Sword of another of his embargoes that he claims has singlehandedly devastated the French economy. It wasn't an embargo at all but rather, a boycott of French imports by folks who never bought them in the first place and wouldn't know a chateauneuf du pape from la plume de ma tante.

That is spin.  S-P-I-N.  Everybody got it?"
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2. MICHAEL SAVAGE "Enough about you, awready."

You'd think the suns of Titan circle around Savage's shock-valued tirades on everything from illegal aliens, arcane philosophers, lawyers, perverts, herbal remedies, traitors, and Chinese food. The finer points of the consequences of his gustatory peccadilloes are vividly described as they slide along his alimentary canal, and are up, disturbingly, for fair comment on his syndicated weekdaily kulturkampf.

Savage opines angrily and ceaselessly, but even more, he analyzes his own motives, uniqueness, his unplumbable intellectual depths and the devastation his views wreak upon academia, government and American pop culture, and the internationalist New World Order. The lumpen listening audience will never, unfortunately, be able to totally grasp what he says, but they (even the scum and the rats and the worms) are drawn to him and his superior intellect. He's right about that, his bomb-throwing afternoon drive out of San Francisco is rated in the nation's top 5.
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3. RUSH LIMBAUGH "With half of my sincerity tied behind my back..."

Big Pants' schtick is his own self. It's worked well--he invented the modern am talk genre and has been number one almost since he started. Widely imitated, he speaks with shameless braggadocio, haughty tones, big words, small-town smarm and none of the inconvenience of having to check his facts. Program directors have only recently begun to shake off the notion that only conservatives Who Talk Like He Talks can survive.

Limbaugh's loyal see-no-evil listenership forgives his moral lapses (drug addiction, 3 divorces) and lets him pontificate hypocritically about decency and values and brag about his personal power. He takes only callers who gush flatteringly or who are so obviously lame or wacked-out that he and his conservative views seem mainstream.
 
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4. SEAN HANNITY  "I gotta be honest."

We all suffer because on TV, Hannity looks like a choir boy. His freckled cheeks and tiny Irish lips send certain women into the paroxysms of fuck-him/nurture him fugues. One key to his great radio ratings (#2 after Rush and gaining fast) is that he's busted women into the historically male audience. The latest unscientific Talker's Magazine poll puts male listeners at 54% to women's 46%--up 10 points since 2000 and Hannity has had a lot to do with it. Carefully chosen by Fox News to sit aside Hannity is Alan Colmes, who looks reptilian while Hannity's blow-dried demeanor exudes clean, guilt-free Catholic safe sex.   

With this very much in mind, he subjects us--males and all--to his preening, self-serving sincerity, repetitious self-quotations, and his self-righteous moralistic kanoodling over kinder, kitsch and kuchen--not to mention that maddening but carefully programmed curl that falls down the middle of his forehead.

Hannity, like Limbaugh, and O'Reilly has ridden to victory that three-legged horse of media marketing--cable TV show, a book, and a talk radio show producing a perfect storm of incestuous cross-marketing.
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5. AL FRANKEN "It's the Al Franken Decade."

They'll say it's my liberal double standard, but I love Al Franken. He's making good radio despite that he talks a good deal about himself. The difference between him and Hannity, O'Reilly, et al, is: he's funny, he has talent, as he often reminds listeners. He's made his living as a generation's comedy writer and comedian.
Because I usually agree with him, his lack of humility may be easier forgive--it's like forgiving Mohammad Ali who once said, "If I say a cow can lay an egg, don't argue with me. Get the skillet."

February 22, 2005

mike siegel and the dark art of target democracy

They're tap-dancing, these Republican surrogates on local talk radio. So what else is new, you say?

Mike Siegel, KTTH early morning (6-9a) talk jock would never cop to being a Republican or, for that matter, anybody's surrogate. He's a hard-edged, humorless bulldog, an attorney who (like Bill O'Reilly) claims he's a pragmatic, non-partisan truth seeker.

Siegel's ties with Bill O'Reilly goes back to the '90's when the Grand Bloviator was still anchoring the trashy syndicated TV tabloid, Inside Edition. He convinced O'Reilly there was a conspiracy of high-profile pedophiles whose tentacles (testicles?) extended from Seattle to Olympia. It was supposedly headed up by a high-ranking Seattle Police official and covered up by Mayor Norm Rice (who Siegel always passionately hated). O'Reilly came to town and tried to confront Hizzoner with a camera crew, but Rice ducked him, and the story went away. O'Reilly went home to NY presumably to pick on cripples, little old ladies and get active in the loofah culture.

Despite his non-partisan protestations, there's rarely an issue or a candidate Mike Siegel goes to bat for that's not conservative and/or Republican.

And going to bat is what the scrappy Siegel is all about.   

Word on the street is that his sad dayshare is a weak spot in the ratings dominance of new right-wing talk station, KTTH over arch rival KVI. Granted, he has a tough row to hoe against his former KVI colleague, the popular morning smarm-meister Kirby 'Curvy' Wilbur.

This morning, Siegel argued as he regularly (to his credit) does, with State Democratic Chair Paul Berendt--about voting 'reforms.' He's against (as Republicans traditionally are) Motor-Voter (the successful automatic voter registration of driver's licensees) voting by mail, and anything else that makes voting easier for the hoi polloi.

He preaches the hard-ass GOP line: show your ID to prove you're a human being, a non-felon, and a citizen. (Maybe in the shining futureworld of the Republutopian 'ownership society', we'll add Christian, heterosexual and credit cardholder to the list.) 

It's conventional wisdom that Democrats win in large voter turn-outs. In our state, the Democrats' get-out-the-vote efforts for Kerry helped win majorities in both houses of the Legislature for the first time in years.

It's been stunning since the election to hear Republican Guber-Unvote demonstrators whipped up by KVI and KTTH, chanting the small 'd' democratic mantra, "Count every vote!" They're recent converts--having become born-again populists after their losing candidate Dino Rossi could be spun as the victim of voting irregularities.

But here's the bind that ties for the R's :

Bush won because, in very targeted areas, (Ohio, Florida) he beat the D's in getting out the vote even in an election in which they surpassed themselves turning out their base. Karl Rove's strategy, as well we all know, called for ransacking the cow pastures for every stray evangelical that had ever bent a knee (and maybe a few more). For other reasons, irrelevant here, R's made inroads with Hispanics, blacks, and women--groups whose votes they've traditionally tried to suppress.

Getting out the vote, then--even for the GOP--is key. Do R's still want to hold down these minority voters now that they seem to have a chance winning them over? Are they so sure felons are really all Democrats? Is it possible that dead people might tend to vote Republican? These questions need to be carefully considered if R's are to be the organic majority they brag about becoming.

The Rovian art of target democracy must be learned by local GOP activists and ably practiced by GOP mouthpieces such as Siegel, Carlson, Wilbur, et al.

Watch Republicans strive to invoke fear and loathing against Latinos among white suburbanites, exurbians and ruralites while appealing at the same time to the conservative Catholicism of those same Latinos. They'll try to instill or buttress white middle-class fears of black people, their criminality and decadent hip-hop culture while simultaneously appealing to African-American Christian conservatism and cultural homophobia. They've got a job-o-work to do, but they've proven time and time again--they're up to it.

It's target democracy in action.

It's about get-out-the-vote. Stay tuned for morality, morality, morality; an up-tempo drumbeat of anti-immigration; more gratuitous framing of liberals as hippies, defrauders, criminals and traitors; and a ramping up of hard-line 'rules are rules' rhetoric from ruling class wannabes in a broadening political movement.