In my previous post, Type about Talk, a comment submitted by Bruce K. contains many layers for discussion.  I will reprint the comment here for anyone who missed it.  If you want to respond and interact with Bruce K. then Reply to his comments on the Type about Talk post (the post prior to this one) and add to the discussion.

By Paramount Pictures [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

Here is the comment in its entirety:

Lately I have been thinking about talk radio and how much I miss it. Oddly enough I started looking for videos on You-Tube to keep up with Bernie Sanders. Then for some reason thought about Bernie Ward and what a disappointment and embarrassment Bernie was to Liberal. I really liked Bernie a lot when he first started on KGO, and even some of his shows before he was a regular. Ugh.

But then I went to thinking about John Rothmann who I used to listen to all the time on that late night weekend slot, and all the other talk show hosts. But virtually any reminiscence of talk radio has me thinking back on what a great diversity and selection there used to be in the Bay Area.

It’s ironic that when I first moved to CA in 1970 KGO to me was an right-wing old man irritant that I never could listen to. Always yelling down the callers, insults and idiocy … a lot like what we hear today after everything has been cut.

There used to be great talk shows on the rock stations, sex advice shows, psychologist shows, political talk shows, science fiction, etc. I could literally be in my car driving and have a selection of very good live spontaneous entertainment and education. I must have spend thousands of hours listening to talk shows. And they started getting better and better.

With a couple of Liberals on KGO finally I felt a little more like something other than right-wing nonsense was being broadcast. The solid middle of the road of Ron Owen, who runs a pretty good show, that is too early for me to listen to very often. But there was Gene Burns, who whether he was Liberal, Libertarian, or whatever could really hold and intelligent conversation. Gene was one of my favorites. And John Rothmann, who I still think is a Republican still used to have really good conversations and let peolpe talk. Same with Pat Thurston, and others.

It has been a very long time since they shut down KGO, and I can only give that Orwellian causes, because there days there is nothing any longer. There used to be all kinds of good TV shows as well, and even speakers in local venues. Almost all of that is gone. There is very little talk radio anymore, and where there is there is about 10 minutes of talk for every half hour.

-Bruce K.

 

In response, I can say many of us miss the talk radio format with interactive live calls from listeners.  The current format of reading Facebook comments or email from listeners is about as exciting as reading the back of a cereal box.  The format lacks forward motion since the host just inserts his or her own talking points again into the discussion after reading the comments and there is no one there to engage deeper into the conversation.  Boring!

The excitement and surprise of live calls is accomplished through the exchange of ideas and hearing reactions to those ideas and the occasional change of perspective as a result.  So many times I’ve felt one way about a subject and then after a phone call or two about it, I could see the other side of it.  I used to enjoy the cops who called in to a show and gave more insight into breaking news stories.  There were always a few listener calls that offered a unique viewpoint of a topic, based on a vast knowledge of the subject.  One host does not know it all.  One host brings preconceived ideas into a subject and has no one to challenge or change them.  It’s all a big YAWN!

A talk radio host can tell us numerous times how times have changed and they have to do things differently now, but listeners know it’s a talking point fed to the hosts by management.  These so-called executives seem to think if they force the hosts to say it enough times we’ll believe it (a bad habit from conservative talk radio).  We know what we hear.  The new format is not working and no matter how many times they try to push that explanation, we know it’s not valid.  After awhile, we give up and walk away.  Everyone who walks away takes ratings with them.

I was encouraged by Ed Baxter and Spencer Hughes.  When Ed was a fill-in host on noTalk910, he supported listener calls and encouraged people to call.  The moment he was given the job as full-time host, he suddenly changed his mind and thought the new format of no calls served listeners more and he explained it with the tired talking-points of management who seem to have no clue how talk radio works.  Then, Spencer, again as a fill-in host, gave long, impassioned speeches about his love of talk radio and how the listener calls are the reason it works.  After filling in for a few weeks, he suddenly changed his mind over a weekend and decided he wasn’t going to take calls after all.  He then gave the same tired talking-points of management.

How can the passion for caller-based talk radio change so suddenly?  Two hosts, who’d said they supported calls,  changed their belief in a short period of time after the promise of a full-time gig.  Gee.  I don’t think it’s the water they drink over there at noTalk.

I have more to say in response to Bruce K.’s comments, but will have to continue next week because I don’t have the time at the moment.

 

Before I go, I wanted to mention a good audio source of music history from the ’50s to the ’60s.  It’s from a post by David Kaye at Google Groups ba.broadcast.  I’ll provide the link, but that forum in general has been overrun by one troll who is stinking up that site as if it was the streets of San Francisco.  Too bad.

Here’s a link to David Kaye’s post:

https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/ba.broadcast/8jDfi2I5gpM

And, here’s a link to The Pop Chronicles, by John Gilliland, archived by UNT (University of North Texas):

http://digital.library.unt.edu/explore/collections/JGPC/

The Pop Chronicles on UNT is not listed in chronological order so you have to look through the list and choose the audio segment.  There are full and partial songs in the audio mix along with comments from the artists.  The series consists of 55 segments total.  Have fun!  And, thank you, David Kaye, for mentioning it.

See you all next week.

 

 

Advertisements
Comments
  1. Bruce K. says:

    Thanks for the intelligent response to my previous comment. It is so ironic that we have this great Internet that can do practically anything, yet it is so hard to find any live or interesting discussions, and when I do they always get overrun with crazy people blasting insults all over the place.

    As far as live talk radio I agree with your perceptions … it is dead and rotted. There is nothing like the deep and free discussions there used to be … and I am really speaking of only occasionally. Talk radio was never perfect, but there were hosts who would have long discussions with people that did bring out good points, but more importantly they modeled HOW to have a conversation.

    The only think I see over and over on the big sites is left-right argument, and I mean use the term argument loosely … it is mostly insults and repeated slogans, and it is biased to the extreme right wing. This is the heart of what I thought our country was about, and it has stopped beating, that is for damn sure.

    To think I was happy with the 10 or 20 minutes per hour of radio air that contained a good discussion on an important topic, and now it is completely gone. NPR is great, but there is nothing live. I occasionally catch a live conversation on Pacifica, but it always seems to be something that repulses me to Left wing thought, which I don’t like.

    I think of Liberalism as something more than hating science with a passion I thought was reserved for extreme right wing Christians, but the “Progressives” of Pacifica compete very well in illogic. Topics about criminals, prisoners, unending hatred of Israel and by extension the US government, anti-vaccine conversations. I’ve talked a few people who have become right-wing nuts based on the crazy things they heard in places like Pacifica Radio and were so repulsed they ran the other way.

    This is a level of censorship, brainwashing and top down corporate control I would never have dreamed of in my life, and here it is, and seemingly getting worse every year.

    I think people get so disconnected and fly to the extremes because they never hear an example of a reasonable civil discussion of conversation.

    I have to think this is in direct reaction to trends of independent thinking brought about by the Fairness Doctrine, and the demise of Network News in favor of for profit news centers.

    I watched the movie “Best Of Enemies” about the debates between Bill Buckley and Gore Vidal in the 70’s, and they happened to mention the most trusted institution in American society at that time was the Network News. What have we lost? Did no one notice? Is that how we lost it all?

    There truly is more commenting on the old talk radio than there is talk in the new so-called talk radio. Is it possible to fix this? What is the thinking really by the people who make this policy, and when these decisions are privatized and hidden, does that count as anti-democratic ( small d )?

  2. Bruce K. says:

    no problemo 😉

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s