Talk Radio's Funny Secret

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Radio On!
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Most folks do one thing for a living and are happy that way. I'm not. I need a lot of challenges that change all the time. I have a lot of different occupations, acting, playing music, writing and talk radio host on an LA station.Of the latter, I knew nothing about the genre at all when I got into it 10 1/2 years ago. Never listened to it and still don't. News stations occasionally, but generally, the sound in the car is music.I found that there are a lot of people that just love talk radio and in all walks of life. Most remarkably, lots of fellow musicians. They're addicted to it, the raving and the story-telling, the "painting a picture with words". And many talk show hosts are "lifers" that dread being "on the beach". It's a massive rush to keep spieling, as Mike Watt would say and it is a rare skill. As I have never had a problem freely offering an opinion (asked for or not) or at a loss for words, it was a natural fit.Thing is, talk radio is really not at all what it appears to be. On the surface, it is the voice of outrage, the sound of angry people, villagers rising up with pitchforks to the sound of their leader's voice, pure populism. And that's what many successful hosts do. They represent for the little person--or so it seems.

In reality, no. If one listens closely to what 95% of talk hosts actually say, it's fairly clear that they are not challenging the audience's ideas, but bolstering them for the most part. Picking a common enemy and railing on same for hours--the voices inside the heads of the listener are congruent with what the show host is saying--he or she isn't even articulating it half the time but spitting out time worn cliches.Ask yourself--when was the last time you heard a talk show host take a completely unexpected turn? As almost all news/talk is rightist, when was the last time you heard a private entity (not owned by a liberal) railed on? The government is fair game, but as right-wing Americans have been trained since diapers to hate the government (while mooching off same), who cares? Or suggested that nationalism (ours and the Muslims) is the root cause of terrorism. Or that the NRA are conmen. Or.......Also, the hatred of the government seems to abate on the airwaves five minutes after a Republican is elected. Which makes sense as a lot of talk shows hosts see themselves as indispensable parts of the GOP's machine.This isn't news to anyone, really. But the idea that the talk show host is the valiant bearer of the torch of freedom is pure fantasy. When was the last time a talk host was hauled off the air by the government for saying anything? Yes, profanity brings high fines. But all action against talk hosts comes from the public, generally in the form of embargoes or from stations afraid of a backlash fomented by the same public.

That the genre is getting beaten up on badly of late has a few proximate causes. An aging base of fans is one reason. Another is the sheer tedium of predictability--a road trip from Portland Me to Portland OR would be about 4 days long and there is almost no chance you'd ever hear anything on AM that's different one city from another. That means dullness and laziness and copycatting, 

The irony is that when AM talk stations--supposedly moribund--go back to their roots and go local and social and personal, they thrive. In California, KMJ in Fresno and KFI in Los Angeles are the prime examples. Limited national babble and lots of local means the hosts can't lean on talking points or be completely predictable (as the audience is right there in the center of the topics, not distant from DC). It helps that in the latter station's case, their morning and afternoon shows have hosts whose politics are wildly unpredictable. KFI is the nation's #1 talk station and since KMJ became privately owned, its ratings have soared. What does that tell you?

Yes, saying shit on the air to piss people off on purpose sounds like it would work, but it never does. Conversely, kissing the audience's ass for three hours at a time is just as bad. If talk really were the voice of the people, it would be impossible to suss what it would do, just as it's impossible to figure out what people (us) do. Simple, huh?

Comments

More and more verbiage about less and less. Enough already from motor-mouth.

Posted by Guest on May. 24, 2013 @ 3:15 pm

Never take your own advice, do you?

Posted by Guest on May. 24, 2013 @ 6:22 pm

but here's my list of faves which I either listen to on the airwaves or on the Internet:

Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) Counterspin, a media analysis magazine with a decidedly anti-corporate agenda, KALW 91.7FM, Fridays at 7:30PM-8PM

Harry Shearer's Le Show, current events, political skits, interviews and eclectic music, KALW 91.7FM, Sundays at Noon-1PM

Democracy Now!, KPFA 94.1FM, M-F 9AM-10AM

Mike Malloy, leftwing, anti-gun control, populist rant, KGRN 960AM, Tuesdays to Saturdays, 1 to 3 AM

Thom Hartmann, populist, anti-corporate, news and analysis, KGRN 960AM, M-F, 10:00PM to 1:00AM

... at least one more show I should mention from KPFA, probably...

Posted by lillipublicans on May. 24, 2013 @ 4:35 pm

You listen to only shows that you are fairly sure you are going to agree with?

Where's the challenge in that? where's the curiosity and the desire to be confronted with inconvenient truths and arguments?

You're fat and happy.

Posted by Guest on May. 24, 2013 @ 4:43 pm

work out. Those who correctly predicted developments and provide accurate analysis and verifiable facts garner further credibility. Those who don't, and those who instead get busted as hypocrites -- like the big table rapper with the pharmaceutical habit who used to say "drug dealers deserve death" and once criticized a thirteen year-old daughter of a president for her looks -- lose my attention.

I listen to right wing radio bozos now and then just to play the game of detecting how thick and plentiful their untruths are and note any new kinks in their rhetoric. It's not for everybody as I find most people don't have quite as developed a bullshit detector as my own. The only real advantage is I get to hear the rhetorical crap before your ilk starts parroting it.

Bestemor.

Posted by lillipublicans on May. 24, 2013 @ 6:20 pm

Amazing things here. I'm very glad to look your post. Thank you so much and I am looking forward to touch you. Will you kindly drop me a e-mail?

Posted by the digital photography book on Jul. 01, 2013 @ 6:35 pm

but here's my list of faves which I either listen to on the airwaves or on the Internet:

Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) Counterspin, a media analysis magazine with a decidedly anti-corporate agenda, KALW 91.7FM, Fridays at 7:30PM-8PM

Harry Shearer's Le Show, current events, political skits, interviews and eclectic music, KALW 91.7FM, Sundays at Noon-1PM

Democracy Now!, KPFA 94.1FM, M-F 9AM-10AM

Mike Malloy, leftwing, anti-gun control, populist rant, KGRN 960AM, Tuesdays to Saturdays, 1 to 3 AM

Thom Hartmann, populist, anti-corporate, news and analysis, KGRN 960AM, M-F, 10:00PM to 1:00AM

... at least one more show I should mention from KPFA, probably...

Posted by lillipublicans on May. 24, 2013 @ 4:37 pm

FAIR is just superb. The pack a punch in those 30 minutes. They're also on KPFA... Wednesday (?) at 2PM.

Dennis Bernstein's show at 5PM on KPFA sometimes has great reporting.

I like Micheo Kaku's show, Explorations, too. It's a mix of science and politics. He has a knack for explaining difficult concepts in a way that's accessible to all.

The Evening News on KPFA is great -no stupid ballgame scores, no "if-it-bleeds-it-leads" stories, just the important stuff that you never hear about in the corporate press.

And while I'm almost embarrassed to admit it, I sometimes tune into Guns and Butter on KPFA as well. I don't believe everything I hear on there, but it challenges me to think.

But that's what I like. I'm not too into the entertainment shows, right or left. That's why I never liked Mike Malloy -too much ranting. And Alan Colmes is such a disgusting little jellyfish. He was a total bottom sucking up to right-wing Hannity, but now he's a big man swinging his dick and abusing callers like the big man, now that he has his own show. He's like the little runt who grew up to be a bully just to take out his frustrations about getting all that sand kicked in his face.

Hate radio is just terrible -The Bloviator (Rush), The Savage Weiner (Michael Weiner, who renamed himself Savage), The Bag in the Bunker (Laura Simpson, the self-proclaimed "babe in the bunker"), Larry Kudlow (who's not cuddly at all), and the Shrill One (Mark Levine), the self-proclaimed "Great One" who goes into such shrill rants that I think he's going to have a heart attack on air any day.

Although Stephanie Miller and Rachel Maddow have been talked about positively on these pages before, I never got into them. They're not progressives, they're not even liberals, so much as partisan hacks for the Democratic Party -particularly Miller. That makes them entirely too predictable.

I do like Hartmann though, because he's serious.

And on the right, I actually like John Batchelor. Yes, he has some truly annoying mannerisms... like his ominous end-of-the-world music that's way out of proportion to the gravity of what he's discussing... and the overdone referrals to governments by their capital city (there is worry and fear tonight in Cairo and across the Maghreb...)... just stupid. And what's with these fancy terms like "Levant" and "Maghreb" that he loves to throw around just to show how erudite he is? ... and his overreliance on the same annoying guests (and on the homeline we have Malcolm Homeline, because it woudln't be a John Batchelor show if we didn't check in to see what far right wing Jews think of the situation). At the point where Malcolm Homeline gets on and repeats standard Israeli hasbara (blah blah blah facts on the ground blah blah blah Palestinian terrorism blah blah blah Iranian nuclear ambitions)... that's where I turn that shit off. But for all that criticism, he's actually the best right wing show there is... because he talks about serious things rather than stupid things.

There is one value in conservative hate radio though. Everytime I get to thinking about what a shithead Obama is, all I need to do is listen to hate radio. It's entertaining to see their heads explode. I keep hearing about this atheist Muslim socialist who hates America and wants to destroy the free enterprise system. And I think to myself... wait, who is this guy they're talking about? I have no idea, but whoever he is, I want to vote for *that* guy!

Posted by Greg on May. 25, 2013 @ 8:23 am

I'm not even joking.

I sorta get it. Having somebody type provocative, unapologetic columns from a far left point of view gets the crowd going. You get the comments flowing, probably increase your page views a little, get a small bump in traffic for a dying media outlet.

But there has *got* to be somebody better than this guy. Tim - I think your politics suck and you're the total posterchild for the City's withering progressive movement, but you're a good writer. Even Steven Jones can put together a readable rant occasionally, and he's a total moron. But this Johnny guy? He's putting me to sleep.

There's got to be an upgrade over this tool.

Happy Memorial Weekend kthx bye!

Posted by Scram on May. 24, 2013 @ 5:03 pm

The more the whining about "I'll never listen to/read this guy again", the more likely they were to hang on every word.

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

Posted by JohnnyW on May. 24, 2013 @ 5:09 pm

Exactly.

"He's putting me to sleep."

No one forces you to read what he writes, do they? Don't you have any self-control?

Posted by Guest on May. 24, 2013 @ 6:19 pm

Not only to try and build a little volume, but also because Tim and Steven get routinely crushed in debates here, and they hoped that a bruiser would bail them out of their own ineptitude.

It still sucks tho, given that Tim fired some paid writers last year, and now replaces them with "free" welfare recipients.

Plus JW's kinds creepy with all the sex shit. You don't mind Caitlin doing it but a far, bald middle-aged guy droning on about sex this and sex that gets beyond tedious.

I don't give JW long - it's a summer thing.

Posted by Guest on May. 24, 2013 @ 5:12 pm

There's no "sex shit" here. Like the other useless trolls, apparently you don't read/comprehend before you take a dump on here. I thought we were all adults here but apparently not. If you don't like some of Johnny's language, have your mother install parental control software.

Posted by Guest on May. 24, 2013 @ 7:09 pm

Which isn't here. Not a single sex-based post.

This site needs better trolls. Ones that aren't busted for agonizing stupidity in 15 seconds or less.

 

Posted by JohnnyW on May. 24, 2013 @ 5:16 pm

"This site needs better trolls."

The current hateful lobotomized group of trolls needs new material. They have become so predictable. I can guess what they're going to shit out on here before they do it.

Posted by Guest on May. 24, 2013 @ 6:21 pm

JAW, man these guys are brutal! Looks like your doing a hell of a job! Like my husband says "anything that moves the needle"! Keep up the good work.

Posted by Goddamnlainie on May. 24, 2013 @ 6:20 pm

JAW, man these guys are brutal! Looks like your doing a hell of a job! Like my husband says "anything that moves the needle"! Keep up the good work.

Posted by Goddamnlainie on May. 24, 2013 @ 6:25 pm

is that right-wing and left-wing radio audiences have different priorities. Right-wingers want a diet of red meat that makes them feel vindicated in their political resentments. Left-wingers want a diet of white wine that makes them feel vindicated in their cultural smugness. The fact that the liberal version of Rush Limbaugh was Garrison Keillor kind of says it all, no?

Posted by Tom Carson on May. 24, 2013 @ 6:53 pm
Posted by lillipublicans on May. 24, 2013 @ 7:09 pm

"The fact that the liberal version of Rush Limbaugh was Garrison Keillor kind of says it all, no?"

NO. Pathetic analogy.

Also, it's interesting that my right-wing relative is as smug as possible in her self-righteousness on the odd occasion I talk with her about anything political. She's always correct (she thinks) and no matter what source I cite to support what I'm telling her, my source is never sufficient or up to her self-righteous standards. And she's the first to dismiss the Internet and anything on it as being credible, but she's the first to cite a website she thinks is "the gospel." When I tell her: "I thought nothing on the Internet was credible?" Then she has an emotional meltdown complete with tears. She can't stand to be challenged on anything. That's why I no longer waste my time with her.

Posted by Guest on May. 24, 2013 @ 7:19 pm
Posted by Guest on May. 24, 2013 @ 7:25 pm

Wow, I have never seen such a gaggle of love struck twinks anywhere!

Posted by Scott on May. 24, 2013 @ 7:16 pm

Wow, then you fit in beautifully, don't you? Wow. Wow. Wow.

Posted by Guest on May. 24, 2013 @ 7:20 pm

It's such a tsimis,OY! Ive got a pain right here, I've got such tsuris, Mu tuchas feels like its on fire...I escaped the Germans and now I have to put up with the vakakta goyim in this country...FEH !

Posted by Chaim Horowitz on May. 24, 2013 @ 7:42 pm

Hope you and yours have a wonderful weekend too, JAW. See you on the other side.

Posted by Guest Marcus Parrish on May. 24, 2013 @ 8:04 pm

Hope you and yours have a wonderful weekend too, JAW. See you on the other side.

Posted by Guest Marcus Parrish on May. 24, 2013 @ 8:08 pm

The fact that you have some many morons ripping you for your comments means you are doing something right- and great.
Keep up the fantastic work and don't let the trolls get you down...... fact of the matter is there will always be plenty of pathetic folks who have nothing better to do than spend their days looking for people to shout down... it makes them feel better about their empty lives. But remember- they only shout down the people that scare them with the accuracy of their comments.........I love reading your posts and hope that you and yours enjoy your holiday and keep up the great work!

Posted by Guest on May. 24, 2013 @ 8:22 pm

...protest a klan march the klan has something important to say and those protester's are wasting their time?

Colleges are full of people who shout at non left wing speakers who must make the college shouters angry with the"accuracy of their comments?"

Is everyday a new day to remake?

Posted by matlock on May. 25, 2013 @ 11:09 am

Narrow minded far right wingers who get their info from a narrow range or sources.

Part of the complaint blogged on is that right wingers are trained to hate and loath certain thing and embrace certain things and those things can not be questioned in the arena of right wing thought.

Interesting that this is blogged on the SFBG page.

Posted by Matlock on May. 25, 2013 @ 9:19 am

I like that you like to face challenges.

I like that you do not "shirk" (quote-unquote).

Posted by Earnest on May. 25, 2013 @ 5:15 pm

""The more the whining about "I'll never listen to/read this guy again", the more likely they were to hang on every word.""

Truely prescient.

Game, set, and match go to Johnny Angel, as usual.

Keep up the good work

Posted by Arnold on May. 27, 2013 @ 5:53 am

In your attempt to fabricate support and agreement?

Posted by Guest on May. 27, 2013 @ 9:46 am
Posted by lillipublican on May. 27, 2013 @ 11:54 am

And I'm not Bestemor, whoever he is.

Posted by Guest on May. 27, 2013 @ 1:25 pm
Posted by lillipublicans on May. 27, 2013 @ 1:43 pm
Posted by Guest on May. 27, 2013 @ 1:58 pm

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