Ronald Reagan as radio announcer. Courtesy of Ronald Reagan Library.

On Super Bowl weekend, I turned on old television programming.  One of the retro channels airs Johnny Carson shows.  I thought that would be a nice break … until Johnny announced his guest was a former football player.  My eyes rolled and I walked out of the room.  When I returned, I grabbed the remote to change the channel.  Johnny was talking to the football guy.  This guy was not a prepped-for-tv kind of guy.  The moment he spoke I knew he was a true character and I put down the remote.  I  enjoyed that segment so much I had to look up the guy on Wiki and even went to YouTube to watch the Carson clip again.

Here’s the link if you’d prefer to watch it on YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HDRLnoAY9E

Then I watched some of his Letterman appearances.

The YouTube link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXC5gAAMuxg

The YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMNvBtQw3os

I haven’t had time to write any posts lately but I probably wouldn’t have had much to say.  I’ve abandoned talk radio in the Bay Area except for KQED radio.  I’ve been forced to tune-in to syndicated conservative talk.  Fortunately, with the upcoming election, it’s been interesting to hear the other side.

It’s not what I’d prefer, but it’s what’s left out there in radio-land.  For years, I’ve listened to radio talk during the day.  I have it on in the background while I work.  I used to try to listen to Gil on occasion, but that wife thing is excruciating and even though I would never listen to his Friday show, he continued to bring her up on his show and I had to keep turning off the radio.  When he brings her up, my stomach brings up a little something of its own.   I’m telling you, that voice of hers is made of nightmares.  I cringe now just writing about it.  And Gil’s show is barely hanging on, his talking and sighing and telling the same stories time after time to guests, wasting their time and ours with little talks about himself.  I gave up on Gil long ago.

So, I’ve moved on from the horrible programming on no-Talk 910 and the only alternative is conservative talk.  Not everyone is willing to spend time on conservative talk.  I know people don’t want to even read about it.  It can be enraging.  I swear now more than I ever have, usually during the hour I listen to Rush.  The more this guy spouts off about the problems of others, the less he can identify the same in himself.  It’s very sad.  He talks baby-talk all of the time and every day he plays clips of himself from previous shows.  Or, clips of people mentioning his name.  He nearly pees in his Depends he’s so pleased with himself.

If you listen to him enough, you will recognize the caller ‘plants’ on the show.  It’s so obvious.  One time he was trying to push a book of his and, what a coincidence, the first caller was a young girl who talked about how much she and her friends loved reading it.  It’s all a big orchestrated script to make him feel better about himself.  All first calls support the point he’s trying to make.  The callers stick to the talking points they were paid to make.

I used to be confused listening to his show, some of it didn’t make sense.  He denigrates woman, calling them info-babes and femi-nazis (a term he proudly points out that he created) and then has women callers who claim to be fans of his show and have listened for years.  It just doesn’t make sense.  Now that I’m aware talk shows such as his (according to some sources I’ve posted previously, but other sources claim the Limbaugh show denies it) pay actors to call in and pretend to be a listener, it is very clear to me the show is more like an infomercial than a talk show.

Unfortunately, it’s only one of few options left on the radio.

In the mornings, I still listen to Mark Simone.  I love his show, but even he can be irritating with all of the Hillary bashing and Trump love.  But, he takes calls every hour and it’s such fun to hear.  I love those callers and they love Mark Simone.  He’s a real man about town in the classic sense and that’s what draws people to his show.  Simone would love that clip of Art Donovan on Carson.  He probably already has it posted, but I didn’t see it when I took a quick glance at his show page.

His Show Page:

http://www.wor710.com/onair/mark-simone-52176/

Podcasts:

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

At least Simone has consistent callers.  One callers always tells joke, lame jokes (think of Gil Gross’ attempts at humor), and another guy starts out the call in a calm voice and, Simone calls it every time, the call escalates into a screaming rant about something or other.  Simone lowers the call volume and talks over the call with his own commentary.  Always entertaining.

After Simone’s show I listen to an hour of Rush (I often do errands or step away to do things during that hour) but I hear enough and it’s not pretty.  That guy is losing his grip.

Then it’s on to KQED, but there is no caller interaction.  The shows are content rich but not always engaging to the listener.  It’s low-key and, as the Donald would say, low energy.  If there was another radio option I’d probably try it.

Next is Sean Hannity.  I can tolerate him.  He offers the same talking points that are sent out to all conservative hosts and Hannity dutifully parrots the same thing Rush says in the hours before. But, Sean has some interesting segments on his show.  Many interviews include two people of opposing sides discussing an issue.  Hannity is there but does not insert himself into the conversation (maybe Gil Gross should take notes) and I’ve heard many differing views that I usually don’t hear on any other show.  Hannity is now doing the same with callers.  He finds two callers who disagree and puts them both on the air at the same time to have a conversation about it.  Really interesting.

Speaking of interesting, recently Sean talked about the state of radio and how it’s changed (listen to this (2/4/16,Hour 1) audio starting at 8:00 and it continues with some other things through 16:45):

 

Nobody’s going to do that if you have a conscience and a soul.

 

(Are you still taking notes, Gil?)

Here’s the link if you want to go to the site: http://download.premiereinteractive.com/seanhannity/2016/02/Sean%20Hannity%20-%20Feb%2004%202016%20-%20Hour%201.mp3

And, here’s the show recap page: http://www.hannity.com/articles/shows-472046/radio-show-recap-feb-4-14347284/

I used to listen to Hannity on WOR710-AM, the New York station Mark Simone is on, but there is a sports show following Hannity and I had to find something else.  I tried several states searching for talk programs and found one in Minneapolis.  I can listen to Hannity there and then the program that follows is quickly becoming my favorite show.  Another conservative show, but this is a guy who loves talk radio and he’s been a talk host for years.  There is a passion in him that’s rare to hear in radio now.

I think that’s why Gil’s show is so boring now.  He is there to pay his mortgage and that’s it.  I also get the impression that he feels he’s not being paid top dollar so he won’t perform at his best or even try to do his best.  What he puts out is just enough to get by.  It explains why he would subject his listeners to his wife.  He just doesn’t care.  A normal person cannot listen to that side show.  How can he be passionate about his own show when he is playing the victim and taking it out on the listeners?

It’s his reputation to lose and he lost it.

That’s not the type of show Joe Pags puts on.  This guy wants to interact with listeners and does it with callers and on Facebook and email  He responds to Facebook posts himself, against the advice of his staff.  It’s him on the page and not some intern.  I like that, even though I am not a fan of Facebook or even a member.  I like that he recognizes the audience is an important part of his show and he’s not above getting into it with any one of them.  He calls people out during the show, “Hey, dude, you’ve emailed me sixteen times in the past thirty minutes with fifteen-hundred word essays.  Man, I’m doing a show.  Just stop it.  Do you think I have time to read all of that?  I don’t.  Stop it.  Say what you gotta say in a reasonable, concise format and then I’ll read it.”

Joe Pags used to be a journalist so he loves to debate people about facts.  He allows callers to talk and then asks them questions about what they just said.  If the caller cannot support their own argument, Pags Rickroll’s them off the air.

http://www.eonline.com/news/737509/happy-50th-birthday-to-rick-astley-celebrate-with-some-of-the-best-ever-rickrolls

Pags also plays some kick-a** songs.

Here’s his iHeart page:

Joe Pags Shows:

http://www.iheart.com/show/The-Joe-Pags-Show/

Talkers wrote an article about him recently:

http://www.talkers.com/2016/02/02/spagtacular-success-didnt-occur-overnight/

The article is a bit overdone and hard to read, but if you glance through it you will get the basics of his history.

Joe Pags comes closer than anyone on the radio that I’m aware of to return to the conversation, something Bruce K. discusses in this well-written comment on one of my previous posts:

Comment by Bruce K.:

… 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 )?

 

There is really nothing for me to add to that.  Read it, then read it again, and let it sink in.

 

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