Archive for May, 2015

It’s refreshing to hear a local talk show host honor the tradition of talk radio and respect expectations of the listening audience.

I used to read that media blogger, a guy who destroyed his big chance of growing an audience by belittling readers, telling them if you don’t like it don’t read it.  Intelligent people understand that aggressive approach usually comes from a weak-thinker who cannot defend or follow-up a thought process with an exchange of ideas that might not conform to his or her own beliefs.  Preventing feedback, good or bad, cannot expand a thought or philosophy previously unexplored.

Talk radio is all about hearing and learning about the unexplored.  That’s the essence of talk radio, different voices sharing and communicating various viewpoints.  Audience members make up their own minds on what to think about any given topic.  I don’t understand this trend of spoon-feeding information to an audience and the reliance on one host to portion information, topic after topic after topic, that fits into the agenda of one person alone.  It’s routine to include a phone guest on the show to support what the host wants to hear.  There is no sharing of information with others who can debate or debunk it.

There are no surprise callers who might enlighten or disrupt a show.  That element of talk radio is gone.  Sure, so-called experts claim no one wants to hear callers stumble over words and waste air time with hellos and tired arguments and wacko theories.  Even some listeners say that.  So the answer is to cut off all feedback because some people might say things we’ve all heard before?

Instead, we hear, over and over again, the stories and theories and outlook of a single host.  That’s better than possibly hearing a few of the same type of calls every so often?

Sometimes it’s not just one host with the same stories and theories and outlook.  There are two hosts who mimic daily topics as if they’ve orchestrated their shows to push their political agendas.

Of course, I’m referring to Limbaugh and Hannity.  They might as well combine as one-act and take their show on the road.

Limbaugh always talks about how great he is and that he is thinking for everyone, then boasts he has half his brain tied behind his back just to make it fair.  Really, Rush?  He’s telling his audience they’re listening to someone with half a brain.  And, it seems, the half left intact is absorbed in searching around online media for any mention of him.  There are media reports that never mention his name but he inserts himself in there, claiming they are reacting to something he’d said on a past show.  It doesn’t matter that other voices in various media had been saying similar things and coming to the same conclusion before Rush’s show had even aired.  But, hey, why let little things like that get in the way of the ego?

It’s obvious the Limbaugh-Hannity show are trying their ‘darndest’ to derail the Hillary train coming down the political tracks.  Earlier in the year, they both wrote her off as a failed candidate, that she won’t make it to the primaries.  They called her old, insincere, boring, not Bill, without accomplishment, and any number of things to denigrate her potential presidential run.  Now that she’s announced her candidacy they refer to her as the head of a so-called crime family who’ve been transacting money-hungry deals that are on the very edge of legal.  They even bring up the hike in speaking fees for Bill Clinton when Hillary was Secretary of State.   They make Bill Clinton sound like some opportunist who is sponging off of Hillary’s notoriety.  Yeah, that Bill Clinton.  The former President of the United States.

There’s no mention of any number of political figures who command higher speaking fees after being elected to any office.

Then, there’s Hannity.  I do like listening to Hannity.  He has aired in-depth interviews that last longer than a sound bite.  He seems to allow dissenting opinions on content he has no control over, much of it foreign policy or flash news items.  But, he does not allow callers to disagree with him.  He yells over the caller if he doesn’t like what he hears, then says it’s my show and I can do what I want.  On Friday, he had one of those callers.  Hannity was going after him, ready to cut him off in mid-sentence, but the caller told him to let him speak and went on to tell him what he thought of the way Hannity handles calls that don’t fit his agenda and how that stifles freedom of thought, the same freedom of thought Hannity claims to promote.  Well, Hannity actually shut his mouth and let the caller speak uninterrupted.  That truth thing gets them every time.  Good for Hannity to recognize it.

And that brings me back to Good for You, Spencer Hughes.

I’ve read about Spencer in the past, not so good things, when I used to read that media blogger.  We’ve all heard bad hosts before.  In fact, Talk 910 shamelessly promotes that sham of a show in the early afternoon with two guys pretending to be radio hosts.  And, of course, there’s Gil’s wife who makes all sane people reach for the Off button.

So, when Spencer showed up on Talk 910, I had no idea who he was.  He must have been on that Cumulus station I haven’t listened to since December 2011.   I first heard him filling in for Ed Baxter when Ed still had a show.  Hughes wasn’t bad as a fill-in, but he was all over the place in his thought process and talked too much in that ridiculous voice to himself.

Limbaugh does something similar, he talks in a baby voice.  It’s annoying and it really does make him sound like he has half a brain.

Anyway, Spencer Hughes returned to Talk 910 after Ed officially resigned from his 10:00am slot.  But, Hughes was different this time around.  He had more focus on specific topics and left that rambling voice out of the conversation.  He encouraged the audience to call and gave out the number frequently.  The direction of his show slowly began to form into a thoughtful, caller-based one that allowed anyone with an opinion the opportunity to voice it.

Good for you, Spencer Hughes.

Then, one day, he explained his love of talk radio and how it started for him at an early age and I knew this was one host I wanted to hear on the radio.  A host who has a passion for talk and who understands how new generations have embraced the talk tradition after hearing it on the radios of their elders.  That’s how Spencer was exposed to it.

I have fond memories of my grandmother at her kitchen table, drinking coffee, and listening to a talk station on the radio.   We’d share laughs about some of the calls.  We’d learn truths from others.  It was a shared experience, my grandmother in her kitchen, the caller on the radio, the host responding, and all of the listening audience forming their own opinions about what they were hearing.

I search for that kind of radio on the air.  It’s difficult to find now, some say it’s soon to be lost to all generations.  So, when someone like Spencer shows up on the air, we should support him.  I know I’m not the only one listening and enjoying his show.  When he doesn’t have many calls coming in, he will ask the audience to let him know they’re out there.  And, they are.  Email and texts pour in from people who can’t call in but want to reassure him they are there.

I am there, too, except when that yelling lady car commercial comes on.  Then, Spencer, I have to turn off your show.

I wonder if that guy who comes on next, one of the two terrible hosts that follow your show, the one who is a program manager or something, if he slots those spots into your show to sabotage your success, trying to make people tune you out with those ads of torture.  He doesn’t have to add them to his own show – listening to it is torture enough.   I hope that’s not what’s happening, but I do wonder sometimes…

Maybe we should start calling the station, or texting, or adding Facebook comments, and interrupt in the same way that commercial interrupts our day.  I always say STFU before I turn it off, and not in letters, either.  Maybe we need to bring some attention to the interruption and let stations know we are turning it off without listening to that ad one minute longer.  Any ideas?

 

Note: Am I the only one getting an error message on The Talk Pod site?

 

Absolutely something…

WOR710-AM NY, the Mark Simone show, is good for listeners who want entertaining talk radio with callers and interesting guests and a professional, likeable host who doesn’t take himself too seriously.  Not possible, you say, given the state of radio today.

Image by Colin Smith CCA-SA2.0

Then, listen to this segment from Simone’s show podcast on Wednesday, May 13th, Hour 1:

His guest is Lionel (Michael William Lebron) of lionelmedia.com.  This guy has a Len Tillem style and a background in both broadcast and law.  His strong words and opinions go beyond the reach of our one-time favorite loyah and he even sprinkles in such language gems as kaka-poo-poo in his loud, forceful way of speaking.

Mark Simone can hold own against someone like Lionel.  Simone has his own style, he is a competent host who interacts with guests and callers without feeling the need to insert himself into the conversation.  And, as we in the Bay Area know too well, that’s Gross!  Thankfully, Simone does not have a wife who does crossword puzzles, the head-scratching Gross excuse for subjecting listeners to a Friday show that lives up to his name.

As for the Mark Simone segment, it’s a relevant conversation about issues of big cities dealing with homeless and crime and the New York policy of ‘broken windows’.  They discuss the recent capture of the ‘hammer guy’ by NYPD.  As Lionel says, “It ain’t safe like it used to be.”

Listen to the segment, it starts approximately 3/4 of an hour into the podcast and lasts to the end of the podcast.  For some reason, there is no time indicator as the podcast runs, but if you see the image of Simone on the podcast, the segment starts at the left-hand corner of his right eye (when you are facing the screen) and goes to the end.

http://www.wor710.com/media/podcast-mark-simone-show-marksimone/the-mark-simone-show-5132015-hour-26047075/

 

Here’s more information about Lionel:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lionel_%28radio_personality%29

There are some interesting blog posts and videos on Lionel’s website as well:

http://lionelmedia.com/

 

Also, as I’ve mentioned before, Simone posts video on his home page and there’s always one or two worth watching.  It’s funny that Lionel mentions it in his conversation with Mark as well.

I saw this once on a Ted Talks playlist and could never find it again.  Thanks, Mark Simone, for adding it to your page!

http://www.wor710.com/onair/mark-simone-52176/youve-been-tying-your-shoes-wrong-13581909/

Don Rickles makes his final appearance on Letterman:

http://www.wor710.com/onair/mark-simone-52176/don-rickles-final-letterman-appearance-with-13582708/

 

Simone also posted a link to an article about Frank Sinatra written by Michael Riedel, Theater Critic New York Post:

http://www.wor710.com/onair/mark-simone-52176/sinatras-secret-life-in-nyc-great-13388393/

Riedel was on Simone’s show, Thursday, 5/14/15, Hour 1.  Their discussion includes such tidbits as Sinatra’s little orange piano:

(The segment begins approximately 3/4 of an hour into the podcast and last to nearly the end of the podcast)

http://www.wor710.com/media/podcast-mark-simone-show-marksimone/the-mark-simone-show-5142015-hour-26050532/

 

Finally, a funny joke at a Curb reunion:

http://www.wor710.com/onair/mark-simone-52176/the-cast-of-curb-discusses-the-13577413/

 

Here’s a link to the broken windows article written by Michael Goodwin and published in the New York Post:

May 12, 2015

http://nypost.com/2015/05/12/safety-stats-mean-nothing-if-people-dont-actually-feel-safe/

April 29, 2015

http://nypost.com/2015/04/29/heed-the-signs-de-blasio/

 

Want to see more Ted Talks?

https://www.ted.com/talks

 

Again, something that Lionel discussed on the segment I posted earlier, was the interaction between Mark Simone and Joe Bartlett.  I had to look up Joe because I wondered if he was the same Bay Area Joel Bartlett.  Nope.  But I did find an extremely awkward on-air segment on YouTube between Bay Area Joel Bartlett and Dave McElhatton on KPIX.  It’s a 1982 blooper about Video Editor Dan Schear but I found the interaction between McElhatton and Bartlett extremely uncomfortable.

 

I also found an article about the Bay Area drought in 1990.  It lasted four years, so hopefully, history will repeat itself because aren’t we going into year four now?

http://www.nytimes.com/1990/11/30/us/san-francisco-journal-when-skies-are-blue-so-are-the-forecasters.html

 

Anyone see any of the Dark Shadows show binge last week on local tv?  What a trip…

 

And, I can’t leave before I mention how much I’m enjoying Spencer Hughes now on Talk910-AM.  He is taking all calls, all of the time.  It’s such a treat to hear.  Unfortunately, I’ve had to turn it off when that awful lady, yelling-about-cars commercial, comes on time after time.  If I hear it 2x into a half-hour segment, I turn off the station.  I hate to do it during Hughes’ show, but I won’t listen to that commercial willingly.  Why would I?

I even had to turn to Sean Hannity at Noon on WOR710-AM on Friday, even though Hughes had a good thing going with what he referred to as ‘Loosey Goosey Friday’ and any call on any topic was allowed.  Really, Spencer, I love that, but not when I have to turn off the radio every ten minutes to avoid the torture of hearing that yelling lady ad one more time.  Most times I forget to turn the radio on again.  I usually don’t turn on Talk910 again, anyway, on Friday afternoons because, well, you all know by now – I can’t stand the screeching of that other lady, either.  That’s Gross.

Thank you, Spencer, for using common sense programming on a talk radio station.  You can bet I’ll be listening!  ..unless I hear that car ad, then all bets are off.

Gee, this was fun, maybe we’ll do it again next week.  See you, then!

 

What do you think about the trend on talk radio to drop the caller format?  It’s all about PPM (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portable_People_Meter) and how radio measures performance/audience levels in relation to the cost a station or media group can charge advertisers.  It’s an ongoing discussion about radio’s future.

Add to the discussion topic ‘Statistics of online radio listeningon this Google Groups thread under ba.broadcast:

https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/ba.broadcast/dCvatUL4Bus

(Note: this will take you to the topic discussion thread and NOT the main page of ba.broadcast where a sad person posts dozens of unreadable content at a time)

In a small way, PPM measurement reminds me of the standardized tests in school and how the goal is no longer enriching the mind but finding ways to beat the numbers to bring in more money to benefit the administrators or executives.

The end user is no longer in the equation.  It no longer matters what it takes to get the money.  The short-term gain benefits few and the multitude of students or listeners are left wanting.

I’d mentioned Spencer Hughes in my last post.  He’s been a fill-in host for a few days each week in the 10:00am-1:00pm open time slot on Talk 910 (recently vacated by Ed Baxter), and he endorses a caller-rich program.  Spencer has been opening the phone lines and taking calls on any topic.  It’s been interesting to hear.

When David Weintraub filled in two days this week, it showcased the drabness of a program with the host talking for hours except for the phone guest interviews added to the mix.  I turned it off and listened to other options online.  Both Hughes and Weintraub are better options than that sophomoric show following the open slot.  And, thank gawd! they don’t have Gil’s wife pretending to be a viable co-host with her bland observations in agonizingly slow speech until she forgets to control herself and turns on the screeching voicebox.  Why, oh why, is she still on the air?  I stopped listening to Gil’s Friday shows long ago.  Even now it’s painful to remember.

Lately, I only listen to Talk 910 when Spencer Hughes is on and taking calls, although, it’s getting to be a bit much about the online streaming app he keeps promoting.  Weintraub was promoting it as well.  It’s fine to promote oneself and try to reach a larger audience but it’s getting to be ten minutes of it every hour on the hour.  With that said, I enjoy listening to Spencer’s show.  I don’t think he’s on top of his talk show game yet, but at least he ‘gets it’ and is striving to deliver the type of talk show listeners want to hear.  Does it keep PPM busy collecting ratings?  I don’t know.

The discussion on the ba.broadcast link I’ve provided (above) goes into the latest trend of not taking calls, such as:

 I consider a program a “talk program” when it is spoken word and not news or art.  It does NOT have to have callers.  If that was a requirement then Gil Gross wouldn’t qualify as having a talk program since he never takes callers.

But Clear Channel (sorry, “iHeart”) is a big company, and if they wanted Gil to take
calls, I’m sure he would.

… that stroke of genius had to come down from manglement, one of a long string of bad decisions that have sunk any possibility that Talk 910 could get traction.

I’d rather listen to informed journalists and subject-matter experts than to random callers.

I don’t care for those one-person-pontificating-for-three-hours shows, but I guess they’re talk shows because one person is yammering.

Some hosts wonder why people don’t call but it’s not fun to sit on hold for 40 minutes and they take your call 1/2 minute before the break.

But the same old callers time and again get really boring UNLESS the host uses them for schtick as Alan Colmes does on his nightly show.

 

Follow the link and add your thoughts to the discussion.

I included the Alan Colmes comment because the radio show I listen to in the mornings (Pacific time), on WOR710-AM NY, talk host Mark Simone will play with callers and have fun with them.  Yesterday, Simone somehow connected two live callers so all three were on-air and he couldn’t fix it.  So, he told caller Ken, “Hey, Ken. that caller Lou phoned in because he couldn’t stand what you were saying and wants to meet you behind the Starbucks on 43rd after the show and beat the crap out of you”.  Then, after back and forth bantering, Simone tells Lou, “By the way, Ken told us he hates the stupid topics you bring up.”

It was more entertaining than dumb stories about dumb something-or-other.  Simone is a smooth talker and seems to enjoy caller interaction.  He handles it well.  The only thing not good is that he bashes all things liberal.  It’s always good to hear what the other side is trying to sell but I think if Hillary sneezes, they’ll concoct a tissue scandal with her at the center.  It’s getting to be a bit much.

Here’s the link to WOR 710-AM, an iHeart station:

http://www.wor710.com/main.html

http://www.wor710.com/media/podcast-mark-simone-marksimone/

This week Mark Simone made a comment they all were let go from another station and many of them ended up on iHeart’s WOR710-AM.  I’m going to see if I can find out anything about that story and how the listeners handled it.

Also, Simone posts video on his homepage and this week there is a video of Letterman and Carson in a legal battle:

http://www.wor710.com/onair/mark-simone-52176/david-letterman-and-johnny-carson-once-13556038/

Don Rickles tells a few funny stories about Frank Sinatra:

http://www.wor710.com/onair/mark-simone-52176/tbt-don-rickles-tells-denzel-washington-12750390/

Comedians talk comedy:

http://www.wor710.com/onair/mark-simone-52176/seinfeld-chris-rock-louis-ck-and-13548564/

Seinfeld cast talk about the show:

http://www.wor710.com/onair/mark-simone-52176/the-cast-of-seinfeld-years-later-13556341/

 

Plus, don’t forget about Ed Baxter’s website, The Talk Pod:

http://thetalkpod.com/

How can you not love Lloyd Lindsay Young?

http://thetalkpod.com/lloyd-lindsay-young-legends-weather-prognosticators/

And, of course, visit the Facebook page of No More KGO:

https://www.facebook.com/NoMoreKGO

 

Well, once again, I didn’t think I had anything to say today and here I am talking about not talking…

That’s it.  I’ll not talk now.

Enjoy the weekend!

I did what many others did after hearing the news that Ben E. King had died, I searched for his music on YouTube.  This is the song I wanted to hear again:

 

Here’s a link to the video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ul041CSNJto

Just as expressed in the lyrics, ‘it took me by surprise’, what a surprise to find these interesting comments linked to that video:

All that is now 2 months ago
Every moment is magic and special when you see it as it truly is. The present moment is the only thing that exists and yet most people live their lives out of the present moment. They live in the illusions of their minds. Everyone dies but not everyone lives. If you want to experience the magic in every waking moment Google Truth contest and learn the fundamental truth of life.
Danny G 1 month ago
My belief i different thn your belief therefore if it was the sme or different, it would still be the truth. The truth is relevant, the more knowledge you have the better understanding you will have. So let’s say that we never had knowledge. Therefore we would be as babies and be innocent to every concept of intelligence. So what’s more everlasting and enpternal. Babies mind or a human adult with “knowledge”??
All that is now 1 month ago
No it wouldn’t the truth is incontrovertible malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it but in the end there it is. The truth is like the 4 in 2+2=4. Check out the site.
Tyler Graham 1 month ago
Unfortunately, in life, there’s no such thing as the truth. People should be allowed to look onto life with their own thoughts of to what means they’re “living”. Idiots like you who try to push their beliefs as the truth is how we create close minded people. What should be promoted is the fact that you can create your own ideas of life. Funny because I sound like a hypocrite in me preaching to you, but life is filled with contradictions… And lies.

 

Of course, I was curious and checked out the truth site:

http://www.truthcontest.com/

At first, it looks like someone is trying to sell a book, but the author died in 2013 and the book is posted in its entirety on the site.  I did a quick glance through the sections and there are some interesting thoughts in there about consciousness, matter and energy, perception, and fulfillment.  It has some religious undertones but you can choose to read the excerpts with or without the religious aspect.  It even includes a section on The Beatles:

http://www.truthcontest.com/entries/the-present-universal-truth/beatles.html

We stood there on the corner and listened to the whole song in silence. I was stunned. My friend said, “The song is called ‘From Me To You.’ They are called the Beatles, and they all got haircuts like Moe of the Three Stooges.”

It went right through me; it seemed familiar and unknown at the same time. It was one of those rare moments that you never forget, which changes your life. The Kennedy assassination was one of them. I lost my innocence and the Beatles gave it back to me. I went from no hope, to anything is possible, and I was not alone; it seemed like it happened to every kid in the world.

 

Here’s a link to the entire book in sections:

http://www.truthcontest.com/entries/the-present-universal-truth/

 

As you read this and add sugar to your coffee or tea, think about this interesting tidbit found on Page 72:

If you removed all the empty space from human bodies leaving only electrons and the other subatomic particles, all seven billion human bodies would fit in the space of a sugar cube.

 

Listen to some of the stuff Talk 910 puts on the air and think about this quote found of Page 94:

Einstein said there are two infinite things: the universe and man’s stupidity.

 

There is even a section of the site where people can include their own thoughts on things:

http://www.truthcontest.com/insights/

I didn’t click through the links so I can’t tell you what you’ll find there

You know, this truthfulness thing just might come in handy for the upcoming election.

I didn’t think I had anything to say this week, especially since I haven’t been listening to Talk 910 except for Monday and Tuesday when Spencer Hughes filled in on the 10-00am-1:00pm slot.  Spencer seems to have more focus to his shows now, without all of that silly rambling ‘in his head’ routine.  At times he reverts to that ridiculous fake voice so he can talk back to himself on-air, but, thankfully, he keeps that to a minimum.

This week Spencer opened the phone lines and he actually had a real talk show.  Listeners called in and, instead of turning the station volume down so it wouldn’t interfere with my work, I turned the volume up so I could hear what people were saying.  Thank you, Spencer!

As for the other fill-in hosts for the remainder of the week, I turned off the station and listened to something else instead.

And, that’s the truth.