Thursday, January 27, 2005

WCKY—Move over Rush

Air America Takes Cincinnati by Storm

I confess. I'm a talk radio junkie. It started years ago on Christian radio when my toddler only knew how to climb the refrigerator and tear up the house. I kept radio on in the background to stay sane!

First xtn radio: Rich Buehler and John Stewart in California (KBRT and the FM xtn station). Then: Rush Limbaugh "back in the day" (before Snapple went public and Dan had his national Bake Sale).

Consistently I've listened to John and Ken (KFI), Dr. Laura (pre-syndication and beyond—before her conversion to Judaism—Did you know she used to treat homosexual callers like decent human beings who were held to similar standards as heterosexuals in their relationships?), Bill Handel, and some of those KFI wacky Sunday night guys.

I moved to Cincinnati just as the John and Ken show failed here (no surprise—local talk radio discusses whether the flower shop in Clifton ought to be incinerated for painting its store purple, I kid you not!). John must have caused car accidents.

I was stuck with few choices so I continued to listen to Rush. Glenn Beck came on the air just as 9/11 occurred. Then Sean Hannity kicked Pat Berry off the air and you had one long white male conservative diatribe from 9-5. If you tuned in all day, you heard the same articles dissected by three guys using the same talking points—sometimes you couldn't even distinguish the difference in voices. It was nuts!

Needless to say, I am tired of it.

I want a woman on the air (for one thing) and/or someone who isn't just toeing the Republican line with his every breath and loyal nads. We need some critical thinking, for heaven's sake.

Glenn Beck thinks he is smart. He is not. Rush is smart and a good showman, and more human than he used to be. But he is blind to his myopias. Sean Hannity drives me crazy. He shouts over his guests and says the same things every day, especially how great his fans are and then they say back how great he is and then they go round and round about humility and how great they all are. Nauseating.

So when my Jon called last week to tell me to tune in to Jerry Springer, I thought he'd lost his mind. I had already heard Al Franken (a complete loser as a talk show —he's not funny) on the Internent version of Air America. I couldn't imagine I'd find anyone interesting on WCKY. But I liked Jerry Springer, amazingly.

Then last night I tuned in to Ed Shultz and Randi Rhodes (A WOMAN!) and was shocked. They were actually good radio show hosts. Yes, they are completely unabashed progressive liberals, but that is actually interesting to me since I just don't hear that position represented around me, like anywhere.

This morning, the Mark and Mark show had a segment about National No Name-Calling Week (sponsored by the LGBT), and introduced the segment calling the right "Neo-Con Fascists of the Death Cult" which I found hilariously ironic.

The big shock, though, isn't the hosts. It's the quality of the callers. I am still reeling. These are articulate people who call in. I can't believe that they actually sound like they have real points to make, that they can string together six sentences without needing the intervention of the host, and that they might have read a book once.

So I figure to give them equal time, I must invest about fifteen years of listening. Then I'll let you know what I think.


australisa said...

Do you ever listen to NPR? Some of their talk shows are so interesting and informative and the hosts are usually quite respectful of differing viewpoints.

Their callers usually know what they are talking about also.

julieunplugged said...

I must confess that I find NPR too dull to listen to all the time. I do tune in most days to see if there is a topic I want to know more about. And when they do discuss something other than the hammer dulcimer and its origins in WV, I am interested. But sometimes they seem so obscure and restrained.

I guess I'm an ADD listener. I need stimulation so I listen to rock music and AM talk radio. :)

I agree that the NPR callers sound smart. But they all work for universities.

I just didn't expect AM radio callers to sound smart...


australisa said...

Honey, how many years has it been since you have listened to NPR?

One of the shows that I often catch when I am in the car is Fresh Air. Here is the schedule for that show this last week:

Metallica's James Hetfield on Rock and TherapyGuitarist, songwriter and vocalist James Hetfield was a founding member of the metal band Metallica. His time in rehab is chronicled in the documentary Metallica: Some Kind of Monster, which tracks the band at a time of crisis and is now on DVD.

Christine Todd Whitman: Battle for the GOP CoreFormer New Jersey governor and Environmental Protection Agency head for the Bush administration Christine Todd Whitman. She is a moderate Republican and in her new book argues against the hijacking of her party by zealous "social fundamentalists." Her new book is It's My Party, Too: The Battle for the Heart of the GOP and the Future of America.

Iraq, Seen Through Pakistani EyesPakistani journalist Ahmed Rashid is a correspondent for the Far Eastern Economic Review and The Daily Telegraph, reporting on Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Central Asia . He is also author of Jihad: The Rise of Militant Islam in Central Asia and the bestseller, Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil, and Fundamentalism in Central Asia.

'The Torture Papers' Detail U.S. Detainee PoliciesA new book compiles the memos and reports U.S. officials wrote to determine how detainees would be treated in facilities in Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison -- and what interrogation techniques would be permissible.

A Fake Newsman's Fake Newsman: Stephen ColbertComic and journalist Stephen Colbert is the fake senior correspondent on Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. We talk with Colbert about his reports, from "Rathergate" to "This Week in God."
Colbert started his comic career with Second City in Chicago. He helped create the HBO sketch comedy series Exit 57 which won five Cable ACE awards in 1995. He also wrote and performed sketches on The Dana Carvey Show. On Comedy Central, Colbert was also a main part of the three-season series Strangers with Candy, featuring Amy Sedaris. A film version of that show is now at the Sundance Film Festival.
In addition, Colbert is the voice of Ace for Saturday Night Live's animated short features, "Ace and Gary: The Ambiguously Gay Duo".

And I honestly don't remember the last time that I heard anyone from a university call in. I do remember a professor of English lit who was interviewed as an author.

julieunplugged said...

Fresh Air is a good program. I agree. I haven't gone out of my way to find out what time it's on locally. I used to listen to it in L.A.

I usually tune in in the mornings (can't handle Diane Reams voice but listen if she has a good guest) and I listen to the news. I like their news.

And I didn't say that the callers called from universities but that so many of them work for universities (which wasn't quite what I meant either). Local NPR stations are often on university campuses. :)

Did I ever tell you that Dr. Dewey does a weekly editorial on our local NPR station that is from XU? I've never caught it thought I've tried to tune in. Somehow I always miss it.

australisa said...

I listened to a conservative talk radio show today in the car and it seemed representative of others that I have heard.

Why can't the hosts make statements without spewing into the microphone? I like to rant and rave with the best of them, but I don't like to hear it from people who are supposed to be professionals giving me news.

I like the fact that NPR people are calm. I don't usually hear name calling or ranting generalizations on NPR and those seem to be the staples of right-wing radio. When I listen to NPR I feel that I have room to think and either agree or disagree without being labeled a f%&*ing liberal.

I agree that they have interesting and relevant news that needs to be shared. I liked some of what Mike Gallagher had to say today. But does he have to do it in a way that leaves me feeling dirty?