Below is my response to a listener of NPR’s "Morning Edition Sunday" program. It is in reference to my previous post about the "Climate Connections" story about Robert Falcon Scott. This was written to NPR:
I must comment to a listener’s comment on your story about Robert Falcon Scott, the Antarctic explorer, on your March 30th program. The host claimed that there were many comments about the story and I was certainly surprised by the one you used. Valerie Spain’s comments really had nothing to do with the story itself. Spain wanted to make the statement that Scott’s actions in the quest for the South Pole were based purely on arrogance and stupidity.
I did not interpret Daniel Zwerdling’s “Climate Connections” story to be about judging Scott’s final expedition against Amundsen’s. The story was not about how the British government and press exploited Scott’s death. It was about both of Scott’s expeditions as pioneering attempts to conduct research in Antarctica. The second expedition was the attempt for pole and conducting further research in 1911.
Roald Amundsen should be commended for the expedition he carried out. It was done with efficiency and economy. He chose to use dogs to haul his sledges all the way to the pole for instance; Scott did not. Amundsen, the native Norwegian, had the insight for instance to live with Inuits (Eskimos) and learn the ways of extreme cold survival from them. One needs to be honest though that Amundsen was only after the pole. He had no intent of conducting scientific research.
I felt that Daniel Zwerdling’s story was more about how research and living in Antarctica had changed in the century since Scott’s time. Perhaps the book, The Last Place on Earth by Roland Huntford had jaundiced Valerie Spain. Huntford had it out to tear down Scott’s heroic legacy in little bits and pieces. It was a very good book in many ways in laying out all the events between the two expeditions and some about other polar explorers such as Nansen, Peary and Cook. However, Huntford’s poisoned pen laces the work with character assassination of Scott. Other books since then have had a more balanced approach. One of my favorites is The Coldest March, by senior NOAA researcher Susan Solomon. Her book looks at how the climatic conditions on the march back for Scott’s men were out of the norm, even for Antarctica. While taking into account Scott’s abilities, she uses real science and concludes that no matter the quality of preparation with the given resources of that era would have prevented their final fate.
I would urge Valerie Spain and others interested in the subject to read The Coldest March and other works on the subject for a more balanced view.
Last Sunday, NPR (National Pubic Radio) ran a report in the continuing series entitled Climate Connections in conjunction with the National Geographic Society. These reports look at how we are shaping climate and how it is shaping us.
In one of a number of stories on my favorite continent Antarctica, they feature a story on Robert Falcon Scott, the early 20th century, British explorer. Scott led two expeditions to the continent. The first was purely a research endeavor in 1901. The second had the goal of sending a team to be the first humans at the South Pole and included more scientific research.
Scott has been a hero of mine since I was a teen. You will learn more about my feelings about him in a future installment of Pillars of My Principles. Scott is definitely one of the pillars of my principles. Until then, you can read my letter to NPR. Give a listen to the report. Learn more about what has been called “the last place on Earth.” Antarctica, my beautiful continent, is changing, and it is not for the better. We need to learn as much as we can about Antarctica, for this place is a barometer of the whole planet’s condition.
My letter to NPR:
"Thank you for your story on Robert Falcon Scott, the Antarctic explorer. Scott has been a hero of mine for many years.
I was even given the honor of attending the one-hundredth anniversary re-launching ceremony of Scott’s first ship, the “Discovery” in 2001. The ship lies permanently berthed where she was built in Dundee, Scotland. It is a must see for any followers of the Scott’s expeditions or polar exploration.
Scott’s story has been much maligned in the last twenty-five years and I thought you gave a good overview of his work in the time you had on the air. Yes, Scott was working for the advancing the glory of the British Empire, but he was also, unlike some of his contemporary explorers, all for advancing human knowledge of the last unknown continent. And for that, he should be commended."
Recently, I wrote about Cincinnati, Ohio’s proposed streetcar line and the reaction to that from program director, Darryl Parks of Cincinnati radio station, WLW-AM. That is 700 on your AM dial in just about 32 states when the 50 thousand watts out of the transmitter hits the atmosphere just right. Also, they stream online and can be heard via XM radio.
Mr. Parks came across my essay on his reaction to the proposed streetcar line. So, first, thanks Darryl for giving me a read and reporting on your own WLW blog, even if you do not agree with what I said.
I must clarify one thing about his response. He seems to indicate that the Stinky Sandwich Award I gave out earlier this year was for WLW’s audience as well as the station. That is not the case. It was meant for the station, NOT its audience. Actually, not even the whole staff, but for himself and his non-sports talk show hosts. To read that Stinky in full go here.
Mr. Parks ended his blog post by asking me, “By the way, Mr. Agitator appears to live in Bloomington, Indiana. Does he have his tax dollars at risk? Just a question from a "Stinky Sandwich" award winner.” Well, no I do not. I do live in Bloomington, Indiana, not Cincinnati. If I did though, I would be willing to put my tax dollars at risk for the betterment of Cincinnati. I like Cincinnati a lot and want it to succeed. I want mass transportation to thrive in this country because I believe it can help ease some of the heavy reliance on the automobile, spur revitalization of our cities, help the environment and so on. But wait Darryl, lest you think I am for every streetcar that comes down the rails, let me mention one plan right here in Bloomington. It is the bogus downtown trolley (streetcar).
While Bloomington, Indiana does not have a metro area the size of Cincinnati, we are a growing community and we have transportation issues. As a citizen, who wants to make Bloomington a better place to live, I work on transortation issues as a member of a city committee on transportation and a citizen’s action organization, Bloomington Transportation Options for People. Our mayor Mark Kruzan and some others in city government have floated the idea of a streetcar that will ride the streets of downtown shuttling passengers from near by parking, hotels, the convention center and the Indiana University campus, so that they may have better access downtown amenities. The problem is the trolley is an ordinary bus with the shell of an old-fashioned trolley. It is bogus! It is just a cutesy, touristy, gambit to make downtown more appealing. At least, I guess what the intention is. This “trolley” will cost an initial $ 600,000 to just purchase two for use. Operating costs have not been estimated yet. The city has offered $ 300,000 for the purchase of one. This trolley will most likely stop before beginning its first route. I certainly do not want my tax dollars spent for something that really will do little to aid the transportation needs of the city. The money would be better spent to support the very good Bloomington Transit bus system. Another hybrid bus to add to the fleet would be good. I look forward to seeing other proposals develop here in Indiana such as the commuter rail corridor that would run from Muncie to Indianapolis to Bloomington.
So you see, not every idea is a good one where transit is concerned. Back over in the Queen City, that streetcar line does have the potential to help a continued improvement of downtown and Over the Rhine. It could be the first in a system of streetcar (light rail) lines that could extend from CVG to Newport all the way out to areas like Mason and Loveland. Have you ever seen the grand old station in Glendale, just waiting for a train to come by to pick up passengers?
Why do I care? Well, you know, the Cincinnati Reds have fans from all over the country, why should not the whole city? Just count me as one of them. I will be back again soon for my birthday and am looking forward to it. Cincinnatians should be proud of their city. It is one of the best-kept secrets in America.
Finally, let me be fair to WLW, although I may not agree with a lot of the non-sports hosts have to say, I do listen from time to time, from Jim Scott to Willie and so on. I believe in hearing different points of view. The first two shows on Saturday morning I listen to the most because they are most likely to be talking about Cincinnati happenings. That is the Gary Jeff Walker show and yes, the Darryl Parks show, which is better when sensible Don is on.(Though I cannot listen tomorrow morning, as I am working.) When I turn off WLW it is when I get tired of hearing negative, negative, negative about Cincinnati. I turn off when I have heard the latest conservative talking points for the umpteenth time and callers of an opposing viewpoint belittled. I turn off when the humor sinks to sophomoric or prejudice limits. What would I like Mr. Parks do? How about an opposing view point as a host of a show? I was a listener of 1360, the “Revolution of Talk Radio” now gone. How about putting on the Ed Schultz show? Wait. I do not think he likes you a whole lot. Bring back WLW fill in, Paul Hackett, as a full-timer. How about an African-American host full-time? What WLW does best is its news department. They are some of the best newsreaders and reporters I have ever heard on radio. Mr. Parks do not mess with your station’s greatest asset.
Lastly, do not worry Mr. Parks, I will be fair with my Stinkys. Someone like Hillary Clinton for example. When she pushes me far enough, and I am sure she will, I will give her a moldy taste treat also. As you say, there is plenty of stink to go around.
I tuned into MSNBC this morning for the first time since the move from New Jersey back to Rockefeller Center. I was disappointed that they moved. I thought that it was actually a good thing that a major news operation was located outside the big city, albeit a stone’s throw away. All I can say for the new studios are, “here we go again”. Here we go again, MSNBC is trying to re-invent itself for the umpteenth time.
Actually, I can see that bringing the news operations under one roof makes operational sense, if not strategic sense in marketing. Perhaps they have not gone far enough. Is it not time to re-brand and re-launch MSNBC all together?
Outside of free computers for use of the employees, I have never been able to figure out what marketing leverage the MS in MSNBC has ever helped them. What has Microsoft done for them? As a viewer, I certainly see nothing. So, how about dropping the MS, NBC? A number of years ago, I thought there was a rumor of merging CNBC and MSNBC together. That made a lot of sense to me, but CNBC has actually been a success in their niche of business television. I thought that originally CNBC was going to be what MSNBC became. The “C” in CNBC must stand for cable, much like in CNN. By being successful with CNBC, NBC rather screwed up in reverse. So, MSNBC continues to make cosmetic changes to their broadcast presentation in a struggle to get near CNN and Fox News in the ratings. I think the term “cosmetic changes” is perfect for the new sets. They look like they come right out of Macy’s cosmetic department, all the glass and chrome and pretty lighting. I can hear an anchor saying, “Try new and improved “Doc Bloc” with extra violence. You’ll love it!”
Actually, the first impression I got was that the production designer was obviously a fan of the 1970’s science fiction series, Space: 1999. I know I was and those sets look like Moonbase Alpha! Brian Williams doing the NBC Nightly News in Commander Koenig’s uniform complete with zippered sleeve and flared trousers would be the perfect touch. With all the mirrored disco surfaces, I wondered how long until a member of the production staff would be seen in the shot. It did not take long before a pair of legs reflected back off Contessa Brewer’s news desk. Ooops! This is a television studio, not Studio 54. Think people!
Speaking of Contessa Brewer... Her act on MSNBC this morning was a little out of control. She was not just editorializing stories, but pontificating and coming off like a bad actress. She raged against airlines for making profits while meanwhile losing luggage and causing delays.
“And what kind of service are you getting for those profits?” she sarcastically asked the viewer looking at the camera. Here was another instance of a member of the media, a “journalist’ not knowing a thing about the subject and making some statement without any facts or analysis. Her wrath was aimed specifically at Delta Air Lines. Apparently, her sister, a member of the military, recently returned home after being on duty. Delta had lost her luggage. The luggage had her sister’s medical records in it and now they cannot be found. Now, I do not think that I would put my medical records in my luggage while flying. Anyone knows that one of the risks of air travel is the risk that your luggage might get lost in transit. I am a self-professed fan of Delta, but know that Delta is not perfect, none of the airlines are. What irritated me was how un-professional Contessa Brewer seemed, rolling her eyes and sounding sarcastic. She came across as judge, jury and executioner of the airline industry. Like a lot of news people she just has to interject with an opinion rather than just state the story. Hands up, how many of you are tired of news people giving un-informed opinions about stories related to what is scrolling down the teleprompter.
Finally. One production element did cross over from New Jersey to Manhattan, the floating camera. A lot of traditional screen aesthetics went out the window in the 1990s. It became trendy to have quick cuts between cameras, even if they were jump cuts. Having the camera constantly moving was sooooo hip… and so horrible looking. MSNBC continues to hang onto a version of this with the slow floating camera wide shot that will SUDDENLY cut to a locked off shot of a host or guest. Time to give it up. It is not hip anymore and it is still jarring and annoying to the viewer.
MSNBC the latest makeover edition; how long will this one last?
I was so excited when BBC America first appeared in 1998. ‘Finally!” I thought, ‘I will get to see the latest and the greatest of BBC programmes.’ Yes, I thought they made a channel for us Britophiles in America. I was sorely mistaken.
It seemed to me that the BBC blew it again in determining what American viewers liked about British television in the first nine years. At first, I thought commercials from the very non-commercial (at least on-air) BBC would be the only part that would bother me. Once I saw how weak the programming would be, the commercials seemed not as big a deal.
They have given us a steady diet of DIY and reality show rubbish. Hello, BBC programmers! We have a plethora of DIY and reality shows and their own channels here. The comedies they have put on are usually rubbish as well. They seemed like the shows that could not make it over there, or they were classics already run to death on PBS stations. Even some of the classics that I was not that great a fan of are better than some of the modern Britcoms. One of the newer ones I that I can remember being very good on BBC America is “Dead Ringers”. This show is truly great British satire of current events. What many Americans over the age of thirty-five grew up on and loved were British comedies, science fiction and historical drama via our public broadcasting stations. BBC America seems to think we like sex comedies, lame soap operas involving the wives of footballers (soccer players), and a Supernanny.
Another thing Britophiles in America have always respected is the BBC news organization. I still believe them to be the world’s best. The great thing about BBC news either on radio or television is that it was just that, the news. You would hear the presenter say, “It’s nine o’clock. And now the news with, Michael Parkinson.” No gloss, no ridiculous ticker at the bottom of the screen, no flashy graphics or sets, and best of all, no agenda left or right, just the news. It is just reporting on what is happening, where and to whom across the United Kingdom and the world.
Like most of the medium since 1990, BBC news bulletins and longer programs have looked more and more Americanized. Never the less, BBC news has still maintained an edge at presenting more news about our world than any other news organization.
I am pleased to see that news programming is taking a larger share of the schedule this year. More bulletins from BBC World and as of yesterday a new newscast fashioned for the American audience. This will either be very interesting or a complete disaster. Titled “BBC World News America”, this programme will in the words of its American producer Rome Hartman, "bring the world home to Americans."
Now back around 2000 I believe, the radio BBC World Service tried something similar. They hired an American to be a presenter of a World Service broadcast from London. The show aired on NPR stations in America. An American reading British news was to me very irritating. Also, you really did not get that foreign, looking through magnifying glass, perspective of America, that I was wanting. In short, I hated that show. I guess other American listeners did also, as that program left NPR stations after not too long a time.
With “BBC World News America”, we at least have a British presenter (host). However, why hire an American most recently from the shaky re-vamping of the Katie Couric hosted “CBS Evening News”? Will this mean the dumbing down of the BBC’s approach?
The article from Yahoo News on September 30, 2007, “BBC to premiere an American newscast” by Associated Press Television writer David Bauer, gets into some of the details of what is planned. https://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070930/ap_on_en_tv/ap_on_tv_bbc_s_american_news
‘"What we have to do is use what the people come to the BBC for," Hartman said. "They come to us because they want a smart and sophisticated view of the world and that's what we hope to provide."
BBC America on Monday will also begin presenting a second daily newscast, "World News Today”, at 10 p.m. EDT.
One of the BBC's faults, Frei (presenter/host) said, is that it takes for granted a certain level of knowledge among its viewers. Hartman has been helpful in encouraging BBC reporters to make clear to viewers why a particular story is important.
Hmmmm. Does that mean a little condescension can slip through?
"We are British," Frei said, "and people have this impression of the British as being a bit stuffy, a bit haughty. We have to be aware of that. I personally don't think if you watch a BBC newscast now that you will feel you're being talked down to and I think the American audience will feel the same way."’
What is Mr. Bauer getting at here? He accuses the British as being condescending for expecting intelligence from its audience? Is that it? Do you know what is condescending? The daily diatribe of American news aimed at telling you that Britney Spears lack of wearing underwear today is more worthy of airtime than people struggling for freedom in Burma or an objective view of the war in Iraq. I find that attitude very condescending to the American viewer in general and to me personally!
With this new newscast, maybe it is time to give BBC America a few more minutes of my viewing time. I hope that it signals better things for the channel. Hey, at least they are showing “Doctor Who” again, even if they are just repeating the first two years of the new “Who”. Of course the new “Who” should have been on BBC America in the first place, not the SciFi channel. How the BBC has messed with “Doctor Who” over the years is a topic for another time.
Here is a book review from the Gentleman Agitator. The book is Crosley: Two Brothers and a Business Empire That Transformed the Nation, by David Stern, Rusty McClure and Michael A. Banks. Website: https://www.crosleybook.com/
When I first heard of this book, I was excited for two reasons. I like learning more about the history of one of my favorite cities, Cincinnati, Ohio. I have always been interested in the history of my chose profession, broadcasting and media. I knew that the name Crosley was legendary. I was always curious about the story behind the name. So, it was on a weekend excursion to the Queen City earlier this year that I purchased a copy with relish.
This book documents the story of Powel and Lewis Crosley, two brothers from Cincinnati who went from lives of early uncertainty to world-renowned business magnates in the first half of the twentieth century. Powel and Lewis were different in personality, but shared common goals to chase their dreams and make them reality. Those dreams produced products and services with quality, low cost, and affordability for the average American.
I think their story is also a cautionary tale for those with the entrepreneurial spirit, as the Crosleys had. You know, sometimes people just do not know that when they are really good at something, they should stick to it. My late father was like that. He was one of the best physicians you could ever find. I heard many patients call him a miracle worker. He could heal with his hands and his head like no other. My father wanted more though. Like Powel Crosley, Jr., my father had that burning desire to do more, be more and make a good living with business ideas he was sure would be a hit. For my father, chasing his ideas meant taking his eye off what he did best. That led ultimately to financial hardships, personal disappointment and physical illness. What happened to the Crosleys? Well, you will just have to read the book to find out the whole story.
This book is an excellent resource for those interested in the Crosley family story, the history of Cincinnati, the history of broadcasting and even the history of the Cincinnati Reds baseball club who were owned by Powel Jr. at one time.
However, I must give a caveat. This book is not for the editorial stickler, or the English major who likes to diagram sentences and enjoys perfect grammar. I have no idea what the publisher and authors were thinking when they let this book go to press. It seems hastily laid out and pieced together. It is hard to tell that it even made it into an editor’s hands. Especially frustrating were one-sentence paragraphs, sometimes in succession and fragments of ideas. Ideas that should have ended one paragraph and some that could have easily been compound sentences. Blame for the hopscotch nature of the manuscript should ultimately go to publishers, Clerisy Press.
Clerisy Press was formed out the remnants of Emmis Books. Emmis Books was the publishing arm of Emmis Communications that was folded in 2006. Its former head then turned around and formed Clerisy, bringing the Crosley book with it. One has to wonder if in the transition from one publisher to the other, someone forgot to look at the manuscript. Perhaps they were only in a rush to get out titles for the fledgling new Clerisy and decided it was good enough. They seem to have decided to rely on the quality of the Crosley name to sell and not the quality behind the name, or in this case, the cover. I do not think Powel or Lewis would have appreciated that.
Despite the lack of editorial polish, I enjoyed Crosley. I am glad that co-author Rusty McClure, the last direct descendant of Lewis Crosley and last of Powel overall, managed to get this story into print. To see a video of Mr. McClure talking about the book go to: https://www.cetconnect.org/search/results.asp?q=Crosley&Go.x=13&Go.y=13#
As iconic as the name is in Cincinnati, I am surprised there is no Crosley Museum there. There is not any that I am aware of anyway outside of some items in the Cincinnati History Museum at Union Terminal, including a Crosley car. Crosley car collectors can be found at: https://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/crosley/.
Reproductions of Crosley Radios can be bought through a company called "Modern Marketing Concepts", https://www.crosleyradio.com/. Powel could have related to a name. Another company makes a line of home appliances bearing the Crosley name https://www.crosley.com/. Their website seems to be down as of August 2007 and I cannot tell if they are still in business, but I have seen it active in the past. Sadly, neither company is located in Cincinnati. That is too bad.
The greatest tribute to the Crosley brothers would be to see a new nameplate, “Crosley Corporation, Cincinnati, Ohio”. Powel and Lewis were not about living in the past or languishing in the present, but about improving for the future. So, it would be only appropriate that a modern Crosley company developed not just reproductions of the past, or just another model of a present design, but a better way to communicate, a better way to travel, a better way improve home life. A better way and a way that was affordable to all. That was the Crosley way.
Well, this Saturday morning July 7, 2007, I once again spent some time listening to radio station WLW-AM 700 from Cincinnati, Ohio. I like Cincinnati a lot and care about its future. I listen to WLW to hear newscasts from Cincinnati to keep up on things there. Saturday mornings are the best time to hear commentary from the hosts about the local scene. Though, as usual, that is not all you hear.
Mid-morning host, Darryl Parks decided his big story of the day was the recent plea-bargain agreement of a former suburban Mason, Ohio firefighter, who was caught drunk in a local park dressed in women’s swimwear and a wig. Ooooh, that was scintillating radio. Mr. Parks full titles are, “Director of AM Operations for Clear Channel Cincinnati. He is also Regional News Talk Brand Manager for Clear Channel (overseeing 700 WLW, 55 WKRC, 1360 WCKY and 1530 WSAI.)”
Then Parks got some bees in his bonnet. One had to do with a guest editorial in the day’s Cincinnati Enquirer newspaper. Entitled, “Give progressive radio a chance in Cincinnati,” by Jerry Baker, an engineer and sales director for GE Aviation in the area and a precinct captain for the Democratic Party in Hamilton County, Ohio. His case stated:
“…Progressive talk listeners are simply asking for an equal opportunity to present progressive views on the airwaves. Residents of Southwest Ohio who wanted to listen to this format got only a brief chance to do so when it was carried by WCKY, then moved over to the weaker signal on WSAI. Ratings weren't great, but the stations were poorly managed and poorly promoted…”
Parks scoffed at the editorial. A caller actually got by the screener to challenge Mr. Parks on his handling of the former Air America affiliate in town. He was in charge of that station as part of his duties. The caller even had the courage to describe himself as a homosexual. I cringed, waiting for Parks to go after him. Like many right-wing talkers, they will let the occasional opposing view on the air under the cover of giving a hearing to all points of view. Then they make sarcastic or subtle attacks of the person’s views, belittling them and trying to humiliate them.
The caller went on to say that Parks had helped to kill a great network, meaning Air America. What I think the caller meant was the station at the time, WCKY or WSAI depending on when you were listening. Air America is still alive despite the best efforts of station programmers like Darryl Parks and really bad business planning by Air America’s management. Far be it from Mr. Parks to correct the caller in his meaning. He seemed smug about the whole “helping to kill a great network.” Defending the editorial, the caller criticized the lack of promotion of the station.
That hurt Mr. Parks like an arrow through his heart, “You know how much money we spent to promote the station?!”
Parks went on to talk about the billboards and busboards around town at the time. I believe he said that $150,000 dollars was spent on promotion. I cannot remember that for sure. He talked about the poor ratings. Of course, he did not go over the dial position flipping he did. He moved the progressive talk format from a 50,000-watt transmitter to a 5,000-watt transmitter. So much for me hearing it here in Bloomington, Indiana. It reminded me of how Republicans like to use the term, “starving the beast,” for their aims to reduce the size of government built by bad liberals. Parks starved the liberal format on his station. One has to wonder if he really wanted it to succeed or not. He insinuated that the format failed because after you hear, “I hate Bush,” from Air America, they really have nothing more to say.
The caller said he started listening to the “Big One,” (WLW 700 AM’s nickname) after the liberal format left WSAI.
Parks said, “The Big One,” you like that name don’t you?” The caller either did not hear that crack or ignored it. I just knew Darryl would get a homosexual joke in at some point to demean the caller.
The caller challenged Mr. Parks that WLW was a conservative talk station. Here is where Park’s went off the rail. He claimed WLW’s programming was based on entertainment and as he said to the caller, “No politics.” WKRC (another station owned by Clear Channel in Cincinnati) he admitted was a conservative talk station. He added the claim that zero money spent on promoting WKRC! I took a look at WKRC’s website for signs of promotion. Sure enough, I found this amongst a few others quote:
“Freedom Concert contest
55KRC want to get you up close and personal with Sean Hannity during his visit to Cincinnati for the Freedom Concert. Register to win two tickets to the concert AND two VIP passes for the meet and greet with Sean at Kings Island. Winner will be drawn on Monday, July 9 and contacted via telephone.”
This is big time promotion! And you cannot tell me that WKRC will not spend a dime on this. I can see Hannity’s people possibly paying for it, but…well….let us be honest, okay Mr. Parks? Even if you have a number one rated station, you keep doing promotion. I think you would be incopotent in your job otherwise.
He claimed that WLW programming was done by layering it and making it entertaining. The Binki fireman story bar contest he used as an example. Yeah, I guess you got me there. That story was not political. It was adolescent, but not political.
However, so much of their “entertainment” as it were is permeated with their political bent. It is insidiously “layered,” into it either purposely or is there just by the nature of the host’s personality, WLW’s talk personalities, sports aside, are all conservatives! WLW cannot help but be conservative.
When Air America dares to be “entertaining” with political humor Mr. Parks and his ilk would just say they hate Bush. It’s the usual conservative come back. And yeah, a lot of that political humor is based on an anti-Bush theme. And yeah, some of it I condemn as well. Some of it goes over the line. When right wingers do it though, it is just entertaining fun.
Later in his program, Darryl Parks got to another bee in his bonnet; the state of Ohio’s banning of smoking indoors. He went off about how WLW was narced on and received a violation notice for smoking that had occurred in a break room. He denied it ever happened. Hey, I am willing to believe you on that one Darryl. It is quite possible that a listener with an axe to grind called the violations hotline just to hear you squirm about it on the air. Ah, but Mr. Parks, is not the smoking ban a “political” issue in Ohio? Yes, it sure has been. He went on to demean the Health Department employee who delivered the notice as a “stooge.” He also referred to the Ohio Health Department as the mark of the beast. Typical snide insults by right wingers who think everyone who works for a government agency is evil and out to get them. That is, of course unless it involves a tax break coming to them.
Then it was onto taking a shot at the Al Gore inspired “Live Earth” concert this weekend. Now, I will admit that I think rock concerts as political statement usually amount to little more than good feelings amongst the participants and the audience, but little else in the end. It is a typical liberal way of trying to spread a message. I always found it somewhat lame. Liberals can be such easy targets also with events like these. Darryl recited the right-wing talking points about how much garbage the concert will produce and what was powering the whole thing. This I found the coup d’ gras of the day’s hypocrisy at the “Big One.”
Conservatives accuse liberals in Hollywood all the time of using politics in their “entertainment.” This does sometimes happen. However, when right-wingers Darryl Parks of the world do it; it is just plain “entertainment.” Oh, yeah sure, right. It is just “entertainment.” And for that Darryl Parks and WLW get my Stinky Sandwich Award. Oh, do not worry, it is not about politics. I am just trying to be entertaining.
When I first heard WCKY radio a few years ago on a visit to Cincinnati, I thought it was an auditory hallucination. The fledging, "Air America," liberal radio network had a spot on the Cincinnati radio dial. I listened and was most surprised by the syndicated Ed Schultz Show. Ed is a Midwestern liberal. No, that's not an oxymoron, speaking as a pretty liberal Midwesterner myself! Ed lives in North Dakota and mixes Midwestern liberalism and Midwestern common sense. That is really scary to Republicans. We are one of their worst nightmares.
I was even more excited as I drove back from Cincinnati to my home in Indiana that I could hear them here as well. Okay, it was scratchy, but still audible. I am old school. I love listening to radio from far off places. I have done that since I was little. The reception has to be really bad for me to turn it off, if I find it interesting.
As for WCKY, well, I knew it could not last forever. As a child of the right-wing Clear Channel corporation, I would not have thought the format would last this long. I wondered why the right-wing broadcasting company bothered to try this format on their affiliates. I could only figure that they thought to beat them, they had to join them. As America's largest radio broadcasting monkey, they could prove "liberal" radio was a money loser and then kill it in it's infancy. That way, no political bias could be accused. Well, believe what you will, but that has happened.
A city like Cincinnati is not exactly a hot-bed of liberalism. Madison, Wisconsin on the other hand... Well, soon after the election, Clear Channel announced a format change for their progressive talk station even though it had made some ratings pick up. See: Plug is pulled on 'The Mic'. They are going to a sports format with, uh, Fox Sports. Gee, Fox, there is a shocker.
Talk host Ed Schultz has accused the Cincinnati and Madison stations of not exactly breaking their backs ad selling wise. Maybe the son of WKRP's, Herb Tarlek, is one of the ad sales persons on WCKY, uh I mean WSAI. You know though, if you do not water a plant, it will die. Listen to Eddie tell it like it is on his program.
Yes, the end was near when in summer 2006, Darryl Parks, the program manager for Clear Channel in Cincinnati, came out of the bunker (as they call it) in suburban Kenwood, to announce a change of call letters and most importantly transmitters. Time to stop watering the plant. WCKY, at 1530 AM, has 50k watts of power. WSAI at 1360 on your AM dial has 5k watts. So much for listening to the "Revolution of Talk Radio," in south central Indiana, much less outside the 275 ring in Cincinnati. You would think good business people, if they wanted to succeed, would keep the higher power going. More potential listeners, more potential ad revenue. No, Clear Channel had more important things to air on 1530, like, uh, Fox Sports! See a pattern? I knew you could. Never mind there is already a glut of sports talk and sports radio out there. So, now a signal that proclaims to reach a lot of states, at least in the daytime, counters with programming that copies many other stations. Why would you listen to the Cincinnati station with Cincinnati ads, if you live in a city with the same programming? That is good business sense?
The new weekday lineup on WSAI-AM, now called "1360TheSource.com," will have consumer, relationship, home, car, garden and financial advice shows. Basically, all the stuff that ends up on major AM stations on weekends when listener-ship drops off. Oh and do not forget Cincinnati listeners, here is your chance to hear Dr. Laura Schlesinger sanctimoniously wave her finger at listeners, who more often than not just lack any common sense in their lives. Then, Neal Bortz at night. Oh boy! Yet another paragon of conservative values. Oh sorry, Libertarian values. A Republican by any other name if you ask me.
Speaking of conservative... You know, I often listen to Clear Channel's mothership station in Cincinnati, WLW. I even listen to some of the real wackos at times, at least until I cannot take it anymore. I listen primarily because I like the city. Cincinnati is one of my favorite cities. It has a lot to offer and like my hometown of Kansas City, it also has a self-image problem. My thoughts in general about these cities and their good things and their challenges, I will leave for another time. I also like WLW for its history. As someone who works in the industry, I love broadcasting history. WLW has a great history. The child of Powell Crosley ain't what it used to be however. Though Crosley was an avowed Republican, I think he would be rather shocked at some of the vitriolic garbage spoken by some of its announcers at times. It is a sad time in American broadcasting. I wonder too that, if Crosley were starting a radio network today, if his WLW and its parent Clear Channel, would give him much of a chance at working for them. "Air America Radio," for all its financial ineptness, was indeed starting from the ground up. It is too bad that it has all but met the sarcastic, cackling expectations of right-wingers. Hey, I was actually sad that AAR even had to be started. We should be able to hear all points of view on the media we have now. There should be true "fair and balanced" media. Fat chance!
Broadcasters used to have act in the public interest. It was called the Fairness Doctrine. It meant basically that, "station licensees were "public trustees," and as such had an obligation to afford reasonable opportunity for discussion of contrasting points of view on controversial issues of public importance..." That was ended by the Reagan administration in the 1980s. It has been down hill for fairness and balance ever since. It is just too bad that in a country that purports to be about freedom of speech and thought we cannot have all points of view on the airwaves, even if they all do not make the profit margin rise. That is the state this republic as a whole finds itself in. America seems to be only about making money now, in every aspect of its fiber. Economic Darwinism has run amok, and it should be no surprise to anyone that it's broadcasting industry should be any different. Farewell, "Revolution of Talk Radio." Though many in Cincinnati do not realize it, it is a loss to the great, greater Cincinnati area. They deserve more from its broadcasters.