By for the aflcio2008 (OH: USW Phone Bank in Mansfield) [CC-BY-2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

This week Ed Baxter announced he is the chosen one.  He got the spot.

Well, he didn’t use those exact words when he informed listeners of Talk910-AM that he has accepted the host position for the 10:00am-1:00pm time slot on the station.  I was happy to hear it.

After the departure of former host, Frosty Stilwell, we listeners endured weeks of rotating hosts, never knowing what to expect when we turned the radio on.  Sometimes we were pleasantly surprised with the professionalism of John Rothmann, other times we had to turn the radio off ten minutes into a show.  Where does Talk910 find some of those fill-in hosts?

It was as if they were letting Gil Gross pick ’em, because you know what a great show he has on Fridays with his wife.  In Gil’s world, if you can work on a crossword puzzle, then the next logical step is to add a microphone and put you on the air.  No one will notice the screeching sound when you speak.  Go ahead, interrupt guests with inane questions and shriek at the top of your lungs every time you disagree with something.  Yeah.  Fun times.  Completely unprofessional, but that doesn’t matter.  If you can come up with the right words on a puzzle, then you are ready for radio.

The only thing worse than hearing Gil’s wife on the radio is hearing the show that comes on before Gil’s show.  Those two guys have to be the worst thing on radio, ever.  And, remember, I’m including Gil’s wife in that assessment.  She has to be the second worse thing ever on the air.  But, you already knew that.  Hearing her once is enough.  It takes nearly a month to get the ringing out of your ears.

This is so unfair to listeners.  It’s as if Talk910 is trying to fail.

This is how bad it is, for the first time, ever, I’ve been streaming WOR710 in New York and listening to Hannity every afternoon at 1:00pm instead of those two guys on Talk910.  Thanks a lot, 910.  At least Hannity takes calls.  That is what talk radio is supposed to be about.  Discussion.  Talk.  Not to yourself.  To people.  Feedback from listeners.

I still listen to Radiolab and ThisAmericanLife, as well.  Sometimes Ted Talks.  But the Hannity show takes calls.  That’s what I want to hear.

For awhile, I thought Talk910 was seriously considering Spencer Hughes as a host.  He takes calls.  I’d never heard him before. I’ve heard OF him.  Not good things, but I don’t let other opinions dictate my judgment.  I want to hear it myself and form my own opinion.

Now I know what people are talking about.  At first, I didn’t mind him.  He talks and talks and talks, starting out saying one thing and then seems to disappear into his own head as he goes off into two or three more topics while still finishing thoughts about the first thing.  It’s strange, all he needs is a big Monty Python hand pushing on his head and a voice announcing “now for something completely different”.  I would not be able to listen to that every day.  There is no focus to his show.

Ed Baxter has focus.  He forms thoughts and can express them in a professional style and he has the intelligence to interact with any guest.  It’s not an effort to listen to his voice, he has a natural, pleasant tone.  He likes to take calls.  On the air, many times, he has said he doesn’t want to be the only one talking.  He wants to hear what callers have to say.  He has always given out the phone number so listeners can call in…

Except for this week.  I noticed there were no callers this week and there was no number given for callers.  Is this going to end up as another show of someone reciting news items from sfgate and bringing in ‘experts’ to talk about them?  Ed’s already doing the Gil thing, bringing in his producer to talk about things.  Come on, Ed, you know that gets boring fast.  Where are the callers?  Some of the most interesting shows on the radio happen with callers.

You know this, Ed.  Get it done!  Give out that number.  Take those calls.

  1. john says:

    I can’t stand Ed Baxter, he puts me to sleep. He is so dry and mainstream, i can’t listen to him for more than 30 seconds. Spencer Hughes is a douche but at least he’s unpredictable, and can be interesting and insightful.
    I agree with you that Talk910 is trying to fail with the current crop. Theres got to be more talent out there… remember Randy Rhodes? Hahà j/k *shudder*

    • Hi, John. I was going to write a post this weekend about how disappointed I am with Ed Baxter who seems to be following the Gil Gross playbook for his show. Can it get more boring? Ed surprised me, though, on Tuesday, I think it was. He actually took a call! From a guy who disagreed with him. It was great, until Ed had to get him off the line because neither was going to agree with the other. It was exciting to hear two completely different viewpoints on the radio again. Of course, it didn’t last. I don’t think Ed has taken another call after that.

      You’d think a rating of 1.0 would send a message that what they are doing is not working. Listeners are leaving. We’ve been complaining about the lazy way they put together shows for years now. Next thing you know, Ed will put his wife on the air so she can read things she’s seen on sfgate. It’s not working!

      I can barely listen to any of their shows, not that I listen to any except for Ed now, but that cringe-worthy car commercial is back and I have to keep turning off my radio and then I forget to turn it back on. This week has been especially bad. I’ve been streaming other online shows instead, so I really don’t know if Ed has taken any more calls.

      Spencer Hughes practically begged on-air for that 10:00am slot, but I don’t think he has enough knowledge to sustain a long-term gig. That’s why he keeps falling back to that weird way he talks to himself on the air. As a listener, I feel a little embarrassed for him. Too much of that in a week, I’d feel a lot of disdain for him. It’s almost cartoonish, and I certainly wouldn’t call it a style. He needs to find his voice instead of a gimmick.

      Thanks for the comment, John. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.

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