June 29, 2006

Ex-KIRO talkers graze nationwide in the fill-in green pastures...

AllAccess, the radio trade site, reported all of these items Thursday. With ex-overnighter Lou Pate's fill-ins in Miami we reported yesterday, it looks like the numerous ghosts of KIRO past are ubiquitous across the dials of America. Missing is Mike Webb, who, incidentally is scheduled to appear in Superior Court Friday on his felony insurance fraud case. There will be no fill-ins allowed for Mike's appearance.

Siegel Back On Seattle Radio
MIKE SIEGEL returns to the SEATTLE airwaves with a one hour daily talk show 6-7p ET on talk simulcast KITZ-A/SILVERDALE, WA and KGTK-A/OLYMPIA, WA, reports the SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER's BILL VIRGIN.

Maloney Equal To Fill-In Tasks At WRKO/Boston
Listen for the RADIO EQUALIZER himself, BRIAN MALONEY, on ENTERCOM Talk WRKO-A/BOSTON throughout the holiday weeks. MALONEY filled in for middayer JOHN DEPETRO TUESDAY and WEDNESDAY and will handle mornings or the vacationing SCOTT ALLEN MILLER next MONDAY and TUESDAY.

Hart In For Marvin At AM 760/Denver
Veteran talker ERIN HART is filling in for JAY MARVIN in mornings JUNE 30 and JULY 3-4 at CLEAR CHANNEL Talk KKZN-A (PROGRESSIVE TALK AM 760)/DENVER. The fill-ins return HART to the 760 frequency where she hosted when the station was called KTLK in the 90s; most recently at
KIRO-A/SEATTLE, HART has also hosted at KOA-A and KNUS-A/DENVER and TALKSPOT.COM.

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" »

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 23, 2006

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 07, 2006

Ron reagan, jr. on KIRO today

Ron Reagan, will try out today for KIRO's key 9 ta noon spot, which hasn't had a permanent host since Allan Prell was defenestrated in September.

Trying out Reagan is another Big Idea of the suits who are really running the desperate KIRO ship up onto the tide flats. While BlatherWatch has been hard on program Director Tom Clendening and General Manager Dave Pridemore, we're now told that these two have zero authority and that the real geniuses are Entercom CEO David Field, pulling the strings from Bala Cynwyd with Group Manager Jerry McKenna reactively jerking like an ax murderer in Seattle.

Don't blame Tom & Dave, says our guy.

We're not sure just what Tom & Dave do all day, but our source says adamantly that the brilliance we've been seeing in the past year comes from way upstairs. This includes moving and keeping Dave Ross in the coitus interruptus of the PM drive; Prell's, Erin Hart's, Mike Webb's, Tony Ventrella and Mike Siegel's firings; inflicting the FM schlock-jocks Ron & Don onto the tender sensibilities of a liberal evening AM audience; and putting 1-ply toilet paper in the ladies' rooms.

Trying out Ron Reagan is one of their better decisions. Their other Big Idea- and you won't believe this, but we swear to Buddha we're not kidding here- was to hire either Walter Cronkite, or Dan Rather, or Aaron Brown! None of them are radio guys, nor are they presently working. The latter, naturellement, was the extent of their availability to li'l ol' KIRO radio in Seattle, WA. We're not sure whether any of these TV titans were actually contacted, but they were in a game plan or two until soberer heads prevailed.

John Procaccino, who's been holding down the morning fort, growing in the job, and being real nice in the hopes he'll get the nod, will be helping them pick his replacement- it's like Saddam Hussein making his victims dig their own graves. 

Maybe the 9p to 1a will be the consolation prize for John.

Last time they tried this, it was former City Councilwoman Judy Nicastro whom Procaccino ended up interviewing for 3 hours, keeping him in the alpha position and making her look pretty lame. It'll be interesting see how the male dominance works between these two low-key liberals.

Reagan, 47, the only son of President and Nancy Reagan has lived in Seattle since 1994, but has kept a low local profile. His latest venture into national TV as talent ended in November when the MSNBC news show Connected Coast to Coast co-hosted by Nixon biographer and archetypal blonde, neocon snarler/babe Monica Crowley was cancelled after a 9 month run.

Oddems:
~~When Reagan moved to Seattle to help start a now-defunct TV production company called Eagle Island productions, Seattle newsies, ourselves included, tried in vain, to get an interview. He was the interview no one could get. When he got the MSNBC show last year (done live at Microsoft in Redmond) the network flacks started approaching local media offering interviews. The Seattle media, (the effete and above all, pure journalists we are) got wind of the stench of promotion,and Ron Reagan suddenly became just another media whore and few took the offer.

Continue reading "Ron reagan, jr. on KIRO today " »

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 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 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 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 12, 2005

A radio pro's secret predictions: KTTH, KIRO, john procaccino, new york vinnie, tom leykis, and more

We'll be blogging lite throughout this holiday month -talk radio is talking lite, talkers are on vacation, news is lite for  talk radio topics over the holiday season, if you can ignore war and corruption.

We're busy like everyone- but never fear, dear readers, we'll keep you apprised of any late-breaking programming changes or news. Plus our usual brilliant political commentary.

Right-wing talk radio topics in this down season are either the phony "war on Christmas," or pathetic defense of the real war in Iraq that Republicans and Democrats in Washington all know is already lost- at least militarily. Everyone is either admitting it or denying it, each in their own special way. The President and his bumbling boyz are busy redefining victory, shame-on-you-ing the critics, and wrestling in the tofu of ifs, ands, and buts. But the Pentagon knows in its heart of hearts (maybe heart's not the best word) that a real victory must be political; and unfortunately that prospect looks as bleak as the second of January.

Besides wondering what to do with the $2.5 million in the Queen Elizabeth Royal Lottery we've apparently won, (as luck would have it, we've been contacted by a Nigerian banker with a promising investment opportunity) we're thinking about talk radio 2006

Someone leaked us a fascinating a letter sent advertisers by KOMOAM/KVI General Sales Manager Joe Heslet. This has made its rounds in the local industry, but it's a rare look for the rest of us into some corporate reading of the tea leaves for local radio. We don't know Heslet, but we hear he's a consummate professional, respected by his peers, including competitors. He has an obvious agenda in writing this- that would be selling more ads for Fisher stations, but we think his predictions and commentary for 2006 are noteworthy.

Heslet apparently writes every year like this to his accounts, summing up the past year's adult 25-54 Arbitron ratings (4 ratings "books") to help them plan for the next year's ad buys. This year, he says,looking at 2005 might not be all that helpful because of the many programming upheavals and special circumstances bolloxing the status quo in the Seattle market.

We're reprinting his letter in its entirety at the end of this post, but here's a few grafs we were especially interested in. The bold type is ours. 

The AM band presents some interesting challenges to the annual buying status quo as well. In the 4-book average, KIRO is the highest rated AM station Monday-Friday 6am-7pm in adults 25-54. But that includes the Fall 2004 book where Dave Ross was still on 9am-noon, no one had ever heard of Allan Prell and they still did news and traffic on your drive home. KIRO's programming has gone through many changes in 2005 and it will see more changes to come. The John Procaccino Show is not the show Entercom wants in that time slot. Check the web-site under 'shows'...every host's show is listed, but 9a-12noon just says 9a-12 noon. Will they settle for the John Procaccino Show? If they do, it will certainly be "settling" and not part of a grander strategic plan. And I don't think anyone believes that New York Vinnie is the answer to evenings on KIRO.

In the Summer 2005 book KOMO is the highest rated AM station in Adults 25-54 Monday-Friday 6am-7pm. KOMO along with KVI and KJR AM are the AM stations that have seen little or no changes in the line-up in recent months...even years.

KTTH just released long-time morning host and well known personality, Mike Siegel and replaced him with two relatively unknown producers. Are rookies in Morning Drive on KTTH a permanent fix? No...you can bet on it...unless they've given up trying. There are more changes on the horizon at KTTH and at KIRO. Bookmark the previous sentence and bring it up to your rep (who's telling you "there are no more changes coming") three months from now when it's all gone down.

No, Rush isn't going to KIRO...they should move him there but Dave Ross would probably quit.

We'd love to hear a counter argument or predictions from other radio marketers from Entercom, Clear Channel, or Infinity, but we have a feeling we won't be hearing from them any time soon. They'd rather not acknowledge BlatherWatch, even though they probably hate the shit out of Heslet's admittedly self-serving opinings- they'd rather let them stand than admit they read us. Which, of course, they all do.

Here's Heslet's missive uncensored, check out the "stable top 10" stations list at the end. Again the bold type is ours.

Continue reading "A radio pro's secret predictions: KTTH, KIRO, john procaccino, new york vinnie, tom leykis, and more" »

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 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.



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 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 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 08, 2005

no no, no, no, no, on I-912, damn it

It was the most wacked-up, "issue" yet dreamed up by the I-912 people. Friday, John Carlson, (KVI m-f, 3-6p) the  conservative talk show activist quoted his elderly Bellevue neighbor who swore that the traffic gridlock has gotten worse in the last days before the election.

The contention is that the evil Department of Transportation manipulated the traffic by screwing up the timing of the traffic signals, faking accidents at rush hour, putting slow-moving 18 wheelers running abreast of each other on busy freeways, staging phony funeral corteges, igniting car fires along expressways, hiring homeless people to walk along highway fog-lines and placing naked strippers on the hoods of cars parked along freeways to distract and slow down traffic.

This all, so the conspiracy theory goes, to convince voters to vote no on I-912. Callers were convinced of it, and Carlson never did much to discourage them from thinking it and being outraged that our taxpayer dollars were so being spent for such a political dirty trick.

Today is election day and the verdict will finally come down on one of craziest and most irresponsible of citizens' initiatives yet. this bill is the pure evil spawn of talk radio. It was dreamed up on KVI by Kirby Wilbur (M-f, 5-9a) and  John Carlson, and in a minor political miracle, the necessary signatures were gathered in just 32 days.

Although the initiative has lost a lot of steam in the last month or two, that it got on the ballot is one of the most amazing pumps of political muscle we've ever seen.

It was great talk radio material torquing voter anger over the tight gubernatorial election and the rural rage in this state which is always directed at the City of Seattle. Although it was triggered by the two KVI blabberjockeys, it was picked up by other conservative talkers like Mike Siegel, Dori Monson, and Frank Shiers who saw the opportunity to hitch their tepid careers to what seemed like a sure winner for them both professionally and politically.

In the end, the "issue," which was really about making Governor Christine Gregoire look bad and unseating legislators, crapped out as voters found out the facts. Poll numbers for the initiative and the ratings of the talkers fell. Whether it was fast enough to defeat the initiative, we won't know until tonight, but conventional wisdom (and the BlatherWatch prediction) said it would pass if it got on the ballot.

A brave superior court judge in Thurston county called bullshit on the unfair advantage the talkers took using the airwaves for directing the I-912 campaign on-air. This certainly helped spotlight to voters, and, we hope, to activists on the left, the effective right-wing political activities going on in the name of radio entertainment.

Win or lose, I-912 is another impressive example of how powerful talk radio can be. If it is defeated, it will be because the opposition had to spend many millions of dollars to get the information to the voters to overcome the daily barrage of misinformation the supporters were able to serve up for free.

Please vote NO on I-912.

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 19, 2005

A PATHETIC, UNSCIENTIFIC, ENTIRELY MEANINGLESS POLL ON KIRO's FUTURE

Dear BlatherWatchers and talk radio listeners:

We all know that 710KIRO doesn't listen to you, and most certainly, doesn't listen to us.
Summer ratings results are coming out soon and KIRO will most certainly respond to those? won't they?  Well, maybe not. But irregardless (as President Bush would say) BlatherWatch is conducting this unscientific, entirely meaningless poll in a pathetic attempt to stir up the poo, get hits and seem relevant.

Who do you want in KIRO's 9a-12p slot?
1. Rate your top 5 choices by putting a number up to 5 behind 5 names from the list below
2. Click on comments at the end of this post and paste in your choices
3. Get all your friends to vote, but don't vote more than once--we know when you do that, and it could be embarrassing--especially if you're someone on the list.
4. PLEASE COMMENT on why you love who you love, hate who you hate. Be sweet, be nasty. We'll be looking for the most passionate, best written comments.
5. There are conservatives on the list...for those who believe KIRO is failing because it's too liberal--here's your chance!
~~
Dave Ross
Allan Prell
Larry Nelson
David "Goldy " Goldstein
Dori Monson
Carl Jeffers
Lou Pate
Pam Roach
Mike Webb
Mike Siegel
Dave Boze & Dan Sytman
Bill Willkie
Erin Hart
Bryan Styble
Frank Shiers
Turi Ryder
Tom Douglas
Dino Rossi
Ciscoe Morris
Charles Jaco
Rush Limbaugh
Fred Ebert
Anybody we missed?  write in here_______________

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 11, 2005

thursday oddems: licking the envelope--dave ross, the 1st amendment, the bad breath bible, semper pie, darth bader

MORE DAVE
We've been listening to Dave Ross lately and we're bummed. He's the best. A solid advocate for the causes we love--he's more obviously liberal after his Congressional run last year-- and as always a fair but hard hitting interviewer. It's one of the reasons we hate what they've done to KIRO--we get less or a diminished Dave Ross. Would that more liberal talkhosts were like him. Not pissed off and meandering like Mike Webb. Not unevenly prepared and perky like Erin Hart. Not silly and doomed like Allan Prell. Liberal talk will never siphon off all that much from NPR, (who reportedly beats everyone in this market) but the best chance to get any of them at present is Dave Ross. He gets his audiences from the same pool of listeners as the right-wingers--the regular talk radio demographic. That's the audience lib-talk must win...and they're there for the taking.
~~
“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.”-- Nietzsche
~~
WRONG, WRONG, WRONG.
1.OK, OK, we were wrong: Mike Siegel (KTTH m-f, 6-9a) is back from France, reeking of crepes and having added some vocabulaire to his always stylish Brooklynese. We were sure that the rumors were true that he'd sought political asylum in France, after angry listeners stormed his website demanding answers for his blatant violation of his and Bill O'Reilly's boycott of French goods and services. We're hearing there was quite a flood of mail in support of Dave Boze and Dick Sytman who yukked it up engagingly while Mike was gone.
2.Yeah, yeah, BlatherWatch was proved wrong again yesterday when a libertarian law firm filed a counterclaim on the I-912 campaign's behalf to undo Judge Chris Wickham's brave ruling that KVI blabberjocks, Kirby Wilbur and John Carlson were campaign functionaries and their on-air participation had to be reported as in-kind contributions. The two were part of the campaign in that they used their talk shows to promote the campaign effort and ask listeners to donate to it. We predicted this would never be filed, and we were wrong, wrong, wrong. We still think the talkers' blatant logistical planning, and fundraising on the public airwaves was direct campaigning. Brett Bader, the Lemony Snicket of Eastside Republicans and conservative hired gun for the I-912 cult told the PI: "It is very difficult to determine where the line is drawn" between political commentary and political campaigning. Not that he gives a shit, now the signatures are gathered and the irresponsible roads repair veto is safely on the ballot. 
~~
Where am I going and what am I doing in this hand-basket?
~~
THE SHOCKING TRUTH THAT THE 'BIG BOYS OF ORAL CARE HOPE YOU NEVER FIND OUT!
Listening to KIRO, today we were reminded at how far down the once might blowtorch has dwindled, the ad for The Bad Breath Bible left us breathless and longing for a GutterHelmet testimonial from Dori Monson. It was like one of those low-watt stations that have nutritional supplement infomercials interspersed with Bible thumpers. Incidentally, the absolutely free Bad Breath Bible is a $9.95 value you shouldn't pass up, especially if you ride the bus.
~~
And in the end the age was handed
The sort of shit that it demanded.
--Ernest Hemingway, The Age Demanded

~~
HUFFIN' PUFFIN' STUFFIN'
We don't usually write about Stuffin' Schmuckansky, the transvestite Republican sex advice columnist at The Stranger, but our liberal colleagues have been having a field day with his latest attempts to make himself relevant again. Read Carla's piece Rebel without a Clue, at Preemptive Karma or Also Also's Stefan Quixote: SoundPolitics, Not Letting Go. Schmergansky, who's 15 minutes seemed to have been used up during the frivolous gubernatorial unvote campaign is struggling to get back in the headlines. He mysteriously took a rear seat during the I-912 signature-gathering campaign which probably reflects the ambivalence of his Republican master, State Chair Chris Vance for the initiative since the business community is so avidly opposing it.

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 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 15, 2005

screw abstinence--have a nice day...

"Reprehensible!" Said Reverend Mike Siegel, (KTTH m-f, 6-9a) the increasingly hirsute moral shepherd of Eastlake.

"Is this a message you want sent to your kids ?" asked Father Sean Hannity, Bishop of Long Island and Honorary Evangelical of the Eastern Seaboard.

These exemplars of righteousness weren't the only blabberjocks with bunched-up panty-hose. John Carlson, Rush Limbaugh, Michael Medved and we don't know who all were puffing all week like the prurient pecksniff's they are.

What was the cause of all this prudish huffery? It was NARAL Pro-Choice Washington's "Screw Abstinence Party," a fundraiser held Thursday night in a bar in the toney Seattle Belltown club neighborhood.

The Pork Filled Players, described as "Seattle theatre's hottest sketch comedy group" was scheduled to teach a sex ed class for adults, while Toys in Babeland, Seattle’s sleaze-free, primo dildo store offered tips on 'Sexy Safer Sex.'"

We'd have loved to been there, because we'd have answered YES! to the question posed by promos for the party: "Tired of Bush & Co. spending your tax dollars on abstinence-only-until-marriage initiatives that promote dangerous misinformation?"

But The Stranger News Editor Josh Feit wasn't amused. Calling the event "cringeworthy" (our favorite word this week) he said it was a politically naive, if not a downright stupid move for NARAL, usually a pretty sophisticated activist group .

Consider: The left is currently in a standoff with Christian conservatives over sex education in the public schools. The left wants to preserve comprehensive sex-ed programs that include information about STD/HIV and contraception, while conservatives are pushing abstinence-only programs. And the right is fucking serious: The Bush administration requested a mammoth $273 million in funding for abstinence-only programs this year.

When the preeminent liberal group re: sexual matters jumps into this public debate with "Full Monty" specials, yelling "Screw Abstinence," it's time for liberals to reconsider our spokespeople—or at least challenge them to do a better job on our behalf. The flippant "Screw Abstinence" event—which [Exec. Director Karen] Cooper says was geared at "Seattle, not Ellensburg" when I told her how concerned I was—stupidly plays into the stereotype of progressives as permissive, amoral, and not serious about very serious issues.

And he's right about the right-wing's outraged moral bluster and pressing their media-grabbing advantage. Fox News' stuffed shirt, Brit Hume, exuding his false sense of journalistic respectability reported it like it was news. As did right-wing collabor-jabber site, WorldNet Daily.

The GOP loves "issues" like this to buck up the religious right, who are worried as the Bush Administration appears to be wavering around the social issues they're so adamant about. Bush has sent up trial balloons about Alberto Gonsalez to replace Sandra Day O'Connor on the Supreme Court, to the disdain of evangelical leaders who consider him too "liberal."

The  rightwing message was that your children were being told to "screw abstinence," despite the funder was for a downtown 25-35 year old professional set, a sophisticated bunch for whom abstinence is no choice if they can help it.

"I love it when they do this," Washington State Republican Party State Chair Chris Vance told Josh Feit. "It's just another example of the liberal-left marginalizing itself. They forget who they're trying to target: suburban parents. And suburban parents are very worried about [premarital sex]."

Linda Klepacki, Focus on the Family's pastoral counselor, and "sexual health analyst" intoned, "NARAL committed a grave tactical error in revealing its true colors so brazenly. Moms and dads who may not have been paying much attention will now clearly see NARAL's pro-abortion, pro-contraception, pro-child-sex agenda."

It's interesting what Klepacki includes in her dirty laundry list of NARAL's alleged evil agenda: it of course, includes "pro-child-sex, which is ludricrous, but more revealing, "pro-contraception."

These hyper-religious so-called pro-lifers say they're anti-abortion but their real agenda is anti-sex. If  we lose the abortion choice in this country: look for them to come after contraception choice next.

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 06, 2005

slam dunk, mutherfuckers...

Dino Rossi in a self-deprecating, self-serving little homily, ended his run at the governorship already won fairly by Christine Gregoire.

"I have faith that tomorrow will be a better day," he said, but never apologized for putting us all through this expensive, devisive, politically driven process.

Despite the loss, Republicans have scored politically by sowing seeds of distrust in the minds of the people. The numbers have been running against Gregoire; many citizens, regardless of partisan leanings, think that Dino Rossi won and Gregoire is somehow illegitimate, though many fewer thought she should be actually replaced as governor.

Many observers say this is part of a bigger GOP strategy to, as "Stuffin'" Sharskansky, the transvestite lesbian Republican activist and Stranger sex columnist just said on the radio, to "defeat County Executive Ron Sims and elect Dave Irons in 2005."

Rossi's been out of the line of decision-making fire as he "spends more time with his family," which is what politicians always say they're doing when they're unemployed. He's been playing the long-suffering martyr as he speaks all over the state and talk radio. He's a potent candidate well-positioned for '06, when he could run against Cantwell; or '08 for, in another run at Gregoire.

Gosh, maybe he could run against Ron Sims and make it a real race.

In a monotonal flurry of legal realities, common sense and recitation of statutes, Judge John Bridges gave, this morning, according to Democratic lawyer Jenny Durkan, a "resounding rejection" on every legal point of the GOP's attempt to unseat Gregoire in favor of the more cuddly Rossi, her erstwhile gubernatorial opponent.

(We think the Dems would be well-served to seduce Ms Durkan into running for something important. She led this incredibly capable defense despite her father's (legendary Seattle politico Martin Durkan) death last week. She's a hot-ticket downtown attorney who's been mentioned as a possible opponent or successor to popular Congressman Jim McDermott.

Durkan reminds us of the Russian proverb: "Women can do everything, men can do the rest.").

KVI's John Carlson (m-f, 3-6p) and Sharkurpski are busy spinning this as a defeat for Sims rather than the Republican drubbing that it is.

Republicans had hand-picked the court, hoping to get a sympathetic judge in conservative Chelan County. Instead they got a thorough, fair judge who was sympathetic to the law. who kicked the shit out of this bald-faced attempt to use the courts for pure political gain using fuzzy math and junk science. 

Bridges threw broken chunks of Republican boilerplate right back at them:

“An election such as this," he said, "should not be overturned because one judge picks a number and applies a proportional deduction analysis. To do so within the context of the facts of this case would constitute the ultimate act of judicial egotism and judicial activism.” (the italics are ours).

They tossed aside their usual so-called "values" about frivolous litigation and activist judicial overreach as they frivolously litigated, praying all the while for an activist judge who'd do a little overreaching...for them.

Listen for righties to resume and redouble their complaints about out-of-control judges legislating from the bench. Among other things, that line is one of Republicans' favorite ways to dupe evangelicals into thinking they actually give a shit about abortion and their other anti-sex social issues.

R's should be mad at those pesky Libertarians whose candidate Ruth Bennett took a decisive number of votes away from Rossi. Senator Maria Cantwell won her tight race against Slade Gorton in 2000 largely because of the Libertarian candidate's votes.

Talk radio, with the help of GOP bloggers, drove the media on this mess. Best coverage was on KVI, where, in the last weeks, Kirby Wilbur (KVI m-f, 6-9a) and John Carlson allowed David "Goldy" Goldstein horsesass.com to actually debate the smug Shamkarsky who always ducks a debate.

He and Carlson, a capable debater, tried to gangbang Goldy, who held his own despite being outnumbered.

Goldy predicted Republican defeat months ago. Shuckansky predicted Republican victory weeks ago.

Legal "expert" Mike Siegel (KTTH m-f, 6-9a) predicted Republican victory as well, except no one (except the few who pronounce Gregoire as "GregWIRE") listens to him. Sharkrampsky appeared regularly on his show, exuding marginally more heat than Bob Williams, the other room-temp regular. He's the hyper-conservative ex-Pentagon auditor, policy grouch and Olympia washdog, who's as exciting as you'd expect an auditor would be, and, as they say down at the Deja Vu, the coverage went down from there.

Mega-neeners go out to Stuffin' and all the other partisan false propheteers. For liberals, it's nice to have a win once in a while.

But don't get too comfy: talk radio Republicans got their petition in hand today for Initiative-912 to shoot down the hard-won bipartisan transportation package.

May 26, 2005

thursday oddems: dr. laura’s tush, mike webb’s humanity & hypocrisy, fox news in the toilet?

--We got angry letters for linking to a site with amateur nude photos of Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s perky 28-year old breasts, and hirsute netherlands. A reader declared us unsafe for children; another questioned the veracity of the shots that Her Kid’s Mom made back before she dried-up and became a zealous harpy. This is such old news, but it’s well worth repeating. The photos are genuine--taken by a general manager of a California radio station with whom the then only Miss Laura was having an affair. She was so in love with the way she looked (as well she should have been) she asked him to take the shots later heard round the world. In the late ‘90’s lover-boy sold them to Seattle pornographer, Seth Warshavsky for $50,000. She sued, but our sacred First Amendment rights prevailed and Laura’s T& A has been public domain ever since. Her 1970’s body, however, is the only thing about Dr. Laura that blatherWatch can really endorse. We don’t endorse the defacto censorship that kicked Dr. Laura’s radio show (the 4th-rated talk show in the country) out of the Seattle market. BlatherWatch is free market about information, and are certain the market would have put her in her place one way or another. She became too hot to handle in 2000 after local gays protested about her calling gays and lesbians "a biological faux pas," claiming gays and lesbians are inferior parents; called gay sex "deviant;" accused gay men of being "predatory on young boys," and recommended that gays and lesbians get themselves cured through "reparative therapy." If you must, Dr. Laura’s rude diatribes can be heard on Bellingham’s KGMI 790 am, m-f,1-4p.

--It felt all fuzzy to hear Mike Webb (KIRO, m-f, 9p-1a) last week treat GOP State Chairman Chris Vance like a human. Though the jury is still out on Vance, who may be the lying sack of shit he seems at first glance, Webb let him finish his sentences, never taunting him, mocking him, lecturing him after muting him. Webb even said “goodby” and didn’t hang up on him like he usually does. Rumors are that Webb’s in the running for the Air America local spot, and in that high position, he’d be needing some of these localites--even Republicans--more than they’d needing him.

--We were heartened to read in the TV Newser that the right-wing tabloid TV network, Fox News  ratings are  in a six-month “downward spiral.”

April '05 marks "the sixth consecutive month where FNC declined versus prior month in M-F, primetime P25-54 (every month since Nov '04)," CNN's press release says. The 25-54 demo is coveted by advertisers. One insider called it a "downward spiral." FNC still has more demo viewers than CNN, though (443k vs. 304k in April). Here are FNC's month-by-month weekday primetime averages in the 25-54 demographic:

Oct. 04: 1,074,000 / Nov. 04: 891,000 / Dec. 04: 568,000 / Jan. 05: 564,000 / Feb. 05: 520,000 / March 05: 498,000 / April 05: 445,000

Also: In April 2005, FNC's weekday primetime demo average decreased 25% compared to the year-ago, while CNN increased 27%. “

It’s interesting to note how small those actual numbers of viewers are. To hear cable braggarts like Hannity and O’Reilly tell it, they’re watched by gazillions when actually, during peak primetime hours, there are less than a million people watching any one of these channels.

--A reader alerted us to another interesting factoid about rabid homophobe Michael Savage’s son Russell Goldencloud Weiner, owner and founder of Rockstar energy drink, plugged nightly by none other than yuppy, leftist, radical, gay, talk show host, (and Lexus owner) Mike Webb. On Young Weiner’s annoyingly loud and maddeningly slow website. he writes: "...I was very fortunate to have been raised by two of the leading herbalists in the world, Dr. and Mrs. Michael Weiner, Ph.D. My father has authored 20 books on health and nutrition, published in more than ten nations..."

Yes, the savage Savage is really Dr. Michael Weiner, herbalist and former Jewish kid from the Bronx. He dropped his Jewish name and floral sensibilities to become one of the most bilious bomb-throwers in talk radio. Read about the gay-baiting Michael Savage's Long, Strange Trip which has included a close friendship, torrid letters, and nude swims with the openly and enthusiastically gay poet, the late Allen Ginsberg.
 

April 10, 2005

kvi radio: an irreverent histoire

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

March 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."

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