Friday, August 04, 2006

Rush and Sean are not my kind of talk show hosts

Perry Michael Simon, an Editor at All Access News-Talk-Sports Website put together the basic idea for this column. I’m borrowing a lot of stuff and adding a comment or two.
Perry, I hope you don’t mind.

I don't know exactly when the conventional wisdom changed to create all-conservative talk stations and all liberal talk stations, but that's the way things are now, for the most part. Maybe it's a sign of the increasing polarization of American political discourse. Or maybe Program Managers just got tired of hearing complaints from one host's fans about the other host's show. It's kind of a shame, actually.

I was talking about this with a host who lands on the liberal end of the political spectrum that's worked at some conservative stations. And the reaction he got, as a left-winger on a right-wing station was surprising: listeners mostly liked him, even when they disagreed with him.

Here in Dallas, there is a propensity of conservative program hosts; mostly on the powerhouse AM stations. All excellent actors. I Personally don’t think they believe 90% of the things that say, in fact, I think most of their material is made up. I just don’t believe they are THAT dumb.
By the way Air American, the liberal voice, is relegated to a low-power AM in the Northern suburbs.
Back when I was a kid and the nation's hosts cowered in fear of the dreaded Fairness Doctrine, you got liberals and conservatives and who-knows-what-else all on the same station, all the time.

I remember lots of hosts, and what I remember is less their political stances than their styles, the entertainment value. And today, some of the best local hosts defy political pigeonholing- just when you think you have 'em pegged as conservatives, they say something you'd call liberal, or vice versa. They're unpredictable from day to day, from topic to topic. That would appall some Program Managers; I think it's a good thing.

I can't tell you, actually, whether you should really mix conservative and liberal political talk these days. Perhaps the polarized formats ARE a better idea. After all, you'd tune in Top 40 station of the 60's and 70's and you'd get the Beatles and Frank Sinatra and Glen Campbell and Marvin Gaye and Cream back-to-back: you can't do that anymore, because someone who wants rock can hear all-rock stations, someone who wants country can tune in the country station, and someone who wants Frank Sinatra can go buy a satellite radio. Talk's that way, too--- you have the conservative station and the other conservative station and the liberal station and the sports station and maybe a weird brokered one that always seems to have fake talk shows about miracle dietary supplements. You don't need to sit through the "song" you don't like to get to the one you do. And I suppose it's better that way. But I kinda miss the days when there were hosts you loved and hosts you loved to hate, all on one station.

Maybe there's room for "Jack-AM: We Say What We Want." Just a thought.
psimon@allaccess.com

1 Comments:

At 7:09 PM CDT, Anonymous Barry Grey said...

Max,
They already say what they want, and it doesn't have to be accurate or factual, just inflammatory.

 

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