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August 24, 2005

Radio Wonders

Last night, driving back to LA from a quick jaunt below the Orange Curtain, I decided to do as the Romans do (and as the billboards command) and listen to talk radio. First I went to 1150's Air America where Garofalo and Seder were doing the majority report. I really hate to say this, as I love Garofalo's comedy and acting, but I find her totally unlistenable on The Majority Report. She's shrill, mean to her callers (and here I'm talking the liberal ones, conservative interlopers get called "douches"), and just grates on me. On the bright side, she's well informed and good at staying on point, but I'm just not able to listen for more than ten minutes at a time.

So off I go to 640, "More stimulating talk radio!" It's some white guy named Ron filling in for some white guy named Z-Man. They're bashing the Nation of Islam, which is a bit like me sticking rhetorical knives into the Ku Klux Klan, but whatever. Very good caller choice, the host is a talented talker, and the opinions are fairly unobjectionable (black men calling in to say black men shouldn't commit crimes is the basic structure), so I turn my attention back to the asshole who's been tailgating me since Long Beach.

But then Ron -- the pinch-hitting white guy's name, or so I think -- goes over to gas prices. The interesting thing about conservative radio is that they constantly pretend they're shattering your biases, telling you what you don't want to hear. Ron promises that he'll tell us who's responsible for high gas prices, and it's not who we think!

According to him, we think it's the oil companies, though I don't actually know anyone who thinks that. Whatever. In any case, those straw men are wrong! The culprit for exorbitant rates at the pump over the last year?

Taxes and regulation. The one element of oil exploration, extraction, and delivery that hasn't changed in the past 365 days. So Ron spends a little while calmly, slowly, logically attacking Gray Davis for misusing oil taxes in the past and telling his listeners how angry they should be that they're paying for government services at the pump. Also, government regulation has left the oil companies unable to refine, explore, work, whatever, It's all the government's fault, in any case. Then we went to a KFI-640 NEWS BREAK!!!! where a Glendale city councilwoman was smoking crack, Bush was defending his policies, some crimes were committed, and a government agency had screwed up.

If you ever get some time in the car, I highly recommend you listen to these folks. NPR may be more informative and Air America more ideologically compatible, but turn on conservative talk once in awhile: the Republican worldview is perfectly understandable when you hear what they're beaming into their brains during every car ride. The news is full of addicts, criminals, and steadfast Presidents while the opinions are rational, calm, authoritative explanations of why everything wrong in your world is the government's fault, even if it didn't seem that way on first glance.

August 24, 2005 in Republicans | Permalink


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Don't know if you've read it already, but the April 2005 Atlantic Monthly had a great piece by David Foster Wallace on the whole right-wing radio phenomenon and on the Z-man more specifically. Check it out if you get a chance.


Posted by: Biz | Aug 24, 2005 12:25:17 PM

Along these lines, is the enemy of my enemy truly my friend? Michael Savage?!?


Posted by: Chris R | Aug 24, 2005 12:36:43 PM

Yea...I have been listening to conservative radio for the last three years. Michael Savage is what moved me from just left of center to to the "radical left", or as Savage would say, "a mental disorder".

It is truly educational to listen to these shows. And I hate it at the same time, and it makes me angry. Yet I refuse to turn it off.

And I agree with you about disliking Garafolo, for the exact same reasons.

Posted by: dave | Aug 24, 2005 1:29:45 PM

Also, I'm sorry to say, about Garofolo.

I listen to Morning Sedition, via Air America Place, these days, although with Marc Maron on vacation for a couple of weeks, it's sort of a drag.

Posted by: Karl the Idiot | Aug 24, 2005 1:31:20 PM

I'm with you on Garofolo. I don't often listen to talk radio into the evening, and the few times I have I've been terribly disappointed. I heard her yelling at a conservative a couple of days ago, and she sounded so crazy that she actually made him sound sensible.

I listened to a bit of local conservative talk last week, and one guy called in to blame his high car repair bill on a filter needed under environmental regulations. Damn kids wanting to breathe cost him some money. It's scary what they'll blame on "big government." Not as scary, of course, as their insistence that anything Bush does is A-OK, but scary.

Posted by: Magenta | Aug 24, 2005 2:04:04 PM

In Boston we have 96.9, where a whole hour each day is devoted to truly liberal thinkers Margerie Eagen and Jim Broudie. The rest is reserved for center to far right. Mike Barnicle and his crew I'd say are center. Imus is...uh...Imus. O'Reilly gets 1-3pm.

Jay Severin has the 4 afternoon drive hours, he claims to be a libertarian. He is more often than not intellectually honest, albeit on the wrong side. He often has no problem saying things that no right-wing politician dare repeat even though they all think it. Dare question his honesty though, you will get a wrath like none other. I found him to be good at times (he thinks the troops should come home), and rather horrid at others (mainstream media is still out to get them. Riiiiiiggght.)

Then its Laura Ingrahm for the evening. You may have heard of her.

Yup, 1 hour of liberal radio a day. What's beautiful this week is that Imus is off so Eagen and Broudie took his spot. Good morning radio.

If anyone lives in the Boston area and knows of other good talk stations, I'd like to know of them.

Posted by: Adrock | Aug 24, 2005 2:22:23 PM

Morning Sedition is so good, it could stand on its own. I think AA should be focusing on syndication, rather than network-building. There are a few properties--Franken, Rhodes, Marc and Mark, and mebbe Jerry Springer--that would probably garner larger audiences if they were broadcast on more prominent or successful stations. The demos are there, especially for the former three programs. Given a choice between mature or aging franchises (Rush, Hannity, et alia), or dynamic new ones (with, erm, much lower syndication and licensing fees), station managers would have some very tough calls to make.

Posted by: Jimmm | Aug 24, 2005 2:36:49 PM


There is an Air America affiliate in Boston on AM 1200/1430. They don't carry all of the AA programs. In the morning they've got Stephanie somebody, Franken's live from noon-3. Then it's Ed Schultz with a time-delayed Randi Rhodes. They call the station Boston's Progressive Talk.

A great not-overtly political show is PRI's/WGBH's Open Source with Christopher Lydon which is available as a podcast.

WBUR's On Point isn't bad either.

Posted by: bostoniangirl | Aug 24, 2005 2:58:24 PM

I believe WLIB in New York is the only station that carries the full slate of Air America programming. (And actually, even they don't carry all three hours of Mike Malloy -- they pull the plug on him at midnight.) My impression is that stations are free to cherry-pick any AA programs they want. I think a lot of stations carry just Springer, or just Franken.

Rachel Maddow has the best show on Air America by far. I wish they had more shorter, tighter, more focused shows like that.

Posted by: Thad | Aug 24, 2005 3:22:39 PM

thanks bostoniangirl

Posted by: Adrock | Aug 25, 2005 11:55:42 AM

Does anyone know the Air America carrier in the D.C. area? I just moved there from Milwaukee, where lacquer-haired jizzbags are the radio totality, and am looking forward to listening to some none-jizzbags.

Posted by: Matt_C | Aug 25, 2005 12:12:11 PM

Does anyone know the station that carries The Majority Report in Seattle and what station it is on? I can't seem to find it and I would really to hear a crazy Janeane. I've heard a lot about the show and would like to hear it in all it's craziness at least once. Please reply soon.

Posted by: Sarah | Sep 14, 2005 11:53:37 AM

Does anyone know the station that carries The Majority Report in Seattle and what time it is on? I can't seem to find it and I would really to hear a crazy Janeane. I've heard a lot about the show and would like to hear it in all it's craziness at least once. Please reply soon.

Posted by: Sarah | Sep 14, 2005 11:54:12 AM

Does anyone know the station that carries The Majority Report in Seattle and what time it is on? I can't seem to find it and I would really to hear a crazy Janeane. I've heard a lot about the show and would like to hear it in all it's craziness at least once. Please reply soon.

Posted by: Sarah | Sep 14, 2005 11:55:00 AM

you really nice article, thanks for that...

Posted by: Juno888 | Jun 18, 2007 3:59:31 AM

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