Archive for September, 2012

Illustration by Melamed Katz, CC-SA-3.0

I enjoy listening to PBS on Saturday morning, the political talk shows and some others, such as Bill Moyers’ show, Moyers & Company.  Today, his guest was Trevor Potter, the founder of Campaign Legal Center, and the discussion was campaign spending.

You can see the video here:

http://billmoyers.com/segment/trevor-potter-on-fighting-big-money-in-the-2012-election/

There is also a link on the page to the entire transcript.

This exchange caught my attention:

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“BILL MOYERS: I thought that’s where we were seeing the naïveté of a Supreme Court justice really out of touch with reality. When he said, “Okay, we’re going to give them the right to spend all this money, but shareholders in particular and citizens can go to the internet, get the information they want, and then hold them accountable if they’re not spending money for the company’s profit,” right?

TREVOR POTTER: Right. And of course, that’s interesting in itself, because it reveals the bias of that decision. He assumed the test was, are they spending the money in the way that most profits the company? And that’s very interesting if you think about it, because–

BILL MOYERS: How so?

TREVOR POTTER: Well, I mean, you go back to the founding of our country. And the founders’ view was that we would be citizens, and we would act in the interests of the country, in our greater interests. They didn’t think that everyone would go out and try to act solely in their own self-interest to better themselves if it was bad for the country.

These were people who had fought a war, who had left their families and their homes, clearly not in their self-interest. So to say that the right thing to do in a democracy is have a corporation spend money in ways that will give them the most profit, never mind what happens to anyone else or the best of the country. It is, I think, an example of why you don’t really want corporations participating directly in elections.

They have a very narrow interest. Which is supposed to be their shareholders. But we want voters and citizens to have a broader interest. To think about the next generation, to think about the greater good. There’s an interesting quote from the head of Exxon in a new book out on Exxon where he says, “Exxon is not a U.S. corporation, we do not act in the best interest of the United States.”

Well, it is a U.S. corporation, but what he meant is, they have shareholders all over the world, they have investments all over the world, and it’s not his job to do things that are good for America, it’s his job to do things that are good for his international shareholders.”

-taken from the transcript on billmoyers.com

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Although this interview focused on big money in elections, it ties in what I’ve been saying about Cumulus Media and how it’s affected our radio community.  Trevor Potter encapsulates it in these comments (from the transcript above):

“…that we would be citizens, and we would act in the interests of the country, in our greater interests. They didn’t think that everyone would go out and try to act solely in their own self-interest to better themselves if it was bad for the country.”

“So to say that the right thing to do in a democracy is have a corporation spend money in ways that will give them the most profit, never mind what happens to anyone else or the best of the country.”

They have a very narrow interest. Which is supposed to be their shareholders. But we want voters and citizens to have a broader interest. To think about the next generation, to think about the greater good.”

“…and it’s not his job to do things that are good for America, it’s his job to do things that are good for his international shareholders.””

Now, I know Cumulus Media is not the first company to do this but their corporate policies have adversely affected our local broadcast community this past year, the actions of Cumulus Media management show their complete disregard for the Bay Area listener base.  Instead, they focus on how much money they can squeeze out of a once vibrant broadcast environment and how little money they can spend in doing it, at the expense of our local employment force, paying little or nothing for local talent at the same time shoving inferior syndicated programming onto our airwaves and effectively cutting off any local discussion.  They expect us to hear only one viewpoint freely on the air – theirs.

Do we want to support this one-sided policy?  It’s like cheering for a dishonest reality show contestant to win the million dollars.  We sit on the couch, shake our heads, and shrug our shoulders with, ‘it’s just a game’.

Well, this is reality and Cumulus Media is grabbing millions while we sit on the couch and listen to their stations (for what it’s worth, I do not listen).  They are gaming the system that has allowed this to happen.  How can we change this?

As I’ve said before, many other cities have experienced the same broadcast annihilation of their favorite radio stations at the hands of Cumulus Media.  I wish there was a way to get everyone together to speak with one booming voice that will not accept this as our future.

Boomers are no longer babies, and we have to BOOM, baby, BOOM, in a big voice to fix this mess.

It’s been some time since I’ve updated links, so here we go…

Latest entries on Bernie Ward’s blog, The Lion of the Left Speaks:

August 29, 2012, Never Bet Against the House (about the Lance Armstrong cheating scandal)

http://lionoftheleft.blogspot.com/2012/08/never-bet-against-house.html

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August 31, 2012, Yes, We Are (asking Better off today?  A list of election issues)

http://lionoftheleft.blogspot.com/2012/08/yes-we-are.html

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September 27, 2012, Three In One (about failed Republican policies)

http://lionoftheleft.blogspot.com/2012/09/three-in-one.html

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September 15, 2012, Romney the Pharisee (yep, that’s what it’s about)

http://lionoftheleft.blogspot.com/2012/09/romney-pharisee.html

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September 15, 2012, It’s the Arithmetic, Stupid (about Romney and Ryan)

http://lionoftheleft.blogspot.com/2012/09/its-arithmetic-stupid.html

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September 15, 2012, Red Lines in Sunset (about Netanyahu)

http://lionoftheleft.blogspot.com/2012/09/red-lines-in-sunset.html

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Now, on to the Gene Burns’ Blog at KKSF-Newstalk 910-AM website:

August 1, 2012, The Fifteen Percent (about the undecided in the upcoming election)

http://www.newstalk910.com/pages/gene-burns.html?article=10313185

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August 16, 2012, Guns and Guilt (about gun access)

http://www.newstalk910.com/pages/gene-burns.html?article=10351479

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September 5, 2012, I Am The Undecided (about party choice in the upcoming election)

http://www.newstalk910.com/pages/gene-burns.html?article=10395569

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Also, you can find podcasts of Len Tillem and Gil Gross at the KKSF-Newstalk 910-AM website.  Here’s a link to the site:

Gil Gross Podcasts:

http://www.newstalk910.com/cc-common/podcast/single_page.html?podcast=gil_gross

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Len Tillem Podcasts (tell fifteen people!  Len the loyah is back!)

http://www.newstalk910.com/cc-common/podcast/single_page.html?podcast=tillem

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Continue to support our favorite former KGO hosts.

And if you like to read Bernie, even when he’s writing from a jail cell, then follow the links to his blog.

I should mention one more thing before I go.  That strange media blog guy has really toned down his rhetoric since his claim of being threatened with legal action.  Now he’s back to rating weather ‘babes’ and announcing staff changes on the local television stations.  Again, read his blog for the comments (the ones unrelated to women and the weather).

Oh, and they’ve discussed their dissatisfaction with Rhoda sitting in with Gil every Friday.  I hate to say it, but I have to agree.  Her shrill voice, screeching and screaming over Gil and his guests, isn’t endearing her to Gil’s listeners.

What do you think?
Okay, that’s it for me for now!

For disappearing acts, it’s hard to beat what happens to the eight hours supposedly left after eight of sleep and eight of work.   -Doug Larson

Yeah, tell me about it.  Months have disappeared in Olympics coverage, longer work hours and learning how to create a game in JavaScript.

It’s unbelievable that we are approaching another December and it’s been nearly one year since the small Dick-eys over at Cumulus Media decided to enrich themselves at the expense of the Bay Area and beyond.  They’ve taken their hatchet job on the road and decimated many other markets, leaving radio listeners across the U.S. angered that not only can one company overtake media communications across entire communities, but that the FCC doesn’t even expend the effort to shrug its shoulders.

The Dick-eys are hoping that, with time, we will forget what they’ve done to our communities and hope that we radio listeners, out of habit and out of lack of alternatives, will continue to turn on their radio stations so the Dick-eys can increase profits with lesser talent and an inferior product.

I haven’t forgotten.  It’s why I take the time to remind others what Cumulus Media has done to our market.  I’ve read about scores of other markets affected as well.  Blogs and forums and comments by listeners who’ve lost their favorite radio personalities in the same brutal way we lost ours, no surprise they are all Cumulus Media stations.  One day beloved talent is on the air, and the next day listeners are left with recycled air out of a can.  There is no outlet to discuss or question the change.  The remaining staff at the stations are expected to carry on as though nothing has happened and any reference to it by listeners through social media is banned or deleted from the affected stations’ online presence.  Is this any way to run a business?  Well, I guess it is if you want to run it into the ground.

Want to see for yourself how well it’s going for the Dick-eys?  Look at the ratings and comments of their own employees, not exactly raving reviews.  Without those employees there wouldn’t be a radio station to run into the ground.  Some say, at least it’s a job.  But that job is destroying any future job in the industry.  That job is paying almost minimum wage while the Dick-eys ask for huge bonuses from the stockholders.  Is that a future for any community?  Think about it.

Read the reviews:

http://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/Cumulus-Media-Reviews-E7959.htm

Also, ratings for Cumulus Media stations are dropping.  Oh, there are some bumps in Quarterly reports but it’s bumping around in the low rankings and not about to bubble back to the top.

Some financial reports show a small percentage of increase in Cumulus stock.  Some even recommend buying that pile of stink coming out of Atlanta.  I’m no expert, but isn’t that increase coming at the expense of our communities’ local media being stripped down to nothing and sold  to the highest bidder?  Again, enriching only the Dick-eys and not the communities they are supposed to represent and serve.

To those who still listen to Cumulus Media, you are blindly contributing to the loss of your community’s voice and living-wage jobs and dumping all of the pay raises and bonuses into the pockets of greedy media conglomerate executives.  Is that money well spent?  Is that thoughtful use of your time?  It’s time to think about the effect of our choices.  If not now, when?

In my next post, I’ll be adding links to recent posts on Gene Burns’ blog at KKSF-Newstalk 910AM and to more articles by Bernie Ward at his blog.

See you next time…