Posts Tagged ‘bay area’

Yikes!  I started this post almost a month ago and wasn’t able to get back to it.  At the time, I was curious about the financial outlook of Cumulus Media.  I was shocked and, admittedly, pleased to see the jaw-dropping close of cmls at $1.18.   Then, after a few weeks, I checked it again to see it drop further to $0.96.  I checked the Facebook page of No More KGO and they were on top of the big drop, linking numerous articles about it.

Visit their page and be sure to ‘like’ it:

https://www.facebook.com/NoMoreKGO/

At the time, I found this little news blurb about the current situation at the house of the drooping Dick-eys:

(note, the investorplace page has a pop-up ad on it that is annoying)

http://investorplace.com/2015/08/4-media-stocks-to-sell-now-cmls-wwe-disca-2/

Cumulus Media Inc. Class A earns an F (“strong sell”) this week, moving down from last week’s grade of D (“sell”). Cumulus Media is a radio broadcasting corporation that owns and operates FM and AM radio station clusters that serve mid-sized markets in the United States.

It is no surprise the Dick-eys were graded F on their radio report card.  Any radio listener to any of their failed radio stations across the country could have predicted this outcome, the Bay Area listeners could have told you that way back in December 2011.

The Dick-eys, as expected, are acting in their own self-interest and abandoning their top positions to take a lesser role within the company, probably to deflect any blame and lawsuits to other executives.  In their rush for the door, the Dick-eys grabbed millions on the way out.

wow.

What’s so disgusting about it, and why, in the past, I’ve questioned how former listeners can still listen to the Dick-ey stations after seeing how they fired top talent, dropped employees pay to minimum (yes, all of you so-called former listeners, this more than likely included your kids, your spouses, your relatives, and your friends) and then the Dick-ey brothers reached into every worker’s back pocket for that extra pay the staff should have been getting and paid themselves millions in bonuses every year.

So, if and when the station is closed or sold, your loved ones will continue to struggle to pay the rent and put food on the table, and the Dick-eys will walk away millionaires.  No one benefits but the Dick-eys.  There is no extra income spent in the community because no one can afford it.  The station loads commercials into the mix like logs into a blast furnace and makes the station content unlistenable, but it brings in enough money to line the Dick-eys pockets with more bonuses every year.  And, what about the shareholders?  Can’t they see how the Dick-eys have come in and destroyed radio communities?  I’d tell the shareholders to sue, but they enabled this disaster so why should they be rewarded for bad judgement?

Many of us really are former listeners for a reason and the principle behind it.

I’m not saying the other media conglomerates out there are much better, only that they’ve handled their business with seemingly less brutal tactics than the soulless Dick-eys.

The others, especially in the Bay Area, have also made questionable business and content decisions.   Yes, I’m talking about noTalk 910-AM.  I don’t fault them for all of the missteps.  Who would have thought Gil Gross could be such a disappointment?   You know I have to mention the Friday wife with Gil!  Can any program be designed to irritate people more than this?  It should be banned as a torture device.  Stay away from Friday to keep your sanity intact.

But I do fault noTalk for the disastrous afternoon programming that has driven many listeners away, you know the program, the two selfie sticks talking nonsense and making jokes that make even Gil’s humor sound less awkward, trying-too-hard.  ugh!

I don’t know if that annoying lady yelling commercial is still on the air because that’s when I stopped listening to noTalk.  That, and the selfie-stick programming, drove me to conservative talk.  I don’t enjoy hearing all of the conservative political talking points, day after day, the same talking points on every program using the exact same words.  It is tiresome, but at least there are callers and interviews that bring in both sides of the argument (probably fixed to make the liberal side look foolish, but, hey, there is a discussion and disagreement).  When that gets to be too much, then I always fall back on BBC.  I can expect to find some interesting programming, music or documentary or podcast that adds something to the experience of online listening.

 

One recent podcast on BBC Radio2 I’d recommend others to listen to before it expires in 20-something days: John Lennon’s Last Day.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06f5508

 

Steve Wright in the Afternoon is another BBC Radio2 show that is easy to listen to with a mix of music old and new and celebrity interviews.  He has an interview with Robert De Niro who responds to his interview questions.  If you’ve ever watched De Niro mumble through Late Night shows then you know that’s quite rare to get impromptu, coherent answers out of him.

Here’s a link to Steve’s page on BBC Radio2:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006wr4r

 

Don’t forget about Simon Mayo Drivetime and his Confessions podcasts:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00p2dfq

 

Of course, I’ve mentioned it many times, the one program I try not to miss during the week day is New York station WOR’s Mark Simone show.  I love that guy.  I don’t agree with many of his opinions but that’s not the draw of the show.  He really is Mr. Personality who has fun with the callers and his guests.  Yes, he takes calls every day and he makes it entertaining.  There is even a New York lawyer guest on his show periodically who is like Len Tillem’s lost twin with his loud talk and level of crudeness that flirts with offensive.

On a recent Simone show, the lawyer, Lionel, spoke about a subject that we in the Bay Area deal with everyday, the homeless and transient issue.  You have to hear this:

Mark Simone show – guest Lionel, on from 20:40 to about 31:15 on the podcast:

http://www.wor710.com/media/podcast-mark-simone-show-marksimone/mark-simone-show-90315-hour-1-26325790/

I have experienced this same zombieland in the Bay Area.  Too many times I’ve walked past men who whip it out and pee on public buildings or in trash cans, or who crouch on the sidewalks with full exposure of their backsides on display.  I’ve stood on a corner waiting for a bus and some crazy exiting from a bus across the street runs over to chase me.  Or, a crazy who stood near me and told me, in a threatening way, to stop looking at him (I wasn’t).  Another guy and his buddy pass by sometimes and they are like the walking dead who stumble around and one speaks in a cracked, groggy, scary-deep voice that only a horror movie director would love.   Once, a disheveled guy walked close behind me and said he could attack me in a minute and no one would get there in time to stop him.  That was on a busy street with plenty of people around.  Creepy instances like that.  I’ve had to sidestep many young men who scream nonsense and throw things around in a rage.  And, who has not seen the disgusting patches of feces hanging off the sides of buildings everywhere?

Emptying the day rooms, indeed.

Lionel nails it.  Listen to him on that podcast.

WOR-710AM has been growing in the ratings.  They are now the #1 New York talk station.  It’s not a big number, but they are experiencing growth in this supposedly dying medium.  They are keeping the ‘talk’ in talk.  They don’t have hours upon hours of one person talking and talking and talking to be followed by another person or two, untalented amateurs, talking and talking and talking to themselves.  That is boring, lazy programming.  No station grows by offering stagnant content.  No listener stays around to hear it.

And no real former listener returned to support the Dick-eys 50,000 watt station in the Bay Area and now the Dick-eys are out of the top spots.  Finally.

There was one interesting comment I’d never read before about that blogger guy on the Facebook page of No More KGO.  Don’t know if it’s true.  It was posted by some guy who usually defends the Dick-eys and their decisions, so keep that in mind.  It sure explains a lot if it is true.

 

Anyone out there into programming and code and game design?  Even an amateur can get into this and have some fun with it.

Unity 5 (a game engine) has partnered with Visual Studio 2015 (Microsoft’s integrated development environment) and offers an import package of Visual Studio 2015 tools to be used for Unity scripting.  It includes IntelliSense for C# and, I think, Javascript but I haven’t tried that yet.  I prefer coding on Visual Studio so I love this.

A beginner can download both Unity game engine and Visual Studio Community for free with unlimited use.  It’s a great way to learn how to code and it’s fun to learn how to create a game.  Both sites offer plenty of help getting started.  Unity has extensive training video and manuals available on their site:

http://unity3d.com/

Poke around the Learn tab and you will see what I mean.  There are many tutorials on YouTube as well.

 

Visual Studio 2015 offers a free version and there are many YouTube videos on how to get started coding basic C#.  Also, they have online support on their Microsoft Developer Network that includes all levels of learning to work with Visual Studio 2015.

Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN):

https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd831853.aspx

Visual Studio:

https://www.visualstudio.com/downloads/download-visual-studio-vs

Download the Community version for free.

If you try out Unity 3D, then you have to start with the terrain and adding trees.  It is so amazing.  The best thing to do is find a good YouTube tutorial on Unity 5 (game engine) and working with terrain.  The creation is easy and the results are unbelievable.  There are many free assets offered in Unity’s Asset Store and they include a free Standard Assets package to get you started.

Look at the trees in that package.  Wait until you see them in the Unity Game Player in 3D.  Incredible.  Unity assets include creations from Speed Tree, a 3D animation toolkit.  There are some free and pay-a-fee versions in the Unity Asset Store.

If you’re curious about the 3D modeling of trees, this 2012 video explains how it works:

Speed Tree is not free.  There is, at this time, at $19 charge that is good for one month.  All assets created can be used and stored after your paid subscription ends.

You do not have to build your own trees on Unity 3D, they have fully created trees ready for use to populate your landscape.  Try it and you’ll see.

 

So, there’s plenty to do, lots to see, and podcasts to hear.  Get to it!

I’ll get back on the blogging track next month when it won’t be as busy at work now that the holidays are around the corner!

Enjoy the week and see you next time.

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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.

 

 

By Tokyoship (Own work) CC BY-SA 3.0 creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

I’ve given up on local talk radio.  I know I’m not the only one, just look at the ratings.  As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been listening to WOR710-AM in New York and BBC Radio 2.  WOR710 is going up in the ratings so I wanted to find out more about the station.  There is a site that discusses all things radio, radiodiscussions.com, and it includes all major markets in the forums.

There isn’t a lot of activity in the San Francisco forums, but that’s not surprising given the lack of listenable talk radio content in this market.  No one would listen by choice to most of the programs offered.

Some discussions in the forums on radiodiscussions.com address the same issues about our local choices:

Thread topic: Talk Radio Fans

http://www.radiodiscussions.com/showthread.php?664915-talk-radio-fans

I too, am a big talk radio fan, but I’m afraid it’s a dying genre. Younger people don’t care for it, and what’s left of “talk radio” is more “monologue radio”, not taking any callers but just a host talking. I’m extremely disappointed in Gil Gross’ show on 910 for that very reason. I miss true talk radio.

-finatic

 

There are other general topics overall:

Thread topic: Production Standards

http://www.radiodiscussions.com/showthread.php?687602-Production-standards-%28or-lack-of%29

… Attention is radio’s product and it is not in a broadcaster’s interest to degrade the product to make a quick sale. It also explains why blue chip “customers” no longer buy radio.

The phrase “the customer is always right” was coined by Harry Selfridge and he was was talking about customer service in a department store. He did not sell shoddy good nor compromise the integrity of his operation to pander to a customers’ whims.

-Oscar Madison

 

http://www.radiodiscussions.com/showthread.php?687602-Production-standards-%28or-lack-of%29/page3

Are you quoting the Ferengi “Rules of Acquisition?”

The line between “business” and prostitution is so fine, most people in radio can’t see it – or refuse to. Either way, it’s a key factor in radio’s current state of distrust and irrelevance.

-Oscar Madison

 

Thread Topic: How Many Hosts Are Left?

http://www.radiodiscussions.com/showthread.php?686098-How-many-hosts-are-left/page2

Terrestrial radio still has the advantages of ubiquity (with a small u) and convenience. Not so true for AM due to decreasing signal viability and lack of am receiving equipment, but it’s generally easier to turn on a radio than to search for stuff on the Internet. You can tune radios all over the house to the same station without latency issues — try that with Internet streams. You don’t need Internet, WiFi or a phone data plan. But we’re training people — especially young people — to avoid radio because, when they happen to tune in, it sucks.

-wadio

 

Thread Topic: An Investigation Regarding Talkers

This discussion dismisses the idea that radio stations purchase fake callers, but others continue to disagree.

http://www.radiodiscussions.com/showthread.php?683933-An-investigation-regarding-talkers

 

There are a few threads about Limbaugh, and one comment describes what I hear when I listen to him.  It’s especially fitting, I read it as I watched the Simon and Garfunkel concert in New York that aired on KQED-TV last weekend.  I didn’t see the entire show, only the segment where they sang the song mentioned below.

 

http://www.radiodiscussions.com/showthread.php?687040-Limbaugh-on-WOR-lost-half-of-his-WABC-audience-share/page2

Aside from the political monotony and maybe as significant, Rush today sounds like a cranky old man. His voice is hoarse and strident — he sounds like the guy in the nursing home clip at the beginning of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Old Friends!”

-wadio

 

http://www.radiodiscussions.com/showthread.php?687040-Limbaugh-on-WOR-lost-half-of-his-WABC-audience-share/page5

That’s an interesting thought. One of the characteristics of GenY is they prefer interaction to a lecture. One way to lose Gen Y is to talk AT them. It’s a big issue among educators. This is a generation that’s used to call & response, pushing a button and seeing a light come on. Talk radio, by definition, doesn’t work that way. Talkers need to learn from music DJs who conduct interactive shows on social media, while using their on-air show as the punctuation point.

-TheBigA

 

http://www.radiodiscussions.com/showthread.php?687932-Talk-Radio-Scoreboard-for-Major-Markets-June-2015

Rush’s search for a home in Boston has been finalized. He’s moving from 50,000 watt WRKO, Boston’s top Talk Radio station, owned by Entercom, to iHeart’s 5000 watts by day/1000 watts by night 1430 WKOX. iHeart is switching the station from Latin Hits to Talk, where Rush, Hannity and Beck will have a home in Market #10. But no local weekday shows will be heard. It will be all network Talk except mornings and overnights when iHeart doesn’t have any of its own shows available.

-Gregg.

 

Okay, enough about Rush.

Here are the New York rankings:

http://ratings.radio-online.com/cgi-bin/rol.exe/arb001

 

There is one reason I listen to WOR710 – the Mark Simone show.  I love that guy.  His show is a mix of callers and news and celebrity phone guests.  It gives me my talk radio fix for the day.  They have some fun calls on that show.  You never know what to expect.  Mark Simone plays with his callers and his callers play back.

Of course, it’s hard to hear the conservative talking points fed to his show and he does have his detractors as I found in this New York forum thread:

http://www.radiodiscussions.com/showthread.php?685447-Mark-Simone-King-of-New-York-Talk-Radio

I agree about the prehistoric guests — especially Dick Cavett — but on the whole I enjoy Simone. Aside from those interviews the show is quick paced and fun. Simone has a good sense of humor and I think what some people see as rude and condescending is just part of his act. I don’t get the fault a lot of people find with him.

-wadio

 

Overall, I’m not a fan of talk radio. But the times I tuned him in on WABC (and when he did that Saturday Night Oldies show) he was an easy-enough listen. On one occasion it was he on WAEB who kept me sane while I was part of an historic Allentown traffic jam on the way to catch a plane for my Dad’s funeral a few years ago.

I can’t say one way or another I’m a fan of his WOR talk-only show. As I said, I don’t listen to that much talk radio except for a half-hour, here and there, of a sports-talk. And WOR doesn’t come in here that well, whereas his old WAEB gig was a loud signal. Strict ‘talk’ may or may not be his truer metier, but whoever said that being the heavy hotdog in NYC doesn’t have as much prestige as it used to was spot-on.

-Steve Green NEPA

 

That was back in March.  Recently, Simone mentioned that he can’t walk down the street without people stopping him to say ‘heard the show today’ or ‘great show today’ so he knows people are listening.

 

hmmm, just saw this thread in the New York forum about the Library of Congress searching for content to archive from local radio:

http://www.radiodiscussions.com/showthread.php?671953-Library-of-Congress-launches-local-radio-archive-project

 

I would love to see Bay Area local radio archived with the LOC.  Then, I could hear some Gene Burns shows and listen again to Pete Wilson.  sigh…

 

I spoke too soon.

I was encouraged when Spencer Hughes welcomed callers and told heartfelt stories about generations of listeners connecting to talk radio.  Spencer said most of the passion listeners have for talk radio comes from hearing diverse opinions of listeners who call into the show, and that one host talking for hours, with one viewpoint, makes for boring radio.

Talk got to Spencer.  I now hear that he’s happy to just talk and talk and talk without calls, unless a caller is brilliant.  Yep.  You have to be brilliant, now, to get on his show.  So, what do we get?  Another person who talks and talks and talks.  Just like the rest of the line-up on noTalk910.  It’s not the best line-up either.  Let’s see, what do we have during the day?  Two guys who have nothing to say stumble through a show from 1:00pm-3:00pm.  Two big selfie sticks blabbering away.

Then, of course, there’s Gil, who allows only Politico correspondents on his show or a call or two from his dreaded wife with the shrieking voice.  For some unknown reason, he thinks it’s a good idea to bring her on the air with him every Friday.  Again, who tunes into that disaster of a show on a Friday?  People tell me she’s still there, with her oh yeahs and screeching in a dog whistle trying to get a point across, and many don’t bother listening to it again.  I haven’t listened to that Friday show for a long time now.  BBC Radio 2 is just fine at that time.

I admit, I stopped listening to that station when I had to keep turning off that yelling lady commercial that aired every ten minutes.  That was it for me.

I was going to go into Spencer’s original point about how calls from listeners are what makes talk radio work.  I was going to defend the listener call-in and ask why would talk radio eliminate the one factor that works?  I thought I’d look up what others say about talk radio without real talk.  That’s when I was reminded it’s probably not real talk we think we hear anyway.

Fake calls have been a staple of radio for some time now, according to these articles I found online.

There’s even a service that provides radio stations paid actors who will pose as callers, as noted in this article:

http://gawker.com/5778740/talk-radio-is-fake-now

 

Do you enjoy those crazy morning zoo shows?

They should have their own radio show awards for phone actors:

http://gawker.com/5779701/your-favorite-wacky-morning-radio-show-is-a-festival-of-lies

 

This guy thinks talk radio is the same as pro-wrestling:

http://www.adweek.com/news/press/michael-smerconish-says-talk-radio-pro-wrestling-fake-149136

 

Do you ever read sfgate for the comments?  I found an interesting column about online publications and the lessons that can be learned from talk radio:

http://www.poynter.org/news/mediawire/241945/how-talk-radio-listens-to-its-audience-provides-lessons-for-online-publishers/

 

This is an extensive article that discusses CTR (Conservative Talk Radio) and women callers:

http://ejas.revues.org/10513

 

Hate CTR?  This article is for you:

http://www.republicanradio.org/

 

Finally, this is an article about two real callers who taunted a radio station for years, then revealed themselves:

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/17/cuba-boys-radio-callers-who-taunted-wbai-come-forward/?_r=0

 

I understand why hosts prefer email or tweets, it’s easy to sort through written correspondence and there is more control over the content of the message.  It’s also easy to create fake messages.  So, who knows what’s real any more?

 

I’m still listening to New York station WOR710-AM and, although it’s conservative, there’s one host who makes listening to radio entertaining again.  I’ve mentioned him many times now.  It’s the Mark Simone show.  What I enjoy about his show, when he’s not bashing liberals, is his on-air ease.  His opinions can raise an eyebrow, but he has a huge personality and loves to have fun with people.  His conservative slant is tempered by the news guy, who disagrees with many of the things Simone says.  Callers are welcome on his show.  I have to say, they sound like real callers, not the fake ones.  They sound timid or tongue-tied or just want to voice an opinion.  It’s a nice mix of calls and Simone interacts in a friendly, humorous way.  I’ve mentioned before how he sometimes pretends he can’t hear callers, or tells them to get to the point before his listeners go to sleep.  Always with a laugh.  He never sounds annoyed at having to take calls.  He sounds thrilled when the phone lines light up.  His show has the right mix of calls and guests.  He knows many of the celebrity guests who have interesting conversations with him and then, at the end, sell whatever they have to sell.  It’s unobtrusive.  His show page is full of video clips described by Simone in such a way you want to watch them.  That’s talent.

Then there’s Rush.  ugh.  For a few months I had been listening to an hour of him on WOR while waiting for Spencer’s show to air on noTalk910.  I don’t understand his supposed popularity.  Limbaugh coughs up phlegm and wheezes and scrapes his hands together and taps his pen on his desk or slaps his hands as he talks about how everyone is talking about him.  He even plays clips of himself!  He refers to women as info babes and then tells his audience to just sit back and let him think for them.  huh? The article I listed above about CTR and women includes excerpts about Rush’s show:

 

CTR is indeed a male-dominated field characterized by a tradition of macho chauvinism. When Limbaugh “reinvented” talk radio in late 1988, it was obvious that women were going to be systematic targets of his misogynistic, scathing remarks. As early as his pre-syndication days in Sacramento, he coined the portmanteau word “feminazi” to refer to women adhering to the core values of Second Wave Feminism.

Consistent with this view, The Thirty-Five Undeniable Truths of Life which he enumerated on the air in February 1994 include pronouncements such as “Feminism was established so as to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream of society.”

 

In the same way, Limbaugh does not refrain from flattering the caller when it serves his purpose, as was the case when Tiffany begged to disagree:

Tiffany: Just because I don’t agree with you on a couple things, my God.

Limbaugh: No, Tiffany, no, you misunderstand, Tiffany –

Tiffany: – partisan politics is that we get labeled for no reason –

Limbaugh: Tiff – Tiffa – Tiffany. Take a breath. Don’t torture me here.

Tiffany: I’m trying not to, you’re so great. (laughter)

Limbaugh: Tiffany, you know, I – I love you. You have to understand this, I love you and I want you to be right. I don’t want you to sound like a kook. I don’t want you to sound like a typical Democrat kook that is coming to define the Democrat mainstream.

Instead of debating the callers’ arguments by explaining his own, Limbaugh chooses to be overly condescending (“I love you and I want you to be right”) and tries to persuade her to change her opinion for her own good (“I don’t want you to sound like a kook”). In other words, he is shifting the discussion away from the rational and the argumentative to the personal and the emotional. Such a rhetorical strategy betrays the host’s representation of women as individuals that can be mollified by a few deceptively flattering words and that are devoid of debating skills.

 

In the short time I’ve been sampling Rush’s show (thanks to noTalk910 and their poor programming choices) I’ve heard Rush refer to feminazis and info babes on his show, and I’ve always been surprised and puzzled when women call his show to praise him.  It didn’t make sense until now, when I’m reminded calls are most likely phone actors.  Limbaugh denies it, but just because he says it doesn’t mean it’s true.  Think about it.

Another thing I’ve noticed is Limbaugh will talk about something early in the day, and Hannity brings up the exact same talking points later on his show.  Even Mark Simone has the same script.  It’s like they’ve all had coffee together and designed a daily plan against liberals that they repeat and repeat and repeat until the listeners know what they’re supposed to think.  That’s explained in the two gawker articles posted above as well, how it’s all scripted beforehand by a service and distributed to conservative hosts.  Yep.  Even Limbaugh, who claims to think for everyone, is probably letting some service think for him, reading words someone else wrote.

So, I give up on my expectations that talk radio will thrive in this new media environment.  Fake callers, fired locals, yelling commercials, amateur hosts, one person’s viewpoint for hours at a time, and a host’s wife with a horrible voice who is allowed air time all make cringe-worthy, yawn-inducing radio.

What keeps me tuning in every day to New York’s 710 WOR to hear the Mark Simone show?  It’s the callers, and their interaction with a host who obviously enjoys hearing what they have to say. Don’t take my word for it.  Listen to it and make up your own mind.

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

 

And, here are a few clips from his show page:

In this one Ralph Kramden dances Gangnam style:

http://www.wor710.com/onair/mark-simone-52176/the-greatest-dance-video-ever-ralph-13799341/

Is that an iPad in the 1968 film ‘2001 A Space Odyssey’?

http://www.wor710.com/onair/mark-simone-52176/a-scene-in-the-1968-film-13796437/

13 days of Jimmy Nicol:

http://www.wor710.com/onair/mark-simone-52176/at-the-height-of-beatlemania-ringo-13795551/

Amazing card trick.  I can’t figure it out:

http://www.wor710.com/onair/mark-simone-52176/an-amazing-card-trick-this-video-12836716/

Rodney Dangerfield on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson:

http://www.wor710.com/onair/mark-simone-52176/tbt-rodney-dangerfield-and-some-of-13774355/

 

Don’t let anyone silence your voice.  Have a blog or website or radio show that allows you to say what you think?  Let people know and let these noTalk stations know we’re not buying what they’re selling.

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!