July 22, 2006

Seattle Babble-on: bitchy, bitchy parentheticals about Republican "celebrities"

We really tried to wake up and listen to Sytman & Boze's (KTTH m-f, 5-9a) Big Week. Dave Boze has been off getting married or divorced or liposuctioned or bearing his love child or something equally sneaky and repressed.

The show, on the nearly moribund KTTH, had a well-publicized (well, BlatherWatch covered it) 2 weeks of "celebrity" co-hosts with Dan Sytman, the oldest Young Republican since Ralph Munro. (We kid Dan Sytman).

Truth is, BlatherWatch burns the midnight oil pretty much every night, and could (would) only wake sort-of-up to listen at the desperately early hour this show comes on. We haven't been up that early since we milked cows in the Nooksack Valley back in the day or greeted grubby college dawns bright-eyed, and bushy tailed with a hot steaming cuppa crack.

In otherwords, we missed most of the good stuff, so you wouldn't have to.

The first week's co-host was political entrepreneur and renowned horse's ass, Tim Eyman. Despite some good laughs we've had over his latest bout of colorful woppers and assorted recent embarrassments, we have to admit, he proved the best talk host with his steady flow of bullshit. The essentially caller-free KTTH morning show really needs that steady verbal effluence; and Eyman, inspired by the very idea of himself, lept into the breech. That, we guess, is no surprise; and that he never succeeded in failing to not guide the conversation back to his own self, fulfilled another of our insightful predictions. (The preceding sentence is an example of why we blog- no editor with a watt in her pretty little head woulda let that one go by; but we found it a pristine yet obliquely brilliant communication- the kind of pretentious clarity only a triple negative can bring to the page).

The second week, which we dubbed The Wing Nut Bowl, was a slumgullion of local Republican "celebrities," who broke through our defensive quilting of slumber only fitfully.

("Local Republican celebrity" is a meaningless phrase and we use it ironically. The title of The Washington State Republican Who's Who was changed a few years ago simply to Who?)

Monday's appetizer was "Stefan Sharkansky," the pseudonym of Sound Politics' Eric Earling, who self-describes as an "outside-the-box conservative" (which simply means he's another right-winger who's not getting laid). We were roused up into REM layers only once during Earling/Sharkansky's endless time on the Snide Hour. It was when he admitted that after 3 (three!) years living in Seattle- HE'S NEVER BEEN TO THE PIKE PLACE MARKET! Which leads us to conclude that, not only is Earling not getting laid, he's not getting any decent cheese, either.

Continue reading "Seattle Babble-on: bitchy, bitchy parentheticals about Republican "celebrities" " »

July 14, 2006

Friday oddems: Geov parrish eats the airwaves; dori' sells his values; mongo jerry gets tubular; gutter helmets rule, crackers with no cheese; medved repeals the banana

~~ Geov Parrish, lefty Seattle Weekly columnist, Eat the State founder/editor and blogger will fill-in today for vacationing Ken Schram on "The Commentators," (KOMO, m-f, 10a-12p) debating John Carlson on, he says, "just about everything." Parrish has long done the conversational commentary, “Eat the Airwaves” segment of Mind Over Matters, at 8:30-9a Saturday morning' on KEXP, with MOM producer, Mike McCormick. Parrish has been in both commercial and non-commercial radio in Chicago, Houston, and Tillamook, Ore. before coming to Seattle in 1990.

~~ Dori Monson (KIRO m-f, 4-7p) never acknowledged his  ethical slip with his daughter we and his listeners have been yelling about. A couple of days ago, he reamed the ethically-impaired Sealth High School girls basketball coaches who lost their jobs in the recent recruiting scandal; exclaiming with shirt stuffed to the brim, "What kind of message do they think they're sending to kids?" The unapologetic hypocrisy of that reminded us how shallow the depth of conviction is with most talk broadcasters. What's deep and true is their need to provoke listeners and sell Gutter Helmets and Select Comfort beds. No matter what Dori passionately expounds on the radio, chances are- any "values" expressed are purely situational. It's such an intimate medium, it's easy to think that talk radio is real sometimes.

~~ Sweet Jesus, we were informed this afternoon that if you google "tubular duck blinds," you'll get to BlatherWatch. This does not bode well for tubular ducks or cubicle geese or pheasant uprisings. It brings up the specter that the camping furniture lobby might be meddling in the new media. There will be an inquiry.

Continue reading "Friday oddems: Geov parrish eats the airwaves; dori' sells his values; mongo jerry gets tubular; gutter helmets rule, crackers with no cheese; medved repeals the banana" »

July 13, 2006

Boze gone missing, week II: wing nut bowl

Tim Eyman isn't working out so well replacing the vacationing Dave Boze on the morning drive, Sytman & Boze (KTTH m-f, 5-9a). It was a little embarrassing, maybe, for such a starchy conservative as Dan Sytman when Eyman said Wed., he wished the City of Seattle would just leave the poor strippers- and the men who love them- alone.

We're not used to hearing that kind of licentiousness, or defense of the sporting life on KTTH, and neither is Sytman. For us, it was welcome yet off-putting. We were reminded that despite Eyman's recent opportunistic forays onto the stark landscape of the Christian right (as in the anti-gay rights referendum he recently blew up), at heart, he's really a fraternity brother whose development was arrested somewhere between here and WASU, 1985 and he still hasn't made bail.

Another time he opined that "The sad reality is that most people are fat and ugly." That, we're sure, endeared him to many, but he went on that he just wished those people could all be more like Christie Brinkley.

He also made Dan nervous running in and out of the studio during the show like Mike Webb in a Twinky fugue.

So KTTH Programming Director Tom Clendening decided on a "mixed nuts" approach for next week's fill-ins.

Here's the skedge as announced by Entercom Wednesday:

Monday: Stefan "The Shark" Sharkansky of SoundPolitics.com is a GOP activist and rumored to be on the party payroll. We kid Stefan, but his on-air countenance crackles with a vibrant energy that's conducted obviously from his day job in finance- it has the sizzle of fresh office supplies. His humor-free cooperative site is the state GOP's only real stake in the blogosphere (OK Jim, OrbusMax is important, but it isn't a blog). Stefan got tons of media attention and Party accolades after he tried to obstruct the victory of Governor Gregoire. Stefan is a moderate urban Republican, whose nastiness counters delightfully his alleged moderation. Remember the shark Gilligan had to jump to save the plot? For the R's, Stefan is that shark. He does a admirable job of acting as if everything he says is true.

Tuesday: Rabbi Daniel Lapin is by far the most famous on the list. He's gotten national renown with his impressive Rolodex which has been made very public of late by such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Seattle Weekly, the San Francisco Bay Guardian, the Senate Indian Affairs Committee and the Justice Dep't. We're hoping Dan and the listening audience will get rebbe to share the rich and famous experiences he's had with his rich and famous friends. What's it really like plotting with Jack Abramoff? What does Tom Delay take in his coffee? When you hang with Ralph Reed, Grover Norquist, Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, do you ever just talk about chicks? How does it make you feel being questioned by Federal investigators?

Wednesday: Rev. Ken Hutcherson, we hope, can be stopped from talking about Jesus- a topic well-known in talk radio as a real cume killer. Better to get the anti-gay, anti-sex, mega-churched, mega-mouthed evangelical to talk about the things he knows about- like raising Rottweilers, breeding thoroughbred quarter horses; or pushing fags out the door of the Kingdom of Heaven. Or national issues like 'Who would Jesus torture?' Or 'During The Rapture, will Dick Cheney be ready to take the wheel, or will he need to?' or 'Can Rush Limbaugh win redemption?' or 'Have you ever killed anybody?'

Thursday: Republican Party Chair Diane Tebelius, known on the blogs as "Diane Tubeless," is as stiff as concrete meringue, and in way over her head. She has deep roots and some support from the theocratic wing of the Party (she worked for born-again loser and failed Senate candidate, Linda Smith) but they don't trust her much since she became Chairman and had to attempt some consensus building. She can be mean and relentless, a side she's shown only in her various unsuccessful runs at office, but unfortunately for KIRO, you won't hear it on the radio. You will hear platitudes; lip service paid to compassion; but not much about George Bush and few of what the rest of us would call jokes.
She did not, by the way, need a sex change to become Chairman.

Friday: Attorney General Rob McKenna is a wonk, a lawyer and a technocrat, dry as dust on the radio, but he's one of the very few Republican statewide officeholders which makes him a member of a tiny, elite corps. Mainstreamers and moderates such as Sec. of State Sam Reed, Lands Commish Doug Sutherlund, and McKenna, are pretty drab; but they're the only Republicans that can get elected state wide because the short hairs are still held by rural social conservatives and evangelicals who can't come up with candidates who don't scare the horses. No coincidence, Sam Reed won't be on the show- he's still on the shit-list of many party hardies who haven't forgiven him for bravely doing his legal job counting the legal votes during the frivolous Republican 2004 post-election.

Frankly, this line-up won't start any fires, nor scare-up any more callers of listeners than Boze or Eyman usually do.   

July 12, 2006

Rabbi daniel lapin in the san francisco bay guardian

Fundamentalist Mercer Island talk host, Rabbi Daniel Lapin, our proud Seattle connection to the Abramoff/Delay lobbying scandal is highlighted in the new issue of San Francisco's venerable Bay Guardian ("Rabid Rabbi") in a brilliant, yet dreary piece by BlatherWatch's Michael Hood.

(It's brilliant because we wrote it; dreary because the hard right is such a soul-sucking topic.)

It's introducing home-boy and "show rabbi of the Christian right" to the Bay Area, where he recently moved his talk franchise to San Francisco's mighty conservative talker, KSFO, on Sundays 1-4p. (

We thought they should know him as we all do.

Lapin folded up his Sunday talk show in Seattle in February. He'd been filling in for KSFO hosts and began broadcasting his own Bay Area show in April from a Seattle studio.

Our Lapin files:
Daniel Lapin: The Right's favorite Rabbi by Bill Berkowitz, Media Transparency
Meet the Lapin Brothers  by Rick Anderson, The Seattle Weekly

BlatherWatch posts
More embarrassment for rabbi daniel lapin
Seattle times: rabbi daniel lapin abramoff connections
Rabbi Daniel Lapin: show rabbi of the racists
Rabbi Daniel Lapin: "The Man Who Stands By His Scandal-Ridden Friends"
Rabbi Daniel Lapin: More National Embarrassment
Rabbi daniel lapin, a long look backward

July 10, 2006

BREAKING: TIM EYMAN SPEAKS OUT ON... TIM EYMAN!

Filling in for The Boze, on Sytman & Boze (KTTH m-f, 5-9a) political entrepreneur Tim Eyman, pretty  in a French whore's costume, extended his customary  right-wing talk radio interview form into a full-blown 4-hour infomercial about... himself.

With all the Blatherwatch-stoked media attention, Friday, it was KTTH's largest audience since Rush Limbaugh got out of rehab. As we predicted, there were no disparaging calls to speak of- as always, there weren't many calls.

Co-host Dan Sytman played the obsequious sidekick, occasionally attempting to change the subject by injecting his own walls of impenetrable verbiage. But Dan has only so much breath, and Eyman was able to grab the mike back practically at will.

Mostly, Sytman dutifully fed straight man cues and broad segues to Eyman to launch himself into the various initiatives he's peddling.

(Liberals don't get up in the morning, according to Sytman. Eyman agreed, noting that liberals are too busy laying on the couch eating potato chips. For all his faux small 'd' democratic bloviation, Eyman, like a true Republican, really despises the electorate he depends on. He says he needs liberals to pass his initiatives, despite that they're lazy, stupid, misguided, greedy scum-suckers no better than the politicians they elect. We feel used, Tim).

Even though he complained today about the paltry dough he's getting from Entercom for this gig, Eyman will be in all week. Having today covered the subjects of Tim Eyman, initiatives, the filthy press, unfair taxation, the son of a bitch Ron Sims, and Tim Eyman, we're sure he'll tackle some larger issues tomorrow such as First Amendment rights, homeland security, the Iraq war, U.S. policies in the Middle East, immigration, and the morning-after pill.

We can't wait.

New information: Eyman wears Birkenstocks for the high arch support, though he does not, therefore, eat range-fed chickens.

July 06, 2006

BREAKING: Tim Eyman to KTTH mornings

Costumed anti-hero, noted horse's ass, and craven blabbermouth Tim Eyman will fill-in next week starting Monday for the vacationing Dave Boze on KTTH morning show, Sytman & Boze (m-f, 5-9a).

According to Program Director Tom Clendening (he's returning our calls!), the initiative-whoring opportunist Eyman will co-host the first week with Dan Sytman; the second week, he says will be probably an assortment of co-hosts, as yet to be announced.

Tim Eyman? robust exchange of ideas? a conversation? asking questions and listening to the answers? Shutting up when told? Whoa! Conceptualizing these in terms of the Mukilteo demagogue are beyond our meager powers of  imagination. 

What do you think? We think Mr. Clendening has been smoking Dutch cleanser.

Talking, you'd think, would be something Eyman would do well; after all, he never stops. As for radio, where the mission is to sell something for somebody else? We're skeptical.

Expect Eyman to stay on his talking points and use the show to pimp his regressive yet profitable initiatives. It'll be fun to hear if Sytman can rein him in and make the 3 hours about something other than Tim Eyman.

Will he be Tim Eyman the guest? Or Tim Eyman the host. Will anyone call in and challenge him? We hope so. It could be great radio, though our doubts are grave. 

We, for one, will be listening.

July 05, 2006

Limbaugh cleared of drug charges: still can't get it up

CNN and everybody has Rush Limbaugh (KTTH m-f, 9a-12p) back in the news. Prosecutors said Wednesday, he will not face charges in Palm Beach County for the bottle of Viagra found in his luggage that was prescribed in his doctor's name.

We never really thought the big fat idiot had done much wrong, we just thought it was extremely hilarious how his sexuality or lack thereof was so widely publicized.

He's not married, he went to a Third World country known for sex tourism; he was caught with a prescription for a drug that helps erectile dysfunction. He used one of them.

This flies in the face of fundamentalist biblical morality that defines any sex a sin if it's not in the marital bed.

Evangelical Christians have long been Rush's listeners and defenders. What's so much fun for us is the hypocrisy of the stridently conservative moralist he plays on the radio. This adds to the list of his excesses which includes drug abuse, serial marriages, using bad words on the air and inappropriate celebrity farting.

All we gotta says is: Mega-neeners, Rush!

June 30, 2006

KOMO kicks KIRO ass in new arbitron ratings

The Snapple corks must be popping over at Fisher Plaza. In the 12+ ratings trends just released, KOMO beat KIRO for the first time in memory.

During March, April and May, the news talker and home of the Mariners, came up to 4th in the Market from 6th. KIRO went from 4th to 5th place.

In other surprises, Entercom's robot station KTTH jumped ahead of mighty Fisher talker KVI. The mighty no.1 forever, country music KMPS fell to number 3 behind R& B station KUBE and soft rocker KRWM-FM.

These ratings aren't of the 25-54 money demo, which is all important to advertisers, but it's remarkable for KOMO after all these years of KIRO market dominance.

KIRO has been shown signs of pulling itself out of its death spiral, since finally putting Dave Ross back into the 9 ta noon; hiring Ron Reagan and ostensibly filling the afternoon drive with the Man Show. The true fruits of these changes won't be seen for months, and with the Mariners out of the basement this year, there's not much chance of that for a few books.   

June 27, 2006

Rush Limbaugh detained in viagra bust

Conservative talk host Rush Limpbaugh, 55, was detained at the Palm Beach Airport Monday after authorities said they found a bottle of the prescription drug Viagra in his possession.

(The widely abused drug is for erectile dysfunction, which means that Limpbaugh has to take pills to arouse his diminutive penis enough for normal sexual activity).

Smuggling and snuggling has been ruled out since Big Pants was alone on his private plane when it landed at the airport around 2p from the Dominican Republic.

He reportedly broke up with CNN anchor Daryn Kagan months ago.

Limbaugh's attorney Roy Black said the trip was a much needed vacation, "He just wanted to get a hold of himself."

"You may not want to shake his hand, but a man has the right to relax," said Black.

Erectile dysfunction is not untypical of drug users, the obese, men over the 50, the flatulant, and even the youngest of conservatives, according to Dr. Edgar "Choch" Manaña of Stanford Medical Center.

"Mr. Limpbaugh," he says, "is in all the risk groups. It has to do with repressed desires, tight sphinctering, narrow world views, or the simple curiosity to see an organ not seen in years or sometimes even decades."

Many in the blogosphere are wondering aloud, "Why the Dominican Republic with drugs that enhances sexual performance?" The extremely poor, mostly black Third World country is a popular stop for sex tourists.

But Black tried to quash those suspicions, saying said Limbaugh went to the Caribbean for "prayer, meditation and self-help."

Continue reading "Rush Limbaugh detained in viagra bust" »

June 16, 2006

Caytie, Caytie, Caytie...

We got the following letter in our comment strings today, from Caytie, a loyal Bellingham reader.

Dave Ross and his great reputation are so over-rated. He doesn't have a backbone or a conviction on anything when it counts. While our country is going to hell in a handbasket, and struggling Americans are paying the price (soldiers fighting and dying in Iraq, loss of healthcare, cuts to education programs and college financial aid etc.), Dave chooses to just step back and curiously observe, without one ounce of care, heartbreak or outrage.

He doesn't give a rat's ass what happens to people in this country. With his cushy vacations and $50,000 hybrid car, he's set. What happens to the rest of us, well that's not for him to worry about.

He said it so well last night- "I just sit back and watch." That's Dave's position in a nut shell. But Dave's stance is morally wrong and indefensible. Everyone of us has a moral obligation to care about other people and to work to improve the lives of our fellow man. It's not enough just to sit back and watch this country go down the toilet.

Caytie, Caytie, Caytie...talk hosts? moral obligation? Don't take talk radio so personally- hosts are professional entertainers and broadcasters, not public officials and rarely are they political activists.

But before we get into our boilerplate about this, we must say this: (so we can say, 'having said that.')

Of all the radio talkers, you could have cited as stingy with rats' asses, Dave Ross (KIRO m-f, 9a-12p) is one who's made the uncommon effort (and sacrifice) of actually running for office. By doing so, he made a serious dent in his career (also banged-up: KIRO radio).

He was compelled to declare a party affiliation- as a Democrat- countering years of his carefully-guarded journalistic eschewing of partisan identity.

Running for Congress is the Lord's Work. He ran an articulate, issues-based, and ultimately failing campaign against a well-financed, bland Chauncey Gardiner in a sexed-up hero's uniform in a Republican district.

(John Carlson (KVI m-f, 3- 5p; KOMO m-f, 10a-12p) made a similar put-your-muscle-where-your-mouth-is decision, in a run for governor in 2000, lost, and took the lumps. It was a little different- Carlson was never considered a journalist, was an out Republican, and had run for office previously. Nevertheless it was a self-inflicted ordeal most won't put themselves through just because they give a rat's ass).

Can't think of many other moral outrage professing talkers who've similarly put their large asses on the line.

(It could be argued, of course, the field is not large. But can you picture Mike Webb at his peak doing anything more politically active than prying a lid off off a Ben & Jerry's Chubby Hubby?)

Having said that- it's sad to say, but- "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," legendary radio consultant Walt Sabo has said.

The point of talk radio is the same as that of all media entertainment: get the highest ratings possible, thereby selling more advertising at higher prices. Period.

Not saving the world, getting people elected, helping the disadvantaged, educating anybody or even telling the truth.

Continue reading "Caytie, Caytie, Caytie..." »

June 15, 2006

UPDATED: Mike siegel, the toast of silverdale

Several readers including our Kitsap correspondent, Al Hedstrom has alerted us to the answer to our question, "Where's Mike Siegel?"

Seems Mike, fired in December from conservative KTTH, is doing an hour weekdaily out at KITZ (Megatalk 1400 AM) in Silverdale, The Athens of the Kitsap Peninsula.

The station is one of a bunch owned by  Bellevue's Alan Gottlieb, master fund raiser for national conservative causes and candidates; gun advocate, and direct mail and media mogul. He's also an old friend and supporter of Mike Siegel.

We can't pick up the megatalker from our Seattle command center, but Al writes, "I listened to his self-congratulations and queezy gushing about Kitsap County's Republicans (a sorry lot of whiners, IMHO). Then he started complaining about the court decision that whacked off Timmy's initiative at the knees. So I tuned him out. Same old Seigel."

Mike Siegel was a seminal talk radio voice in Seattle, coming to town as a muckraking liberal in the 1980's on the old KING AM 1090. In the early '90's, he grokked the Rush Limbaugh revolution and flipped politically to conservative, and helped start "hot talk" on KVI, following Rush at noon.

He was at the top of his game, including a syndicated show which no one listened to but after some local excesses (chronicled in our exhaustive, yet tedious  KVI: An Irreverent Histoire) he began a descent that ended his Seattle career in a dreadful early morning screedfest on KTTH that ultimately failed and has now made him the toast of Silverdale, where he shares weekdays with talk losers like G. Gordon Liddy and Michael Reagan.

Continue reading "UPDATED: Mike siegel, the toast of silverdale" »

Jane shannon wins The Battle; dori survives chihuahua attack; blatherwatch kicked to death; no stybleheads allowed; ron & don reconjoined

Zing, what a night! For ace-boom KIRO radio fans such as ourselves, it was a night in Xanadu, a weekend in Las Vegas, and a blow job in the Fun Forest all rolled up in one. 

It was The Battle of the Talk Show Hosts, 2006.

Morning news co-anchor and housemother for the evening, Jane Shannon won The Battle according to the callers' poll, despite she wasn't even competing. Blessed with heightened senses of time and humor, she kept the egos in their corners, and the conversation lined up with the clock. She's quick with the wit and never seemed to break a sweat. 

We gathered Wedsneday night with 198 other loyal KIRO pyros at the Everett Events Center to listen and watch as our blabbedy, but overstuffed heros of the talk waves debated in blabbedy, overstuffed chairs (thank you, Erickson Furniture, it was so comfortable watching these people sitting on your sofas). 

Onstage were Dave Ross, Ron Reagan, Dori Monson, New York Vinnie, Ron Upshaw, Don O'Neill; and  parented by Jane Shannon. They were driven to Everett in a stretch Hummer, (we were hummed on a stretcher, once- not the same thing we hear).

We love the city's motto- "Everett: Gateway to Marysville", which is an improvement over the last one- "Everett: It doesn't stink any more."

We had free tickets for front row seats, provided to us by the generous KIRO management. This wasn't exactly a gift imbued with the milk of human kindness, all tickets were free as it turns out- and the front row is where they seat deaf listeners who kept yelling What??!!! What??!!!

There was the requisite Elvis impersonator, who did a BOTTSH version of "Jail House Rock." He was dressed appropriately. 

Then the boyz staged-up, and there they were; such as they are.

Ron Upshaw in cowboy boots looked like a frat boy who's out-grown his good shirt. Don O'Neill was gratefully sans mullet, and flapping his lats indiscriminately. Dori Monson was dressed in a sports announcer's blazer, and looking a little sallow and distracted- is he staying up late writing his memoirs? Jane Shannon wore basic black and has long straight hair blonde hair and laugh lines behooving her sense of humor and attitudes in general. Dave Ross, calculatedly scruffy, wore a sharkskin suit, blue shirt and yellow tie, professorial socks. Ron Reagan in denims, and boots, in a down-dressed Gap look that's known as "West Wing Presidential." New York Vinnie looked managerial in a nice suit and tie- his socks matched his suit, which is all radio talent needs to be considered "dressed for success."

We're not going to get into the issues discussed tonight. We'll just trash the participants which is the job we've been self-appointed to do. Who was good, tonight? In descending order:

Dave Ross was good, do we need to say it? He's got a progressive mind, which we admire because we agree with him, but it's also creative, and disciplined. In this crowd, he carries the gravitas of God Amighty. No one contradicted, or even argued with him. He makes his lovely, interesting, and perfectly reasoned pronouncements, and nobody engages him. Although he never trashes anyone, you get the feeling that somehow if he actually contradicted you, your career would be ruined, your deodorant would fail, you might fall down and never get up. Nobody messes w/God. We caught him sighing a few times, or staring out over the heads of the crowd looking bored. Sometimes a look would come over his face like there was a turd in his mouth. For all his gravitas, and the obsequiousness patronizing R & D heaped him- we're happy to report, God's sense of humor remained as creative as the rest of his mind.

Ron Reagan is so comfortable in his own skin, we're surprised he didn't just curl up and go to sleep like a cat. He's great debater, who, for all his pleasing ways, is very competitive and goes for the throat. Reagan can speak up on any topic thrown at him, and makes his points without guile or apparent acrimony. His is the ability, not unlike his father's, to cut off your testicles, then hand them back to you in a nosegay of sweet peas. Our all time favorite Reagan quote was when he told Salon.com in 2003: "My father crapped bigger ones than George Bush."

Continue reading "Jane shannon wins The Battle; dori survives chihuahua attack; blatherwatch kicked to death; no stybleheads allowed; ron & don reconjoined " »

June 13, 2006

Tuesday oddems: battle of the cattle, styble wears a bridle, siegel plays the 'burbs, *******sucks your blood, robots eat KTTH, allan prell returns

~~Gotta say it it, KIRO is working hard on the ol' PR. Lots of personality promos, with all the new talent- at least they now have someone to promote after months of uncertainty, fill-ins, and despair. We've never seen such ado about a Battle of the Talk Show Hosts on Wednesday June 14 at the Everett Events Center (doors open at 6p-- the BOTTSH goes on the air at 7p) Producer Phil Vandervort blogs about it on the KIRO site. On stage debating will be Dave Ross, Dori Monson, and also, as Vandervort describes him- "710 KIRO's ubiquitous New York Vinnie." Plus the 3 newcomers: Ron Reagan, Ron Upshaw, Don O'Neill.  We expect Reagan to shine- he has his dad's ability of putting his sharpest barbs into bouquets of humor and affability.

~~Which reminds us: we were visiting KIRO/KTTH the other day and saw the gorgeous LARGE pics of Syman & Boze (KTTH m-f, 5-9a) front and center in the entry. They've not been totally forgotten in the dustbin of history and robot science that is KTTH. Why aren't they going to BOTTSH? It could use some real conservatives.

~~Last BOTTSH had Frank Shiers and Erin Hart holding down the studio and doing color commentary. They were pretty good together, (together they had one brain) but Hart was riffed in January in the KIRO bloodbath. Wonder if they'll let the new guy- David Goldstein (Sundays, 7-10p) help out? Goldstein could get under the thin skin of Smarmy Frank, and that would be fun to listen to... 

~~Speaking of hairy backs, the great white Bryan Styble (the semi-permanent/permanent full-on fill-in on the KIRO overnight) will be ensconced in The Bat Cave biting heads off chihuahuas during the BOTTSH. He's not quite ready for prime time

~~Goldstein's show is kicking major ass in the blogosphere- he's liable to say just about anything; has a great Rolodex, political street cred and an ear for the politics that can bring listeners to the radie-yo. It's fun reading the comment strings on Sound Politics, Horsesass and Blatherwatch, and seeing what the conservative trolls, and the sorely blemished have to say. Besides the anti-semitic remarks, the puerile cracks about Goldy's looks; there's also some pretty insightful (and inciteful) stuff. We like Goldstein' show because it's getting bloggers interested in talk radio and vice versa. They've had a tendency to see the medium as "old technology," which it is, but has been put to incredible use by the right, even in this liberal town. Sure wish these brave trolls- so outspoken on-line- would get on the phone and pitch Goldy some of the shit they're always threatening him with in the comfy confines of their cozy cubicles.

~~Whatever happened to Mike Siegel? First we heard he was doing fill-in on Fargo's WDAY-AM, but that's not happening any more. Then it went around that the former KTTH morning man and veteran broadcaster was selling cars down at Korum's Puyallup Nissan, a company known for hiring washed-up talk hosts, but that proved apocryphal. Now we're reading that he'll be doing The History of Radio at the Kent Senior Center, 6p, June 15, 600 E Smith St, and introducing Karen Steele, Republican candidate for State Senate, 33rd district. Jesus, Siegel used to own talk radio in this town...

Continue reading "Tuesday oddems: battle of the cattle, styble wears a bridle, siegel plays the 'burbs, *******sucks your blood, robots eat KTTH, allan prell returns" »

May 20, 2006

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

The Sphincter Factor meets the No Spin Zone.

May 01, 2006

Limbaugh denies everything- plea agreement energizes urolagniacs and gun-damentalists

Denial is a hallmark of addiction, and Rush is still proclaiming his innocence. "Do you think if there was any real evidence, we would have reached a settlement?" he said Monday on his radio show.

But in the courtroom today, it was a different story.

In a rule 2nd Amendment advocates are calling unconstitutional, Rush's plea agreement prohibits him from owning a gun.

"Drug addicts are people, too," said Alan Gottlieb, of Bellevue's Citizen's Committee For The Right to Bear Arms. "And people need to carry guns." 

It was Limbaugh's "gun" of smaller caliber than his Glock that had right-wing urolagniacs all a-twitter. Limbaugh must also be subject to random drug testing. The fantasy of the big guy peeing in a cup has conservative water sportsmen heading for the privacy of their own bathrooms all over the country.

"There's a market for his urine samples, watch for them on EBay," said National Review's Jonah Goldberg. "Rush Limbaugh is a sexual role model as well as an intellectual one in the conservative community."

Conservative swingers can't decide whether it's Rush's mind or his body that most excites them. Even his flatulance has inspired online fantasies in the erotic chat rooms on the conservative website, Free Republic.

The Large Charge's wastes have always been valuable to conservatives. Seattle talk radio listeners remember when then-KVI talk host, Brian Maloney collected cigar ashes left by the untidy King of Talk Radio at the station in 1996.

(The ashes were auctioned off for "Tanning For the Homeless," a conservative 'bootstrapping' campaign which gave homeless people a knee-up by putting them into tanning beds. President Bush and most Republican leaders are tan year round and know how lookin' good can help. Conservative homeless advocates say when people look like they just got off a tennis court instead of a shelter mat, they look healthier and more employable).

April 29, 2006

Rush Limbaugh: more libertine than libertarian, more washed-up than "washed in the blood."

Yes, Rush Limbaugh was arrested Friday afternoon. Readers are complaining that saying that's inaccurate because the partisan pill-popper turned himself in after his attorney made him the deal of a lifetime.

But there was an arrest warrant issued for the wealthy blabber magnate by the state's attorney. It was served, he was taken into custody, and held while he was booked,which included a happy-face mugshot á la Tom Delay. He was then released after bailing himself out with $3000.

He was allowed to do this at 4p Friday afternoon when the media ebb is at its lowest and least-read- in the Saturday papers.

(In 2000, when KVI talker John Carlson (m-f, 3-5p; KOMO m-f 10a-12p) was running for governor, he brought Limbaugh in to kick off the campaign at a rally. It seemed like a coup to have gotten Limbaugh for this, and the KVI choir was thrilled. It backfired with voters in the most populous counties, after Democrats pointed to this union as proof that Carlson was indeed an extreme right-winger cut from the same bolt as previous GOP candidates Ellen Craswell and Linda Smith. Carlson aides, good and loyal Republican quick studies and Limbaugh fans, told of dealing with an odd and distant Limbaugh and of being sent to his limo to fetch a briefcase. They were astounded find it open in the car with bundles of paper money, 100's and 20's nearly falling out of it).

This case has been stymied very effectively by Limbaugh's Miami celebrity lawyer, Roy Black, the guy who got William Kennedy Smith off on a rape charge in Palm Beach back in the 90's. The time elapsed since the original charges helped the prosecutors to come around to the great deal Black was able to cut.

The Flatulent Fulminator is facing one charge of doctor shopping and has entered a plea of not guilty in court. After the agreement with prosecutors, the charge is being held in abeyance while they work out a formal agreement set to be officially filed Monday.

He will continue going to treatment until he has completed another 18 months of counseling--and if doesn't violate the law during that time--they'll drop the latest charge against him. He'll pay $30 a month for the court's "supervision," and $30,000 to the state to defray the public cost of the investigation.

This is chump change to Big Pants, who lives in a mansion with 15 bathrooms, and reportedly eats 10 dollar bills. The big money was spent on Black, and they were bucks well-spent. The legals were done, apparently, with the finesse you'd expect from an attorney who defends Kennedys.

Roy Black is one of those defense attorneys Rush is always complaining about who collude with Democrats, permissive judges and enable liberal elitists to avoid being held accountable. (And being held accountable is the ham & eggs of the conservative right-to bite crowd).

Of course, we progressives love to see such as Rush Limbaugh mired in these grimy peccadilloes. He, the haughty but harsh family values advocate and alleged Bible-believing Christian has always held himself so high above those of us on the opposite side of the political spectrum.

It's not enough for Lush and his many clones and fans to merely disagree with us- he, they, must scorn us as inherently evil, fatally flawed, felonious, selfish, immoral elitists, spoiled and terminally deluded. Liberals' very souls are corrupt, we're beneath redemption- just because we're at the opposite end of the right-left political spectrum.

He's a crossing attendant in the busy intersection of church and state; a hawk in the war on drugs who screeds interminably against drugs and advocating harsh punishments for drug users as well as dealers.

So why isn't it delicious when this fatuous, scornful harridan- who's made a fortune from popularizing vicious bile against our very beings- reveals such weakness, self-indulgence and fails so publicly?

Continue reading "Rush Limbaugh: more libertine than libertarian, more washed-up than "washed in the blood."" »

April 28, 2006

BREAKING: rush limbaugh arrested on prescription drug charges

After all this time, Big Pants' fancy damage-control lawyer was unable to staunch the bleeding of facts and public evidence in the 2003 prescription drug abuse case and the mighty mouth of talk radio was arrested this afternoon for doctor-shopping in order to score the painkillers he was addicted to.

Roy Black, Limbaugh's attorney, was able to plea down the charges to single doc-shopping count after taking the case to the Florida Supreme court. In a brilliant stroke of irony, the ACLU, for whom Rush' has always been a nemesis, took part in the extraordinary case, defending his privacy rights in issuing subpoenas of medical records.

The intense irony in the case has been overshadowed only by Limbaugh's own hypocrisy, as a drug addict who has publically called for the strictest legal punishment for drug traffickers and users.

 

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 17, 2006

Monday oddems: bitchy, bitchy, bitchy...

~~What's going on at KIRO? Sources say more changes are nigh. (we've sure said that many times before!) Bets are Dave Ross will go back to the ayem; and who knows at night? They say PD Tom Clendening likes the Ron & the Don and would like to put them in Dave's PM drive, but is having a hard time convincing the Entercom puppeteers who intracontinentally jerk the strings at KIRO.

~~Things haven't quite sprung for The Commentators (KOMO, m-f, 10a-12p), the squawk-radio show (affectionately known as "The Taters" by our readers). It has KOMOTV contrarian blabbermouth Ken Schram and Pleistocene Republican talk host John Carlson (KVI m-f, 3-5p) mixing it up weekdaily. The first 3-month ratings trend put KOMO's Middays (10a-3p), at 23rd out of about 24. John-John and Ken-Boy will have to stop making it so collegial and spank each other a little more. They manage to get guests skimmed off the top of local news impressively. But the best guests in our soggy corner of the universe won't help if they continue to pull numbers lower even than the local talk radio toilet-licker, KTTH (remember KTTH?) who, with the help of Rush Limbaugh, the former No. 1 talker in Seattle, managed only to get it up to 15th in the market in that time slot.

~~Is This Thing On? Dep't. KTTH showed 24th in mornings, 15th middays, 23rd afternoon drive, and 23rd evenings.  Our guy says: "I wouldn't read too much into anything. It seemed to be an exceptionally volatile month. We need to see the next trend to see if this is the start of anything, or if it's just a bad sample (which is why hardly anybody cares about these monthly numbers.) That said, here are a few interesting points. KIRO's morning news had a very good month, jumping up to 7th place in the three-month trend (though still a far cry from where it used to be). Middays are also slightly higher. Evenings continue to fall (18th). Ross continues to struggle in afternoon drive. He placed 15th. KOMO's afternoon news was 11th; KPTK (Al Franken) was narrowly behind at 16th."

~~We admire the KIRO news. Maybe it's because we're kind of newsy ourselves, but we appreciate their award-winning, longsuffering efforts despite all they've gone through- the scaled back news blocs and the personnel cut-backs and resignations. Now we hear they're taking crap because we applaud them and are suspected as informers. We tell you, these people are too busy, too loyal and too damned suppressed to even answer our e-mails, much less leak anything to us.

Continue reading "Monday oddems: bitchy, bitchy, bitchy..." »

April 01, 2006

Satiddy oddems: dori gives up the habit, mermaids save KIRO, medved zapped and rezapped, erin hart gives the dog and mike webb the bone

~~Dori Monson quits smoking. We got it from about as close as you can get to Dori without sleeping with him. After realizing that a hit of the middle age mortality sweats he suffered was more than a piss shiver, he purportedly took three last drags and threw his last box of Marlboro Gold Light 100's in the trash can at the Eastlake parking lot. "He was heavy duty," says our source, "and it really weighted him down to be claiming all those years on the air he didn't smoke."

~~Rumors are rife- will KVI be sold to Disney? Some say the papers are ready to be signed. The entertainment giant is buying right wing talk stations all over the country. KTTH may be next, there's supposedly a deal on the table with Entercom, too. Disney Honchos told the Hollywood Reporter, "It's a natural progression- raise kids on Timon, Pumbaa and the Little Mermaid, and they're primed for Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity." It's a sick world.

~~Speaking of mermaids- Dave Ross lead story Thursday about the dead mermaid found washed up on a beach at Chennai, India by the devastating tsunami of December 26, 2004, was the best piece of radio investigative reporting we've seen since Rusty Humpheys exposed Randi Rhodes' tax write-off of her breast augmentation. Seems the faux mermaid corpse was buried in the Mermaid Cemetery in Murmansk without being scientifically ID-ed. After Ross's hard-hitting segment, the body, reportedly stitched together from a monkey's body and a taxidermy-ed tarpon, will be mounted in the KIRO studios.

~~there were globs of butter strewn all the studio floors this week after the 9 ta noon shift at KIRO. They were reportedly spat out by John Procaccino after they allegedly wouldn't melt in his mouth. The janitor ladies were not amused, but say it sure beats having to pick up all the babies scattered around after being thrown out with Frank Shiers' bathwater.   

~~Michael Medved born again? Yes, twice. Fundamentalist Christians have been trying to convert the Cultural Crusader for years. After all, he defends them, votes for them- hell, he's just like one of them- except for one small detail- HE'S GOING TO HELL IF DOESN'T ACCEPT JESUS AS HIS PERSONAL SAVIOR! So when he finally got saved a couple of weeks ago by the crack Mobile Salvation Crew from Overlake Christian Church, the wily old Jewish neocon turned right around and got born all over again, this time as a blonde soprano from Cleveland.

~~Erin Hart, the former KIRO talk host started a doggie daycare center in West Seattle. She specializes in dogs of the rich; her tour de force is home baked treats and a doggie-cam so owners can view their pups from their office desktops. "I'm outa radio, she says, it's too ruff, ruff." She says that rumors that she and Mike Webb take long walks in the rain are apocryphal, but she would like to get to know him a little less. "He really got on my nerves," she says.

March 28, 2006

Who pays off blatherWatch?

We've been told that the conventional wisdom around KIRO is that BlatherWatch is paid for by Fisher Broadcasting (KOMO, KVI).

The myth is that the owner of this blog is related to someone who works for Fisher and that's why we're so nice to KVI, and so mean to KIRO.

While it's true, Blathering Man has a relative at KOMO TV; and we can't deny that KOMO radio execs love every minute of our chronicling of the missteps and peccadilloes of the Entercom stations; we have to sadly say, no one has even offered us a mug or a tote bag, much less a check.

As a matter of fact, KOMO execs have ignored our annoying e-mails like anyone at KIRO.

The truth of the matter is, this blog is news-driven, and no one can deny how much news the former top-dog talker, KIRO and its little sister KTTH has generated in the scant year or so we've been posting- such as:

Continue reading "Who pays off blatherWatch? " »

March 17, 2006

Rabbi daniel lapin falls on hard times...

Fundamentalist Rabbi Daniel Lapin's non-profit Toward Tradition, named as a laundering conduit in the Jack Abramoff influence peddling scandal is having financial difficulties.

The former KTTH talk host's organization has vacated its leased north Mercer Island offices, laid off most of the staff, and is being run- mostly by the good rebbe- and from home.

Don't feel too sorry for him, though, his new work environment isn't exactly Spartan. His manse zestimated at a little over $1 million is in a luxurious neighborhood on the plush south end of the island near Pioneer Park with its old growth, hiking trails and horse paths.

His friend, talk host Michael Medved (KTTH m-f, 12-3p) lives a few blocks away in a comfy cottage valued at some $1.2 million.

Continue reading "Rabbi daniel lapin falls on hard times..." »

March 16, 2006

Thursday oddems: medved cleans up, hannity's penis is still safe, styble digests himself, christine kicks carlson ass, ron reagan eats provolone for lunch

~~It was as good as talk radio gets- Howard Stern Tuesday on the Sean Hannity Show (KVI m-f, 12-3p). Here's the audio. Of course, what we liked and we only heard snatches (you know Howard and snatches) was his trying to get Hannity to talk about sex.(It's well-known that former altar boy Hannity's penis is in a safe deposit box in a New Jersey bank, taken out only in the presence of his wife or a priest and used for procreational purposes only). Stern got Sean to admit he'd had sex before marriage, but Hannity, the smug little prig, said he'd never, ever thought of another woman biblically after his marriage; and what's more, he said it's disloyal- if not cheating your spouse to even think of another woman that way. Stern couldn't get him to admit he'd ever "pleasured himself" nor would he cop to whether his wife was a virgin when they were married. (rumors flew around the blogosphere that Hannity was shopping for a hymenoplasty in 2002, but it's unclear if it was for his wife or an Irish setter he was trying to sell). Stern was funny as hell when he told Hannity: "God forbid you should acknowledge the lower half of your body." Stern continued the conversation later on Fox News' Hannity & Why Bother?"

~~Speaking of good radio, Governor Christine Gregoire was terrific on The Commentators (KOMO m-f, 10a-12p). the vacationing Shram was out, replaced by KOMOTV anchor Dan Lewis, who was at least twice as exciting as TV weather man Steve Poole the day before. Christine (we always call her Christine) is great on her feet and sparred easily with Carlson, who is something of a debater. We got a glimpse of the negotiator who brokered the deal with the tobacco demons and got us all that smoking money. We'd love to see her hit the talk shows more often and take calls from listener/constituents- it'd be a great way to improve those sluggish approval ratings. She's not only as capable as your first wife, but she's a certified human. She needs to get out more.

~~Ron Reagan is such a classy guy; bright; articulate and polished. In case you've missed him, he's been trying out on the 9-ta noon, the front door anchor spot KIRO tries out all the new talent. Talk radio is really different than the scripted TV that Reagan's experienced with, so we're still not sure how he'd do alone with 100,000 listeners and a live microphone- wish they'd let him try it. He makes poor Provolone sound like the rank amateur he is. Wish he'd let Reagan talk a little more...

Continue reading "Thursday oddems: medved cleans up, hannity's penis is still safe, styble digests himself, christine kicks carlson ass, ron reagan eats provolone for lunch " »

March 14, 2006

Rush limbaugh losing stations, ground, weight, girth, his girlfriend, his self-worth, his place in line at krispy kremes

New evidence of the well-concealed overall slide of the biggest mouth in talk radio was announced Monday when Baltimore's WBAL dumped Rush Limbaugh.

(WBAL is a heritage station and one of the very first to pick up Rush's live show in the early '80's. Seattle's KVI, considered a pioneer in all-right/all-the-time programming, didn't get him until 1991).

"He's on the wrong side of the side of the issues," a veteran radio pro told us. "There's no way that Rush's defense of Bush, does not effect his ratings. He's got to distance himself- it's his only salvation."

Limbaugh has been sturdy at Bush's side through all the mishaps, missteps and political embarrassments- even during Katrina and the Harriet Miers nomination.

This has taken its toll with Rush's conservative listeners, but so has his lifestyle. His third divorce, his drug abuse, his on-air use of what they consider naughty language have given pause to many evangelicals who have always considered him in a state of grace.

"He does not want what god says- anyone who doesn't want what god says is going to have values problems." said Rev. Ken Hutcherson, a fishing buddy of Rush's; and fiery homophobe who led the national anti-gay rallies in 2004 and bullied Microsoft into pulling support from a gay rights bill in the 2005 Washington Legislature.

Continue reading "Rush limbaugh losing stations, ground, weight, girth, his girlfriend, his self-worth, his place in line at krispy kremes" »

March 06, 2006

It's the money demo: KIRO, KTTH peeking over the edge...

As we've reported, the midterm ratings known as 'trends' are out and the news ain't rosy for the Seattle Entercom talkers, KIRO, and KTTH. We reported Friday that the ages 12+ numbers were poor, but now we've seen the important-to-advertisers 25-54 surveys and they're devastating.

Overall (6 a.m. to midnight), the station slipped, even with the Seahawks' playoff run. Because of easy possibilities of sampling error, monthly ratings aren't usually that important to advertisers, but KIRO's terrible January is a blow.

That's because, as a source so poetically put it, KIRO was "counting on the Seahawks for a killer January, but instead, they got killed." (Sports talker KJR AM, on the other hand got a nice Seahawks bump).

KIRO ranked 12th; KVI 13th, Air America's KPTK 14th, and KOMO 18th. (If KIRO's February is even half as bad as its January, they're saying, KVI will easily beat it in the next trend.).

KIRO's morning drive, (5-9a) the news bloc with Jane Shannon and Gregg Hersholt used to rank consistently in the top 3, if not number one in the 25-54 demo. It sank to 8th place over the three-month trend. (January numbers were especially bad; ranking 11th, behind Stephanie Miller at Air America.

In the midday (10a-3p), a time slot where Dave Ross and Dori Monson used to kick Rush's ample fundament, John Procaccino and Dori have now pulled it down to 15th. Thom Hartmann and Eddie Shultz at Air America's KPTK beat them in 8th place. In January, KIRO midday performance ranked behind KDDS, a Spanish-language FM station out of Olympia! (and would have been even worse were it not for a relatively good December).

Dave Ross (m-f, 3-6) is wasting away in the afternoon drive (3-7p); and the numbers prove it- he was 18th in the three month trend. Al Franken and John Carlson beat him coming in at 11th. Ross's mere 19 minutes per hour of programming floating like scraps of meat in an off-putting ragout of traffic and ads has driven off many dedicated listeners such as BlatherWatch, and just about everyone else we know. (KOMO came in at 14th;-back when KIRO did news in this slot, it was usually in the top 10 in this demo.)

Continue reading "It's the money demo: KIRO, KTTH peeking over the edge..." »

February 28, 2006

Tuesday oddems: mike webb flies de coop, medved cries fowl, laura kiel makes a squawk, bryan suits lays an egg, SUV runs over chicken hawk, blatherWatch crosses the road

~~ Mike Webb late of KIRO, who will be facing a judge on March 21 in the City of Seattle's case against him for felony fraud, has gone missing. No, he hasn't jumped bail as far as we know, he just hasn't done his podcast for a few weeks. He's been running KIRO tapes of his old show complete (yawn) with commercials and traffic. Also moldy Stephanie Miller Shows apparently ripped off the Net. The website says he's on vacation. Our sources bet he's out looking for a job- there's nothing in this market for Mike Webb, we're betting.

~~We're all about words around here, so every once in a while, we have to mock Michael Medved (KTTH m-f, 12-3p) for his, shall we say unique? pronunciations. We've bitched about his mangled "Nawlins," when he's trying to sound like Loozyana down-homeboy (kinda hard when you've gotta yiddisher kopf and all that Ivy League education). Then there's his Ku (rhymes with pew) Klux Klan, which gives us hives and today, he again said BOO-fay for buffet sounding like a realtor putting on airs at the Royal Fork. (In France, the slang buffer, pronounced  BOO-fay, means to wolf your food- farmhands, teenage boys, and reporters buffe). He also says ISSaquh (rhymes with duh!) instead of Issaquah (rhymes with kiss-a-squaw). Knowing Michael (which we don't) his pronunciation is probably the correct Salish; but for people who live around here it just sounds like he's from LA and has the words but not the tune.

~~Quote of the Day: "Why do people still keep tuning in to KIRO? Isn't that like continually opening the refrigerator door, hoping that one of these times there will be something interesting to eat?" ~Sparky in our comment threads.

~~Quote of the Month: "It's hard to be a conservative these days." ~Laura Kiel, of Kiel Mortgage, Republican stalwart, patron, and principle sponsor of Republican Radio, the snide Saturday snorefest (KVI 3-5p) where we heard this in a discussion of Hell-with-port-security-everything's-for-salegate. It shows how deeply the Bush ineptitude and guile is rumbling through his own party. If Laura Kiel is doubting out loud on the radio- you know they're in trouble- and so do they.

Continue reading "Tuesday oddems: mike webb flies de coop, medved cries fowl, laura kiel makes a squawk, bryan suits lays an egg, SUV runs over chicken hawk, blatherWatch crosses the road" »

February 17, 2006

Entercom charged with payola, david field takes the fifth

(BlatherWatch has learned that Entercom CEO David Field has been holed up for three weeks in the Eastlake office's wine cellar drinking Bordeaux. When someone comes in, he reportedly pretends he's talking on the phone to Regis Philbin, trying to talk him into taking the nine-ta-noon on KIRO).
~~

KIRO and KTTH have been going down like a burning ring of fire, and nobody knows why Entercom has allowed that to happen.

KIRO has three empty host spots- one of which is the key 9-to noon, the anchoring time slot for any talk format. Red-headed step sister, KTTH, which had such a fair outlook after they stole Rush from KVI, has been withering away. They kept Mike Siegel long past his date stamp had expired, then installed two eager, but inexperienced blabberjockeys in AM drive. They've done nothing as Big Pants has sunk to less than a 2 share.

This has been ongoing for at least 6 months and things just get weirder over at Eastlake, folks quit and are not replaced, the news department is held together by a few pros working too hard.

Many guessed the Bala Cynwyd home office and quirky CEO David Field has been distracted by a merger attempt with ABC radio. When Citadel apparently won that, many hoped Entercom would come to and work on the foundering Seattle talkers.

But we now know the real story:

Last night ABC Primetime aired investigative reporter Brian Ross's Payola: The Dirty Little Secret Of The Music Business on the scandal being prosecuted by NY Attorney General Elliott Spitzer.

Payola is the illegal practice of record companies paying radio stations to play their music.  

Continue reading "Entercom charged with payola, david field takes the fifth" »

Friday oddems: arbitron smokes dutch cleanser, snow falls up, heather bosch gets crazy, vinnie eats bob brinker, steve scher goes ballistic, judy nicastro gets married, purity products make a mess in the KIRO kitchen, mahalo justice, deconstructed rabbit

~~What will we do when KIRO radio fires the last man standing? We woke up with the cold sweats last night with fevered dreams that Dave Ross trekked off to an NGO in Africa; Dori Monson was busted for payola involving dog food; Procaccino got a soap; Vinnie ate something he shouldn't have; Shiers put his finger on something he shouldn't have, and Ciscoe went to Muscle Shoals to cut a record. There was no one left but Tom Douglas, Heather Bosch and Carl Jeffers. Tom was noodling around the KIRO kitchen with a Top Ramen, Heather was frantic (if you can imagine such a thing) looking for the door; Carl was burning to the ground unattended.

~~What will New York Vinnie do on his new sports show when the Mariners get going? (we realize that's a stretch) But who'd wanna listen to Vinnie talk about the Mariners while they're actually playing over on KOMO? How long can this last, this 7-9p sports blather

~~Seattle Weekly Editor Knute Berger wrote us about being stuck in his Eastside home that windy Saturday two weeks ago without electricity. Of course, local TV crews were standing out in their storm parkas all over Western Washington, giving the tedious minutiae of how hard the wind was blowing, where and when it'd begin and end; who had electricity, how many puppies were impacted and all the other attendant drammer around the storm. This was lost on Berger, and everybody else who hadn't the juice to crank up the TV. When he went to get storm news on his car radio, all he could get was gardening with Ciscoe Morris, (KIRO 10a-1p) Home Front with Tami Michaels (KVI, noon-2p) and Republican Radio (KKOL,10:30a-12:30p).

~~And speaking of sports (and you know we'd rather not) Everett's KRKO is going to 50k watts. The idea is to splatter across the Seattle market, but...with what? They're ESPN now, but that would conflict with KJRAM, also ESPN and huge in this market. May we suggest progressive talk radio with local talk hosts? Nobody else does it in this liberal town. (we know, we know, it won't happen, but we never give up).

~~Is Lou Pate gay? that's the question asked in about half our mail. Of course not, is the answer. As a matter of fact, Pate is heterosexual to a fault according to the other half of the mail. Despite the conspiracy theories about race-crazed Hawaiians, mahalo justice, and a million dollar a year offer as a weather man on Iraqi TV, the longtime overnighter left on his own steam, despite his every effort to get fired.

~~We've seen the Fall Book and we don't believe it. Tony Snow, (KVI m-f, 9-noon) the big-haired, small-minded, vanilla neocon suit more than leads the pack with nearly a 14 share, which we wouldn't believe if it were half that high. All other talkers in town are down in the normal 3 & 4 % range, except, of course Big Pants (KTTH m-f, 9-noon) who's half that. (He once ruled here, but the drug addiction, trading his 3rd wife in on a CNN anchor, the on-air blow-job talk, the celebrity farting and the distortions have apparently caught up with him with the local values crowd). As for Snow's astounding numbers, some Arbitron glitch has him towering over everybody in town- not only in that time slot- in any time slot. He might be steady, he might be doing OK, but not that OK- it's anomalous to anything around it. There's plenty of opportunity for glitches in the pseudoscience of radio ratings.

Continue reading "Friday oddems: arbitron smokes dutch cleanser, snow falls up, heather bosch gets crazy, vinnie eats bob brinker, steve scher goes ballistic, judy nicastro gets married, purity products make a mess in the KIRO kitchen, mahalo justice, deconstructed rabbit" »

February 07, 2006

Wednesday oddems: the hank & the pank; perfect score for erin, siegel goes 'down under,' the gas rushes thro' gotham; bloody mary walks the halls of KIRO; shiers is out

We've been in a news drought lately- gosh, KIRO hasn't fired anybody in hours. Here are some dribblings from February's wicked spicket...

~~Not to worry, shoes are being lined up for the dropping now that the last droplets are being squeezed from the Seahawk short-time towels...The 12th man, sad for a few days, is now getting bored. And his wife wants him to come home. Now that the Hawks have flown away, it's back to the giant holes in the programming, the bum ratings, the dissatisfaction, the micromanaging from the home office, more firings- it's reality time down at Eastlake, and reality, as they say, is a bitch.

~~We're hearing storm clouds are gathering for some more evening and nighttime folk, and a mad scramble is on to sign somebody- anybody- for the 9-ta-noon, the shift John Procaccino has been  care-taking.

~~A KIRO intra office email intercepted and sent to us: "...given the way the chips seem to fall around here, I'm loathe to even speak the words "on vacation" into a microphone. I've become some sort of Bloody Mary, wandering through vacant shifts with my head tucked underneath my arm. Every time I say I'm filling in for someone who is 'on vacation,' they seem to have booked their return passage on the Titanic."

~~More embarrassing public flatus from Rush Limbaugh. This time it could be costly. The tabloids are full of an incidence in a Manhattan elevator where a Premiere vice president had to be taken to the ER after the big guy broke wind on a 44-floor descent. The victim, who suffers from asthma, reportedly had to be given CPR and is considering a lawsuit. Big Pants' farting has been the talk of New York radio industry and the five or more incidents in the last year, including one in the presence of Lynn Cheney and another in a Black Hawk helicopter with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, are seen as the basis of rumors of his retirement this year. Because of his gaseous exudations and his on-going drug possession problems in Florida, Limbaugh was not invited again this year to the Presidential Inauguration.

~~The hank and the pank? Who are the married talk host and the "partnered" producer getting it on despite the warnings of a certain PD? If this relationship should get out, or get out of hand (so to speak) repercussions would be mighty. You won't read it here, unless there's an obituary.

~~A winter break for all: Frank Shiers will be on vacation next weekend.

~~We've been looking at the numbers from the Fall book (we'll be sharing our impressions soon) but one number jumped out at us. Erin Hart, before her recent firing from weekends at KIRO, pulled a perfect 0.0 rating in the Fall book- we saw it in black and white. It's a first in KIRO's long history, we're told. An old hand said, "It's more anecdote than rating." It's one for the record books, and BlatherWatch, it seems is the record book. 

~~A reader writes today that our favorite ex-talk host, Mike Siegel (KTTH) "has a brand new 'temporary' gig! He's now on WDAY-AM in Fargo, ND. Two veteran hosts left 'DAY abruptly last month to return to the station they were fired from (KFGO-AM in Fargo) the year before. Apparently Siegel is a close friend of 'DAY host/GM Scott Hennen (who occasionally fills-in for another buddy, Sean Hannity). Siegel is supposed to be in Fargo only through the end of February, however word on the street is that he's here to stay." Mazel tov! Mike, wear wool and talking like those Dakotans would definitely be an improvement over your native Brooklyn-ese. Another plus: North Dakota doesn't have performance audits- Siegel's bests and single issue.

February 01, 2006

what was worse than bush tonight? seattle talk radio

Local talk radio coverage of the State of the Union address was, not unlike the speech itself, sadder than usual this year. Noteworthy were those missing from the broadcast night- those experienced voices we've always heard in past après le bain discussions.

Kirby Wilbur and John Carlson hosted from live remotes at dueling Ruth Crist's Steakhouses in Bellevue and downtown. Sizzling platters could be heard passing by as the KVI choir sucked up the lipids and shouted the hosannas for their President and baked potatoes with sour cream & chives.

Sheriff Rep. Dave Reichert phoned it in sounding like a little duck, but otherwise it was just the quacking of the main KVI hosts, Wilson and Carlbur. Fortunately, we didn't hear much of this, but we did listen long enough to hear the Quote Of The Night: "Hillary," Kirby Wilbur said, "looked to me like The Anti-Christ."

(Which would, if true, be great for Democrats. The Anti-Christ, according to the Revelations myth, will rule the entire world for quite a while, which ain't bad, except the R's are way ahead of us on the take-over-the-world track. And besides, Kirby's wrong- most Biblical scholars today believe David Hasselhoff is The Anti-Christ). 

A meme of all the right-wing talk hosts was how bitchy and mean Hillary Clinton looked and  in general is. Liberals may be mad at her, but the neocons are after her but good. Wilbur and Carlson tried to hook Sen. Maria Cantwell onto the Hillary Bitch Wagon, saying she looked glum and snarly during the speech. (Bitchifying female Democratic politicians is Republican "Swift-Boating for the Gals").

Continue reading "what was worse than bush tonight? seattle talk radio " »

January 30, 2006

rabbi daniel lapin, 2002-2006 R.I.P.

Your rabbi and ours did his last show on KTTH and the Seattle market Sunday night.

In February, Lapin will begin broadcasting a 3-hour Sunday afternoon show (1-4p) on San Francisco's conservative talker, KSFO. He'll replace David Gold, who is on tape over the weekend. Lapin will be one of the few live hosts KSFO's Sunday schedule, which, like most talk stations is a mishmash of tape delay, gardening shows, and Matt Drudge who isn't dead even though he sounds like he's been embalmed.

The didactic right-wing Lapin will do essentially the same show in Baghdad by the Bay as he does in Seattle. "I'm a one trick guy," he told a listener Sunday. The KSFO show will be streamed on the Net.

(We're not sure if it's a case of the rat deserting the ship or vice versa. Neither Lapin nor Entercom's KTTH have had a great year- the station is nearly moribund, even Rush Limbaugh is in the tank; and Lapin has been more than touched by the Abramoff scandal).

Lapin's show, whose broadcast time was in part purchased by his non-profit Toward Tradition, has never made it in the real radio marketplace. The show, over the years, has meandered around the right-wing dial from KVI to KKOL to KGNW to KTTH. It was syndicated for a short time.

He's always had a small but loyal audience of mostly fundamentalist Christians for his lectures on morality and human behavior that usually ended in a political lesson or a screed against "secular fundamentalists."

It was pretty boring radio. He's much more interesting off the air. Here's BlatherWatch's extensive file on the rebbe.

Seattle times: rabbi daniel lapin abramoff connections
Rabbi Daniel Lapin: show rabbi of the racists
Rabbi Daniel Lapin: "The Man Who Stands By His Scandal-Ridden Friends"
Rabbi Daniel Lapin: More National Embarrassment
Rabbi daniel lapin, a long look backward
The rabbi with the tinfoil yarmulke (and we thought he was just boring...)

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?" »

January 24, 2006

Wednesday oddems: mike webb, the sonics, rush limp-baugh, willy horton

~~Will Rush Limbaugh "retire" before 2006 is out? Some wiser, more experienced heads than ours are predicting it. He's in a downhill slide all over the country-(radio in general is in a steep slump) and our guy claims he'll say he has won or lost the battle or that there are so many voices that now share his opinion, so his work is done. Or it could be the legal thing, or a new marriage, or his golf game. With Limbaugh's falling numbers across the country, Premiere, he says, will want to get out of that multimillion $ contract one way or another. Small stations in mid-sized markets can't pay the freight for someone who "it can be said is on a downhill slide- read plummet." KTTH is paying Limbaugh $350,000 a year and a chunk of the ad revenue and the failing KTTH, with little more going for it than Limbaugh can ill afford it.

~~It's Willy Horton all over again. The State Republicans unabashed dirty trick sending post cards with a photo of a scary child rapist and a description of his crimes to at-risk Democrats' districts all over the state has been exposed and has backfired. The postcard implied the guy was in the neighborhood and the local Democrat had voted to put him there- even though it was the same guy in the photo in every district. Darryl over at Hominid Views has the real story. (The sex offender was not, as viciously rumored, BlatherWatch's Michael Hood, but rather a convict living under strict supervision in Pierce County. Hood has never been  arrested or implicated in any sex crimes, though at one point in his life, he laughably considered himself "the gangster of love)."

~~KTTH will be the voice of the Sonics starting in the 2006-07 season. It's further evidence after automating last month that Entercom is pulling the station away from political talk.The Seahawks saved this Book for KIRO, so maybe Entercom suits believe they can can juice up the numbers with basketball. Bet they're praying the Legislature will cooperate and build the Sonics a new stadium- a labor of love we taxpayers go through about every 10 years. The Sonics are threatening to leave if that doesn't happen- the Legislature will capitulate if we can glean anything from light 20th century history.

~~Mike Webb, former KIRO talk host charged in December with felony insurance fraud was scheduled Tuesday to appear in Superior Court to have the calendar set for his trial: he requested it be postponed until mid-February. This is the second time he's postponed it. Legal sources say he may be considering a guilty plea in what appears to be a strong case against him. Our lawyer friend says, "If I were defending him, I'd be advising him to plea it out." Webb has proclaimed his innocence repeatedly and famously told Seattle Times reporter, Christine Clarridge: "It would take an absolute idiot to try to defraud someone like that." Look for Mike to plead guilty while vociferously maintaining his innocence.

~~Another juicy theory that has a little credibility is Entercom's talkers are in trouble nationwide
because CEO David Field has taken his eye off the ball. He's obsessed, they're saying, with building a grand empire that includes ABC Radio and has taken his focus off of the stations he currently owns. Any energy not devoted to that is going to HD 2, the new digital radio format that the public is almost totally unaware of. (All of this is why, go the rumors, Tom Clendening and David Pridemore still have their jobs). When we looked into what's going on nationally with Entercom we found some merit to the theory that the company trend is toward infomericals and "lifestyle" talk, which really don't make a lot of money or get ratings. They're letting the sales departments take over a lot of the stations. It's why excreable Ron & Don are back in town, why Bryan Styble's (rhymes with unlistenable) star is rising at KIRO.

~~Entercom has apparently lost its bid to take over Disney's ABC Radio, to Citadel Broadcasting Corp. according to Reuters. It would have made Entercom the largest radio conglmerate in the country.

January 23, 2006

Rabbi Daniel Lapin: show rabbi of the racists

Distrust all in whom the impulse to punish is powerful. --Nietzsche

Meet Rabbi Daniel Lapin- David Duke's favorite Jew.

But, you ask, where could this anti-semitic, racist, white separatist possibly find common ground with this Jewish man of God?

(You're right- it's downright counter-intuitive. Lapin is an Orthodox rabbi from the enlightened Pacific Northwest, and an influential voice of the religious right. Nazi-but-nice David Duke with his blow-dried Republican "statesman" haircut is a racist, and anti-Semite who traded his KKK percale for custom 2-buttons from Barney's of Baton Rouge).

As it turns out, they have lots in common. Both have been Republicans, (Lapin still is one) and both agree with Adolf Hitler that Jews are largely responsible for "filth and debasement" of Western culture.

Duke is a holocaust denier; Lapin has stood up for holocaust deniers and says "enough already" about all this Holocaust stuff.

Both have multi-syllabic rationales resounding with truthiness for the God-given superiority of Western Civilization and disdain for those (mostly colored) peoples who hadn't foresight to be born into the Judeo-Christian tradition. 

(OK, OK, Duke would take strong exception to the "Judeo" part of that equation, but Lapin's specialty is "strengthening understanding between Christians and Jews" and ecumenical "bridge-building" between secular wackos. Maybe he could look beyond Duke's Christian Identity belief that Jews are the "Children of Satan." Or, in the interest of shared values, overlook Duke's dark bayou dreams of lampshades made out of such as the good rebbe.)

We're not sure how Rabbi Lapin feels about Duke, but Duke really likes Rabbi Lapin- as Duke has written, "...there are so few honest voices like that of Rabbi Lapin."

BlatherWatch has long chronicled the strange case of Rabbi Daniel Lapin, the clergyman whose life and work has been muddied lately by revelations of his long and deep ties to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Until this scandal, Lapin for us was but a long-winded didact whose haughty South African-accented voice has frequented Seattle talk radio over the years in fill-ins for right-wing talkers; his own briefly syndicated Sunday evening shows; and presently on his weekly kulturkampf he buys onto local right-wing talker, KTTH (Sundays, 7=10p).

Continue reading "Rabbi Daniel Lapin: show rabbi of the racists" »

January 19, 2006

Scab robots overrun KTTH

KTTH has been automated.

They threw out the producers, the interns, the board-ops and the little people who clean up after the behemoth egos of the talk show hosts.

They can do that because live and local talkers are going extinct too. Sytman & Boze (m-f, 5-9a) are the only mouth-breathers left over there during the week.

The rest are beamed down to the robots from satellites.

The humming throngs of upright humanoids with sticky digits and perineums, coffee-stains and dandruff, wisdom and foolishness that once filled the right-wing Entercom talker have been fired and replaced by the dull thrumming of the steady robots serving their corporate masters without complaint or bathroom breaks.

KTTH and KIRO employees threw out their union, AFTRA last year, much to the delight, we're sure, of the paleolithic  Entercom management.

AFTRA's John Sandifer says, "An employee is truly on his or her own. In the broadcast business that means constant jeopardy."

Could the union have prevented the lay-offs and the onslaught of the robots?

No. Companies have the right to make operational decisions. But the union can bargain about the effect of those decisions on the workers. And the bargaining might have mitigated the human damage- like with severance pay, the transfering of members to other jobs in the company, and bumping rights (part timers must be terminated before full timers) etc.

With their decertification, the emploees discarded the long list of benefits and minimum conditions derived from union membership. Operating under a union contract they're simply not guaranteed even such basic "perks" as overtime, a 40 hour week, holidays, vacations, turnaround pay, severance pay, a grievance procedure, minimum wages, health benefits, retirement plans, discipline without cause, arbitrary terminations.  The list goes on and on. 

The truly sad thing at KIRO and KTTH, says Sandifer, "is that the basic rights in the contract built up over decades of bargaining by employees were all lost in one fell swoop to a campaign by two primary dissidents and a group of people  voting their pocketbooks."

Who were the dissidents? Lou Pate (KIRO m-f, 1-5a) and Mike Webb (Superior Court, Jan.24, 1p).

It's ironic that Webb, who's told friends he intends to sue Entercom over his firing, could have had a union that would have gone to the mat for him in any termination that violated his contract. Now he has to pay his expensive celebrity mouthpiece if he wants to challenge his former bosses.

We suspect this isn't the end of Entercom's "efficiencies"- tough shit to the employees who voted to let this corporate employ them "at will" because they didn't like paying monthly dues. And even tougher shit to those employees who voted to keep the union.

Here's some poetic commentary on robots from our bloggy poet laureate:

I Believe I'll Marry a Robot This Time
   by Michael Hood

I usually end up with those racy centaurs with beautiful asses, armed to the teeth who take me to the woodshed right off the bat to make short business of the deciphering. Then it's a quick frog-walk over to the edge for a peek into the dark...

They don't cry at night, robots.
They shave in the dark like Ray Charles.
The power switch on their backside
you can flick off like a vacuum cleaner 
in case you need some rest.

Robots aren't concerned with vendettas
or the way their pants fit in the back.
They fret about rust and short circuits.
Rivets are a given,
truth's in the wiring.

Wistful of buckets, loyal to bolts,
love is the sweet flowing juice
of pure motor oil.
Sincerity is lost on robots,
being taken for granted is their job.

I believe I'll marry a robot this time.

January 12, 2006

Rabbi Daniel Lapin speaks

KTTH talker Rabbi Daniel Lapin (Sundays 7-10p) the "show rabbi of the religious right," long entangled in the Abramoff/Delay scandal and about whom we've so often written, has finally written a tome 'splainin' everything.

Apparently, he's squeaky clean and been scurrilized by that pesky and "notoriously inaccurate" news media. Read his massive multi-syllabic missive here.

We've got some Lapin stuff in the pipeline and don't have the time to analyze it today. Let's just say his version of his 20-year friendship with Abramoff and that of his charity, Toward Tradition, through which, federal prosecutors say $50,000 was washed by Abramoff to an aide to Tom DeLay in return for favorable legislation, runs so counter to published news accounts going back 10 years, it appears to bolster those parallel universe theories so popular right now.

Veteran newsie Rick Anderson on the Seattle Weekly, the reporter who's been on this story as long or longer than we have, has written an excellent synopsis and quick analysis of Lapin's long-winded letter here.

January 11, 2006

BlatherLessons for senator finkbeiner, governor gregoire, and all the democrats at sea

We're always trying to decide who's our favorite Republican. (It's not unlike trying to name our our favorite urological procedure- we may even change the name of this blog to BladderWatch).

(We've favored Secretary of State Sam Reed, the champion of democracy who stuck his neck way out by following the law despite heavy Party pressure break the law and not certify the winner, Governor Christine Gregoire after the trumped-up dis-election furor engineered by Chris Vance and his smarmy losing candidate, Dino Rossi.

We liked Dave Reichert for the moment he allegedly bucked meaneocon Tom Delay on his opportunistic Congressional overreach (and prurient 24/7 cable channel snore-orgy) with poor Terry Schiavo, the re-animated carcass personifying the religious right's "culture of life."

We later heard, unfortunately, that Delay gave Sheriff Reichert dispensation on that vote since he represents a liberal Republican swing district- which isn't really liberal and certainly does not swing).

Over the weekend, Sen. Bill Finkbeiner said he plans to vote this year for House Bill 1515, the landmark equal rights bill that would give gays the same rights as the rest of us in employment and housing. His was the dissenting vote last year that defeated the measure which has been languishing in the Legislature for over 20 years as Republicans and drysiders have coalesced to keep it down. A Republican from Kirkland facing strong opposition by Eric Oemig, he'll be strongly opposed whichever way he votes. Finkbeiner came to Jesus apparently figuring he could do what's right and still get elected. That's an amazing journey for an 'R.'

We heard the KTTH boyz Sytman & Boze (m-f, 5-9a) crowing and dissing the moderate GOP senator for refusing to appear on their low-rated, caffeinated, early-morning diatribing dialog to discuss his vote. The youthful hard-edged pair has only existed as talk team (known affectionately as "Dumb & Meaner) since early December when Mike Siegel was fired.

Their scorning of Finkbeiner as a wimp "hiding under the covers," and afraid to face this 2-pack of killer chihuahuas brings us once again to one of our favorite screedos:

DEMOCRATIC POLITICIANS SHOULD DO TALK RADIO!

Producers complain: too many don't. Ignoring talk radio lets Republican surrogates like Kirby Wilbur (KVI m-f, 5-9a) John Carlson, (KVI m-f, 3-6p) define them and misrepresent their views in absentia, while scorning them, all the while for their lack of backbone.

Continue reading "BlatherLessons for senator finkbeiner, governor gregoire, and all the democrats at sea" »

January 09, 2006

Seattle times: rabbi daniel lapin abramoff connections

Replete with Daniel Lapin's (KTTH Sundays, 7-10p) multi-syllabic blithering, he and his non-profit's entanglement with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff is well exposed in an excellent piece by Seattle Times reporters David Postman and Hal Bernton in this morning's paper. 

Lapin has deep ties to the sleazy Republican Washington operator, and actually introduced him to Tom Delay, who permanently resigned his House leadership position over the weekend because of this and other scandals.

Abramoff was board chair and longtime member of Lapin's non-profit Toward Tradition, along with syndicated neocon talk-host Michael Medved (KTTH m-f, 12-3p).

According to the Times piece, Toward Tradition paid Lisa Rudy, wife of Tony Rudy, at the time a senior aide to DeLay. Tony Rudy later went to work as a lobbyist for Abramoff.

She was to organize a conference for Toward Tradition in the fall of 2000. (Whether there was actually work done or this was more Abramoff money-laundering is a question yet unanswered.)

A total of $50,000 was paid to Rudy. Abramoff's plea agreement says the money was obtained from clients that benefited from the aide's "official actions regarding the legislation on Internet gambling or opposing postal rate increases."

At the time he approached Lapin about hiring Lisa Rudy, Abramoff was working in the D.C. office of Seattle's Preston Gates.

Toward Tradition's board approved hiring Lisa Rudy in 2000 and soon after Abramoff sent a $25,000 check from a firm called eLottery. It came with instructions that Rudy was to be paid $5,000 a month.

eLottery is a Connecticut company that provides states with online lotteries. The company hired Abramoff to help stop the federal Internet Gambling Prohibition Act.

Lapin said other checks came from another Abramoff client, the Magazine Publishers of America. Those checks, too, came with directions to keep paying Rudy.

Here is one of the foremost conservative values-mongers in the country. Newt Gingrich has called him "my spiritual guide."

Frank Rich of the NYTimes  has called him the "show rabbi of the religious right."

He's clergy who regularly preaches against sin and in particular- against gambling- yet here's the pathetic proof of his astounding hypocrisy-  accepting checks from a professional lottery operation for what may be dubious or non-existence services.

We've been harping on Lapin for years. He's always been controverial and has weathered dark clouds over his actions many times before. Read our Rabbi Daniel Lapin, A Long Look Backward

From our June post, Rabbi Daniel Lapin: More National Embarrassment

Lapin is a leader in the national Values Community; friend of such faith-based charlatans as Rev. Ken Hutcherson, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Watergate felon turned preacher, and Charles Colson He's a "spiritual advisor" to Newt Gingrich and a hard-ass, pompous, self-aggrandizing, social conservative.

He helped Hutcherson organize and spoke at last year's anti-gay "Mayday for Marriage " rallies in Seattle and Washington DC, that proved so influential in the November election of George W. Bush.

The haughty silver-tongued former South African buys his own radio time Sunday evenings (7-10p) from Entercom’s local KTTH. His talk show is a folksy, “(Everybody needs a rabbi,” he always says) kulturkampf, interlaced with schmaltz, advice to the lovelorn and diatribing political monologues.

He's a champion of marriage between people of the same faith, same species, but different genders, of course.

Lapin's tedious yet dangerous talk show on Sunday nights is vanity radio- bought and paid for by Toward Tradition.

Entercom has no stomach for scandal as we've seen in the Mike Webb firing--as this messy scandal unfolds, how much longer can they keep Lapin's name on their programming list?

Read the blatherWatch files on Lapin:

Rabbi Daniel Lapin's Name Resurfaces in Investigation
Rabbi Daniel Lapin: "The Man Who Stands By His Scandal-Ridden Friends"
Rabbi Daniel Lapin: More National Embarrassment
Rabbi Daniel Lapin, A Long Look Backward
The Rabbi With the Tinfoil Yarmulke (and we thought he was just boring...)

January 05, 2006

Michael Medved speaks up about jack abramoff- gives him 1.5 stars

Although he never mentioned BlatherWatch, syndicated neocon talker and movie critic Michael Medved (KTTH m-f, 12-3p) answered our plea to speak up about his relationship with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff who pleaded guilty to even more felonious skeeviness Wednesday in Miami.

As we reported, Medved has known him for years- in Los Angeles when Abramoff was the producer of bad movies and Medved was a PBS movie critic. He also knew him from serving on the board of his friend, the scandal-tainted Rabbi Daniel Lapin's (KTTH m-f, 7-10p) non-profit Toward Tradition. Medved says he went out to dinner with Abramoff a few times; told him after a private screening that his scurrilous 1989 potboiler Red Scorpion was so bad, it was "unreleasable;" and never took a dime from the man for any reason.

Medved was forthright, and though we have serious questions about some of Lapin's faith-based activities in the political arena, we have no reason to doubt Medved was more involved than he says he was.

(Will Lapin ever speak out on Abramoff? We listen to his tedious show until we're comatose every Sunday, but so far, no luck.)

He said he felt betrayed by Abramoff. He said he felt sorry for him, for the kosher dilly of a pickle he's got himself into despite his religiousness and that he has actively supported many causes of which Medved approves and endorses. 

Continue reading "Michael Medved speaks up about jack abramoff- gives him 1.5 stars" »

January 04, 2006

Michael Medved needs to speak up about jack abramoff

Super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff has copped a plea. He's admitted ripping off Indian tribes and now he's singing. For sure there'll be big-name Congressional Republicans and Bush administration honchos taking a dive or singing some songs- maybe operas- to prosecutors. Maybe a few Democrats, too; but this is a Republican scandal, though it's darn hard to hear a thing about it on right-wing talk radio.

We're especially wondering  why syndicated neocon Michael Medved (KTTH m-f, 12-3p ) isn't talking about this on the radio? This is the above-the-fold story of today and yesterday and he could provide some vivid first person color. Medved is on the tu-toi with the notorious Abramoff and sat with him for years on the board of Rabbi Daniel Lapin's (KTTH Sundays 7-9p) charity, Toward Tradition, based on Mercer Island. (Abramoff was finally dumped off the board last summer after he was indicted. Lapin until then had dismissed the whole thing as an accounting error).

Medved must have known him in Los Angeles when he was a movie critic and Abramoff was a maker of bad movies.

Michael owes us some inside insights on how this big operator operates. Cream & sugar or black? Martini up or over? Boxers of briefs? Inquiring minds need to know. And besides, it'd be great radio and a scoop.

As far as we know, Medved hasn't said anything more on the radio about Abramoff since saying, "He's not been charged with anything." That was many felonies  ago.

Is Michael disappointed with his old friend for this porqueria? Or is he just another victim of the media? 

To refresh your memory, Lapin, "show rabbi of the religious right,"(as New York Times columnist Frank Rich calls him) is the guy who owns the bragging rights to having introduced Abramoff to indicted meanieocon Tom Delay, which is something akin to introducing Leopold to Loeb.

From our June post, Rabbi Daniel Lapin: More National Embarrassment

Lapin is a leader in the national Values Community; friend of such faith-based charlatans as Rev. Ken Hutcherson, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Watergate felon turned preacher, and Charles Colson He's a "spiritual advisor" to Newt Gingrich and a hard-ass, pompous, self-aggrandizing, social conservative.

He helped Hutcherson organize and spoke at last year's anti-gay "Mayday for Marriage " rallies in Seattle and Washington DC, that proved so influential in the November election of George W. Bush.

The haughty silver-tongued former South African buys his own radio time Sunday evenings (7-10p) from Entercom’s local KTTH. His talk show is a folksy, “(Everybody needs a rabbi,” he always says) kulturkampf, interlaced with schmaltz, advice to the lovelorn and diatribing political monologues.

He's a champion of marriage between people of the same faith, same species, but different genders, of course.

Lapin has come very much closer to the matasticizing scandal than Medved apparently has- read all the BlatherWatch file on Lapin:

Continue reading "Michael Medved needs to speak up about jack abramoff" »

January 03, 2006

Talkritique: Sweetness, light, lemonade, silver linings, glasses half full, and other happy, slappy, positive crap about what's good about seattle talk radio

WE'RE ALWAYS BEING TRASHED for, well...trashing. "Hate, hate, hate. Bash, bash, bash," they chant. "Don't you like anybody?"

We gotta be honest, (as Sean Hannity would say) we've been pretty hard on just about everybody in the local AM talk scene. So to start the year out right, on a positive track, we'd like to hoist a glass half full of lemonade squoze from those nasty lemons we're always kvetching about, and name those talkers we love or like, or we'd love to love or like, or suspect we might love or like some day.

Continue reading "Talkritique: Sweetness, light, lemonade, silver linings, glasses half full, and other happy, slappy, positive crap about what's good about seattle talk radio" »

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 07, 2005

lou pate disappears, medved stays put, jim west takes dori monson's spot, pat o'day falls off the truck, michael savage is queen for a day, george soros buys christmas, robin & maynard still missing

~~We've been a rumor clearing house for Entercomers and goers. Inquiring minds need to know: Will they save the conservative KTTH format and bring in John Carlson in the afternoon drive? His contract is up this month and we hear there's been some hypermanic palaver (for you former Buzz listeners, that means 'heated talks).'  Will Dori Monson go to KTTH with Tom Leykis if they decide to blow up the format and make it all testosterone? New York Vinnie could fit in there...so could Lou Pate.

~~Which reminds us- wherinell IS Lou Pate? He disappeared of the overnight a couple weeks ago. It's rumored he went to Palm Springs for either a nosejob or an abortion. Nobody is saying anything, but he hasn't been erased off the website like a gulag-ed Soviet (the usual Entercom tactic when they want to rewrite the past) so we assume he still works there. With Bryan "Rhymes With Libel" Styble filling in, diehard insomniacs have taken to getting a good night's sleep. Even the raccoons in our neighborhood have become diurnal,(Buzzers: that means they sleep at night) eschewing their customary midnight garbage cans for hearty brunches. Styble "Nearly Rhymes with Trifle" has that kind of effect on folks and critters alike. 

~~The persistent rumor that Medved would go to KKOL when it goes to a 50k watts is apocryphal (Buzzers: that means false). Medved would swear to it on a Bible, we're assured- and the a Bible means a lot to him- it's like swearing on your Visa card for the rest of us. This rumor has apparently been spread by hopeful KKOLers looking for anchor shows to build the new conservative Salem Broadcasting talker reportedly going blowtorch in March. They need more than Dennis Prager,  Mike Gallagher and the Hour of Power.

~~There's always a reason to laugh at the vile tub of scum, Michael Savage (KTTH m-f, 3-5p), though that he has lots of listeners is not one of them.
Here's a conversation the "semi-famous gasbag" had with a waiter last week as reported on Tavern Wench:

"Is something wrong?" the server says.
"Yes, I need to move my dog's water dish, but I'm not going to touch it myself."
"Sir?"
"Well, how am I supposed to touch this food after touching the dog's bowl? Move it and bring him another one!" he yells. Literally yells...The manager actually kneels down and starts to move the bowl when the man screams out, "What are you doing!?? Make the busboy do that!!!" 

We love these conservative role-models.

~~Medved was humane- polite even- to our new favorite humanist, Wendy Britton, who went on the radio with the Cultural Crusader on Monday. Wendy is the atheist who found herself in the middle of a KTTH Karaoke Cruise last week much to her non-believing horror. She held her own, and he didn't mug her as he was well capable of doing. She brought him, sweetly, a chocolate salmon (thoughtfully kosher) to represent how she felt "like a fish out of water" both on the cruise and "swimming upstream" in studio with the crusty Crusader. "Wendy, who's a feisty redhead and as Irish as you can get, says her pugilistic talents were never called upon. "He didn't say anything to make me mad, she said, " I've heard how he can be." Indeed, Medved is a formidable debater, unlike so many of his talk radio peers. It didn't hurt, however, that she was a shana putrim sitting just across the table.

~~Whatever happened to accountability in this business? writes an old radio pro in an email to BlatherWatch. "If a program director and a general manager had let two properties like KIRO and KTTH get as low as they have, they'da been looking for work in the Anchorage market months ago." BlatherWatch sure was wrong the many times we predicted the demise of Entercom's Tom Clendening and Dave Pridemore- their survival skills are like a slug in a drought..a wonder of nature. Maybe it's another example of Entercom's abandonment of the Druckerian "search for excellence."   

~~The right keeps up the barrage of phony outrages and and anecdotes about the "war on Christmas movement." We hear it daily by the likes of Bill O'Reilly (the fine Christian gentleman who blames it on George Soros) John Carlson, Limbaugh, Michael Medved, the ghost of Mike Siegel (haunting so many stations around the country) and Siegel replacements Sytman and Boze. This is a perfect made-for-talk radio issue: 1) it's emotional for gullible people 2) it can be a filler for the holiday season when news isn't always hoppin' 3) it serves to change the subject when the real news is bad for conservatives (like it is right now) 4) they can cross-market with evangelicals like Jerry Falwell and James Dobson's holiday fundraising appeals based on Christians victimhood. Even lefty talkers use perfectly good radio segments discussing how phony this is as an issue. Even though it's a crock and they know it- it's useful to all involved- like Terry Schiavo wearing a Xmas sweater.   

December 05, 2005

will leykis go to KTTH? dave ross to mornings? frank shiers to hell? erin hart to sheboygan? robin & maynard to NPR?

Rumors and intenuendo are flying about the late, great KQBZ (The Buzz) which Wednesday stopped buzzing with Tom Leykis, Robin & Maynard and BJ Shea and turned into "The Woof," a no DJ's, no interruptions, shit-kicker iPod.

(Entercom reportedly put in for the call numbers: "KKWF" for the new country station, though no one's sure when or if that will happen). They're trying to compete or at least shave off a few points from the twangy market leader, KMPS, which would push KIRO up higher. They're calling it "the biggest battle in country radio." 

Friday was the first day of the rest of Mike Siegel's life- at least on Entercom Seattle. He was booted from his morning drive show late Thursday despite his startling performance doing the James Brown at a KTTH event Wednesday night turned so many heads.

Rookies, Dan Sytman and Dave Boze were installed and started on the morning drive (m-f, 5-9a) this very morning.

Entercom's "happy holidays" firings and reshuffles with KTTH and The Buzz are so in tune with all their warm & fuzzy employee policies and state of the art public relations. It's just a big corporate way of saying: "Merry Xmas to all and to all a fuck you." We're pretty sure there'll be further changes soon for Entercom's mixed format talker KIRO. Most think New York Vinnie's (m-f, 6-9p) days are numbered; many believe the station could do better putting up a syndicated show than by continuing to pay Mike Webb, (m-f, 9p-1a) the big bucks; the weekends are dragging with Erin Hart (Sat. & Sun. 9p-1a and Frank Shiers (Sat.7-9p & Sun. 4-7p). Wonder if KIRO/KTTH employees will regret dumping their union last spring, as the company presses its advantage unencumbered by arbitrated rules?

Many on the local and national radio trade message boards, and speaking to BlatherWatch think these two events are intertwined. The town's thrumming with gossip and speculation- things BlatherWatch has always been happy to provide.

Probably the most popular rumor is that that Boze and Sytman are cheap fillers-in stuck in the Siegel programming hole until there's a reformat. Entercom will forge a KTTH into which Tom Leykis could fit.

There are reasons for this speculation. Leykis has always done well, here and has left it wide open. Even though he's been sentenced to  late night taped delay on Entercom's KISW, his website profers no outrage, instead: "Our Seattle home has been BLOWN UP!!! Be sure to check back frequently for news (italics ours). Leykis has deep ties to the city- he was even sucker-punched by a fan here a few years ago- a show of affection bestowed on very few in our fair city.

KTTH stole Limbaugh from KVI in 2003 in a stroke that was supposed kill off the Fisher conservative talker. Apparently self-satisfied, (self-satisfaction is their corporate specialty) with that coup, Entercom management stopped maintaining the station- especially after KIRO started having problems.

They kept Siegel way to long; and never hired a local talent to compete with John Carlson in the afternoon. During the long post-election debate and attempt to unseat Governor Gregoire, KVI jocks Wilbur and Carlson were getting national attention, and sucked up the local talk oxygen. Besides Siegel, who never had good numbers at any time, KTTH had only syndicated shows not dealing with the highly charged local issues.

The start-up with such high aspirations became a life support system for Rush Limbaugh, they let it tank, and eventually even Rush's numbers evaporated, too.

Just as everyone has a belly button, everyone has an opinion. Here are just a few of what we're hearing, and reading: pick the one[s] you like:

~~KTTH is dead, If they were going to keep conservative talk, you'd see a serious effort to attract major morning talent, not hiring a couple of novices who work very, very cheap."

~~They'll need a place to run Leykis live, KTTH has the signal. Slap some sports, sex and guy talk around it and you have a Leykis vehicle after Rush moves to KIRO.

~~Rush will move to KIRO mornings.

~~Dave Ross will move back to KIRO mornings.

~~Maybe the odd KTTH weekend show here and there could survive the move [form KTTH to KIRO]. At least one other KTTH show could move to KIRO as well, somebody like Laura Ingraham or someone else they don't want KVI to grab. Slap one of these on KIRO at night, save money and get better ratings than Vinnie or Mike Webb.

~~Let Mike Webb spin the oldies on KBSG and make Mike Siegel clean-up around the station, let David Goldstein take the night shift.

~~With KTTH getting virtually no numbers in the afternoons anyway, Leykis will clear live on KTTH as soon as next week. O'Reilly to 7pm, Savage moves to overnights, Laura Ingraham goes the way of Siegel.

~~Medved can and will go to KKOL, probably along with Ingraham (live).

We wish we knew what will happen. We're pretty sure plenty will in a short time. Don't touch that dial- you'll know as soon as we do...

Got inside poop to scoop? Join the dozens who scoop it to [email protected] Discretion? Of course.

December 03, 2005

Seattle atheist on medved show

Wendy Britton, founder and past president of Seattle Atheists will appear in studio on the nationally syndicated Michael Medved Show, 1p Monday. (KTTH 770 AM).

BlatherWatch's account of the Seattle atheist activist who unwittingly attended the right-wing KTTH Karaoke Cruise last week attracted the attention of Medved producers.

We caught up with the feisty, redheaded Britton as she was out "Mythmas" shopping Saturday. She says Medved will discuss with her how it felt to be "a fish out of water," on the cruise and was not interested in arguing with her spiritual pathlessness. We find that hard to believe of the relentless sectarian, but tune in: it'll be fun.

"Thank God I'm an atheist." - Luis Buñuel

December 02, 2005

UPDATE: mike siegel's checkered career takes another dive

The atmospherics in the Seattle AM radio world-at-small is roiling like a Baghdad meat-shoot after BlatherWatch broke the news of low-rated veteran broadcaster Mike Siegel's firing from KTTH morning drive and his replacement by rookies Dan Sytman and Dave Boze.

It's been in the air all week. Nobody's surprised that Siegel's been thrown in front of the bus. BlatherWatch has been reporting forever how poor his ratings have been, how far he's been losing to such as KOMO morning news, KIRO morning news, KVI's Kirby Wilbur and even Air America.

In the last book, he got just 1.7 % share of adults age 25-54; up from 1.4% the book before.

Siegel's dogged, he's bright, he's experienced- he's an attorney for god's sake- but he doesn't have a style that makes you love him. We think that's key for any performer.

Siegel started in Seattle radio in 1988 working for the legendary Brian Jennings on the old KING

Continue reading "UPDATE: mike siegel's checkered career takes another dive" »

BREAKING NEWS: mike siegel: 2003-2005 R.I.P

Mike Siegel won't be back Monday morning.

And who'll be in his place in the 6-9a morning drive slot on KTTH?  It'll be those bad boyz of the desperate right, Dan Sytman and Dave Boze, who made quite an impression with listeners last summer filling in during Siegel's numerous absences.

We'll have more later, don't touch that dial.

Do you work in radio and have inside poop to scoop? Drop us a line at [email protected] Discretion assured.

KTTH takes a holiday: mike siegel is a negro, dan sytman is a comedian, michael medved wears a lampshade, atheists are assuaged, and the round yon virgin gets it on

BlatherWatch once again ventured into the belly of the beast- this time, it was nautical but nice.

We boarded the Argosy cruise boat, the S.S. Quivering Thigh Wednesday evening in Kirkland for what we expected to be a tedious, yet boring holiday karaoke sojourn on Lake Washington with local talkers and avid listeners of KTTH, the "other right meat" of Seattle talk.

We weren't expected or disappointed.

BlatherWatch hadn't planned to attend, but we kept getting seismic rumbles all day of an Entercom programming massacre ala The Buzz which would drastically change KTTH. Entercom, known for its warmth and humanity, apparently saves their massacres for the holiday season. We hoped to get some info from the horse's mouth, instead of the horsesass.org where we usually get our best stuff. Of course we were recognized right away by Dave Boze (m-f, 5-6a) and thoroughly busted.

The action, (if you could call it that with all the poli-wonky 50-somethings and socially challenged X-ers) was on what we called the Poop Deck because of the right-wing detritus that piled up as the evening progressed. Michael "Party Hardly" Medved was there, with the dazzling Dr. Diane wearing the same size dress as she wore when she was a cheerleader in high school. Mike Siegel was there, raring to get down.

As you can imagine, we were electrified with holiday comfort and joy.

The night got started with Medved producer and once-a-week morning host  and MC Dan Sytman (Sat. 6-8a) singing an irreverent parody of that old Christian carol, "It's Getting to Feel A Lot Like Ramadan," offensive to anyone with a soupçon of sensitivity, but, with a couple of notable exceptions (more of them later) there wasn't anyone who fit that description. There were the requisite perennials about the made-for-talk-radio "controversy" over the nonsectarian "happy holidays;" and a few hilarious remarks with barely concealed glee and self-righteousness about those peaceniks held hostage by Iraqi insurgents.

BlatherWatch has always accused Sytman, based on his terse talk style of being humorless. It may be Stockholm Syndrome, trapped on that vessel surrounded by dittoheads on their best behavior, but he was pretty funny. He had good comedic timing, and he sang, for the most part, in tune. We laughed. His material, of course, was right-wing drivel meant to pander to the choir- not unlike one of those Bush "Town Meetings" whose participants are screened carefully to include only toadies and True Believers. Like on the radio, it was liberal baiting, except there were no liberals- or so he thought.

Sytman introduced Boze, who loomed over the audience and said he'd once turned down a $400 offer to sing a karaoke song, "I'd rather be in the Seventh Circle of Hell." It was a sentiment shared by BlatherWatch, especially as we descended circle by circle with karaoke krooners interspersed with speechifying by the attending talk stars.

Meanwhile, trouble was brewing. A woman, ironically named Delilah, was complaining to Cruise Director Dan Neal that the comedy material was offensive and she wanted her money back. Poor Delilah Britton. She's a social worker who'd read an Argosy brochure about a "holiday karaoke cruise." She'd given tickets to her karaoke-loving sister Wendy for a birthday present and the two of them had innocently expected a pleasant evening singing the Wind Beneath My Wings, or some such. Instead, they were stuck on this "ship of fools," with a crowd they considered openly racist, bigoted, homophobic, and pro-Walmart.

The evening raged on. Mike Siegel (m-f, 6-9a) got up and filled us with holiday cheer talking about throwing baby-rapers in the slammer and throwing away the key. Michael Medved, looking a little uncomfortable amongst these down-home glitterati, spoke of songs that might be sung on an Air America karaoke cruise such as White Flag by Dido, in honor of John Murtha, the brave Congressional militarist who spoke outloud what's on the minds of so many in the Pentagon. Or John Lennon's  Imagine which we've heard Medved excoriate before as the apex of liberal naivete and a Democratic policywhite paper.

As it turns out, Mike Siegel, 60, fancies himself as a bit of a Negro. After self-describing as a "reverse Oreo, white on the outside, black on the inside," he launched into James Brown's "Uptight," with his "hair" flying, and all the little hunch-fisted shoulder shimmy shrugs and "Yows!" you'd ever want. He wasn't bad at it, and was definitely a credit to his race- which is white and Jewish- and the only black man in the crowd pretended he didn't see it.  Mike's a sex machine and the Godfather of Talk, as Sytman described him, but after all these years, we think he maybe oughta give it up or turn it loose, as we used to say in 1969.

BlatherWatch harkened to the kindred spirits at the Britton sisters' table, as did Director Dan who lavished free cruise tickets and trinkets on the sisters. Neal, a school teacher and an out gay man, said he wanted them to experience Argosy cruises "when it's not like this." He handled it well and they were much obliged.      

Wendy Britton, it turns out, was not just any liberal, but a founder and former president of Seattle Atheists. The irony by that time was piled on so thick that BlatherWatch came to the conclusion that it was Divine Intervention that brought these two to this evening. Wendy Britton got up, bravely forsook her rehearsed karaoke numbers and sang "Imagine." We were proud of her and though there were a few boos, the crowd was polite- somebody even held up a lighter.



December 01, 2005

KISW gets a BJ, the buzz gets the boots; tom leykis buried alive, robin & maynard sleeping in

Seattle talk radio earth moved today, when Entercom changed KQBZ-FM 100.7 (The Buzz) a major FM all-testosterone talker into a country station called The Wolf.

BJ Shea and his sidekicks Double R and Topshelf, were moved into the anxiously watched KISW space left by Howard Stern as he moves Jan. 1 to to Sirius, the satellite radio network. That BJ, got the nod for Stern's position, wasn't unexpected, but the re-formatting of The Buzz and the talent shifts certainly were.

Is Entercom shooting at Infinity's top-rated shit-kicker KMPS? Yes. Will it work? Probably not, judging by how many have tried it before.

We're sure hearing about nationally syndicated Tom Leykis from our outraged readers- he's been moved to KISW too, but to the ratings ghetto of late night weekdays from 10p-2a, where he'll be live...on tape.

Nobody knows what will happen to the Buzz's morning drive team, Robin & Maynard, who are still under Entercom contract but have no time slot.

With typical Entercom sensitivity, a robotic voice suddenly started counting down to The Wolf 's noon launchwith Toby Keith's "How Do You Like Me Now" right in the middle of Robin & Maynard's show.

Maynard says he had no warning of what was so abruptly coming down.

"'You don't have a chance to explain anything to anybody,'"  Maynard told the PI's Bill Virgin, "'I stayed for an hour after they pulled the plug, just answering one call after another, seven lines ringing non-stop as fast as I could answer them.' from listeners asking what was going on."

This kerfuffle is long from over. BlatherWatch is hearing from dozens of outraged listeners- especially Leykis fans. It's all reminscent of the recent Allan Prell extermination by Entercom, except this involves far more listeners.

We've also been hearing rumblings and rumors as well about Entercom's conservative KTTH- a major shake-up- maybe even a format change-  is rumored to be beginning. Never know where Tom Leykis will show up.

Stay tuned.

November 30, 2005

KTTH request line: singing songs to shoot liberals to...

KTTH Karaoke HOLIDAY CRUISE
November 30, 2005, Kirkland City Dock, 7:00pm-10:00pm
Join KTTH's on-air personalities for a cruise aboard the decorated Spirit of Seattle on Lake Washington, departing from Kirkland City Dock, to begin the festive holiday season. Dance to a DJ on one deck and karaoke on another deck. Enjoy delicious food from Qdoba Mexican Grill. $27 per adult. 

Promoters promise rock'n' roll hits sung by no other than by Mike Siegel (m-f, 6-9a) We're hoping he'll do 'My Boy Lollipop' and 'Under My Thumb.' Pre-dawn talk sensation Dan Sytman (Sat. 6-8a) will do the 'Theme from Braveheart.' We're promised that Michael Medved will attend and are pretty sure he can be talked into stepping up to the mic for a ripping rendition of "American Pie." Dave Boze (m-f, 5-6a) will be there, we'd hope he'd sing 'Okie From Muskogee," and other songs about shooting and lyching liberals. On the dance floor we're sure to see the "March of the Penquins," that latest of conservative dance crazes (it's the rage in Colorado Springs) as well as the ever-popular waltz.  (Married couples only).

This was sold out last year, but not this year. We're not sure if that reflects the station's poor ratings or the singing quality.

We'd love to witness this and duly blog, we're unable to attend, (our chihuahua needs a nail trim) but we'd give our left nostril to hear these guys. We're hoping to get reports.

Any requests for songs any of these talk stars to sing tonight?  Send them to BlatherWatch and email them to [email protected]

November 23, 2005

sharkansky fired for arrogance, sleaze

Ever wonder why Stefan Sharkansky got fired from The Stranger earlier this month? So did we...today we got the real story behind News Editor Josh Feit's nice-nice when he announced Sharkansky's demise Nov. 3.

In case you've forgotten who he was, (so many have) he's the blogger (Soundpolitics) who had his 15 minutes during the post election brouhaha. He gained national MSM attention by "investigating" the county elections department and dribbling out plausible-sounding revelations, some of which were factual.

His often fallacious blogs got him on Fox News and local media loved him too. He was a fixture on KVI and KTTH with John Carlson, Kirby Wilbur, and Mike Siegel during the long months of the recount and the Republicans' made-for-TV lawsuit challenging Gregoire's election.

(If you read it on Soundpolitics, politicos joked, you'd read it next day in the Seattle Times. Even the ultra-left, bad-boy, The Stranger gave him a column, even though he was a doctrinaire Republican. County Chair Chris Vance used to write in to Soundpolitics' comment pages and Stefan would regularly appear on Republican Radio (KVI Sat.,3-5p). Those were the days...)

This came to a halt, we're told by someone inside The Stranger, when Sharkansky attended a pair of press conferences wearing a different hat to each. The pressers were in reaction to a news story he wrote for The Stranger on "fatal pends," incomplete ballots he said were illegally counted by King Co Elections.

According to our source, Sharkansky attended the Republicans' press conference first, where he was hailed as a hero; invited to stand up in front, got the "googly eyes from Kathy Lambert" (not that hard to get, actually, if you're of the male species) and perhaps even spoke to them. Then shoving his Republican political operative hat back in his pocket, he donned his journalist hat, (made with duct tape and Superglue on PhotoShop, no doubt) and as a Stranger reporter, went to the Elections Department presser, where he presumably asked searing questions ala Mike Wallace.

That a reporter would stand as a party operative, and then be a reporter on the same afternoon would embarrass any news organization. Feit was not amused to say the least, according to our source. He decided then and there to kick him off paper after the election.

Besides his overreaching arrogance, Sharkansky has proved to be a one-trick pony. If you read his blog, (so many don't) he's still prattling on about ballots and voting peculiarities. (check out today's riveting "photo essay of frightening mail ballots ") even though the world has moved on.

It's been fascinating to watch Sharkansky spin out into irrelevance after his meteoric rise and dazzling crescendo. An interesting comparison is his arch-rival David Goldstein whose blog, Horse's Ass.org built slowly and has gained a more stable readership. Goldy was instrumental in bringing down the candidacy of the Dave Irons, the ne'er-do-well challenger to County Exec Ron Sims in this month's election. His exposes of Irons' family feuds and rageful temper (which included his own mother's polygraphed account of him hitting her) put the frosting on the coffin.

Goldstein has more to say on many more issues and he has a sense of humor. Doggedness seemed to be Stefan's long suit and now he just seems stuck.

November 22, 2005

cinnabon-related evil, mike siegel sings karaoke, dino rossi's evil redemption

~~Monday talk radio was aflutter (Dori Monson KIRO m-f, 12-3p; John Carlson, KVI m-f, 3-6p) with the Tacoma Mall Sunday shooting by a deranged gunman. As you can imagine, there were many reasons opined by the talk radio callers why Dominick S. Maldonado let the lead fly so close to Sam Goody and all that we hold dear. Here's a sample: 
1) the guy ran amok because there was no nativity scene or religious displays allowed in the mall, thanks to the ACLU.
2) one caller told Carlson (who agreed) that the whole darn thing would have never happened if one out of three citizens in the mall was carrying a firearm.
3) all anyone has to know is that Maldonado is Evil. No need to psychoanalyze him, coddle him, listen to him, try him even...just put him down.
4) maybe it was one of those Cinnabon-related crimes of hypoglycemic rage or an irrational reaction from a less than satisfactory food court experience. It happens.   

~~Speaking of evil: what could be more frightening than Michael Medved singing karaoke? Or even more scary, Mike Siegel? Yes, Wednesday, November 30, KTTH will attempt to entice listeners on the 2nd annual KTTH Karaoke Cruise. We have no idea whether Michael or Mike can sing--maybe they can if they've allowed themselves to get into this decidedly weird situation. But can they "get down?" Will they "get down?" And if they do, would you want to see it? The Agony Cruise website says this event  sold out last year--actually, it might be worth the $27 bucks to witness it. If you decide to go, email [email protected] and make song requests for Medved, Siegel, Dave Boze, and Dan Sytman. We wanna see Mike Siegel doing "My Boy Lollypop."

--Revealing, is what they were--we speak of Designated GOP Liar Sean Hannity's talking points when lecturing Monday about how Congressional criticism of Bush's war is hurting America. He said: "Just as we're winning and victory is in sight, these [Democrats] want us to cut and run." He predicted that in six months, 50,000 troops will be ready to be pulled out, we'll be so darned victorious. Everybody knows that we've got to get out of Iraq--especially the R's if they ever want to win another election. Sounds like Hannity' and the other right-wing spin monkeys have been instructed to get out in front of the ignominious pull-out by saying we're already winning.
~~
"How To Publish A Book," by Dino Rossi, 2004 gubernatorial candidate. It's easy if you're a banker like the lovable loser. First, start a publishing company; then "write" by speaking into a tape recorder, hire a writer/editor to clean it up and put it into book form; next... publish yourself! He's a struggling writer, Republican-style. Wanna laugh? Click here for Rossi's publishing company's e-catalog.  Then click on "New Products," then click on "All Products."
~~
~~This Evil business is sure big with the right, these days. MSNBC's Chris Mathews got Michael Medved (KTTH m-f, 12-3p) and Michelle Malkin going when he said, "If we stop trying to figure out the other side, we've given up. The person on the other side is not evil -- they just have a different perspective." You'da thunk he'd burned a flag--when they say Evil they're talking about The Devil, whom fundamentalists (evangelicals, orthodox, born-agains--same-same-same) and neocons think is as omnipresent as Anderson Cooper. Pronouncing a person or event as  "evil" or "Evil" precludes, in their dark corner of the Judeo-Christian world, investigation, analysis, or empathy--just dismiss it as evil and shoot it. This goes for murderers, terrorists, pitbulls, Hitler, gangsta rappers, and certain Democrats. Whatever happened to redemption? We always thought that was the deal in Judeo-Christianity...





November 18, 2005

the most popular talk station in seattle

What's the most popular talk station in Seattle?  No, it's not KIRO. Forget pip-squeaks like KVI and KTTH or Air America. It's none of those screaming, hypermanic AM talkers with their cranky conservatives, drive-by debate, chug-a-lug politics and wham-bam-thank-you-sir prurient interests.

It's the gentle, measured, cerebral (someone would say boring)  KUOW-FM (94.9) the Seattle talk format NPR affiliate.

Arbitron doesn't include public non-commercial stations in the 12+ numbers it releases--they're listed separately by the Radio Research Consortium.

The Seattle Post Intelligencer's Bill Virgin, whose weekly "Radio Beat" column is the only regularly reported MSM radio news we have in this town, put together both lists and found that not only was KUOW the highest rated talk station, it was the #2 in the whole market (second only to the mighty country music format KMPS).

This has always been common knowledge in the radio business around here, but Virgin does a good job of crunching and integrating the numbers and documenting it for us lay folk.

KUOW isn't the only non-commercial station to register in the combined overall rankings. KPLU-FM (88.5), along with Port Angeles outlet KVIX-FM (89.3), finishes in a tie at 16th on the adjusted rankings, while KEXP-FM (90.3) places 27th. Also registering on the list are Bellevue Community College's KBCS-FM (91.3) and Clover Park Technical College's KVTI-FM (90.9).

Yes, Seattle is different. Virgin writes that public radio does well in certain markets, like San Francisco, and Minneapolis -St. Paul and college town markets like Raleigh-Durham. He says "...KUOW's ranking has to be one of the highest in the country."

(A little disclosure: we love NPR here at BlatherWatch and have had many commentaries on the national "All things Considered" and have appeared many times on KUOW).

One of the reasons that right-wing talk has become so powerful in the Northwest, is that so many of us liberals are escaping the crassness of the commercial-strewn AM stations and tuning in to the nuanced and intellectually satisfying NPR.

Meanwhile many other folks, apolitical or non-aligned, and trapped in their cars, have become politicized by the repetitive drumbeat of conservative talk. While we're getting the finer points, others are having partisan polemic literally pounded daily into their brains at the cellular level.

It's a big problem for Air America or other liberal AM talk. The commercials, the tone of voice, and unmitigated bias of AM talk is a turn-off to the on-the-other-hand crowd.

Nuance is cool intellectually but Sean Hannity, Kirby Wilbur, John Carlson, Rush Limbaugh, et al, not only deliver punchy intense entertainment, but also turn listeners into passionate partisans. They have perfected- written the book on- making political rhetoric a popular entertainment medium.

NPR doesn't try to do that, but while they get big numbers in Seattle, their listeners are kept naive about the reality of local partisan politics.

~~They have, through salacious repetition, helped poison the minds of people against politicians, government and government process. While skepticism about government is good, the total distrust is unwarranted and problematic to the Republic.      

~~The extreme anti-tax I-912 was conceived by two talk hosts who used their shows to accomplish the amazing feat of getting it on the ballot in record time. It took a huge effort and millions of dollars to defeat the regressive measure.

~~Tim Eyman and his monkey-wrenching tax revolt initiatives would be nowhere without Seattle talk radio. Neither would the anti-affirmative I-200. Or the one-size-fits-all justice of "3-Strikes You're Out."

~~The attempt to unseat Christine Gregoire, though a failure in court, was a tremendous political success for Republicans. They succeeded, through talk radio, and triangulation with blogs, in convincing citizens that a) the King County Elections Dep't committed fraud and b) that Christine Gregoire had something to do with it. They put her numbers in the tank, a place from which she is only now recovering.

During all of this, we progressives in Seattle were listening to KUOW, considering all things and were amazed when the fruits of the talk radio conservative activists fell from the tree.

Who needs to address this is the Democratic Party, who incredibly blows off AM talk radio. They should, like the Republicans, recruit and groom young people to get into broadcasting; and take the medium seriously- they're getting their ass-kicked. The talk radio audience are, for the most part, the swing voters--they can be won over

This is our favorite rant, we'll stop now. Here are some interesting factoids about KUOW from Virgin's piece:

So what are people listening to when they tune in to KUOW? The most listened-to hour of the week, according to program director Jeff Hansen, is the nationally syndicated "Car Talk" at 9 a.m. Saturdays.

That's followed by the 7-8 a.m. weekday hour of "Morning Edition," "Wait, Wait ... Don't Tell Me" at 10 a.m. Saturday, the 8-9 a.m. segment of "Morning Edition," "This American Life" at 11 a.m. Saturday, the 6-7 a.m. segment of "Morning Edition," the 8-9 a.m. segment of "Weekend Edition" on Saturdays, the Sunday rebroadcast of "Prairie Home Companion" (it actually outdraws the Saturday broadcast) and the 5-6 p.m. segment of "All Things Considered."



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 09, 2005

talk radio initiative runs out of gas

I-912, the anti-infrastructure, no-new gas-tax initiative spawned on Seattle talk radio appears to be failing at the time of this writing election night  post.

All there's left for the counting is King County and it's presently defeating it at over 60%.

The measure, which would have never made it to the ballot without talk radio, was polling favorably at over 70% only a few months ago.

The Yes campaign will continue to play the class card and claim they were the victims of the rich corporate elite's Big Money campaign which overcame their Jack & the Beanstalk jousting with the power elite.

But in actuality, the campaign, which depended on voter outrage was mugged by reality.

They could not overcome, even with illegal direct campaigning on the public airwaves, the voters' realization that infrastructure was both needed and needed to be paid for.

They could not overcome the perception of the disaster of an unprepared government and inadequate infrastructure after Hurricane Katrina. Suddenly, earthquake vulnerable bridges and highways were unacceptable.

They could not overcome Big Bucks well spent--the No campaign tailored their messages to specific areas around the state--their job was simple--give 'em the facts about the transportation package scorned by talk radio.

They could not overcome the opposition of their own Republican business base.

They could not overcome a measure passed legally and in good faith by a majority of duly elected representatives.

They could not overcome the mighty juggernaut of local progressive blogs and websites: the Northwest Progressive Institutehorsesass.org, Evergreen Politics, On the Road to 2008, Progressive Majority, WA State Political Report, Artistdogboy and more.  

They could not overcome the watchful eye and withering tongue of BlatherWatch, who was reporting on the 1-912 campaign when it was still a twinkle in the beady eyes of Kirby and John.

They could not overcome the innate common sense of the American voter, who always sees through the bullshit, eventually.

Tonight's election coverage was pretty good on the whole, despite 2 out of 3 stations were conservative--we dig listening to right wing radio when they're losing-- it's deeply satisfying, as rare as that pleasure has been of late.

Air America's KTPK, of course, had no coverage because they have no live and local programming. 

Dave Ross on KIRO didn't rub it in too much with Dori Monson who took some pretty big hits. He sure is agreeable when he's down...We were reminded of how terrific is KIRO's news team. We were all over the dial and nobody, including arch-rival KOMO, could touch Tony Miner and his newsroom especially for getting the numbers out before anyone else.

KVI had of course, John Carlson, Kirby Wilbur, Bryan Suits, plus Ken Schram for comic relief and a refreshing shot of liberalism. As partisan and invested as Carlson and Wilbur were in the election, they didn't try to cover up the bad news as it unfolded, making real analysis, instead even when reality wasn't going their way.

Unlike Mike Siegal on KTTH who spoke of little else other than I-900, the successful performance audit initiative he worked on. It was a foregone conclusion it would pass and he spent the night clapping himself on the back, puffing up Bob Williams and Eyman's moneybags, Mike Dunmire.  He was in denial the whole night that his nemesis, county Executive Ron Sims was winning; and I-912 was in trouble--he left the air at 9:30 like the true partisan he is predicting an Irons win. It was bad radio.

Michael Medved then took over and licked Dino Rossi (remember him?) to death about his new book, " I Was a Contender! a self-aggrandizing vanity press campaign brochure he sells out of the trunk of his car.

The big winners tonight:

Ron Sims

Domestic tranquility.

Governor Christine Gregoire

representative democracy

trust in local government

a brave bipartisan Legislature

Secretary of Transportation, the gracious Doug McDonald
~~
The big losers:

Dave Irons

Domestic violence

Carlson & Wilbur

talk radio and microwave democracy

the ash tray industry

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 24, 2005

Arbitron ratings: kiro's back! ktth is not, kvi's in the pooper, ALLAN PRELL, COME BACK--ALL'S FORGIVEN!

Corks from magnums of RockStar have been popping at Eastlake after the release of the latest Arbitron ratings covering the long, not so hot summer.

KIRO, whose demise has been predicted by BlatherWatch and many others for months, had it first good book in a year! In the overall 12+ demo, KIRO went dramatically from 7th place in the Spring book, to tie with KOMO for 3rd.

This demographic, of those 12 years old and older, is kind of a show demo and the only one released to the public, (you can see the whole thing here).

Air America's KPTK (1090AM) didn't show up at all in the top 20. KIRO ugly sister KTTH (770am) dropped even further into the poop going from 17th to 19th. KVI made a dismal showing in the 12+, going from 10th place to 16th.

The 25-54, "money demo," is the survey that advertisers and therefore everybody else in radio cares about.  Sneak-peekers and rumor mongers claim that KIRO went from 19th place to 14th--an impressive jump.

Air America's KPTK, made it from 23rd to 19th.

Conservative talkers KVI, and KTTH both have dropped out of sight on the top 20 in that all-important demo.

"KTTH is probably the worst-rated conservative talker in the country," a radio pro told us after seeing the numbers. We recently found out that one minute of ad time on Rush Limbaugh on KTTH can be bought for $120! Or, for the same price, you can buy a minute on obscure morning talker Mike Siegel's show. At those cut rates, even BlatherWatch could afford a little promo--maybe somebody in sales could drop us a line.

We've been hearing that John Carlson, (KVI, m-f, 3-6p) is negotiating his contract (up in Dec.) w/Fisher Broadcasting; and is even talking to Entercom (KIRO & KTTH). But the Summer book wouldn't seem to give him much to negotiate with. In the 12+, his time slot (sharing the last hour with Bryan Suits) went from 5th to be tied for 12th place. In the money demo, where he was already very close to the bottom, he dropped a point.

According to sources and the trade message boards, KIRO midday made an impressive improvement. That would be in the 10a-3p, shared last summer by Allan Prell and Dori Monson. The hourlies, not released yet, would break out these numbers between the two hosts, and some smart people are opining that Allan Prell, who apparently was just catching on when he was fired, is accountable for this up-tick.

No one can know that for sure, yet; but as you know, if you read this blog, there was a huge--some say an unprecedented--uproar from many loyal listeners after the firing that caused fusillades of mail to be pelted at KIRO, BlatherWatch, and Entercom. We're still getting fresh inquiries about where the hell is Allan Prell. (Seattle sports icon, Tony Ventrella was fired from KIRO a few days later and it was like the proverbial tree falling in a forest--there seemed to be no affect).

Mysteriously, Prell was fired just days before the summer trends numbers were to come out. And when they did--they showed a significant upward trend in his listenership. Now a month later, the book comes out with a big jump in midday? Some are saying: "It ain't Dori Monson!" Or you could read or comments strings, if you doubt us.

Or maybe Dori's self-promotions last summer--like jumping out of that plane or selling kisses at Bumbershoot did the trick...

We always love to blame Program Director Tom Clendening for everything bad that happens at KIRO, but in this strange business, he actually fought FOR Allan Prell with Chopping & Splitting Division Chief Jerry "Swingblade" McKenna.

What's really crazy is that they fired Prell without having anyone to replace him. Now we never know who's gonna show up for the 9 to noon: and KIRO frequently falls back on the miserable Frank Shiers. Prell's people were of the liberal persuasion and fled like sugar bees to a rump roast on over to Air America's Thom Hartmann on KTPK--especially after hearing Shiers' smug, self-satisfied conservatism. Read our comments strings about Frank, if you don't wanna hear it from us...

(BlatherWatch was caught flatfooted (once again) by Prell's popularity--we'd cast nasturtiums on him since the beginning. After all this, however, we've come to believe that Prell, an acquired taste, was fired prematurely and might very well have become a strong player in Seattle morning radio).

In other crow, we might have to eat: Mike Webb has won some good numbers. His show, (with one hour of Tony Ventrella) went impressively from being tied for 12th to the #4 spot in the 12+. He did well in the money demo, too, we hear. (Expect Webb, who's obnoxious even when he's down, to be insufferable now that he's back up. We're not looking forward to it).

KIRO is not out of the woods-- their new good numbers will drop like a rock if they don't get someone into the 9-noon spot soon. (Dave Ross performed well in this book; and many think he'll end up back in the morning. Others say he loves his early morning Tai Chi class, and wants to write a book). We predict NY Vinnie's numbers in the 6-9p won't be good next time--there's still lots of work to be done at KIRO. Clendening's job, wonder of wonders may be safe again...

KVI made a stunningly mediocre showing...Are Fisher suits wondering if all this on-air politickin' by Carlson, et al and the subsequent Public Disclosure Commission and other legal problems including the prospect of civil suits is worth it? We shall see.

KTTH is in the deepest trouble of them all...they can't even get good rating out of Limbaugh, the most popular talker in the history of the world.

Stay tuned for more hardheaded analysis.

October 18, 2005

rabbi daniel lapin--oy gevalt!--back in the news...

We’d naively thought he was just a quaintly opinionated blowhard with the haughty accent of an Afrikaaner who’d done fill-in on KVI and KTTH and bought himself onto the radio in the weird off-hours usually reserved for secular infomercials for male performance supplements.

On-air he’s a folksy clergyman ("Everybody needs a rabbi,” he always says) who’s a bit of a yenta, a match-maker, and champion of marriage between people of the same faith, same species, but different genders; he’s didactic and condescending--and speaks in paragraphs--long paragraphs. Northwest goyim in general have little contact with Jews, especially religious ones, so listeners gush and treat him like an exotic animal--sort of their pet Jew.

We Washingtonians are always proud of those of our own who gain national note, or, notoriety--no matter. We're as proud of the Green River Killer as we are of August Wilson; we always point up to our guys, Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain; everyone we know is proud to have a friend who has a friend who knew Ted Bundy.

So with pride we report another homey making it big on the Right Coast. He's Rabbi Daniel "Danny Rabbit" Lapin, "show rabbi of the religious right,"(as Frank Rich has called him) Seattle vanity radio talk host (KTTH Sun. 7-9p) and the guy who owns the bragging rights to having introduced indicted super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff to indicted meanieocon Tom Delay, which is something akin to introducing Bonnie to Clyde.

(Abramoff was once board chair and longtime director (with syndicated talk host, and close Lapin friend Michael Medved) of Lapin's Mercer Island non-profit foundation, Toward Tradition. He was finally dumped from the board list on the TT website after his recent indictment) Lapin, until recently had dismissed the scandal as an accounting error.

In an investigative report in Sunday's Washington Post, How a Lobbyist Stacked the Deck Susan Schmidt and James V. Grimaldi tell how Abramoff derailed the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act which was backed by many Christian conservatives and anti-gambling groups, and who were astonished when it failed to pass the House.

Arrayed against eLottery were many leading groups on the religious right who were pushing to ban Internet gambling, including the Moral Majority and the Christian Coalition. James Dobson, influential leader of Focus on the Family, praised the bill in an opinion piece for the New York Times.

Continue reading "rabbi daniel lapin--oy gevalt!--back in the news... " »

michael savage wiener, russel goldencloud wiener, oscar meyer weiner, and mike webb the wiener

In a story bound to boost product sales for the energy drink, Rockstar, The New York Times reported this over the weekend:

The owner of a Portland, Ore. grocery chain has removed Rockstar energy drinks from the shelves. The founder of Rockstar, Russell Goldencloud Weiner, is the son of Michael Savage, the perpetually enraged talk radio host.

Brian Rohter, owner of New Seasons Market, told The Portland Oregonian that Mr. Savage did "his best to take apart the fabric of our society and to attack American values."

In 2003, MSNBC fired Mr. Savage after he told a caller he assumed was gay to "get AIDS and die." He continues to employ a similar tone on his syndicated radio show.

On www.rockstar69.com, Mr. Weiner talks about his father's experience as an "herbalist" and claims his caffeine-loaded beverage is "the perfect balance of vitamins and herbs." Major ingredients are high-fructose corn syrup and glucose.

We reported last spring about Seattle's only out-gay talk host and "liberal", Mike Webb's (KIRO m-f, 9p-1a) night after nightly plugs for RockStar. His repeated mentions can be translated into marketing dollars directly into the pockets of one of the most virulent and well-known homophobes in the country.

Read BlatherWatch's brilliant but snotty expose of this low-grade hypocrisy. (Note what insignificat pap passes for 'snotty exposes,' anymore) If Webb had good ratings, this would be a great story, but nobody much listens to him so file it under: "More BlatherWatch overreach." We don't know if it's product placement or Webb's lack of feck, but he still plugs the hipster drink in the little silver cans-- even after all our blathering.

Somebody oughta ask him about it on the air.

Savage's (KTTH m-f, 3-5p)is a more interesting story--at least if you don't have to listen to him.

He's a train wreck of bombasticity, political incorrectness and getting the full value of shock, though he lacks the awe-inspiration he strives for--he's just crazed-sounding and bellicose. He recently wrote a best-selling book saying liberalism is a mental disorder, but he proudly displays some pretty scary pathology each day on his show.

Conservatives are always mad at him--mostly for excoriating Bush on immigration and because he hasn't nuked Baghdad. Like any trainwreck, he draws a contingent of ghoulish lookee-loo's who sit breathlessly waiting to hear what he might say next.

For all his fag-baiting, there's a fascinating story of an affair he probably had with the openly gay beat poet, Allen Ginsberg. According to Wikipedia:

Some of his letters to Ginsberg are held in Ginsberg's archives and one of those letters describes an encounter with a young Fijian man. Savage denies writing the letter and called it part of a 'smear campaign' by 'gay fascists. Savage also once posed naked for a photograph with Ginsberg while swimming in Fiji.

They don't call it homophobia for nothing.

Click here for  for America's Laziest Fascist, an hilarious account of a Rockstar event in California where an obnoxious and drunken Michael Savage bored and outraged a large crowd in Marin.

Savage doesn't do all that well in Seattle, he was 22nd in the market at the last book, pulling the same numbers as Mike Webb--a sad 1.3.

October 17, 2005

Whither KIRO, KTTH...ad yawneum

Here we go again. After Allan Prell's momentous departure and aftershocks that keep resounding like a dog barking in the afterlife, Entercommies keep opening up and spilling their guts to Blathering Man.

The KIRO help can't help themselves wondering why Program Director Tom Clendening still has a job. We've asked it since last March (!) and have greatly exaggerated rumors of his demise.

Suits trooped in from Bala Cynwyd (but not CEO David Field) Monday & Tuesday of last week, but no apparent shoes dropped, although everyone was quivering. The PD is like Kenny from South Park, just when you think he's really dead, there he is again. Rumors are that Entercom honchos rented Clendening a shaman (they're for rent on the back page of The Stranger) put him in a sweat lodge, smudged his office with healing herbs and purged him of all his evil decision-making demons.  Reportedly he's good to go.

There was a cleansing colonic procedure as well, and Frank Shiers reportedly manned the hose-bag, familiar as he is with Tom's posterior. Not a great favorite with his fellows, he reportedly bops into Tom's orifice, (oops, office) from the newsroom all day long. Maybe that's how he keeps getting all the key fill-in work he has so little experience with. BJ Shea (KQBZ m-f, 10a-3p) always says program directors are lazy--they often take the line of least resistance. Shiers, who does KBSG voice-overs, is always right there and ready to go (though we hear Tom sometimes peeks out his door to see if the coast is clear before going to the john to avoid being button-holed by Shiers).
 
Word on the street is that NY Vinnie isn't packing it in Ventrella's spot on the 6-9p. It's generally agreed that Ventrella will disappear entirely after the Seahawks are over. People are still amazed in the difference in how Prell and Ventrella were terminated. Tony got a swan song show, where he got to read a poem and say good bye; a quaint fable was crafted about how he wanted to get re-involved in his business. Prell was unceremoniously dumped one morning after his shift and no explanation was made to listeners, even though they wrote by the hundreds or thousands even.

Vinnie hasn't much passion for issues. His heart's in the right place and his politics; but he's a get-along guy who'd rather tell stories or lead the chorus than mix it up with callers. The other night he led one of those tsk-tsk fests about the lack of civility anymore--you know how nobody holds doors for the ladies or says please & thank-you, and that danged Jerry Springer and South Park that's ruined us all, etc.,etc., ad yawneum...He's a sports guy and always falls back on sports.

The thrill mill still insists that Siegel producer Dave Boze and Medved producer Dan Sytman will wrench the KTTH morning drive (m-f 6-9a) out of Siegel's hands and send him to afternoons--maybe to that odd 5-7p spot where O'Reilly tells his lies. (O'Reilly to Siegel? that's a lateral move, Tom).

Dave & Dan (we call 'em Dumb & Meaner) have been filling in for Siegel during his multious holidays and perked up the mornings while they did. They're frisky and loud, and fast moving in that mocking, politically incorrect gotcha way of Young Republican quick studies. They've gotten good reception from listeners, at least the ones who write to us. After Siegel's hackneyed schtick, anyone might seem fresh, though.

We've heard Boze may be resistant to taking the slot, though he denies everything to us. He's from Hillsdale College by way of Stanwood, so his hippy ambivalence runs deep. He may be afraid the morning commitment would interfere with elk season. 

Sytman, a Seattle boy who gets his kicks interviewing homeless people and asking them questions on economics, applied several years ago for a sense of humor, but so far it hasn't come though. He's done a fair job of fashioning one out of old Michael Medved shows and Peter Weissbach one-liners from the '90's. (Michael Medved only acquired his sense of humor after the Republican takeover in 1994).

We'd love it if the new team got the spot, but why, Tom, not send Siegel back to the farm team?

October 13, 2005

allan prell's gone but not forgotten: a kiro love story

Leaving a trail of paper latte cups and discarded pages of the New York Times, the BlatherWatch entourage, limo-ed up for a day of protest and civil disobedience, sped across the Puget Sound archipelago missing ferries, feinting turns and making fool's detours to throw off the mouth-breathing thugs hired by corporate media.

A typical morning in the lives of media-busters--and exhausting; but when we arrived at the Eastlake Headquarters of Common Nonsense, 25 minutes late, we found we'd missed Allan Prell's day of rage completely. When we arrived, there was no one left but an avid little knot of people, either too excited or decrepit to clear out smartly.

We've pieced together this account of the demonstration from media, witnesses and our craven spy-monkeys crawling around the Entercom innards.

Continue reading "allan prell's gone but not forgotten: a kiro love story" »

October 11, 2005

entheomania, blathermania, allan prell, dave ross, michael weiner, dan savage, dominatrixes, dubious achievements and fisting 1-912

~~Dave Ross (KIRO m-f, 3-6p) is, simply, the only local liberal talk host in Seattle. And he's the best. (No, Erin Hart and Mike Webb don't count. And neither does the goof-ball trying out for Prell's slot today, who, about half the time, forgot to mention his name or the KIRO call letters). Ross is eloquent and clear with such issues as I-912, the dangerous anti-roads repair initiative on the Nov. ballot. Supporters don't want to talk about intersections and concrete--they want to talk about sending a message. Ross takes the issue to the core--intersections, HOV lanes, the tax policies that create them; and still makes compelling radio. The I-912 people count on short attention spans, and the tempting elixir of anger and revenge to bollox the road repairs bill. Fear & loathing makes for more enticing politics (and radio) than the nuts & bolts of issues, but there's evidence that voters are starting to look deeper. Check Ross's website for listeners' specific questions he directs to the Department of Transportation.

~~Michael Savage, the demented, homophobic, talk radio entheomaniac, (KTTH m-f, 3-6) whose real name is Michael Wiener, is advertising for "five characters and a primary co-host" for his diatribic weekdaily show that leaks like a stain from San Francisco. Its going to be like a reality show with 32 contestants starting out but fired one day at a time by audience vote until only five are left. the one with the most votes will become co-host for 3 months or until Savage fires him or her. The audience can (he claims) veto his firing if 500,000 or more call in to an 800 line. Sound cool to "talk where he talks?" Send a tape or CD to The Michael Savage Show, C/O Talk Radio Network, P.O. Box 3755, Central Point, OR 97502.

~~Should be fun to meet Allan Prell fans (and Allan Prell) at the big demonstration Weds. Luckily for us, it's a "free day" at The Home, so we're hoping to make down to Eastlake at noon on Wednesday. We were always so mean (Allan says 'cruel,') to him in print, we're hoping no one will 'shoe" us away. We've been speaking to Allen recently and now we officially love him--not in the biblical sense and better late than never.

~~We'll be close to others around KIRO and KTTH who hate our guts as well. Like Mike Webb, who's usually packing (a gun, presumably, and not his pants, though we wouldn't put that past him) has made some pretty harsh threats on us over the email. We're watching our backs--he hasn't sued anybody lately either. Mr. Clendening and Mr. Pridemore probably don't want much to do with us either, though they probably wouldn't bother shooting us, unless, of course they had a gun and no one was looking. We'd like to go across the street to Azteca with those two and clean up some of that negativity between us. Remember boyz: a smile is just a frown turned upside down.

~~We haven't beat up on Mike Siegel lately--honestly, we've been trying to quit. But damn it, now he's flacking listeners to Ocean Shores (where he owns a condo) for a fabulous cheap weekend, with a FREE GRRRMET DINNER, his company, and the rare opportunity to hear the investment opportunities of buying into this condo arrangement. Wonder what his cut is? They probably'll let him take the leftovers home from the FREE GRRRMET DINNER. You usually hear about these "opportunities" from telemarketers--why doesn't Mike get back to more dignified flacking like for snore cures, rotary nose hair trimmers and herbal viagara?

~~BlatherWatch is not covering the flatulance/Limbaugh beat anymore http://blatherwatch.blogs.com/talk_radio/2005/10/butt_lickings_w.html#more because we got quite a stern lecture about taste and discretion by an editor we respect and fear. We did want want to tell you that, according to the tabs, Limbaugh's nickname around the clubhouse is "Limberger"

~~We asked Dan Savage, The Stranger editor and celebrated sex advice columnist if he's ever reconsidered being a talk radio host.  Savage was touring his new book, The Commitment: Love, Sex, Marriage, and My Family. (Dutton) Back in the early '90's, he had a talk show on the old KCMU (now KEXP) on Sunday nights. They did live fisting on-air, interviewed a man who married his horse, and talked to John Wayne Bobbit and plenty of dominatrixes, all accompanied by witty Savage banter. When Al Franken came to town last Spring, Savage was again funny and right on. No, he told us, it was too much work  too time consuming. He said a host (like Franken) must do most of his own research himself, just so he can learn the stuff in such short order and so regularly. "You always gotta be right," he said, "you can't just make up stuff," Someone should tell that to Sean Hannity

October 06, 2005

KIRO questions-- who's he doin'? what're they doin'? and why the hell ain't they?

KIRO staffers are baffled (and by the same token, KIRO baffers are staffled) as to what happened to the changes that seemed to have begun over at the Mighty Mouse of Eastlake.

With car bombs rolled in by the boys upstairs, Allan Prell and Tony Ventrella were vaporized suddenly a couple of weeks ago--but things seem to have stalled along the way.

The question on everyone's lips is, of course, who's Programming Director Tom Clendening blowing that he still has his job?

Continue reading "KIRO questions-- who's he doin'? what're they doin'? and why the hell ain't they?" »

October 04, 2005

butt lickings, wea culpas, trends, prell fall-out, passing the buck and the gas

~We're grateful to Allan Prell for answering our plaintive, ingratiating, butt-licking pleas and responding via BlatherWatch to his legions of fans who've pelted us with supportive emails. He didn't' have to--especially after the way we kicked him around for months. Wea culpa, but we're sure sorry now, Allan...But don't hold your breath waiting for KPTK PD Jim Trapp, to bring you in and localize the Air America station, he never listens, and apparently speaks only to God...

~More bad news from KIRO: the self-satisfied, self-congratulatory Frank Shiers will be filling in all week on the 9-to-noon. He's sucking up to listeners with lavish compliments and florid flattery, hoping perhaps, to win Prell's spot by acclamation...judging from our mail there's fat chance of that...

~Flattery it wasn't for Erin Hart (9p-1a Sat. & Sun) who followed Shiers Sunday night: What in the hell did he mean when he said, "You want fire in the hole? You'll love the Erin Hart Show..." Was it a mixed metaphor or was he just glad to see her? Couldn't been the former--Shiers never screws up a cliche...

~Our generous and well, spiritual offer to KIRO management (Tom & Dave) to commune with pissed-off listeners on Blatherwatch after last week's firings sure fell flat. We thought for sure they'd use this site in a Jimmy Carter moment to intervene with listeners and help heal the wounds caused by their ineptitude. We're here to serve, and as with so many wannabe saints and choir boys, we were blown off.

~We wasted another Sunday night monitoring Rabbi "Danny Rabbit" Lapin, (KTTH m-f, 7-10p) hoping he'd comment on the metastasizing scandal around his friend Jack Abramoff. The disgraced

Continue reading "butt lickings, wea culpas, trends, prell fall-out, passing the buck and the gas" »

September 28, 2005

wednesday oddems: wheredeego? whydeego? the mystery of allan prell, the nerve of lou pate, KIRO, KIRO, KIRO!

The station is abuzz. KIRO staffers can't figure out wha hoppened to 9 to noon host, Allan Prell who disappeared into dead air so suddenly in the middle of last week. As we reported, staff was surprised he was fired on a Wednesday; not a Friday, customary for this kind of termination. This has the appearance of a sudden punishment or purge for something embarrassing or compromising. Why was he fired just two days before the Arbitron trends came out?  It's more logical, and customary to boot somebody after bad numbers. They were amazed he was fired so soon after the major promotional event, the Battle of the Talk Show Hosts. Did management know his days were numbered, employees wonder, even as they promo-ed him?
~~
Today at BlatherWatch, Prell's disappearance and firing rivaled the buzz and the hits we got when in April we reported on Rev. Ken Hutcherson, the Kirkland evangelical mega-preacher who stared down Microsoft last year in the name of the Lord, and defeated the landmark gay rights bill before the Legislature. We were surprised at this intense interest in Prell--KIRO's firing of local sports icon Tony Ventrella Monday didn't generate anywhere near the interest. (A reader wrote today that Ventrella "made the mostly benign Dave Ross, seem like a wild man.") Ventrella's picture and bio is still on the KIRO website, Prell's was wiped before anyone missed him. Prell just disappeared, Ventrella was fired, then allowed to stay for one last show last night and he bid the listeners adieu. That's rare on radio--also rare was the memo in the employee mailboxes saying that Ventrella was returning to the business world or some such.
~~
If BlatherWatch commenters had anything to say about it, Prell would have been saved and Dori Monson would have been booted.
~~
The name on everyone's lips is Ciscoe Morris, the quirky ex-lawnboy and who does the gardening show on Saturdays. He keeps popping up in conversations as the next 9 to nooner to replace Prell. His Wisconsin accent may be a liability, but on the upside, he  still speaks better English than New York Vinnie and has more broadcasting experience than Frank Shiers.
~~
Last week, while we were porking out in the Palouse, we missed that the vote on the union contract at KIRO and KTTH was completed and the AFTRA contract was decertified. In other words, the fools led by Lou Pate, (KIRO m-f, 1-5a) threw out their own union representation. The first vote was in May and it was a tie, with three votes in dispute. The NLRB examined the questioned votes, and disqualified two, leaving one to decide: union, yes; or union, no. An email from the union, identified to all concerned that the person who cast the disputed vote was none other than Michael Medved (KTTH m-f, 12-3p), the nationally syndicated neocon who broadcasts from Seattle. Medved is one of those who made no public stance on the union. Now, of course, everyone knows that he voted for decertification of the union he'd been a member of for nearly 30 years. At least he was true to his conservative union-hating principles. Not so true to his alleged progressive principals was Lexus liberal Mike Webb (KIRO m-f, 9p-1a) who favored the union-busting, even as he class-baits and decries "corporate masters," while hypocritically blowing off his own right to collective bargaining. 
~~
Speaking of blow-jobs, a quick-fingered producer cut conservative overnighter Lou Pate's remarks at the Battle of the Talk Show Hosts, when he reportedly said  that blow-jobs were the only thing about Bill Clinton he could identify with. The audience at home didn't get to hear that, but they did catch Pate's remark suggesting  KY Jelly for Mike Webb's penetrating problems. Mr. Clendening was not amused.
~~
Got any inside radio poop to scoop? Discretion assured. Send us an email at [email protected]

September 27, 2005

tony ventrella, 2005-2005 R.I.P.

People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered...
forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish ulterior motives...
be kind anyway. --In the Final Analysis by Mother Theresa

Tony Ventrella won't be back tomorrow.

The Big KIRO Purge that began last week with 9 to nooner Allen Prell, continued tonight with Ventrella's well-shorn head falling in the basket. No warning, no party, just the sad sound of a desk being cleaned out and the smell of flop sweat around the tense cubicle ranch ravaged by rumors, paranoia and intenuendo.

Who's next?

Mike Webb, directly following Ventrella and his brave-hearted swan song, stirred out of his usual ennui and acted actually interested and energetic on-air as the landscape literally shifted around him--nothing like the smell of death to perk a guy up...

After a normal show packed with inside baseball about football, Tony Ventrella, like the motivational speaker he is, read In the Final Analysis, a corny but uplifting bit of poesy by Mother Theresa. He then said goodbye to his few good listeners and that he'd be around for his Seahawk's Huddle Thursdays (7-9p) and would otherwise be doing TV, and finishing his second book.

We missed his first one, Smile in the Mirror, a primer for his positive energy work which might give you a toothache if you don't brush right after reading.

Ventrella, the collegial Mr. Nice who has graced the KIRO airwaves since January, never really clicked-in with the snarly talk radio audience who loves to see blood in the water at least once a day. Ventrella, a barber and a son of a barber, treated listeners like they were haircutting customers asking after their mothers or if they'd like a little more off the top. It didn't work. Listeners said, "Hell, if I want nice-nice, I'll just talk to my barber."

Who's next?

The rumblings and cataclysms heard around the once-mighty KIRO are not the pitiful seismics of the lame Eastlake management. An insider wrote us today and said, "What you need to know is that the decision to fire Prell came from way over Clendening and Pridemore's head. They did not want to make this move right now."

Who's next?

Apparently the slow-moving suits at Entercom headquarters in Bala Cynwyd, PA. finally began the inevitable for the foundering station. Our guy wrote, "Radical changes are needed in the line up and management structure, and most of us hope this comes soon."

There's real turmoil at Entercom, they don't need this right now. Today, they also fired Peter Blute, a former GOP Congressman and morning co-host at Boston's WRKO where there was a major recent management upheaval. 

We're hoping that the Entercom makes management replacements as well as offing the talent so mishired and mismanaged. That means Clendening must go or... something. It'll happen--as an insider wrote: "Bottom line is, when your programming decisions start coming from corporate, you are in deep shit."

We've been writing about and predicting this since March. When we got into this talk radio blog, we never dreamed that KIRO, our favorite station, and the only remotely liberal one in the market at the time, would ever be the object of our intense scrutiny and criticism. But we've watched the programming slide, the ratings tank and good staffers become disillusioned, dejected, fired and flown.

A not untypical remark we hear is like the one we heard today from a longtime Eastlake employee: "Most of us are dumbfounded, depressed, and disgusted that the station has been taken into the toilet like this."

Who's next?

September 26, 2005

allan prell, 2005-2005 R.I.P.

While BlatherWatch was careering through Oregon with a deadweight laptop on a wine country press junket and foodie glutfest, the first shoe, that is to say, talk host, was dropped like a peach pit in the upcoming the KIRO see-change.

As the story unfolded, (and the hopelessly unplugged Blathering Michael was blithely mange-ing his way through oregonic cheeseries, orchards and wine chateaux) readers wrote to tell us that Allan Prell (KIRO m-f, 9-12) had gone missing, and that his photo had been expunged overnight from the KIRO website like that of a misbehaving Bolshevick from Stalin's high school yearbook.

This was no surprise to those who read BlatherWatch or have an ounce of Seattle intuitive talk radio sense. Prell's schtick was that of the playful ass-hat; the self-deprecating fool with a smart mouth. He was liberal, and did his homework, but his style was too quirky for Seattle to swallow in one bite, especially in the hallowed space left by the infinitely reasonable and absurdly mature Dave Ross (KIRO m-f, 3-6p).

Prell was an acquired taste; and there was evidence he was beginning to wiggle his way into audience hearts just as he was frog-walked off the air. Perhaps if he'd been gently shown in through the side door of evenings and given a longer run at winning the hearts and minds of Seattleites, more of them might have acquired a taste for what he did.

Instead, he was pushed out into the glaring kliegs of KIRO's key morning slot, the one that should provide an anchor for the rest of the day. Prell was no anchor. As a matter of fact, says a now-former colleague, "He killed the momentum for the rest of the day." Ross's listeners fled in droves finding Al Franken and Thom Hartmann just around the corner at KPTK; or discovering anew "Weekday," KUOW's local NPR wonk-fest.

Staffers are as baffled as you and we--not that he was fired, mind you--he'd never done well since he started in January and got only a pathetic 2.3 share in the last book.

They're surprised he was fired on a Wednesday; when Fridays, with their weekend padding is usually the day to off somebody. They were surprised he was fired just two days before the Arbitron trends were coming out-- it's more logical to boot somebody after bad numbers. They were amazed he was fired so soon after a major promotional event, the "Battle of the Talk Show Hosts." Did management know his days were numbered, employees wonder, as they shamelessly promo-ed him?

Some claim there must have been something else which speeded Prell's quick demise, but no one can guess what that might be.

Some were surprised that Tony Ventrella (m-f, 6-9p) or/and Mike Webb (m-f, 9p-1a) hadn't been booted first, they with their 1.9 share, the lowest numbers at Eastlake.

Staffers were surprised to hear Don O'Neill's voice filling-in Prell's vacancy. Described by one Entercomer as "a Neanderthal weightlifter," O'Neill is a former morning shock jock whose "Ron & Don Show" failed abysmally a few years ago on Entercom's The Buzz ("Radio For Guys," KQBZ-FM, 100.7)  After leaving Seattle, he blew up quickly in a job in Grand Rapids and eventually got to a New Orleans Entercom station. Lately, he's gotten some corporate attention by doing "hits," (short on-location news spots) from the hurricane disaster area.

O'Neill and his homey, Ron used to drive around Seattle in a white truck with painted orange flames and "Chick Chaser" written on it, yelling "hola!" at wenchola. That this guy is sitting in the Dave Ross Chair is a sad marker of how far down KIRO has fallen.

We can only pray to our Deity of Choice that Program Genius Tom Clendening is the next to go. That's the only way to be absolutely sure that another loser like Prell, O'Neill, Mike Webb or Frank Shiers won't be put into Prell's spot.

Rumors, as always, are rife. A KIRO staffer who's privy to not much of anything, says Ross is coming back to the 9-noon. A KOMO exec, privy to even less is sure that Rush Limbaugh is waiting in the wings to be moved in from KTTH, Entercom's other failing talk station. We've heard that before, and if it happened, it'd cut KTTH off its life support and put the station into free fall.

Meanwhile, Clendening is running this hurry-up ad on Craig's List Seattle--who the hell runs an ad for a talk show host on Craig's List?

Seattle’s number one radio station is looking for a talk show host with a ratings track record. Must be passionate, creative and entertaining. If you have a sense of humor, a wide breadth of knowledge and can debate people with an opposing point of view send application/tape/resume to:

Tom Clendening
1820 Eastlake Ave East
Seattle, WA 98102
No phone calls please. EOE

Of course he's lying through his teeth about KIRO being the No.1 radio station--even in its glory days back in the '90's, it was No. 3. KIRO has slid to an overall 19 in the 25-54 money demo.

Stayed tuned, as always it promises to be, if nothing else, entertaining to watch.

September 09, 2005

katrina, the lame game--bush's approval at historic lows

Rightie talk radio blabbermeisters have been trying to get their story straight on the Bush/Katrina bungle going on for a week, now.

It ain't been easy, what with the T & the V showing pictures that sleazy talk-talk can't deny.

You can tell they're hurting by the vociferousness of their accusations, and that they're still spending all their segments 'splainin' like I Love Lucy in the drunk-tank.

(Tony Snow, the Maha Rushee, Sean Hannity, John Carlson, Kirby Wilbur, all heaped scorn and blame on all usual whipping kidz: The mayor of New Orleans, the Governor of Louisiana, Sen. Harry Reid, Bill & Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, Tom Daschel, Michael Moore, Cindi Sheehan, Hollywood, CNN, the New York Times, Air America, Randi Rhodes, The Boston Globe, Richard Nixon, and FDR.)

Michael Medved wondered why FEMA director, horse lawyer and under qualified hack, Michael D. Brown "is being scapegoated." He really knows why, but read Time Mag's expose of Brownie's resume as it was padded by the White House...here

Sean Hannity called Michael Chertoff a "hero." Read here what Beltway denture wearer and ultracon polemicist geezer Bob Novak writes about what Republicans in Congress are saying:

Democrats have seized on the administration's performance in handling Katrina to bash President Bush, but Republicans are not much happier with him. The common complaint is that the president has let the lawyers take over. Chertoff, a former federal judge and assistant attorney general, is a quintessential lawyer who has surrounded himself at Homeland Security with more lawyers. Michael D. Brown, who as head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency is Chertoff's subordinate, is also a lawyer. Neither Chertoff nor Brown was experienced in politics or large-scale management before joining the Bush administration.

Right-wing talkers and bloggers touted a poll Wednesday that said only 13% of the people disapproved of Bush's performance in the crisis.

They won't be talking polls today.

Real numbers from real pollsters show Bush diving even lower in Americans' eyes, continuing the graceless swoop that began months before this fiasco when it was only the lost-cause war in Iraq and the scandals that were giving him approval deficiencies.

The respected Pew Research reports:

Two-in-three Americans (67%) believe he could have done more to speed up relief efforts, while just 28% think he did all he could to get them going quickly. At the same time, Bush’s overall job approval rating has slipped to 40% and his disapproval rating has climbed to 52%, among the highest for his presidency. Uncharacteristically, the president’s ratings have slipped the most among his core constituents –Republicans and conservatives.

The polling showed a "huge racial divide over Katrina and it's consequences" that, coupled with gas price hikes are dragging him down, down, down like a burning ring of fire.

Zogby reports that Bush would lose elections to each and every one of his predecessors since Jimmy Carter.

President Bush’s job approval rating took a hit in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, dropping to a historic low of 41%, a new Zogby America poll reveals.
The public rates the performance of all levels of government in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina negatively, with 36% giving the President passing marks on his handling of the crisis—slightly higher than the 32% who give government in general good marks for its handling of the storm.

SurveyUSA reports:

 

10 Days After Katrina, 3 Key Indicators Slip: The number of Americans who 1) disapprove of President Bush's response to Hurricane Katrina, 2) say the Federal Government is not doing enough to help the victims, and 3) say the government's response has been "surprisingly disorganized," all went up in the past 24 hours, according to the latest daily SurveyUSA tracking poll, conducted of 1,200 nationwide adults 9/7/05.

55% of Americans today disapprove of the President's response, as high as the number has been in 8 consecutive days of daily tracking. 56% today say the federal government is not doing enough, up from 54% yesterday. 52% today say the government's response to the hurricane has been surprisingly disorganized, up from 48% yesterday, and BOLDas high as the number has been.

CBS News:

President George W. Bush finds disapproval on his handling of the matter, too --and the public now shows diminished confidence in his abilities to handle a crisis or provide leadership, as well as in the government’s ability to protect the country.

Bush's overall response to Katrina meets with disapproval today -- a dramatic change from the public’s reaction just after the storm hit on August 29th. Last week, in the two days immediately after Katrina made landfall, a majority of Americans said they approved of Bush's response, although more than a third were not sure. Now, only 38 percent approve. A majority disapproves.

These numbers are very serious. Don't expect conservative media to stop spinning them, but Bush is facing a crisis of confidence rarely seen by any president in decades.

Remember, that Bill Clinton being impeached (how even more frivolous that seems now) ran approval ratings in the 60th percentile.

September 08, 2005

KPTK rearranges the furniture

It gripes our ass.

Seattle finally gets a liberal talk radio station carrying Air America and other liberals, but it's owned by Infinity Broadcasting--the cheapest company in radio--the one least likely to take a risk:.

This from Bill Virgin's Radio Beat in today's Seattle Post Intelligencer
book

KPTK-AM (1090) is shuffling its weekday lineup to emphasize West Coast hosts beginning Monday. Stephanie Miller's Los Angeles-based show takes over the 6-9 a.m. slot currently held by "Morning Sedition," which moves to 3-5 a.m. Thom Hartmann's show, originating in Portland, takes over the 9 a.m.-noon slot currently held by Al Franken, who moves to 3-6 p.m. Ed Schultz stays at noon-3 p.m., while Randi Rhodes takes the 6-10 p.m. slot and Mike Malloy is heard 10 p.m.-1 a.m.

Yes, KPTK is rearranging the furniture...

Stephanie Miller will be live. Thom Hartmann will be live. Morning Sedition will be live if you want to podcast it or get up in the middle of the night. Al Franken will be pre-recorded, which doesn't matter so much since he doesn't take many callers, but we'll lose Randi Rhodes in living color and Janeane Garofalo and Sam Seder's Majority Report altogether.

We're fans of both Miller and Hartmann--but this reshuffling is a lateral move at best.

Infinity's trying to plump up KPTK's piss-poor ratings without spending any money. These syndicated shows don't cost them a dime and since Infinity doesn't seem to know much or give a shit about talk radio, they won't make an investment in local programming, which would, by our lights, make a huge difference.

Local blabberjockeys like Dave Ross, John Carlson, Dori Monson--even Mike Webb are paid well (even overpaid in some obvious cases).

Because we're liberals political activists and and support lib-talk down to the short strokes, we've tried to put lipstick on this pig any number of times and we've yelled at 'em--to no avail. We're starting to give up on 'em.

What's sad is, that while we and many others have tried and given up, so many more people haven't even tuned in.

(Portland's KPOJ, the most successful liberal talker in the country, brought Thom Harmann out from Vermont to do a 6-9a  local show, which precedes his syndicated one which KPTK will carry. They invested in liberal radio and reap the benefits.)

KPTK isn't serious about talk radio. They have their KMPS, Seattle's long time top-rated station which plays shit-kicker music to the washed masses, plus some other big music stations--so what the hell.

We get letters like this:

I have stopped listening to 1090AM. Why bother? I have XM radio and I can Air America anywhere.

I have called 1090, I have emailed them, I have even sent them a cake with the words: "Local Talent: Get a clue", but obviously they don't care.

So if they don't care, I don't care. My only dream at this point is that KIRO yanks the AAR format away from 1090 and gives us the best of both worlds.  Posted by: Political Pulpit | August 12, 2005

They've blown public relations opportunities and stiffed listeners for the community touch that makes for station loyalty--despite even the ad-rate advantage to having local jocks with a "live" book and endorsement ads.

They have a liberal book club and an hour of traffic reporter Tami Kosch doing "community matters" at 6-7a Saturdays and those PSA's and community bulletins, but these things are just window dressing to real community-building.

Meanwhile, KVI, the right-wing station overcame the huge ratings blow of losing Rush Limpjaw to KTTH; and they did it by having local jocks, doing local issues while KTTH with Big Pants and  marginal local programming is on its lips.

We've tried in our humble benevolence. BlatherWatch gave them reader-generated lists of able and willing local amateur talents. They've had decent local professionals apply.

We're in this for the politics. We'd like to have a liberal local talk-crew to counter the dreadful damage KVI's Carlson (m-f, 3-6p) and Wilbur (m-f, 5-9a) are doing to America and Washington State. We understand Infinity's priority is business, not politics. But in the end, our goals are the same:  successful progressive talk in Seattle.

But what we don't get is how KPTK can to do the same things over and over and expect a different result.

It makes us think this is more about a quick buck than anything else--the talk radio version of Jack, the robot that's taking over the rest of the radio industry.

Ultimately, a progressive audience will reject this exploitation altogether--makes us think we might just have to get Sirius--and we suspect, we're not the only ones.

September 06, 2005

UPDATE: air america, liberal talk radio make gains in seattle

The mid-book radio ratings trends, Summer, Phase 1 are in, and though most of the numbers we have are far from decisive--they're in the fairly useless 12+ demo--Air America's KPTK (1090AM) has made another step up, whereas most other talkers have fallen. View the whole market's ratings here.

What's even more important, in the 25-54 demo, July only, last month of the trend, KPTK dayparts ranging from 3.1 to 4.0. Take it from us, that's worth noting.

Radio trade message boards are abuzz: Is liberal talk taking hold in Seattle as the Bush Administration is unraveling? Will it see the same success in Seattle in a year or so as it is seeing in Portland at KPOJ? Will Infinity spend one fucking cent to change the lineup from all syndicated talkers to include some locals? Can KIRO's bright star, Dave Ross or someone of his stature be enticed to the new station?

"If Infinity would add a local morning show with an extreme talent like Dave Ross and a smart news anchor who could keep up with him, I'd listen," writes one radio pro.

Former KIRO news anchor Maura Galuchi's name is frequently mentioned as a good fit for KPTK with Ross.

This is probably California Dreamin'--connecting Bush's political implosion with a migration from KIRO to KPTK--especially with a big talent like Ross.

"They, like the majority of the other AAR affiliates nationwide must attract and retain the "psychographic" who are avid NPR listeners if they listen to any radio at all," says one nay sayer who may be afflicted with an overactive sense of reality. "So far, they've only made inroads in Portland and Denver and are trending down in markets where they have been on longer."

The gains made by KPTK certainly look huge compared to the once-mighty KIRO's numbers. They faltered again losing a couple of 10th's and were finally passed for the first time ever by KVI, who gained a couple of 10th's, making them the number one talk station in the market--at least in the 12+.
(loyal reader Umo: please take note.)

KTTH gained two 10th's, and without seeing more data, we can only surmise that it was because Mike Siegel took so much vacation during the period.

While KPTK is still far down in the basement, (no.24 in the market,) it has seemed to hold its own as the explaining industry has trended downward this year.

As far as we can tell, this is due to nothing they've actually done--but rather because of the downfall of KIRO, the only other station with liberal programming; and the slippage of popularity of George W. Bush.

Infinity, who owns KPTK, also owns market leader KMPS, (the shitkicker that's been no.1 for years) as well as two other music stations (KZOK and KBKS) in the top 10.

It's beyond us why they won't take the next step to develop some local talent for KPTK--they might just have another top 10 station if they'd suck it up and take a risk.

August 31, 2005

siegel's missing again, but don't get your hopes up...

BlatherWatch email has readers wondering outloud: where's Mike Siegel? His producer, Dave Boze, the Skagitonian pride of Hillsdale College and Michael Medved's humor-challenged call screener Dan "the Tool" Sytman have been filling in this week on Siegel's morning show (KTTH m-f, 6-9).

Every time Siegel's missing these days, the rumors fly. His ratings are always so low, (last book he went from 16th to 21st place in the market) that rumors of his demise have been around as long as he's been in this spot.

Boze answered our inquirely politely, saying that Siegel had gone on a cruise he'd advertised for months.

(It was only last month Siegel returned from a grand tour of France. He and Bill O'Reilly for the last couple of years have pushed for the boycott of goods and services of that fair country for opposing the Bush Doctrine of Ungrammatical Adventurism. And now there was Siegel, prancing Provence, and phoning in wine & cheese recommendations like the liberal elitist dilettante he really is. BlatherWatch tirelessly jabbed him for his hypocrisy, but he didn't even seem to notice--we were disappointed and kind of hurt. O'Reilly still claims he singlehandedly devastated the French economy with his 'embargo.' It wasn't an embargo at all but rather, an attempt at a boycott of French imports by folks who 1) never bought them in the first place and 2)wouldn't know a chateauneuf du pape from la plume de ma tante.

KTTH isn't exactly booming. This speck in the eye of media mega-dwarf Entercom has been functioning as a support system for the Rush Limbaugh show for going on 3 books now. Rumors abound--including one that would have them putting Big Pants over on KIRO, their larger failing station, closing KTTH mikes, and sending Siegel and others packing their vocal chords and heading for the unemployment offices they claim they don't believe in.

(Right-wing talkers like to call unemployment benefits 'welfare,' but it's a laugh to see them out there bellying-up to the hand-out window on Rainier Avenue the very next day after they're fired).

When Siegel was gone last time, Boze and Sytman were a hit with listeners who found their hardass, caffeinated tag-team style refreshingly different from Siegel's hardass, caffeinated loner style. Listeners expressed to us (and we hear they wrote the station as well) that they'd love it if the two young-uns would take over the spot.

We'd like that too, though it probably wouldn't pry us away from NPR's Morning Edition (KUOW,m-f, 5-9a) or Air America's Morning Sedition (KPTK, m-f, 5-9a). Or get us to not check out Kirby Wilbur (KVI 5-9a) when he scores a good interview or broadcasts in the nude.

The lack of decent local programming (Siegel is the only local, besides 2nd stringers like Boze and Sytman) on KTTH is a major reason this station hasn't been able to make anything out of the huge advantage it had when it stole Big Pants from KVI.

(That's also the reason that Air America's KPTK is sucking. We've tirelessly jabbed them for their stupidity, timidity, parsimony or whatever it is on this detail and they didn't even seem to notice--we were disppointed and kind of hurt).










August 23, 2005

kiro dog days: in front of the fire hydrant

It just gets weirder around Eastlake. Long, long days of what's next? Everyone knows that something's gotta give, must change, and change majorly at KIRO and KTTH.

The ratings suck, the programming needs major boots in the ass; management needs to go and come. Most employees have been through similar--even less dire circumstances--at other stations. They know it's upcoming, the staff's uneasy they know the tectonics are as inevitable as Labor Day.

But nothing happens. We thoroughly reject the notion we hear frequently that it's to spite BlatherWatch that Bala Cynwyd's so slow moving.

The author of the disaster, program director Tom Clendening takes a vacation, which the help thinks is like the captain of the Titanic taking a nap.

Meanwhile, there seems to be indecision and confusion. There's been no replacement for night time news editor Ed Schmacher, so Lan Archer keeps pulling doubles which gives him something new and seemingly endless to talk about.

Reporter Jim Valley had a major meltdown in the newsroom that was just short of throwing things, which stirred everybody out of their ennui for a few days.

The big guys: Dave Ross and Dori Monson take their annual vacations and Frank Shiers, the former voice track guy from KBSG fills in--he's becoming the voice of KIRO. This hasn't made this unexperienced guy who won't talk to anybody around the station very popular. People resent that he gets all the fill-in time. Folks around the office were almost beginning to wish ol' Dori were back. It's just a sign, we guess, of the distractedness of the management.

Then there's the guy who replaced the vacationing overnight jock, Lou Pate, whose name is Styble, (rhymes with "bible"  he keeps telling us over and over). He makes Pate seem reasonable and liberal even. We found ourselves laying awake at 4:30am wishing Pate would burst into the studio brandishing a blunt instrument to drive out the interloper.

Even the dulcet tones of Frank Shiers would have been welcome at that point. We're afraid that if something competent doesn't happen down there soon, this Bible Styble may get a drive-time slot.

Readers keep wondering why all these people seem to be vacationing at the same time--they read the direst of scenarios into the absences and the 2nd rate replacements. But this is par for the course in August--in and of itself doesn't mark the beginning of the changes that are sure to come.

Don't touch that dial...

August 17, 2005

old men, young men, girly men--uncle sam wants you

These bloviating talk radio males ripping on Cindy Sheehan, are making us plotz. She's the Gold Star Mother who lost her son in Iraq who's caught the heart and the media of the nation as she sits giving interviews by the road to Bush's Texas estado waiting for the big guy to explain to her what "noble cause" her son died for.

(Most noble causes don't need lies to sell them...do they???).

Rush Limbaugh the big fat liar says she just made it all up. "Her story is nothing more than forged documents. There's nothing about it that's real, including the mainstream media's glomming onto it. It's not real. It's nothing more than an attempt. It's the latest effort made by the coordinated left."

Her "story" is that her son was killed in an ambush in Iraq in 2004--there's a pretty convincing paper and blood trail on that, Big Pants.

Frank Shiers, filling in for Dave Ross (KIRO m-f, 3-6p) kicked her around for being divorced. She told Chris Matthews (may he fall down and rip his pants for even asking her about it) her divorce was "another personal tragedy due to this war."

Shiers says he shouted at the TV when she said that--but with that honey-throated, made-for-radio voice he's got, it's hard to picture him emoting in such an unscripted way...he's got one of those mellifluous voices usually heard in voice-overs for erectile dysfunction commercials. 

He turned it into one of those "personal accountability,"  "anti-victimhood" discussions so popular with conservatives until they get busted for something. Shiers said she was blaming Bush for murdering her son.

Is that so wrong?

It sure as hell wouldn't be wrong if we could get some of these middle-aged males--who are the most gung-ho for this war--off their Barca-loungers and their riding lawn mowers to fight this war of theirs. The administration is beginning to come around--in their desperation to stretch the manpower in the armed services, they've pushed the upper age limit for serving to 42. Bryan Suits (KVI m-f, 6-9p) one of the few talkers who has actually donned a uniform other than a Wendy's smock is mad about that--42's too old, he says, but that's because he's 41.

And Jaime O'Neill in the Sunday SF Chronicle says it could happen:

Because most of the fighting now being done requires far less marching than was once needed, it is only reasonable to propose that perhaps we have arrived at a time in the history of human struggle when the old people can do the fighting.

After all, how much youthful vigor does it require to fire lightweight weapons from the back of an armored-personnel carrier? How much strength does it take to press the trigger on a grenade launcher, or to redirect the turret on a tank? When soldiers are being driven to the various scenes of conflict, why is it necessary for soldiers to be young?

And, because youth is no longer the requisite quality for struggling, and because the U.S. military is having difficulty finding enough young people willing to fight and die in this struggle, it would, therefore, be wise to consider that vast pool of potential warriors at the other end of the age spectrum.

From Rush Limbaugh and Karl Rove right on down to the guys who write letters to the editors of the nation's newspapers, the fiercest warriors are men over 50, men with expanding waistlines and receding hairlines who would tear the enemy a new one if only they could get up off the sofa in less than three tries.

He's right--these men who are so full of duty and honor and patriotism should pitch in and help out the nation they love.

But let's not let off the new generation of chicken hawks...the right-wing 20-30 somethings who stand so bravely for god and country and duty in their snug, bullet-free, air conditioned cubicles and digitized work stations.

Lou Pate (KIRO m-f, 1-5a) claims to be a lover not a fighter, but he sounds like he could hold up his end of a firefight---he's from the Bronx, after all.

Stuffin' Smurkansky the Republican transvestite blogger and anti-sex columnist for The Stranger has no visible means of support--3 hots and a cot might help give him some focus and new sense of self-worth.

(We learned recently from ABC News' Jake Tapper that recruiters desperate for recruits, are forgetting Don't ask, Don't tell and overlooking young men's sexual proclivities just to sign 'em up. Transvestites have always been treated "special" in the Army, Stuffin'...)

KTTH producers Dan Sitman and Dave Boze--god love 'em--are awfully generous with the idea of other people getting their asses shot off. Boze is already trained in firearms, Sitman may need upper body work, and a sense of humor transplant, but these guys with their tough, rule-are-rules patriotism would make great soldiers...but geez, they gotta join up. 

Boys! they're recruiting gays and old men! Step up and do your duty! If we have to re-install the draft, you won't be seeing another Republican administration until your children have children.


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.

August 08, 2005

35-64 or fight: the talk radio demographic that could save the world

In private emails and even on-air sometimes (when we're lucky) talk hosts from both sides of the political fence raise their voices to UPPER CASE and hang terrible names on BlatherWatch (like: YOU LYING PIECE OF CRAP or "that Blather-boob," or "the blathering idiot," or "dumb radio groupie" or "FRUSTRATED BROADCASTER WITHOUT A GIG" or "failed househusband").

They make withering remarks ("Just leave me the fuck alone and have fun on your little 'website.'") and threats, even ("Let me be clear: the next email from you will be considered harassment...") all of which hurt our feelings but add girth to the burgeoning pile of material for our upcoming memoir, SHUT UP! (We'll be naming names and givng IP addresses--it'll end talk radio as we know it.)

But surprisingly, this liberal blog has some healthy off-line relationships with conservative talkers who like to dialog, but prefer to keep it off the record for obvious reasons.

Last week we got some comments we found pretty interesting.

Continue reading "35-64 or fight: the talk radio demographic that could save the world" »

August 05, 2005

friday oddems: welcome entercom's david field; boo inferential divinity; yay unintelligent design; get your hands off me, bill o'reilly...

--It may be true, maybe not...but it's so darned fun, what the hell--we're going with it: this came in over the transom this morning with a phony name and a real Entercom IP address: 

David Field is in town this week. Those of you who want to meet Mr.Tom Clendening, might stop in at the Unemployment office on Monday. Dave Pridemore, is going to be demoted this week to his Sales Director role...

If you haven't been following the degeneration of the once-great KIRO radio and its sister station KTTH, Program Director Tom Clendening and Dave Pridemore are responsible for its demise. David Field is CEO, Director of Entercom from Bala Cynwyd, PA. Whether Field's here or not--Tom and Dave's got some splainin' to do and we're glad.

 

~BlatherWatch gets a lot of hits from Bala Cynwyd, so we'd like to welcome the Entercom boys to Seattle. A tip: have the salmon, the halibut's probably not fresh. 

~A reader writes some news probably too late for Mr. Clendening: losing baseball doesn't have to kill a talk station. In Atlanta, ratings went UP at WSB after losing the Braves.

~The "Intelligent Design" discussion continues to froth all over talk radio. This faith-based "science" (known to some as "Inferential Divinity") is a Trojan horse to sneak creationism into the public schools. Conservatives and religious activists apply political tactics to smear science these days, a dangerous development. They're doing it to the theory of evolution, just as they did to the previously nonpartisan medical procedure framed by them as "partial birth abortion." Yesterday, Dr. James Dobson likened embryonic stem cell research to Nazi experiments; and Bill O'Reilly said, “Whatever your belief, it should be respected. But the National Academy of Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science both reject intelligent design and don't want it mentioned in science classes. That, in my opinion, is fascism.”
Need some science? For get those boring old values-neutral scientists--call a talk show host.

Continue reading "friday oddems: welcome entercom's david field; boo inferential divinity; yay unintelligent design; get your hands off me, bill o'reilly..." »

August 04, 2005

1090Am: where are you?

BlatherWatch is frequently accused of having it out for KIRO; we've been charged with wreaking vengeance on KVI's talk hosts. KTTH fans and employees say we trash them unfairly.

These same people give us hell because we seem to favor the fledgling progressive Air America station KPTK 1090AM.

We are a liberal blog, for god's sake, but we're going on the record right now to say, we've been holding our fire, biting our lip, pulling our punches--resorting to lame cliches and excuses while  hoping, chanting--even praying--that THE TEPID, TIMID, CHEAPSKATE INFINITY MANAGEMENT would DO WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE to build this fucking station!

And it's obvious what needs to be done.

What brings all this up are the room temperature numbers rung up by KPTK in the new Spring 25-54 book. The station went up overall from 24th to 23rd, but that ignoble hop was based on only a 10th of a point--statistically no change at all. (23rd place in the market is down there mucking around with the likes of Mike Siegel, (KTTH m-f 6-9a) Mike Webb (KIRO m-f, 9p-1a) and Mt. Vernon High School basketball broadcasts. 

At least it's going in the right direction--especially considering the downturn in talk radio ratings across the board--KIRO's management would problably consider KPTK's shame a victory.

KPTK has been in a holding pattern with only syndicated shows.

Continue reading "1090Am: where are you?" »

August 03, 2005

the white underbelly of seattle ratings: KIRO, KTTH, KKOL, KVI, medved messes in the butter barn

Comment in a radio-trade message board: KIRO has one thing in common with their older audience. Both could scream "Help, I've fallen and I can't get back up."

We get lots of letters from radio-folk who'd rather remain nameless...Is it retaliation they fear, or just that broadcasting is so secretive and allergic to scrutiny and criticism, that, like wombats and philanderers, they best function in the dark?

(Having functioned as both wombats and philanders, we'll be leading a panel on this topic at the 1st Annual BlatherWatch Talk Radio Critics Convention in Orlando next year).

Monday's post on Seattle talk radio Spring ratings generated more than usual of these whisperings, con-knivings, and stack-babbings.

Many of our readers suspected something was going on over at KIRO and KTTH since so many regular jocks have been out this week--like Dave Ross, Dori Monson, Lou Pate, Tony Ventrella, Mike Siegel.

We doubt this is anything more than vacation time, although we're beginning to worry about Siegel, there are rumors that he's eloped while in France, and may never come back to face the music and will spend the rest of his life drinking Perrier and eating French fries out of French envelopes. The rumorists insist that the phone calls Siegel makes to the show are actually pieced together from old nose-job commercials he made years ago.

Continue reading "the white underbelly of seattle ratings: KIRO, KTTH, KKOL, KVI, medved messes in the butter barn" »

August 02, 2005

seattle arbitron ratings: kiro, as we know it, is dead.

As we've been predicting for months, Entercom's once-mighty KIROAM is being officially pronounced dead by industry insiders speaking with BlatherWatch.

They say the white light is seeping through the doors and windows of conservative little sister KTTH.

This, in a talk radio radio market that's down, down, down. Folks seem to be harkening to their musical selves.

With programming genius Tom Clendening as the undertaker, KIRO's grave was dug months ago, though he just kept digging. BlatherWatch has sadly chronicled this--but we're liberals around here and take no pleasure seeing the plight of the mostly progressive station.

The all-important 25-54 ratings demo puts the KIRO, once Entercom's Seattle flagship in overall 19th place in the market--down from 13th. KIRO's now locked out of ad buys for major agencies, who usually look for the top 10 stations in this demo.

Continue reading "seattle arbitron ratings: kiro, as we know it, is dead." »

July 29, 2005

seattle spring arbitron ratings: KVI up, KIRO, KPTK and KTTH in the pooper

We predicted it--so did everyone else.  It seems every quarter when the book comes out, the once-mighty KIRO-AM, sinks some more.

Last fall, they were at 5.0 share; in Winter, a 4.2; and today the Spring book gave them a new low,a 2.6. Once # 3 overall in the city, today they're tied with a Christian station for 7th place.

These are the age 12+ ratings made public here At Radio & Records. The 25-54 demo numbers--most important to advertisers--will probably be worse.

We've been chronicling this sad decline for as long as we've been blathering and so far, the mighty but apparently cumbersome Entercom machine has not moved to mitigate the programing screw-ups that have exacerbated the problems brought down on the station by the loss of the Mariners last year.

Recently, a major-market program director shook his head at Brian Maloney of Radio Equalizer and pointed out how hard it is to bring a station back from a drop this steep. "The station's next management team with have the challenge of a lifetime," Maloney writes.

We reported last week that VP/Market Manager for all of the local stations, Kevin McCarthy was fired and quickly replaced by his counterpart from Denver, Jerry McKenna. This is supposed to herald some big changes down at Eastlake, but we haven't seen them yet.

Li'l Entercom sister, KTTH was the benefactor last year of a coup by an earlier Entercom management that stole Rush Limbaugh from rival, KVI. But the same Entercom geniuses, Tom Clendening and Dave Pridemore who blew KIRO into oblivion also made the decision to ride on that success and neglect the rest of the programing.

It was a sin of omission that's proven devastating.

They only have one local host in a decent time slot and and except for his retrofitted hairline, he's sadly deficient. KTTH stumbled further into the abyss from a 3.0 to a 2.6.

KVI, with its radio community-building, politicking, local, drivetime hosts, has pulled off a comeback even without Big Pants.

Another resister to local programing is Air America's KPTK, whose lackluster performance is disappointing the Seattle liberal community, BlatherWatch and, we hope, the Infinity suits in New York.

They went from a drab 1.5 to a lessluster 1.4. Infinity management seems timid about making the necessary local hires that might build a solid community base. and hence some real ratings. They only have to look at KTTH's problems and KVI's success to get a proverbial clue.

Every minute KIRO dangles slowly, slowly in the wind, is a day wasted in the competitive run for their listeners, lost stolen or strayed.

This isn't about Air America; nor is it about the feasibility of progressive talk. It's about a large broadcasting company and its programing abilities and priorities.

Portland's KPOJ, a Clear Channel station who went liberal at about the same time as KPTK, is now no.5 overall in town; and went from a 3.3 in Winter to a 4.5 today.

That's because management spent some money, took some risk. They brought the brilliant author and inspired national talker Thom Hartmann to town and installed him in the 9 to noon.

BlatherWatch has grave doubts about the ability of Infinity and their Seattle management to run a newstalk station. So far, all that's been remarkable are the opportunities missed.

It's time they grew a set and coughed up a little.

July 26, 2005

mike siegel: au revoir but not goodbye

Mike Siegel (KTTH 6-9a) is so predictably craven, we almost feel guilty about exposing him once again--but we can't help ourselves. It's a new low--one at least as hypocritical as KIRO Lexus liberal Mike Webb's union busting.

Like all the right-wing noisemakers, Siegel has been shitting in the chapeaux of the French, those decadent, bath-hating, Jerry Lewis-loving, frog-eating, arrogant, self-serving...Europeans. The Bush Administration and the GOP, with the help of such as Siegel and Bill O'Reilly have tried to create an  "other" out of the French, because of their notable lack of enthusiasm about the Iraq War..(As we all know, the French's "otherness" is self-imposed and a matter of intense national pride).

Guess where, mes petits choux, Siegel is finishing up his vacances as we speak? That's right...En France!

Like his old friend Bill O'Reilly, Siegel has repeatedly called for a boycott of France.

(O'Reilly claims to have cost France billions of dollars because he called for a boycott of its goods and serviceson his radio and TV shows. This has been exposed by MediaMatters.org and New York Daily News columnist, Jack Matthews as a lie. The fatuous confabulator not only fabricated statistics; he even quoted the Paris Business Review which turned out to be a made-up publication.)

Earlier this month, Siegel praised a Danish pizza parlor owner who refused to serve German and French customers because of what he calls their anti-US policies. Siegel encouraged listeners to write to the guy and give him support.

On his website in 2003, Siegel pontificated in an essay called: The Arrogance of Countries That Stood By And Watched:

"It should not even have been an expectation of those who sat on the sidelines or even tried to block the efforts of the coalition to reap any rewards...I for one am thoroughly supportive of their being denied benefits because they simply do not deserve them."

That was then.

The now is: He's touring France, sipping Bordeaux and giving his good ol' US greenbacks to those socialistic, America-hating, cheese-eating, yellow-bellied Pétains--the citizenry of one of what Siegel has so indignantly denounced as the, "nations of expediency and disregard for consequences of their actions." (sic)

Mike Siegel ought to know expediency when he sees it.

We didn't need Entercom leakers to learn about Mike's big vacation, we heard it on his very own show Monday morning; subbed by KTTH producer Dan Boze, and Medved Show's tight-sphinctered bouncer, Dave Sytman.

When Siegel's name comes up around right-wing radio people, there's always a lot of eye-rolling--they know how situational his conservatism is.

Monday morning, the eye-rolling was deafening. Sytman's an ideologue, an enforcer by trade, a radio gatekeeper for Michael Medved--that's why they call him "Darth" Sytman. He's humorless, so when he jokes around, there's usually an agenda. He led the laughs at Siegel's expense with the listeners, while Boze just sounded uncomfortable.

Who knows what Sytman's agenda was for spreading the news--maybe Siegel's impurity bothers him or maybe he wants his job--Siegel's ratings are terrible. KTTH has suffered by having him as the only local host on the station. They have Limbaugh, but KVI drivetime jocks, Carson & Wilbur have smoked Siegel and the churlish bombast, Michael Savage through the elections, the intense post-gubernatorial mess and now the anti-roads repair initiative they cooked up.

Entercom, apparently distracted by the problems with the faltering mothership, KIRO has ignored KTTH like a red-headed step sister.  Some radio insiders say KTTH is a life-support system for Rush Limbaugh; others say Rush Limbaugh's a life support system for KTTH. They're both right.

Back when Seattle talk radio turned conservative, Siegel made an abrupt right turn from being a lefty populist who fought corporate malfeasance and corrupt government to become one of the first smashmouth reactionary talkjocks in the country.

Like O' Reilly, he says he's a pragmatist, not a conservative. But his 15-year record on conservative radio belies that since his "pragmatism" is rarely even moderate-which is where real pragmatism lives.

Mike Siegel's had a long and checkered career; but always manages to stay in Seattle, on the air and surviving every pickle barrel he can't help but dive into.

July 21, 2005

BREAKING NEWS: push equals shove at kiro

The next thud you hear will be the other Adida finally hitting the floor at KIRO radio. Giant Entercom made the first move Thursday to start fixing this very sick radio station.

VP/Market Manager for all of the local stations, Kevin McCarthy was fired and quickly replaced by his counterpart from Denver, Jerry McKenna. McCarthy only lasted a year after being brought to Seattle from Clear Channel in San Diego.

Our guy at Eastlake says, "This turns the whole building upside down. Big changes [are] sure to quickly follow."

BlatherWatch has been reporting KIRO decline since March. For months now, we've been greeted with frank denials and sneers from Entercom management and employees with axes to grind.

But we were also overwhelmed with information from staffers worried about their jobs and sick about programming so clearly blunderful.

The blame went to PD Tom Clendening and General Manager Dave Pridemore. Besides the terrible programming decisions, there was some wicked Fisher Broadcasting stategery as well.

Then came the Winter Book and new ratings lows

So today the pogrom starts...our sources say Clendening is toast, and Dave Pridemore will probably go back to sales pretty fast.

He says to watch how fast the bad KIRO programming changes are undone.

Can all the king's horses, men, etc. put this radio station back together again? Can they repair the morning news show--the vital ratings mainstay--that is down by about half in recent years? Will Dave Ross go back to mornings? Will Allan Prell get into daycare? Can Dori Monson, who helped engineer this bum line-up, trade places with the overnight guy, Lou Pate--the highest-rated KIRO talkjock?  Will Erin Hart go to KPTK? Will Tony Ventrella run for Congress or have to be pushed? Could Frank Shiers please shut up? Will Mike Webb go back to DJ-ing Bar Mitzvahs? Can we have Val Stouffer back?

Our source says reviving the weakened, ignored sister station KTTH may actually be the easier than saving KIRO and asks: why doesn't it have a manager of its own?

We don't envy the next crop of managers at KIRO. We'll be watching and listening and you, dear readers, will be the first to know.
~~
What do you know about what's going on inside KIRO, KTTH, or KVI?  Drop us a line at [email protected] Discretion assured.   

July 18, 2005

limbaugh losing to liberal talk, hannity scavenges the carcass

The right is always pronouncing Air America and liberal talk radio dead, even though it's growing like the well baby it is.

There's more good news to fuel our customary sunny liberal outlook.

The Raw Story.com got an advance peek at Miami talk radio trends that show Big Eddie Schultz (1090AM, m-f, 12-3p) whacking Rush Limbaugh in the large, supposedly conservative, southern-fried, metropolitan market in the Big Bobo's own back yard.

In particular, The Ed Schultz show actually passed Limbaugh among the 25-54 age range in the nation's twelfth largest radio market. Schultz scored a 3.4 rating to Limbaugh's 3.2, climbing 1.1 ratings points from the winter figures.

Al Franken, whose Air America program runs head-on with Rush in the noon to 3 p.m. slot, also made strides, posting 2.1 ratings among 25-64, up from 1.5 in the winter.

BlatherWatch likes what we hear in Ed Schultz.

In a feckful, personal piece about her secret love affair with talk radio, essayist, fiction writer and much-admired former Stranger Editor Emily White wrote last month "Schultz talks like he's sitting in a bar about to order his third beer." We grokked that Big Ed wasn't exactly Emily's cup of, er...tea.

But we say Schultz's beery demeanor and that he's nearly irony-free is why he may be the liberal's great white hope for talk radio.

He's a plain-talking, ex-pro-football player; an unapologetic hunter and fisherman from Fargo. He's no girlie man, like we are--but he's just as liberal--plus he's likable, smart and has a good grasp of what's what. What's really important about him is that he can talk progressive in a commonsensical way to which red state folks--men in particular--will listen.

We don't need more preachers to our sardonic choir, we need spokesblabberers who can help us bring back the blue collars, the farmers, the salty earthpeople who used to share our vision (read: vote Democratic).

Aside from Schultz's talents, and upward trending, Limbaugh still has other problems--such as the recent progress in the prosecution of his pill-popping drug abuse case, which you'd think wouldn't sit well with his religious right-wing fans, reportedly legion. (Now we know about the "head" part of "Ditto-head.") His latest divorce (no. 3) which reportedly involved a third party, the glamorous CNN anchor Daryn Kagan, and his using the word, 'blowjob' on his show has lost him Christian listeners as well. He's been seeing an internist about his uncontrollable flatulence but not before being disincluded from Washington and Palm Beach political and social events. Airtight underwear has not gained him the re-acceptance he was hoping for.

Sean Hannity, they say, is pulling ahead of Limbaugh in many markets-- seeing that is for us like watching a rat eating a slug--who do you root for?

Meanwhile back in the Seattle market, the big sweat is on for the Spring Book numbers, due out at the end of July. 

We'll be trying to answer the burning questions.

--Will the national downtrend for newstalk radio continue? 

--How bad will it be for KIRO?  (Do the numbers make any difference to them anyway?)

--How far down will KTTH go before something drastic is done to programming or operations?

--Whither KPTK? Is the political activists' dream of having local liberal talk hosts, just another promise broken by a company too timid to venture outside the safety of syndicated talk? 

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.

July 06, 2005

rabbi daniel lapin's name resurfaces in investigation

The Jack Abramoff/Delay scandal gets more odiferous every day and reveals more layers than a Walla Walla Sweet--many of which are peeling off at the feet of prestigious Seattle law firm Preston Gates, for whom Abramoff worked around the turn of the century.

Seattle Weekly reporter Rick Anderson's latest installment in this smelly saga places controversial fundamentalist talk show host Rabbi Daniel Lapin (KTTH,Sundays 7-10p) and Toward Traditon, his Mercer Island charity, a little closer to the stink.

Lapin is the ultra-orthodox Seattle rabbi tangled in the unfolding influence-peddling-and-everything else scandal in the Capitol and swirling around his close political friends: disgraced superlobbyist Jack Abramoff, meaneocon Tom DeLay, Christian conprop guru Ralph Reed and, distantly, neocon theorist and activist Grover Norquist.

Lapin dismisses the scandal as an accounting error.

Anderson's story reports US Senate investigations that reveal the boy-faced Reed's laundering scheme for money supplied by an Indian casino client and disguised as a "deceptive Deep South antigambling campaign."

That campaign and other Reed-managed antigambling drives are now part of a U.S. probe into the allegedly fraudulent practices of former Preston Gates D.C. lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who arranged the secret money flow, investigators say. Documents indicate Abramoff, during and after his Preston Gates years, steered more than $4 million in tribal gaming money to gambling foe Reed, former head of the Christian Coalition.

This astounding story of greed and hypocrisy, comes close to Lapin. Anderson writes: 

New Senate documents show Seattle radio host Rabbi Daniel Lapin was more than just a friend and fellow religious conservative to embattled D.C. lobbyist Jack Abramoff (see: "Meet the Lapin Brothers," May 11). Lapin was also on the payroll of Abramoff's D.C. charity, Capital Athletic Foundation. According to Abramoff's e-mails, CAF was sometimes used as a money conduit to avoid paying higher income taxes.

At one point, the e-mails state, Abramoff proposed using Lapin and another person on CAF's payroll to create a "research" project as a tax write-off, but Abramoff's accountant worried the IRS would see it as a "sham transaction," and the idea was apparently dropped. Abramoff also proposed using Lapin's Mercer Island charity, Toward Tradition, as an apparent money pass-through to help fund Ralph Reed's antigambling drives (see main story), then learned the charity didn't have the correct IRS status.

There is no indication Lapin, who would not comment last week, was aware of the schemes. Abramoff is a board member of Lapin's charity, and Lapin was one of four people who collectively earned $20,000 a month at Abramoff's D.C. charity, according to Senate documents.

Rabbi Lapin has positioned himself as a stern moral leader in the Seattle area, even partnering with controversial anti-gay evangelical Rev. Ken Hutcherson organizing anti-gay rights events and getting into faith-based pissing matches with local liberal clergy. BlatherWatch wonders how long the veneer of local respectability will last for the the rabbi as Sen. McCain's investigations in Washington  unfolds.

Read the whole blatherWatch file on Lapin:

rabbi daniel lapin: a man who stands by his scandal-ridden friends

rabbi daniel lapin: more national embarrassment

rabbi daniel lapin, a long look backward

the rabbi with the tinfoil yarmulke (and we thought he was just boring...)

June 27, 2005

rabbi daniel lapin: "the man who stands by his scandal-ridden friends"

Rabbi Daniel Lapin came home Sunday night from Washington DC, just in time to take the microphone on his evening talk show (KTTH Sundays 7-10p) midway though it.

BlatherWatch was listening in hopes the good rebbi might address some of the questions brought up last week in the national press.

Lapin is the ultra-orthodox Seattle rabbi tangled in the unfolding influence-peddling-and-everything else scandal in the Capitol and swirling around his close political friends: disgraced superlobbyist Jack Abramoff, meaneocon Tom DeLay, Christian conprop guru Ralph Reed and, distantly, neocon theorist and activist Grover Norquist.

Lapin dismisses the scandal as an accounting error.

So far Lapin has been only peripheral to the affair, but it's provided some good laughs for us, and his proximity to it has sullied the pure and sanctimonious image he always tries to maintain.

Lapin is the darling of the Christian right; friends and co-conspirator with stalwart national conservative supernovae like Delay, Norquist, Reed, Newt Gingrich, Pat Robertson, and Rev. Ken Hutcherson. These are people with profound influence in Washington these days.

The Washington Post reports Lapin had a private Shabbat dinner with George W. Bush last year.

We've reported the rebbi's speckled past and his many interesting political ideas on many interesting issues, including some whimsical ones on The Holocaust.

We were not disappointed--and not surprised to hear Sunday night some fancy dissembling from the influential "show rabbi of the religious right," as NY Times Frank Rich calls him.

The Washington Post reported last week that Lapin's name had come up in the Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearings investigating Abramoff's dealings representing Indian casino interests.

In an email, Abramoff asked Lapin to help him sex-up his resume to help him get into the exclusive Cosmos Club whose members include Nobel laureates. "Most prospective members have received awards and I have received none," he whined. 

Lapin answered, "Let's organize your many prestigious awards so they're ready to 'hang on the wall.' "

Later that day, Lapin expounded, "Yes, I just need to know what needs to be produced ... letters? Plaques? Neither?"

Sunday, Lapin finally introduced the sordid Abramoff mess to his listeners by admitting that his old friend had become very powerful and done some things that were probably wrong.

But the emails promising to pad the resume? A "jocular interchange," he said in his haughty Afrikaner accent.

Then, amazingly, he blamed it all on the Post Intelligencer, the local daily whose Washington correspondent Charlie Pope reported the episode. Lapin never mentioned that the Washington Post's Dana Milbank wrote a similar report on the same day.

"They stripped out the smiley faces and other emoticons," he said on the radio. That was a change from his last week's story, when he told Charlie Pope he couldn't recall the exchange, "I wish I could help you, but no, I have no recollection."

The thought of the sarcastic Lapin and the cynical Washington shark Abramoff adorning their emails with those annoying little :)'s strains our credulity.

The story that it was all in jest is also questionable considering Abramoff's email the next day  detailing some instructions of deception:

"Probably just a few clever titles of awards, dates and that's it," he wrote. "As long as you can be the person to verify them (or we can have someone else verify one and you the other), we should be set. Do you have any creative titles or should I dip into my bag of tricks?"

Lapin didn't mention the original WAPO story because a less embarrassing piece, The Republicans' Rabbi-in-Arms: Christian Conservatives See a Soul Mate in the Man Who Stands by His Scandal-Ridden Friends by Hannah Rosin appeared in Saturday's Style section.

For evangelicals who are used to reading about Jews as God's chosen people, he solves an essential mystery: "A lot of people are surprised when they leave church and encounter essentially Dershowitz Judaism, Jews who are liberal . . . ," says conservative activist Grover Norquist, who is also a friend. "Lapin is the opposite of that."

For conservatives searching for biblical foundations for their political positions, Lapin is validation from the original source. His specialty is finding support in the Torah for what turns out to be the current Republican platform: lower taxes, decreased regulation, pro-traditional family policies.

"The principles of the Republican Party and the convictions of our president more closely parallel the moral vision of the God of Abraham than those of anyone else," Lapin said at the dinner with Bush, hosted by Ralph Reed.

Lapin is a man of great charm and rhetorical skill. "He could talk a dog off a meat wagon," says a former KVI producer.

And he sure is a loyal friend. Rosin writes:

In an earlier set of e-mails, Abramoff calls his Indian clients "morons" and "monkeys." For that, Daniel Lapin found the language to criticize his old friend, calling his insults "horrible, awful." But he stops short of saying what Medved does, that as an Orthodox Jew Abramoff "disgraced the Torah." Instead, he edges more toward pastoral forgiveness.

"Abramoff created an extremely effective ideological machine, and I think that bothered many people on the moderate side," says Lapin. "Nobody claims Abramoff did anything different than anyone else. He's a friend of mine and I've seen him do many, many wonderful and decent things. My argument is that a human being is a very complicated amalgam. We've all done things we're not proud of."

If Mr. Abramoff is found guilty of any crime, we're praying that the good rabbi will remain consistent and call for the same measure of mercy that he'd show any other common criminal: bupkus.

June 23, 2005

rabbi daniel lapin: more national embarrassment

We've been telling you about him for months. He's Rabbi Daniel Lapin, the situationally ethical KTTH talk host (Sundays 7-10p) and "show rabbi" for the Christian right.

The Mercer Island ultraconservative famously introduced Tom Delay, the scandal-plagued House Majority Leader to now disgraced superlobbyist Jack Abramoff, who sits on the board (with talk jock Michael Medved) of Lapin's charity, Toward Tradition. Read blatherWatch's The Rabbi With The Tinfoil Yarmulke (And We Thought He Was Just Boring...)

Abramoff is being investigated by the Senate, the House, the Justice Department, and a federal grand jury for a plethora of questionable business practices and shady political dealings.

In Wednesday's Senate hearing into Abramoff's alleged defrauding of Indian tribes, the verity of Lapin's skewed moral compass was again exposed, this time revealing the trivial deceptive natures of both of these allegedly religious men.

Washington Post reporter Dana Milbank reported an email exchange between Abramoff and Lapin read in the hearing with Lapin agreeing to help pad Abramoff's resume: 

"I hate to ask you for your help with something so silly but I've been nominated for membership in the Cosmos Club, which is a very distinguished club in Washington, DC, comprised of Nobel Prize winners, etc.," Abramoff wrote.

"Problem for me is that most prospective members have received awards and I have received none. I was wondering if you thought it possible that I could put that I have received an award from Toward Tradition with a sufficiently academic title, perhaps something like Scholar of Talmudic Studies?"

There were titters in the audience as Sen. Byron L. Dorgan (D-N.D.) read aloud the email, then outright laughter as he continued reading: "Indeed, it would be even better if it were possible that I received these in years past, if you know what I mean."

The rabbi, conservative radio host Daniel Lapin, gave his blessing. "I just need to know what needs to be produced," he wrote. "Letters? Plaques?"

Read more details of this silly, ass-kissing deception in this Seattle Post Intelligencer report.

Lapin is a leader in the national Values Community; friend of Rev. Ken Hutcherson, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Watergate felon turned preacher, Charles Colson, "spiritual advisor" of Newt Gingrich and a hard-ass, pompous, self-aggrandizing, social conservative.

He helped Hutcherson organize and spoke at last year's antigay "Mayday for Marriage " rallies in Seattle and Washington DC, that proved so influential in the November election of George W. Bush.

The haughty silver-tongued former South African buys his own radio time Sunday evenings (7-10p) from Entercom’s local KTTH. His talk show is a folksy, “(Everybody needs a rabbi,” he always says) kulturkampf, interlaced with schmaltz, advice to the lovelorn and diatribing political monologues.

He's a champion of marriage between people of the same faith, same species, but different genders, of course.

He’s didactic and condescending and speaks in paragraphs--long paragraphs. Once syndicated, his talk show proved too boring for mass consumption, so now it’s vanity radio paid for by Toward Tradition.

Pacific Northwest goyim in general have little contact with Jews, especially religious ones, so listeners gush on-air and treat him like an exotic animal--sort of their pet Jew.

This man of god not only supports family values, faithfulness, integrity, and arranged marriages; but he's also for tax cuts, property rights, cuts for social programs, and capital punishment. He opposes promiscuity, abortion, homosexuality, welfare, crime, funding the arts, gun control, environmental regulations, and recycling.

He denies that poverty exists in the U.S.; and says Terri Schiavo’s death was "premeditated murder," and that Living Wills are suicide notes. To love your pets too much, by his lights, is unbiblical; and tattoos, birth control, piercing, abortions and assisted suicide are immorally equivalent.

Paid $165,000 a year by Toward Tradition according to a 2003 IRS filing, Lapin calls his Mercer Island organization a coalition of Jews and Christians formed to counter anti religious bigotry and preserve the social fabric. He is also co-chair of American Alliance of Jews and Christians, created with former GOP presidential also-ran Gary Bauer.

Its board of advisers includes Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Watergate conspirator Charles Colson, Abramoff, and Lapin's longtime friend and fellow radio talker Michael Medved.

He addressed the 1996 Republican Convention, after moving to the Seattle area and declaring personal bankruptcy after his Los Angeles investment company whose investors were his members of his synagogue went bust.

Click here for the blatherWatch opus: Rabbi Daniel Lapin, A Long Look Backward for the whole story on this troubling, divisive character.

Will the good rabbi apologize on his show, Sunday next? Probably not. Humility and contrition don't seem to be part of this religious zealot's psyche...but just in case, blatherWatch will be listening.

June 14, 2005

seattle arbitrons, doin' the hula for ratings: dori monson, kirby wilbur, john carlson, mike webb, mike siegel, carl jeffers, rabbi daniel lapin, bryan suits

Boyoboy, talk radio ratings are down across the board in Seattle and what to do? Local talkers have figured out some fanciful ways to perk up those sagging numbers...

Continue reading "seattle arbitrons, doin' the hula for ratings: dori monson, kirby wilbur, john carlson, mike webb, mike siegel, carl jeffers, rabbi daniel lapin, bryan suits" »

June 13, 2005

1090AM's opportunities drift by, ratings drift down...

"Big Eddie" Ed Shultz was in town today. If you don't listen to AM1090,(and too few do) you'da never knowed it. He's an important rising star to the liberal talk radio format, yet promotion seemed minimal.

What's going down at our new progressive station? Are they being all that they can be?

Continue reading "1090AM's opportunities drift by, ratings drift down..." »

June 12, 2005

to kiro with love

BlatherWatch made a Grand Gesture. We wanted to normalize relations with the troubled KIRO and sister KTTH, those local talk outlets of cuddly Entercom, the big-little media meta-dwarf corp. 

If you're a regular reader, you know we've been pretty hard on management over there-- and let's face it, we've kicked around some of the help--even the liberals.

BlatherWatch has been mad at Entercom suits- particularly PD Tom Clendening, because their--his--bad programming decisions has put KIRO into the ratings toilet- and it's the only place on the dial with local liberal talkers. We didn't feel as badly about KTTH, in that it's all right-wing except for ther smattering of Dr. Dean Edell they have to air if they want to keep Rush Limbaugh....

Continue reading "to kiro with love" »

May 30, 2005

check your anus: you can be a critic too

BlatherWatch, the self-appointed Critic Of Everything Especially Talk Radio blog serving the Universe and Vashon Island, has been getting some very nasty comments on-air from talk hosts and by email from radio folks who question our very existence.

They say we don’t qualify to criticize their industry because we’re not part of it. They accuse us of being talk radio wannabes, or closet conservatives or posers from TV, a land where, they believe, everyone looks down on them. (That tiny paranoia, of course, is fact-based.)

They frequently accuse blatherWatch of having personal vendettas against whomever we’ve got under the microscope at the moment.

It recently struck us that radio has no regular critics--never has had, as far as we know--despite that it has an audience larger than newspapers, and local TV.

Hell: movies, TV, sports, theater, print journalism have critics who insert the speculum and gaze into their tender vitals every day. Restaurateurs, in a  profitably marginal business have to worry about critics picking at their food and blaring the details to the world; their ruin perhaps hinging on a waiter’s bad day.

But radio? Nobody in the MSM looks at it unless a talk host or DJ molests a child, sleeps with the livestock or they slander the mayor and someone happens to hear about it.

Nationally, sites like David Brock's Media Matters  or the Team (Al) Franken research crew, challenge the lies of Limbaugh, O’Reilly and the big talkers. This has been recent and welcome.

Usually though, radio talkers can say anything they want and because liberals can’t stand listening to the acrimonious drivel, when the bullshit drops, most of the time it's like a tree falling in the forest.

(Our favorite example of a radio talker entering the real world and getting slapped like a blow fly on a pork butt was when the deranged queer-baiting slasher Michael Savage (KTTH m-f, 3-6p) got a Saturday TV talk show a few years ago on the tabloid MSNBC. It wasn’t much of a show and it didn’t take him long to get kicked off the air by calling a gay caller a “sodomite” and wishing him death by AIDS. He was only saying what he says every day on the radio to a much larger audience, but on radio, there were no critics, no watchdogs. Few who care about truth and decency listen to him--and we do not blame them.)

Conservative talk radio, especially on the local level, gets away with murder.

BlatherWatch is unabashedly liberal. We exist to expose the excesses and dishonesty we hear on talk radio that’s dominated by the right. They not only proselytize and politicize, they organize events and political action for the Republican party .

As liberal as we are, and as hard as we try to work for the progressive cause, we can’t help but call’em as we see ‘em. We’ve written harshly about liberals like KIRO’s Mike Webb, and Allen Prell; because, in our view, they’re in the wrong jobs and are harming the liberal cause.

Webb should be spinning platters on an oldies station like he used to back in the day; and Allen Prell should get back into marketing. 

KIRO’s radio’s problems distress us because it was not only No.1 in Seattle news talk, it was for years the only place on the dial where liberals could be found. We never guessed we’d become so critical of our favorite station.

That KIRO has imploded from bad programming and the internecine machinations of big egos pisses us off. If Air America's KPTK doesn’t step up and make some good decisions on hosts and programming, we’ll be just as hard on them. Infinity Broadcasting, their parent corporation has a reputation for being cheapskates and bungling news-talk--their business is usually in music stations.

(Critics in America don’t need to meet any qualifications,(though it doesn’t hurt). If you have an anus, breath air, you too can be a critic. If you are an anus, you may already be one).

BlatherWatch invites everyone who listens to the radie-yo to pull the alarm when you hear lies, slander or questionable political tactics on-air, especially on the right-wing KVI and KTTH.

Chime in our lively comment threads; send us an off-line email...or write a critique. If it’s good and fair enough, we’ll blog it, even if it’s conservative.

For Ding and Dong and Mr. Happy and all another anonymous chickenshits from radio management who write and complain--the message today is: radio critics are here to stay.

May 27, 2005

rumors, intenuendo, weak-kneed spin from kiro, ktth, michael jackson, and the runaway bride

Rumors abound about the Entercom (KIRO, KTTH) ratings train wreck.

Our sources tell us they’re definitely interviewing hosts for Allen Prell‘s job (9a to 12p).

Another tantalizing rumor, which is at present just a idea batting around town, is that they’ll move Limbaugh over to KIRO, and shut down KTTH completely. Whoa. Dude...wouldn't that be amazing?

Embattled Program Director Tom Clendening, who presided over this stampede to the bottom is still hanging in there.

BlatherWatch has been reporting this decline since March. We were greeted with frank denials and sneering sarcasm from Entercom management and employees with axes to grind. but we were also overwhelmed with information from staffers worried about their jobs and sick about programming so clearly blunderful.

There have been some bad breaks for KIRO. They lost Mariners baseball practically by default, undone by Fisher Broadcasting who worked harder to get the pure gold contract that Entercom reportedly had been taking for granted.

Dave Ross, their highly rated and respected morning guy who had made them No.1 against Rush Limbaugh, left to run for congress. When he came back, KIRO put him in the afternoon, dumping a huge crowd of listeners to go to Al Franken (KPTK, m-f, 9-12p) or to hang out at KUOW’s Weekday (m-f, 9-12p).

If you’re the type who needs some MSM to make you feel better about buying the pure made-up truths and pithless analysis you read on blatherWatch, here’s Heidi Dietrich’s great piece. Program Changes Knock KIRO Radio Off Its Perch which appeared in the May 20 ish of the Puget Sound Business Journal (a sordid left-wing rag) which says in some new and damning ways what we’ve been reporting for months.

Dietrich has some great interviews with marketing and advertisng execs.

"They changed a lot of things around, and people are all confused," said Dave Sharp, owner of Seattle-based media consulting company Sharp Consulting Group. "It's going to take a while for people to find them."

We were interested to learn that despite their losses, they haven’t discounted their ad rates! 

“Some ad buyers, however, who did not wish to be identified, said KIRO's ad rates are above average and should be lowered now that the station no longer has the Mariners."

Our favorite quote, though, was Tom Clendening’s weak-kneed attempt at spin:

"We made some pretty dramatic changes,” he said, “and we didn't expect to have our ratings go through the roof right away."

May 21, 2005

showdown in wenatchee: gregoire vs the talk radio mob

The trial of the century starting Monday in Wenatchee--the Republican unvote effort--will be covered all over the talk radio dial.

Mike “Bugsy” Siegel (KTTH m-f, 6-9a) will be there. John “Boy” Carlson (KVI m-f, 3-6p) will be there with David “Goldy” Goldstein (horsesass.org) doing the color, and Republican activist Stefan "Smurf" Sharkansky (soundpolitics.org) filling in the darker shades. Rumors that Carlson would ride Shark's mustache over to Wenatchee have not been confirmed.

(Carlson is complaining about the Motel 6 knockoff he’s being made to stay in on account of Fisher Broadcasting’s cheapskate per diem).

Hard to know how the judge will eventually rule, but a few things are sure:

a) Win or lose in court, this nasty post-election gubernatorial fight is a huge political win for Republicans.

b) This issue represents another blow to Entercom’s nearly moribund KTTH, described by radio folk as “a life support system for Rush Limbaugh,” and marks the return of dominance of KVI in local conservative news talk.

These two are inextricably related. And there are abundant lessons for broadcasters and politicos alike.

KVI’s ratings dropped like grampa’s teeth last year when Entercom, in a major coup, stole Rush Limbaugh, and installed him in their right wing startup KTTH. It was pay-back to Fisher for stealing the Mariners from KIRO.

Program Director Ken Berry sat back, savored his victory, and put the infant KTTH into Category C.

But the infant turned out to be Rosemary’s Baby. There was the abrasive, unlovable Mike Siegel (with his plaid pants and checkered past) in the morning drive and the abrasive, unlovable Michael Savage (savaging conservatives) in the afternoon. They figured Big Pants and Michael Medved sandwiched in the middle would carry the day. They were wrong. It turns out that listeners boogied after Limbaugh and didn’t come back.

Entercom forgot what made KVI successful in the first place: building “community” which, incidentally, builds listener loyalty. Radio is a personal medium--listeners share their most intimate times with blabber jockeys--in the bed, on the john, eating breakfast, alone in the car--they become more than voices on the radio, they become friends. And what’s important to Republican activists who know how to work this--after a while, listeners, take hosts’ incessantly repeated opinions as their own. (Democrats, Air America, AM1090- take note.)

KVI hung in with their local drive-time programming, Kirby Wilbur, (m-f 6-9a) and Carlson. Carlson and Wilbur are water bearers for the State Republican Party. Both have long been active with the party and almost never deviate from the party line--hell, they often write it.

(That cannot be said for all conservative talkers. Dori Monson, Lou Pate, Mike Siegel, Bryan Suits are truly deluded, libertarian and tight-sphinctered, but less predictable and can't be depended upon not to stray from official GOP doctrine).

Talk radio ratings always go down after elections--they did for everyone else--but not KVI.  Why not? because homies Wilbur and Carlson jumped, dove, into the gubernatorial unvote during their large audience drive-times.

It was an issue with more traction than a 4-wheeled monkey; because, whether the Democrats’ legal case has merits or not--the appearance of it stinks!

It’s the kind of situation that seems to buttress every rotten thing the average joe thinks about politicians and government.

It’s a made-for-talk radio issue, percolating madly among pissed off white guys, most of whom would be equally pissed at Republicans if the shoe was on the other foot. (GOP Chair Chris Vance should be praying, “But for the grace of god...”).

The Democrats had no media infrastructure that could touch the unholy trinity of talk radio, the blogs, and GOP coup-plotters working in tandem. Democrats never got their side of the story out. Berendt and company worked well with the affidavits and the legals, but lost hearts and minds to the grinding daily drumbeat of talk radio and headline-grabbing revelations by bought-and-paid-for Republican cabal-o-blogs.

KVI ratings stayed up like a Viagara flashback.

KTTH was caught as flatfooted as the Democrats, with no local talkers to tackle the issue except Siegel who the talk audience had long before deserted.

Then came the long overdue road-fixing package with its 9-cent gas tax passed with the bipartisan efforts of the Democratic Legislature and signed by Governor Gregoire.

The boys over at KVI got going. In short order, they raised 80k and got an initiative up. It’ll be an uphill battle getting it on the ballot in the next 40-something days, but if they do, it’ll pass.

(Kirby Wilbur, in a rare occurance on radio, repeatedly begged Mike Siegel on-air to drop the “petty differences” and join the effort. Siegel, being the terminally unique fool he can be, declined.) 

The work done by brave Democrats with brave Republican help would be again undone with another populist initiative meat hammer wielded by anger-mongering demagogues playing to the worst, most self-centered side of a simple majority.

For once, politicians worked the way the people say they want politicians to work--with conscience, and damn the politics. For this: Dey vill be punished...

Meanwhile, KVI and the Republicans are up. Christine Gregoire and KTTH are down.

In a StrategicVision Poll of voters conducted last week, only 37% of those polled thought Gregoire won in November while 57% believed it was Rossi. Gregoire’s unfavorables were a dreadful 58%, almost matching Dino Rossi’s 57% favorables. StrategicVision Poll polls for Republicans but according to the Seattle Weekly’s George Howland on KUOW’s Weekday last week, other local polls say the same.

Gregoire’s a hardworking, decisive governor, but she’s deeply wounded. She (we) can only pray she doesn’t have to run in November against a fresh and always cuddly Rossi, who’s been playing the “injured party;” and whose ass has been out of the fire for a year.

If Judge Bridges rules against the GOP, expect the Republicans to spit the unmelted butter out of their mouths and cut the flattery about the evenhandedness  of the judge and resume reciting conservative boilerplate sliming “activist” judges.

Two lessons for politicians and broadcasters: to succeed around here:

a) you need to be likable, if not lovable.

b) the key to ratings and effective political activism is local,local, local.

May 13, 2005

rabbi daniel lapin, a long look backward

Rabbi Daniel Lapin, our hometown boy and Seattle talk radio connection to the broadening scandal around disgraced super lobbyist Jack Abramoff, keeps showing up in the media as the investigations unfold. 

BlatherWatch has found that controversy and troubled financial dealings have long been hallmarks of this Seattle area ultra-orthodox rabbi striving to be Rasputin to those with hands on the levers of government power.

The silver-tongued former South African buys his own radio time Sunday evenings (7-10p) from Entercom’s local KTTH. His talk show is a folksy, didactic kulturkampf, interlaced with schmaltz, advice to the lovelorn and diatribing political monologues. Once syndicated, it proved too boring for mass consumption, so now it’s vanity radio paid for by Lapin's nonprofit, Toward Tradition. 

Lapin, who NY Times columnist Frank Rich calls a “show rabbi” for the Christian right, actually introduced Abramoff to Delay, thus beginning the now notorious friendship between the born-again Christian up and coming in Republican leadership and the arch-orthodox Jew emerging as the go-to guy if you wanted to lobby the religious right after the Gingrich Gang took over Congress in 1994.

An ace self-promoter who used to be very accessible, Lapin isn’t returning blatherWatch’s calls nor any media inquiries these days as he keeps busting into national print and pixel counts across the blogosphere for his association with the notorious Abramoff.

Neocon talk-show host Michael Medved (KTTH m-f 12-3p) recently defended Abramoff to his syndicated talk-show audience, dismissing the controversy swirling around the embattled lobbyist. “He’s never been charged with anything,” he said, failing to mention that Abramoff is being investigated by the Senate, the House, the Justice Department, and a federal grand jury. Medved forgot to tell his audience about his own longtime friendship and association with the slimy Washington insider.

The latest layer is peeled back by veteran Seattle reporter Rick Anderson in next week’s Seattle Weekly. He details Lapin’s brother (LA business man/rabbi) David’s questionable involvement in the development of a sweatshop garment industry in the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. protectorate west of Hawaii. Anderson writes: “Abramoff working for local political lobbying law firm Preston Gates helped stave off labor reforms threatened by the U.S. Congress.”  Read Anderson’s  “Meet the Lapin Brothers” here.

Continue reading "rabbi daniel lapin, a long look backward" »

May 12, 2005

medved melts down

The net is buzzing. The liberal blogosphere is tittering.

Neocon talk-host Michael Medved, the Yalie who Al Franken, speaking to BlatherWatch Monday termed "stupid," usually has his facts straight and keeps his cool.

True, his "facts" aren't always relevant to his arguments and many times enable him to change the subject or deflect cogent points made by his opponent, but usually he keeps it together.

And hey, he's one of the few right-wingers who actually engage capable advocates of opposing views.

However.  Medved was spanked soundly yesterday by one such advocate, Hans Reimer, Rock the Vote political director and blogger. An amazing debater who we've seen before holding his own on con-talk shows, Reimer prevailed and pushed The Cultural Crusader off his game. This is no small feat--talk hosts have tremendous technological/editorial advantage over a guest.      

Here's how Reimer described it:

So anyway, Medved is like, and this is a paraphrase, "you are a liar, you are a liar, President Bush's plan would not privatize Social Security."

So, I read this quote from George W. Bush as reported by ABC News on October 30, 2002: "What privatization does is allows the individual worker - his or her choice - to set aside money in a managed account with parameters in the marketplace."

I had to read it about 5 times before it sunk in.  That is Mr. Bush, describing his own plan, calling in privatization.   

So then he starts calling me a liar for saying that there are politicians who want to get rid of Social Security entirely (an accusation that has been made here in the comments at this blog, and where I suspect Medved got the question). He's like, I dare you to name one politician who supports phasing out Social Security. My reaction was, I don't want to get into naming names. But he kept harping on me so I had to dig into my files.

So I read him this quote from Congressman Chris Chocola: "Bush's plan of individual investment of 2 percent of the money is a start. Eventually, I'd like to see the entire system privatized."

At that point, Medved just lost it and started saying that Chocola was not a real Congressman.

Repeat: When confronted with the facts once again he accused me of lying and said he doubted that there was really a member of Congress named Chris Chocola.

Wow.

April 29, 2005

WINTER ARBITRON RATINGS ARE HERE!!! AND SURE ENOUGH, KIRO SUCKS.

The Arbitron ratings are in. BlatherWatch’s vast network of moles, plumbers, leakers, deep throats, blathermonkeys and bag men located in strategic cubicles in the belly of the beast are coming up with reliable numbers from the Winter Book (Jan, Feb, Mar).

BlatherWatch knows this stuff is snarky, and a little complicated. But we get more requests for ratings that anything else (except, of course, for us to put some pants on and get a real job). For a rundown how Arbitrary-tron works, (it’s quite the travesty) click here for our definitive post, Cooking The Book.

We don’t have much yet from KVI, KTTH, KOMO or Air America. But we’re loaded with the KIRO goods and as we predicted, the goods are bad.

The new out-of-the-box line-up, so highly touted by its perps, PD Tom Clendening and afternoon talk host Dori Monson, has been an abysmal blow-out.

KIRO sank to 6th place in the the not-so-meaningful “all listeners 12 and older,” demographic, going from a 5.0 to 4.2 audience share.

But even worse, in the vital 25-54 year old adults demo, the place where radio stations live or die, KIRO went from 8th to 13th place.

KIRO’s January numbers were strongest, but eroded each month. When the January numbers go away, (Arbitron trends are a rolling 3 months) and are replaced by KOMO’s high Mariners’ ratings, KIRO will really be in the House of Poo.

Devastating is KIRO’s fall from 4th to 9th in the morning drive (6-10a). This has always been a time slot KIRO could take to the bank. “With it weakening,” our guy says, “it's abandon ship time ...horrible for the sales department, because many ad buys are based on the top 3 or 5 morning drive stations in the 25-54 demo.”

Allen Prell and Dori Monson’s 10a-3p: fell from 13th to 16th. There’s huge overhead with these two highly paid hosts, producers, and a bevy of newsies.  And all this, says a source, “for numbers that some of the tiniest, bare bones operations are now beating. Not only is Prell DOA, says our guy, “but Monson is in absolutely huge trouble.”

(Sources say Al Franken came in at 18th in this time slot, which we say is not too bad).

Dave Ross in the 3 to 7p ratings period, gave KIRO a ray of hope, though meager. The news block he replaced was 14th in the fall, Ross made 10th. That's a little lower than he scored in his old slot and last year, and the news he replaced was in 9th place in the comparable 2004 period.

Tony Ventrella and Mike Webb (7-midnight) are a catastrophe. They went from 9th to 15th place, and in the baseball season, they'll be lucky to stay in the top 20.

Sources deep in the bowels of Entercom now say KIRO firings are not likely quite yet. Ratings are in a free fall and no one knows where the bottom will be. When they stabilize, look for some of the help being frog-walked scross the street to the Azteca for a good-bye single malt. 

We can tell you that in the 12+ ratings (which don't tell you much), AM1090 (Air America) gained a half point, a good thing, but not a great thing. KVI lost nearly half a share, the lackluster KOMO lost a couple of points; (but they’ll perk up next month with baseball). KTTH lost a half share but stayed ahead of KVI by a single point.

Stay tuned and stand by and we'll get some more definitive 25-54 numbers for these stations.

April 19, 2005

entercom staffers respond to michael medved show responding to blatherWatch responding to entercom staffers

As always, when Blatherwatch posts a story about the smell of death around Seattle Entercom news-talk stations KIRO and KTTH, employees flock unto us feeling the motherwarmth and security of our thick quilt of anonymity; eager to share their sense of impending doom and the realities on the ground causing it.

Monday, (4-19) producer Dan “Darth” Sytman of the Salem-syndicated Michael Medved Show wrote to unequivocally deny the show was moving to Salem-owned KKOL (1300 KHz), a lesser station up-dial soon to raise its voice in the din of local news-talk by increasing its power to 50,000 watts.

Salem Communications is a relatively small radio network of mostly Christian stations and right-wing, faith-based syndicated hosts like Medved, Janet Parshall, Dr. James Dobson, etc.

Sytman was snippy, he was censorial, and he lectured us on accuracy and fairness--as well he should--the man of stature that he is, renowned for his steady moral compass. When someone the likes of Sytman says, unequivocally--we know he means it. And because blatherWatch is obsessed with “accuracy and fairness,” and because, darn it, you deserve the truth!--we posted a rare online correction, and retracted the offending material about the much-rumored, but apparently apocryphal move.

But Eastlake insiders wrote in quickly, “Wait and see,” they said, “there still might be something to that.” BlatherWatch needs to air their points so readers can know we don’t just pull stuff out of our ass:

  • Entercom, they say, would love to pull Hannity over to KTTH, but unfortunately, he’d be in Medved’s live time (12-3p PDST). Hannity does very well; but he does  better when he follows Limbaugh--they’re paired up in most other markets. Medved is tiny in syndicated talk radio, especially compared to Hannity. Another  plus for KTTH bumping Medved--Hannity wouldn't take up space in the overcrowded Eastlake building.
  • li>

  • Our people say Medved’s relationship with the new KIRO/KTTH management team is clearly not so sweet as Sytman claims. The newsroom snickered behind their claws a few months ago when Medved was forced to clean out his cubicle and give it up to a KIRO staffer.
  • li>

  • Seattle is an exception to the way Salem packages their product in most cities. They like to place hosts onto their owned-and-operated stations. When KKOL goes to 50k watts, according to our sources, it would be the logical place for Medved--next to other Salem-branded shows and bolstering a station trying to become competitive. Logical for Salem, not so good for Medved.
  • li>

  • Medved's market stature ain’t what it used to be, say our guys. After being dumped at KVI, he struggled at KTTH, they say, until Rush came over. In radio, it’s very, very good to follow Rush Limbaugh. Outside the small Salem stations, Medved is hard to find on the dial across the country.

    Sytman’s other homilies and lecture points to us can mostly be chalked up to ass-kissing his KTTH boss, Program Manager Tom Clendening, who makes the live-or-die decisions over his weekly talk show.

    Ken Berry, the previous KIRO PM gave Sytman his own show--a great opportunity for someone his age albeit at the ungraceful hour of 6 a.m. on Saturdays. Sources say this too could pass, because times are tough at KTTH. Those weird weekend early mornings are usually when sales departments like to plug-in infomercials rather than having to pay a host like Sytman when nobody’s listening except his mother.

    In his authoritative reprimand of blatherWatch, Sytman intoned: “...all the KTTH employees that I know are very happy about Entercom management, Tom Clendending (sic) in particular.” (italics ours) The Eastlake gang who talks to us say Medved’s staff is “like a private club,” standoffish and a little arch. Perhaps Darth Sytman simply doesn’t know enough KTTH employees for a credible sample.

    (note to Dan: when publicly butt-licking your employer--be sure to spell his name right!)

    There’s no joy in Blatherville if Medved’s fine show has problems. Though we’re proudly liberal, and think he’s seriously deluded politically, we also consider him at the top of the conservative talk heap and have written glowingly of him in various publications in the past. Medved’s smart, has a good story to tell, and most important to the likes of us, he engages callers and is not afraid to take on rhetorical equals.
    ~~
    Got inside talk-radio poop to dish? Blab it at [email protected]. Discretion assured.

  • the rabbi with the tinfoil yarmulke (and we thought he was just boring...)

    As Tom Delay’s chairmanship is chipped away by critics and prosecutors, we’re reminded how much water one of our local talk hosts, Rabbi Daniel Lapin (KTTH Sun. 7-10p) displaces in some of the shadier national Republican hog-wallows.

    Two recent national press pieces underscored Lapin’s role in the breaking story that finds more Republicans each day peeling away from the mean, self-righteous, born-again loser. Some say only the power of prayer, or a deaf, dumb, blind (or well-paid) grand jury can save Delay.

    You hear a lot of GOP meta-rada on the talking head shows about the innocence and ubiquity in Congress of Delay’s putting his family on his payroll. But what they’re not talking about is Delay’s mutually masturbatory relationship with sullied lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

    He’s the gigantic tub of scum accused of--among many other things--bilking Indian tribes out of casino millions by promising to peddle his Congressional influence with the mighty Delay.

    Who introduced Abramoff to Delay? Why, it was the jolly Mercer Island rabbi, Daniel Lapin. Abramoff is (or was) a boardmember of Lapin’s non-profit organization, Toward Traditon, as is, (or was) Michael Medved (KTTH, m-f, 12-3p). Another local connection: before his troubles, Abramoff worked as Seattle’s venerable law/lobbying firm, Preston Gates.

    Frank Rich in Sunday’s (4-17) NY Times says he met the South African-born rabbi at a Christian Coalition convention in 1994.

    He was regaling the crowd with scriptural passages proving that high taxes are "immoral." Now the show rabbi of the Christian right, Rabbi Lapin has moved on to bigger broadcast pulpits. When he's not preaching the virtues of "The Passion of the Christ," he is chastising "Meet the Fockers" for promoting "vile notions of Jews" that "are not too different from those used by Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels." He apparently didn't like the idea that Barbra Streisand and Dustin Hoffman played characters who enjoy sex.

    Rabbi Lapin, according to Slate, is the networker who jump-started the mutually beneficial business relationship of Jack Abramoff and Tom DeLay by introducing them in the early 90's. That was some mitzvah. As Marshall Wittmann, a former Christian Coalition lobbyist who later jumped to the Democratic Leadership Council, told me recently, "We now see the meaning of Judeo-Christian values."

    The Slate piece by James Harding, Washington bureau chief of the Financial Times, enumerates some of the lower points in Abramoff’s career; from millionaire right-wing operative, to movie maker to high-rolling Washington lobbyist. Harding writes:

    Abramoff's defining innovation on K Street—the Avenue of the Lobbyists—hasbeen to wear his political and business hats at the same time. He is an operator and also an ideologue.

    F’rinstance: although the legalistic Orthodox Jewish values he allegedly espouses disapprove of gambling, Abramoff flacked tribal casino gambling concerns--even getting Indians an audience with President Bush. He charged outrageously inflated fees, even pressuring the tribes to donate to a right-wing think tank run by Grover Norquist, who’s apparently ethically impaired as well.

    In the 1980's, he made the anti-Communist, potboiling action dud, "Red Scorpion" with Dolph Lundgren. There were protests when it was uncovered that Abramoff used extras and military equipment supplied by South Africa's racist right-wing government, then an outlaw state shunned by civilized nations.

    Because Seattle is a small town, we’re usually proud when one of our own gets the national limelight. Frankly, the idea that the hyper-orthodox Lapin could ascend anywhere--except, perhaps, in the Hall of Fame of right-wing cartoons--seemed laughable.

    We’d naively thought he was just a quaintly opinionated blowhard with the haughty accent of an Afrikaaner who’d done fill-in on KVI and KTTH and bought himself onto the radio in the weird off-hours usually reserved for secular infomercials for male performance supplements.

    On-air he’s a folksy clergyman “(Everybody needs a rabbi,” he always says) who’s a bit of a yenta, a match-maker, and champion of marriage between people of the same faith, same species, but different genders; he’s didactic and condescending--and speaks in paragraphs--long paragraphs. Northwest goyim in general have little contact with Jews, especially religious ones, so listeners gush and treat him like an exotic animal--sort of their pet Jew.

    Quaint opinions? we might mention his firm stance against recycling. Or his denial that any poverty in the U.S. exists. Or that Living Wills are suicide notes. Or that to love your pets is unBiblical. Or that tattoos, birth control, piercing, abortions and assisted suicide have immoral equivalency.

    (I have to get off this my chest--it’s less conpiracy theory than conspiracy indulgence. But this is my blog, damn it, so here it is: Lapin doesn’t believe in birth control, and has 7 children (6 girls, 1 boy). Lapin is French for ‘rabbit’-- an animal who also doesn’t believe in birth control (nor restraint, I’m told). Is this a coincidence...or something more sinister? While we're entertaining unanswered questions: is it true that Lapin’s South African high school buddies called him “Danny Rabbit” for his rapid successes with the opposite sex? What do rabbis wear under their dark suits? What do rabbits wear under their dark suits? We’ll probably never know...)

    During the Schiavo kerfuffle, when it seemed Delay was prevailing in his shocking Federal buttinskyism with his ham-handed tactics, Lapin crowed on-air warning liberals that their day in America was done.

    Daniel Lapin is political activist as extreme as James Dobson. Rev. Ken Hutcherson, Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell. Except for that Lord Jesus part, he’s in lock step with them. He’s their show rabbi, no more a benign sectarian clergyman than Jesse Jackson.

    For years, he’s been kickin’ it with some of the most powerful and extreme conservatives in the country, some of whom are in power. For all the poo-pooing conservatives do about Hillary’s “vast rightwing conspiracy,” they do all seem to know each other. And if you think Lapin’s faith-based goofiness isn’t getting into policy makers ears these days, I’ve got a kibbutz on Mercer Island I wanna sell you.

    April 18, 2005

    michael medved show responds to blatherWatch

     

    BlatherWatch has reported that sources (there were 3) said the Michael Medved Show was leaving KTTH for KKOL. We had a patent on it, but, according to Medved producer Dan Sytman, it was patently false.

    We have made a correction on our site.

    Here's his letter:

    My message to you is this: Please be more careful before posting rumors about Entercom. Most of what you've posted is incorrect. In particular, I want to address what you've posted about Michael Medved and Entercom management. I can tell you unequivocally that Michael Medved is not moving to KKOL. That rumor is patently false. His show does extremely well on KTTH and there is absolutely no reason to move it. And about the management of Entercom--all the KTTH employees that I know are very happy about Entercom management, Tom Clendending in particular.They have been very supportive about providing another outlet for conservative talk in Seattle. I think your postings have been inaccurate and unfair to the good people who manage and work for Entercom Seattle.

    Sincerely, Dan Sytman Producer,
    Michael Medved Show
    Executive Producer, Salem Radio Network

    We also reported that KTTH employees complain the start-up station, doing so well after they stole Rush Limbaugh from KVI, has now sunk below KVI's overall ratings after being neglected by PD Tom Clendening busy playing Whack-A-Mole to the multiple leaks in the hull of Mothership KIRO.

    We'll stand by that.

    Note the narrowness of the "unequivical" part of Sytman's disclaimer of BlatherWatch's reporting. It  pertains only to Medved's Show and the apparently apocryphal move to KKOL. While Sytman works for the syndicated Medved (an independent entity), he's also a KTTH talkhost (Sat 6-8am) and an employee of Tom Clendening. Who could blame him for publically describing his boss in such glowing terms?

    April 07, 2005

    elitist, intellectualized snits, kiro, air america, ktth, and arbitron ratings pigs

    No numbers, yet, but according to sources, new ratings are devastating to KIRO radio. What’s more, it’s official: KVI has passed  KTTH, KIRO’s Entercom l’il sister, whose ratings have dropped as fast as they went up last year after they stole Rush Limbaugh.

    The station, meanwhile, has been left dangling slowly, slowly in the wind by the new management frantic to save KIRO as it slips below the surface.

    At least that’s what the help says.

    Radio biz Cassandras all over town are predicting the mighty 710 KIRO blowtorch of local news-talk will go the way of the old KING1090, for decades on top of the Seattle AM heap before it tipped over rather suddenly in the early ‘90’s.

    (Interesting footnote is that KING, owned by the enlightened, liberal Bullitt family, tried Rush Limbaugh on in the late ‘80’s, as he was just starting in national syndication. After a few months, they decided he was not a fit for them...or Seattle. Ironically, a few years later, the KING was dead and Big Pants was king). 

    Herein is a lesson for Air America affiliate, 1090AM: stations with little more than syndicated programming won’t make it--even when one of the syndicated is Limbaugh. At least that’s what radio hands tell me.

    I never agree with Brian Maloney, the conservative KIRO talk jock fired because he called on-air for CBS’ Dan Rather’s resignation after the pre-election faked memo scandal. It was bad form--KIRO is a CBS affiliate. The now long-gone PD Ken Berry denied Maloney was fired for that reason, but he never came up with any other reason, and despite that it made cable news for a week, fired he was. Maloney left the local market.

    Maloney’s ambitious blog, The Radio Equalizer is well-received by the pleistocene crowd both on the East coast where he now resides, and locally. As a conservative host on KVI and KIRO, he used to infuriate me, but he blogs convincingly on talk radio biz, a subject about which he knows considerably more than I.

    In a post that should provoke thought by anyone interested in the success of liberal talk radio, Does Sean Hannity Help or Hurt Talk Radio? How Stations Benefit From Local Programming, he writes:

    “Ratings are still strong overall for news/talk stations, but the future is much less certain, especially for AM "heritage" stations.
    While competition heats up from every angle, including talk television, blogs, Internet broadcasting, podcasting, satellite radio and more, talk radio programmers have been ordered to focus on cost-cutting rather than battling the new threats. Would you slash the defense budget at the height of wartime?
    The result has been a severe decline in what talk radio had long been doing right: spurring discussion on local issues where there had been no previous outlet....Stations had the opportunity to sell to clients these area personalities for endorsements, events and community involvement. Commercial sales opportunities are greater by far for local programs than syndicated ones.
    So why were the local shows cut? To satisfy a shortsighted, relentless, cost-cutting push that undermined the very success talk radio had created.
    At first, stations blended local "drivetime" programs with syndication to fill other parts of the day. Then, bean-counting cut even that away, removing successful area shows for sometimes marginal national shows. These lack the ability to discuss what's going on at the local or state level, leaving a station's schedule with show after show, beating to death the same few issues.
    There are only a handful of nationally syndicated shows good enough to build a strong radio station. The rest are barely airworthy.”

    KTTH’s sad story should be a cautionary tale for Air America, not only in Seattle where 1090 AM has nobody (!) live and local, but elsewhere in the country where liberal talk is gaining much too slowly for my taste.

    Maloney cites KTTH’s sin of omission as a cogent example of how the all-politics-are-local dictum came to kick KTTH’s ass:

    “When the controversy over the heavily disputed Washington state governor's race heated up to explosive levels last November, KVI was able to capitalize on enormous local listener interest in the controversy, while KTTH squandered the opportunity with national shows unwilling and unable to address it.”

    It also kicked Democrats’ ass because this is more than radio biz, this is politics. The Republicans drove that debate, because we have no John Carlson or Kirby Wilbur to pound Republican sand up the public’s culo day-in and day-out. We have our NPR with its metered reporting and Dave Ross with his balanced style. We have our Allen Prell who no one listens to. We have Erin Hart and Mike Webb, voices ringing in the evening dead zones.

    Radio is first and foremost a business. But what makes sound business, here--the marriage of local issues and local talk programming--also makes good politics.

    I’d love to see Democratic Chairman Paul Berendt use some of his celebrated recruiting talents to find and prepare a field of broadcasters. I’d love to see some energy and money spent on an infrastructure that would encourage and help young progressives interested in broadcasting. The right did it and it’s paid off.

    Talk radio is a powerful medium, one used well by the right. Whether it can work for progressives, has yet to be proven. If it doesn’t work for us, my prayer is that it’ll be because we gave it a good shot and failed--not because we walked away in one of our famous elitist, intellectualized snits.

    Got any talk-radio poop to dish? Blab it at [email protected] Discretion assured.

    April 01, 2005

    RUSH LIMBAUGH DIES IN RESTAURANT MISHAP

    PALM BEACH,Florida--Apr.1,2005 (AP)- Talk show host Rush Limbaugh, 57, died Thursday in a Palm Beach restaurant, apparently by suffocation when he choked on his food.
    "He turned red, then white, then bluish--then he just went down," said Murray Klaxon, a diner sitting with his wife at the next table. "
    "It was the bread," said Klaxon, "He took too much in his mouth."
    Fellow diners rushed up to the famed conservative talk host and tried to perform a Heimlich Maneuver. "We were unsuccessful," said  Sam Golding, a retired physician from Madison, Wisconsin. "We couldn't lift him."
    Emergency personnel from the Palmetto County Fire Department were called, but arrived too late to rescusitate Limbaugh.
    Limbaugh was the most successful host in the history of radio, credited with inventing the modern talk genre. He'd had several reversals in recent years. In 2002, he was fired after making what were termed rascist remarks while providing color commentary on ABC's Monday Night Football. His addiction to pain medications was exposed publically in 2003 leading to an embarrassing criminal investigation and a messy third divorce.
    His ratings never suffered after these events. His loyal listeners (called "dittoheads") never wavered in their support for  the portly broadcaster.
    "He will be missed," said EIB executive Fred Kreuger.

    March 29, 2005

    Whither KIRO?: here’s some radio poop you can scoop

    Boy, did I get an earful from insiders after my last post about Allen Prell. It seems that the problems at KIRO, for years the top-rated Seattle news-talk station, and its li’l sister KTTH are inspiring a lot of rodents to think about ejecting from the Entercom Mothership.

    Radio management is secretive, so it’s hard to see the whole picture, but emails from Entercom staffers describe what they see as major strategic programming and business screw-ups.

    Here are the headlines according to the help:

    • Michael Medved (KTTH, m-f, 12-3p) is reportedly moving his syndicated kulturkampf  to KKOL, the little Christian station soon to power up to 50,000 megatons. This would bring another Seattle right-wing station into ratings relevance, and perhaps help sink KTTH in the process.
    • Low-rated, brow-beating Mike Siegel (KTTH, m-f, 6-9a) could be replaced today, tomorrow or the next day (it might have even happened yesterday). Entercom head-hunters are beating the bushes for his replacement.
    • Lt. Bryan Suits’ (KVI m-f, 6-9p) first act upon arriving home from his Iraqi duty was to apply for Siegel’s KTTH morning job. This despite being on the KVI payroll and getting a triumphant KVI homecoming worthy of Gen. MacArthur. With uncharacteristic clarity and vision--perhaps remembering the Bad Lieutenant’s tepid KIRO ratings--Entercom suits took a pass on Suits.
    • Dori Monson (KIRO m-f 12-3p) was the driving force behind what insiders fear is a disastrous new line-up at KIRO. They say he got his friend, nice-guy Tony Ventrella (KIRO m-f, 6-9p) a job he’s not suited for; put Dave Ross in a morass of commercials and traffic reports that cramps his thoughtful style and drives his thoughtful listeners to NPR.
    • Monson’s getting killed by Medved and Sean Hannity. Recent ratings put him in 11th place, with 25-54 adults, the main demographic. He blamed the noon news lead-in, so they canned it. He then pushed for the scheduling changes, which resulted in the firings of anchor Val Stouffer and business reporter Kevin Ebi. “Dori's out of people to blame,” says a co-worker, “so now the ratings better go up or he, along with his buddy [new Program Director] Tom Clendening’s going to be in big trouble with corporate for pushing for this horrible station revamp.”
    • KIRO is dead last in the news-talk wars at night. Mike Webb's (KIRO m-f, 9p-1a) time slot (shared with Ventrella) scored only a 2.4 share for a 15th place ranking. Webb reportedly struggles to get callers. Ventrella misses lots of work.

    Entercom, the media giant out of Bala Cynwyd, PA, owns not only KIRO, but KBSG, KISW, KMTT, KNDD, & KQBZ. Last year, they stole Rush Limbaugh from KVI to anchor programming for their con-talk upstart, KTTH.

    The coupe was, some say, payback for the theft from KIRO of Mariners' baseball by Fisher's KOMOam.

    Entercom thought they could kick back after they stole their rival's top ratings winner (the Big Fat Idiot is no.#1 nationally with Hannity not far behind). And yes, there was a ratings surge for KTTH at first, but the trend didn't continue.

    KVI was the original right-wing format in Seattle and for years a con-talk monopoly. The station's success was about Limbaugh, and listener-loyalty inspiring local talent like Kirby Wilbur and John Carlson. (KVI is owned locally by the Fisher family who also own KOMOTV, KOMO, KPLZ).

    With KVI's emphasis on local talkers, and KTTH's dearth of them (they've only got Mike Siegel) they made an impressive jump in the Winter Arbitron Book out last month, while KIRO went down from 3rd to 4th.

    Many media observers are predicting the worst for KIRO, though it may be schadenfroid and hoping the big dog can be brought down. I’d hate to see this mixed-format station decline or go desist--it’s the largest piece of progressive talk we’ve got in Seattle.

    Although...an Air America with Dave Ross might be worth it all...
    ~~
    Got any talk-radio poop to dish? Blab it at [email protected] Discretion assured.

    March 09, 2005

    webb & siegel: role reversals by the mikes

    Mike Siegel (KTTH m-f, 6-9a) is broadcasting from Israel. And this week, he's a progressive internationalist giving great and informative talk radio. Siegel with his dogged intellect and training as an attorney was once a liberal mud-raker and he's well-suited for the job.

    Siegel's regular shows of late have been pissed-off, anti-Gregoire, pro-unvote snore-orgies with the room temperature Bob Williams (an auditor by trade) providing the color. Williams is a former GOP legislator, gubernatorial candidate, ultra-conservative and founder/director of the conservative watchtank, the Evergreen Freedom Foundation.

    When the erectile dysfunction of these two leaves everyone just laying there (ratings, callers) Siegel calls Republican attack-blogger Stefan "Jaws" Sharkansky of soundpolitics.org to provide a shot of Viagara. Jaws also is kind of a plodder on-air so, as you can imagine, this isn't exactly been easy listening.

    In Tel Aviv this week, Siegel has been showing what he could be, if he hadn't sold his soul long ago to the right. He's interviewed an impressive array of politicos, economists, journalists, and NGOs from all over the wide Israeli political spectrum. This is a fascinating time for Israel-watching and Siegel has been making engaging, substantive conversations, remarkably free of his own biased interjections.

    It's good radio, though his usual choir of KTTH listeners, have probably gone over to Kirby at KVI until Siegel gets back to his terse early morning comfort zones and predictable diatribes.

    Mike Webb on KIRO (m-f, 9p-1a) is a different matter. He's supposed to be, as a left-wing talk-host different than the likes of Siegel, but he uses the same tactics as some of the more infuriating of the right-wing talk-jocks.

    Last night he lured Jeff Kempto his show, who's a Christian "pro-family," advocate, and local leader in the anti-marriage equality movement. He lasted about 6 minutes.

    Kemp, a former pro-footballer and son of conservative icon and vice presidential candidate Jack Kemp, runs a sectarian family-values mill over on the eastside. He's soft-spoken, not particularly political and certainly no firebrand like Rev. Ken Hutcherson or Rev. Joe Fuiton.

    Webb started out engaging him a little--each said they had sources that either proved or disproved that kids need bi-gendered parents. But as the conversation "progressed," Webb got more and more agitated, began making edgy little ad hominem jabs, and stepping on the ends of Kemp's sentences--you could feel his anger rising.

    Kemp felt it too and having been in this crucible before, started using his pastoral counseling skills to put oil on the water and keep Webb in the room.

    He failed. Webb used the Sean Hannity technique of lecture followed by a do-you-still-beat-your-wife-question, except he didn't wait for an answer. He just angrily yelled "you're delusional!," and hung up on the hapless Kemp.

    I expect more from progressives. Hell, I expect more of Sean Hannity.

    It was erectile dysfuntion of a different kind. It was the overcompensation of a bully; and like all bullying, a show of weakness. Webb's inability to hold up his end of the debate for gay marriage--a righteous cause with plenty of righteous arguments--ended up with a show of power that boiled down to: I've got a dump button and you don't.

    Webb says he's passionate and the right can't handle it. His passion, however, is an anger that he apparently can't control and serves to make his opponents look reasonable.

    It's bad radio and bad politics.

    March 07, 2005

    memo to mike siegel: please don't become a wine bore...

    Here's something from the watch-what-you-pray-for dep't. You know how I'm always bitching about Mike Siegel (KTTH m-f, 6-9a) and his snarky, right-wing, left-brain tirades about the minutia of election law, writs of mandamus and DSHS.

    Can't promise I won't bitch about it again, but I'll take Siegel's legalistic bloviation any day over today's critical analysis of Washington wines, specifically his waxing flattery over the Pinot Noir from Leonetti Cellars, that high-end, seminal Walla Walla Valley winery.

    While Leonetti certainly makes fine premium wines, Paul Gregut you're not, Mike. Please don't become a wine-bore. You could ruin that beverage for thousands and your ratings would suffer even more.

    As Fran Lebowitz once told me (as we lay in bed, smoking), "Great people talk about ideas, average people talk about things, and small people talk about wine."

    March 05, 2005

    mayday for equality

    “Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy hill … Gather the people, consecrate the assembly….” –Joel 2

    The trumpet blowing Friday in Zion, was heard all over Babylon. Seattle conservative airwaves, increasingly the holy hills upon which evangelicals sound their alarms were Rev-ed up by paid ads and tag teams of organizers of the anti-equal marriage rights demonstration, Mayday for Marriage in Olympia, this coming Tuesday, Mar 8.

    Rev. Dr. Joseph B. Fuiten, (pronounced feetin' --which, I'm assured by his press person--has nothing to do with shrimpin') is President of Washington Evangelicals for Responsible Government, (WERG) who deny any relationship with Rev. Fred Phelps' God Hates Fags Ministries.

    He and Rev. Ken Hutcherson, whose mini-sermons are regular product on Entercom's KTTH (see blatherWatch: "we're a force to be reckoned with") made the rounds Friday of Mike Siegel, (KTTH, m-f, 6-9a) Kirby Wilbur (KVI, m-f, 6-9a) and John Carlson (KVI m-f, 3-6p) Thor Tolo, (KGNW m-f, 3-6p)

    Tuesday is when the State Supreme Court will hear arguments on lower court rulings from King and Thurston counties that found Washington's Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) to be unconstitutional. DOMA only allows marriage between a man and a woman and denies recognition of same-sex unions performed elsewhere. WERG pushed DOMA through the Legislature in 1998; and  they're in on the current suit to overturn the lower courts' decisions.

    Mayday is the WWII cry for help! Is it a mayday for marriage or equality? Fuiton says it's a payday for procreation. Marriage, he says, is a religion based "institution of procreation" and they're out to save it from destruction. (He and Hutcherson have procreated smartly, each spawning four children. Procreation is a handy method --one you can do at home--for making new Christians).

    Organizing, communicating and the logistics of moving believers is what evangelicals are really good at. It helps, of course, that they know where their peeps are every Sunday morning. They know what radio stations their people listen to and have perfected target direct mail, email and the potluck supper. Their rallies are replete with coordinated shuttle buses, and car pools.

    The lefties, (who mostly stay home or hang out in sushi bars) take the Metro to their events. 

    WERGies stuffed Safeco Field with 20,000 people for their first Mayday for Marriage rally in May. They claim on their website 250,000 attended their October rally in the National Mall in Washington DC (more reliable estimates give them about 147,000).

    Nitpicking the numbers is irrelevant; the rallies did  effectively what they were supposed to do--marshal Christians in the Bush/Cheney fold through fear of fags.

    Evangelicals think they can put pressure on the Supreme Court, a body whose deliberations are supposed to be above the political fray. A few years ago I would have laughed at the prospect. Today?--I'm not laughing.

    March 01, 2005

    "we're a force to be reckoned with"

    I cried a little, and that's no shit....sitting there in the towering black man's office as he told me in  heart-rending terms how he came to Jesus watching Roy Rogers on a TV talk show.

    His eyes, big as quarters but dark, seemed to probe to the bottom of the polluted river that is my very soul.

    What a waste, I thought, wiping a tear, this guy could be one helluva politician.

    But he is a politician--and one whose position and charisma provides him way more power and influence than most elected politicos I know.

    He's Rev. Ken Hutcherson, former linebacker for the Hawks and the Cowboys, friend of Dr. James Dobson, Alan Keyes, and fishing buddy of Rush Limbaugh. He's made a national name for himself as the organizer of the huge rallies decrying equal marriage rights at Seattle's Safeco Field and The Mall in DC that proved so effective in galvanizing evangelical Christians for George Bush.

    His “Hutch Rush” mini-sermons can be heard (m-f ) on Seattle right-wing talk station, KTTH (770 AM) at 8:50 am just before Limbaugh. A Sunday sermonette can be heard 8:30-9 am also on KTTH. He's been a welcome guest of the syndicated Michael Medved Show (KTTH m-f, 12-3 pm); John Carlson (KVI m-f, 3-6 pm) Kirby Wilbur (KVI m-f, 6-9 pm) and Mike Siegel (m-f, 6-9 pm). 

    I was interviewing him to write "Straight Talk," an in-depth profile that appears in the new issue of Seattle Magazine. For political junkies, horror fans, and spiritual intensity seekers, it's worth a read. Unfortunately, you'll have to buy it, it's not on-line...

    Hutcherson helped found Kirkland's mega Antioch Bible Church and attracts 3000 souls every Sunday with his fiery, funny preaching. It's a fully digitized, multi-media event that's entertaining at best, frightening at worst. Beneath the skillful comedic timing, the earnest preacher-speak and the delicious music, it's the same hard-pan, you're-going-to-hell-if-you-don't-love-Jesus Christianity that made Jerry Falwell one of the most hated men in America.

    It's hard to hate "Hutch," as he likes to be called, and Antioch is a mostly benign world unto itself, providing services like child care, free adoption; ministries for every spiritual pickle you might find yourself in; social groups for every age or ethnic flavor.

    It's open to all but you better keep your nose clean--if they catch you shacking up or your personal closet door chances swing open--they'll make you stand up in church, shame you, and boot your sinful, backsliding ass to the street.

    Though he'd never use the word, Hutcherson is pissed.

    “I want to teach the church what I learned as an African-American, that is—you don't have to take it. We got just as many rights as anybody and the advantage that God's on our side.”

    He organized the rallies because he was alarmed by King Co. Exec. Ron Sims' and Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels’ support of equal marriage rights. Hutcherson takes credit for Sims' gubernatorial defeat primary. “We put the nail in the coffin,” he says.

    The juice given evangelicals by the 2004 elections gave them a sense of entitlement and inflated misperception of their own power which will be their political downfall--we've seen it before.

    The Republicans took over the reins of the Legislature in 1994, but ran roughshod over practicality with a lot of right-wing Christian ideological indulgence and they blew it. Most of the goofballs were defeated by '96.

    But they're back and feeling their oats. “We’re gonna win,” says Hutcherson. “Is it gonna be civil or hostile? If you surrender and accept Him as your Lord and savior, it’s gonna be civil. You reject Him, it’s gonna to be hostile.”

    Most grass roots Christian fundamentalists don't really give a damn about politics or government, except in the narrow focus of their parochial moral concerns. Most, like many other Americans, don't pay attention between Presidential years and only do politically as they're told by preachers like Hutcherson. An unapologetic Republican power broker, he's not unlike a sectarian ward politician: he can deliver votes.

    I don't care about someone's religious peccadilloes, but when they use their wonder-working power, hands-on in the political process, I get nervous--like when Dobson recently warned a list of politically at-risk Democratic US senators they'd better fly right or face the wrath of the Christian jihad come '06. 

    I'd wager that if you polled evangelicals, and could get down to their philosophical short hairs, many--like the kids in the recent poll--would be agreeable to suspending some of those naughty bits in America's owner's manual, the Constitution. I'll bet if you framed the question right, they'd find something to love about a few theocratic tweaks..

    As Hutcherson told me, “Christians stood up and said, ‘we ain’t taking it any more.’ We’ve got enough people to vote and push our way on you--like you-all been pushing on us.”

    We can laugh as they find perversion delving into SpongeBob's private life; and in the long haul, I believe they'll fail. But the time is past when progressive elites can afford to underestimate the wicked combination of anger, ignorance, and god-driven self-righteousness.

    February 23, 2005

    if this is what they eat for breakfast...

    no wonder they're pissed off.

    It's an alternate universe, out there in early morning con-talk (Mike Siegel, KTTH; Travis Bawks in for Kirby Wilbur, KVI). Sprung on you suddenly, you might think you'd slipped into an ugly cocaine day-after dawn.

    Actually, 'universe' is too big a word for this puny, partisan cul-de-sac.

    Today, the layered and faceted real world of real events and people was replaced by one full of violent soccer moms; a Legislature where Rep Toby Nixon (R-Kirkland) or Sen. Bob Morton (R-Spokane Valley) are relevant; an Oz where the separation of King Co.from Seattle or the secession of Eastern Washington from the rest of the state are desirable and viable.

    Siegel gave way too much air-time to Linda Jordan, the hemorroidal and deluded perpetrator of the grouchy recall effort against Republican Secretary of State Sam Reed. She's back to court for reconsideration of her silliness after it was found insufficient last week. She will lose again.

    Bawks spent at least an hour on the distraction of a dust-up at a girls basketball game in Sequim where an unhappy father punched a coach. His conclusion after all the tsk, tsk? Don't mess with soccer moms!  The blame, of course, was layed at the feet of those infamous supporters of Bill Clinton.

    Reality is that majority Democrats in the Legislature are working on the real problems--everybody's problems--of a record revenue shortfall and a thousand problems we can't afford to address.

    We heard nothing about that reality this morning.

    Instead it was the radical secessionist proposals being demagogued by Nixon (proposing the King Co.one) and Morton (who wants to pull out the dryside). These are proposed mainly to grab some headlines from the minority backbench. Twas ever thus in Olympia...

    Aside from the inconvenient fact that creating a 51st state would take passing it through the Democratic Legislature, then an act of Congress; another cogent reality is that Eastern Washington would be a third world state like Mississippi without the wetside revenue stream. They'd have to name it Pothole for the miles of roads they couldn't afford to maintain. Besides, haven't you noticed? Government--for better or for worse--never does huge things on its own; it responds radically only when huge things happen...to it.

    I have no problem with these views being aired--they're part of the much-touted red county rage-fire blazing out of control outside Seattle. It's about the messy Gregoire/Rossi conundrum; it's about King County's controversial Critical Areas Ordinance. It's about the clash of rural, urban, and suburban cultures. It's about shotguns and Jesus and I can tell you, it's a long way from a cease-fire.

    What pisses me off is the irresponsible Republican Party's response to these grievances--they can be a real a bitch when they lose elections or political fights. Among other devisive atrocities, they get their talk radio surrogates, to whip up the washed masses to withdraw or recall.

    They whip the choir into saying:
    we lost the legislature; we lost the governor's mansion, so we'll spite our face, take our half of the state, fuck you, and have a nice rest of the day.

    Or:
    we disagree with this policy or that policy, so we'll throw this politician out or that politician out then find somebody who always agrees with us.

    They tried it with Sam Reed, who ought to get a Backbone Award for following the law in the face of his own party's nasty right-wing onslaught. They tried it with County Councilman Dow Constantine. Both men had just been re-elected in November; and both recalls were laughed out of court as everyone knew they would.

    The legal standard is high in our state: you must be be caught with your hand in the till or in bed with the livestock to get recalled around here. You can't just undo an election because you disagree with a politician (as you can in California).

    The Republicans and the talk-jocks know this about the law,but con-talk audiences are spared those details. These are folks who regularly brag on-air they haven't read a newspaper in years. All their news they get from these partisan radio blabmeisters with their Republican talking points and big microphones. With only half the story cynically spoon-fed to them, they feel ripped off, disenfranchised and even more rageful. Rage is good for Republicans with eyes on the next election cycle.

    In the end, I'm afraid, we'll all feel their pain.

    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.

    February 20, 2005

    a dog's breakfast

    It's incredible, if you think about it--and no one seems to any more--talk radio gets away with murder.

    Drive-by slash & burn, toxic 'intenuendos,' callers' lies and faux accusations let go by; and 'facts' pulled straight out of their butts are standard. As is unapologetic daily fellatio on GOP politicians, outright Republican Party organizing and general water-bearing. This so-called 'advocacy journalism' is simply advocacy. And in a nasty, gut-fighting style the self-righteous Party would never own outright.

    F'RINSTANCE: con-talk radio--with the help of bloggers--totally drove MSM debate on the gubernatorial "re-vote," actually leading citizens into believing they had the right to a process that doesn't exist in the State constitution. That's a helluva political accomplishment.

    And all of this in Seattle, where four (4!) right-wing am radio stations thrive and have thriven (throve?) for years. If you're an arriviste, or spend your time watching sports less macho than politics (like say, sea hockey or extreme golf), you need to know: Seattle hasn't been Republican since FDR sent Herbert Hoover back to making vacuum cleaners.

    But you'd never know that by dialing up the am--KVI (570 am) with local hosts Kirby Wilbur and John Carlson; or the newly dominant KTTH (770 am) with Mike Siegel. These guys have not only born Republican loads through the years, but in their listener-rich drive-time slots have politicized a lot of folks who previously did nothing more political than eating Ben & Jerry's.

    You're right, Air America (1090 am) has arrived with a little balance--but with, unfortunately for local libs,  no local talk jocks.

    The powerful, multi-format (both lib and con) KIRO (710 am) is a brighter spot for D's--with Dave Ross, the uber-fair, self-described moderate (he's lying--he's a liberal) who carries nobody's water, and isn't equal to the right-winger's steady partisan drumbeat. The new 9 to noon guy, Allen Prell is a liberal, but we're still getting to know him, those of us who aren't over at Air America listening to Al Franken. Tony Ventrella, is so lovable, he has to be a liberal (he flirts with running as a Democrat for Congress about every other year). KIRO's Mike Webb and Erin Hart are out lefties but don't do much local politics and are in night time or weekend slots that guarantee relatively small listenerships.

    KIRO has its right wing too. Most prominent is afternoon talker Dori Monson, who does plenty of local issues, and seems to grows more conservative every year; Lou Pate who doesn't count he's on so late; and now Frank Shiers, a helium-weight who sounds like he turned conservative to get the job.

    Seattle MSM has ignored TR for years. This is partly because of inter-medium envy that has always existed ("broadcast speaks only to itself, print speaks only to god") and partly because they thought (and hoped) that talk radio was too gritty, extreme and right-wing noisy for nice Seattle, and that it would go eventually go away. They were wrong.

    They still don't cover TR very well, but political activists, and pundits, such as the PI's Joel Connelly and the Times' Joni Balter as well as Democratic Party Chair Paul Berendt have all acknowleged its powerful influence on state politics.

    Radio talkers can say anything they want and get away with it--unless, as Howard Stern has learned--it's about sex, then there's hell to pay from the new Puritans down at Bush's FCC. There've been rare exceptions with political talk. In the '90's, Mike Siegel, then on KVI, allowed callers to say salacious things about then Seattle Mayor Norm Rice. He was fired. John Carlson tub-thumped for an anti-affirmative action initiative on his KVI show, even though he was being paid to head up the campaign. He was fired. Of course, after the success of the initiative, he returned triumphant to KVI.

    Public focus is sharper on TV and print folks than on the radio blatherers. The disturbed but syndicated Michael Savage (KTTH, 3-6p) regularly trashes gays, trisexuals, 'Demon-cats' (Democrats) immigrants, cat owners, Europeans, on the radio but when he, on his start-up MSNBC TV show, went into one of his excoriating fits (he called a gay caller a 'Sodomite' and wished AIDS on him) his tiny cable news audience was horrified, the network embarrassed, and Savage was frog-walked back to San Francisco dragging his wicked tongue behind him.

    Letting the sun shine down into the well of media, especially talk radio, that's what we be blogging, here at blatherWatch. It's not all evil creepy-crawlies to be exposed, there's plenty of absurd bullshit on the radio that always makes for plenty of laughs. Most talk radio is conservative, so we'll see if  conservatives can be fun. Seattle liberals can be ridiculous as well, so watch this space. --MH