Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Changing tide

Hear that? It’s silence on the ass-end of the AM dial where WROW’s News Talk 590 once piped neo-conservative babble onto the airwaves from the crack of dawn through the frustration of the evening commute. Gone are the stuttering antics of WGY-transplant Scott Allen Miller. Silenced is the smarmy voice of afternoon propaganda chief Mark Williams. As quietly as it whisked in, the riptide of the local neo-con movement appears to be sweeping back out to the murky depths of politics where it was first churned.

And here plays the mournful song of the world’s smallest violin for their departure from the area’s talk radio. Can’t see it? Well don’t strain your eyes. There aren’t too many functional thinkers in the Capital Region that will sorrow over their departure.

In their roughly seven months on the air together, this dynamic duo managed to bring talk radio to a new low at AM 590, even surpassing the depths of the verbal groping former morning host Paul Vandenburgh pioneered whenever he’d invite any of the area’s female journalists onto his show. Miller, the former program director hired in November, skulked out of the Latham studios in June, without giving a reason and without causing as much as a ripple in the industry; he was unceremoniously replaced by Jackie Donovan, the former director of Clear Channel’s Traffic Network. Williams’ departure at least made the local papers because the programmers at WROW decided it was time to change the tone of his incessant and often deluded conservative jabber to something that might actually appeal to all but a handful of Bud-swilling, phone shouting fist-pounding right field wingnuts.

The times are tough for conservative radio. There’s really not much to brag about as the tentacles of the satiated Rovian juggernaut slowly pull away from government. The stock market has crashed, the housing market has burned and there are two costly wars that are continuing to sap the national economy. The Republican Party has nominated a centrist Washington insider for the presidency and has placed him alongside the female version of Dan Quayle. Even some nationally syndicated talk show hosts are finding it nearly impossible to trump either the Bush legacy or the future with McCain.

In absence of a cause to rally behind, local hosts such as Miller and Williams were relegated to grasping at straws. And when you lack the intelligence to discern a straw from a hay bale, this practice gets a bit cumbersome. Miller recognized early the changing tide of politics in the Capital Region and smartly pulled the ripcord. Williams, the less mentally spry of the two, plodded along until this month, when his station producers made it quite clear his shtick wasn’t going to cut it.

His replacement, the purportedly left-of-center Sherman Baldwin, told the Times Union the new afternoon show’s format would be “less harsh, less opinionated” and will have “more community involvement” than his predecessor. Williams, on the other hand, offered an interesting disparity by claiming WROW’s ownership insisted on adopting a format that would draw “a minimum of active community involvement and the controversy and expense that comes with such involvement.”

“To that end Scotto…and [WROW Operations Manager] Kevin Callahan and I have had a number of conversations and finally reached the conclusion this morning that circumstances over which we have little or no control are insurmountable,” he posted on his Website Friday afternoon.

By “circumstances,” Williams must mean WROW’s woeful and steadily declining listenership under Miller’s stewardship. And by “insurmountable,” he must be referring to the pink slip his station manager surely gave him Friday after his show was over. After all, you always fire employees on Friday. It gives them less of a chance to make a scene.

Nevertheless, the AM waves will drift a little easier over the Capital Region’s stratosphere absent the incessant chatter from this collection of arrogant dweebs. Some might say it’s schadenfreude to applaud the demise of two strapping hosts so full of hate, lies and vitriol. Many others would argue these two court jesters of the neo-con movement would have looked much better leaving the Capital Region with a fresh coat of hot tar and some soiled pigeon feathers.

18 Comments:

Blogger shotinthedark said...

Great, I am glad he's gone.

Now if we could only get rid of those country and western channels, all of those religious channels, and lastly Barbara Lombardo, life would be good.

1:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HO:

I can't believe my eyes! I SARATOGA actually bashing neo-conservative right wing gas bags?

I thought you only dumped on liberals, especially the ones trying to reform local politics in Saratoga Springs.

Today you finally got up the nerve to criticize some conservatives.

A few hundred more postings like this one and you'll have a good start on evening up the score.

Have you finally discovered some common sense?

How about some newly-enlightened commentary on Scott Johnson, the great pretender who doesn't have a clue but keeps trying to drag Saratoga Springs to the extreme right anyway?

4:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@4:46 Your kind of "progressives" for "change" are the same idiots that are fawning over the turd known as Sarah Palin. Obama is sexist. Tom Mctygue was mean. Therefore a woman, because she is a woman, is entitled to political office. People like HO who are rooted in, and have some sense of, tradition of place and action, are more likely to see and sense bullshit from both sides. Unlike idealogues, who cling to an idea or personality even as it sucks the brain from their skull. Stick around, read a little more, there's plenty of ignorance to see and lose. Pax, PhilthyRex P.S. I voted for Kucinich in the primary!

10:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A question for 4:46: what EXACTLY has Scott Johnson done in his effort to "drag Saratoga Springs to the extreme right" Please be specific.

5:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the real question is what EXACTLY has Scott Johnson done since taking office? Anything?

9:46 AM  
Blogger shotinthedark said...

5:27 AM,

Don't hold your breath waiting for any specifics from that clown.

We got our Keehns and they have their Palins. Neither one one of them have got the brains required to run an ant farm.

11:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What efforts has Little Scotty made to drag Saratoga Springs to the extreme right? Here are a few:

1. Supported George Bush's program of perpetual war.

2. Supports senile John McCain's and wacko Sarah Palin's anti-female anti-choice platform that would stack the Supreme Court with one-issue judges pledged to reverse Roe v. Wade.

3. Adopted a Pataki-style program of doing everything in the back room, keeping the public in the dark to avoid questions about steering City business to Republican cronies. Have you noticed how many contracts Little Scotty has awarded to out-of-town law firms whose principal qualifications are their sterling Republican connections? If not, that's exactly the point. Little Scotty doesn't want you or anyone else (except his fellow Republican hacks) to notice what he's up to.

4. Pursued the traditional extreme conservative anti-worker policy of awarding city contracts to non-union companies.

5. Clamped down on public comments at City Council meetings by refusing to let taxpayers speak their piece and acting as if he was elected King instead of Mayor.

6. Tried his damnedest to ram an indoor recreation facility down the throats of a community that obviously doesn't want it.

That's pretty extreme for only 8-1/2 months in office!

5:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Johnson donated thousands of dollars to Treadwell's campaign! He has lied about fiscal responsibility and continues to spend our money! Typical Republican!

5:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

5:23 and 5:14 How does the Mayor of a small city support "perpetual war"? How does supporting McCain Palin drag the City to the extreme right? How about some specifics on the republican cronies and out of town law firms that are getting all this work. For all the whining you are doing they must not be qualified so start naming names. Your ilk complains about taxes going up and then when non-union businesses get jobs because they bid less you complain about no union work. 99% of the morons who speak at the public comment period ramble on. If you have a point to make make it and sit down. Also, are the doors at City locked? People who want to grandstand bitch about no comment time at Council meetings. People who want to get things done make an appointment and go to City Hall to talk. Who says the people don't want the rec facility? He donated money to Sandy treadwell's campaign - hang him. Would you be bitching if he donated money to the pretty young thing? The Supreme Court calls that Freedom of Speech, but since it's not your speech it's wrong. Continues to spend our money?! Seems like he is the one putting the clamps on Taj Mahal Kim.

6:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Val Keehn for Supervisor!
Ron Kim for Mayor!

7:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps not schadenfreude. Perhaps only epicaricacy (http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/epicaricacy).

8:55 PM  
Anonymous agphoto said...

Gee, way to stay on point everyone...

Ho, some people believe you wrote a post about talk-radio in the cap region. Assuming that is correct:

1- i never quite grasped the whole "ditto-head" concept; except that it offered an easy (even a moron can dial a phone, if the buttons are big enough) way for the disaffected to belong to something... IMHO, Rush and his ilk use planted callers and/or utilize the unheralded link in the chain- the producer/call screener - to make it look like there is near-uniform agreement. Only the inarticulate opposition get thru...

2- little known fact: in addition to a 7-second delay, most talk radio setups use "simplex technology": this means that when the host talks, the caller's voice is cancelled out. More convenient than dumping the call. Another tactic is to quietly dump the caller while the host baits him/her; then leading to something like: "So what do you have to say about that, caller?"

silence... {already dumped}

Host: "I guess he/she had no answer; let's move on.."

Next caller: "hey rush, great show-- ditto's!"

if you hear this all as theater, this stuff is sort of entertaining. yet there is no denying the inherent dangers.

Bringing it back home (local) the cap region's radio is a mirror of the radio market nationwide:

1- generally conservative ownership.
2- nationally syndicated broadcasts are cheaper to run (generally you run their commercials, and get a reduced number of minutes to sell, sometimes at a higher price, but in any event you don't have to pay a local host's salary).
3- as long as there is egotism (meaning: as long as there is a human race) you will have no shortage of 'o'reilly wannabee's' showing up who are willing to blab at minimum wage or slightly better.

The nature of talk radio is that you need to generate calls to survive, and to give credit where credit is due, the conservative/reactionaries have shown to be better at doing this generally. There are exceptions here and there nationwide, but the key element is that the host must throw out a polarizing opinion to stimulate action from the masses.

The most balanced arena for talk radio today is sports, for better or worse. Everyone has an opinion about who will win the Super Bowl; this is the great bastion of democracy.

Rush Limbaugh's company is called EIB: which purports to be "Excellence in Broadcasting", and in some respects, sad to say, it is just that. Regardless of political persuasion, nobody can deny his accomplishments. But a more accurate moniker for his broadcasts would be "Entertainment is Better".

Ditto-heads: I believe Rush sits there with his fat stogie, and laughs at all of you. Sorry.

Bringing it all back home - there are a few excellent, balanced local talk programs still remaining, though some are not really political. Here's my personal honor-roll:

General: Don Weeks - WGY

State Politics: Fred Dicker - how he survives writing in the NY Post is beyond me... his Friday shows where he explores his labor history music collection
is a real treat

Mostly Music: The Wolf & Crew - PYX106. I had to wince a little at that one, but there is no denying the inherent creativity in the show

Sports: Brian Sinkoff - 104.5 WTMM - your local fix antedote to the ESPN syndicate.

There is a possibility that WSPN - the only station that broadcasts out of zip 12866 BTW will be installing technology to take call on the air soon. Not much help to the conservatives, but perhaps some hope for the future for discussion of real local issues on the airwaves.

Again, Ho, please forgive me for staying on point. We now resume our Johnson/McT/Val bash-o-rama- marathon.

7:39 AM  
Anonymous agphoto said...

Gee, way to stay on point everyone...

Ho, some people believe you wrote a post about talk-radio in the cap region. Assuming that is correct:

1- i never quite grasped the whole "ditto-head" concept; except that it offered an easy (even a moron can dial a phone, if the buttons are big enough) way for the disaffected to belong to something... IMHO, Rush and his ilk use planted callers and/or utilize the unheralded link in the chain- the producer/call screener - to make it look like there is near-uniform agreement. Only the inarticulate opposition get thru...

2- little known fact: in addition to a 7-second delay, most talk radio setups use "simplex technology": this means that when the host talks, the caller's voice is cancelled out. More convenient than dumping the call. Another tactic is to quietly dump the caller while the host baits him/her; then leading to something like: "So what do you have to say about that, caller?"

silence... {already dumped}

Host: "I guess he/she had no answer; let's move on.."

Next caller: "hey rush, great show-- ditto's!"

if you hear this all as theater, this stuff is sort of entertaining. yet there is no denying the inherent dangers.

Bringing it back home (local) the cap region's radio is a mirror of the radio market nationwide:

1- generally conservative ownership.
2- nationally syndicated broadcasts are cheaper to run (generally you run their commercials, and get a reduced number of minutes to sell, sometimes at a higher price, but in any event you don't have to pay a local host's salary).
3- as long as there is egotism (meaning: as long as there is a human race) you will have no shortage of 'o'reilly wannabee's' showing up who are willing to blab at minimum wage or slightly better.

The nature of talk radio is that you need to generate calls to survive, and to give credit where credit is due, the conservative/reactionaries have shown to be better at doing this generally. There are exceptions here and there nationwide, but the key element is that the host must throw out a polarizing opinion to stimulate action from the masses.

The most balanced arena for talk radio today is sports, for better or worse. Everyone has an opinion about who will win the Super Bowl; this is the great bastion of democracy.

Rush Limbaugh's company is called EIB: which purports to be "Excellence in Broadcasting", and in some respects, sad to say, it is just that. Regardless of political persuasion, nobody can deny his accomplishments. But a more accurate moniker for his broadcasts would be "Entertainment is Better".

Ditto-heads: I believe Rush sits there with his fat stogie, and laughs at all of you. Sorry.

Bringing it all back home - there are a few excellent, balanced local talk programs still remaining, though some are not really political. Here's my personal honor-roll:

General: Don Weeks - WGY

State Politics: Fred Dicker - how he survives writing in the NY Post is beyond me... his Friday shows where he explores his labor history music collection
is a real treat

Mostly Music: The Wolf & Crew - PYX106. I had to wince a little at that one, but there is no denying the inherent creativity in the show

Sports: Brian Sinkoff - 104.5 WTMM - your local fix antedote to the ESPN syndicate.

There is a possibility that WSPN - the only station that broadcasts out of zip 12866 BTW will be installing technology to take call on the air soon. Not much help to the conservatives, but perhaps some hope for the future for discussion of real local issues on the airwaves.

Again, Ho, please forgive me for staying on point. We now resume our Johnson/McT/Val bash-o-rama- marathon.

7:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey effete Spa City snobs, Sarah Palin is the one with proven record of taking on corrupt (Republican) establishment and big oil, while at the same time piping more energy production the USA is in need of. You just can't handle a working-class heroine. Ain't she a woman too?

8:45 AM  
Blogger Horatio Alger said...

SaratogaDem,

I've told you time and again, I'm no conservative, nor am I a Republican even in my sympathies. I'm an equal opportunity offender, calling them as I see 'em. Were this 2004, I'd probably be ripping Bill Ennis a new shit chute, instead of ragging on this pseudo-progressive slate of Dems.

As for Johnson, I've got very little criticism for him at the moment. Your notion that he's taking the city to the 'far right' is absolutely ridiculous. In nine months in office, he seems to have had modest success in building consensus on the board, which is how you ultimately get things don in the city. He's devoted his energy toward improving the city, instead of a furtive push to change its government.

Frankly, I know a lot of folks who pulled the lever for this guy with a great deal of trepidation. And he's done nothing in his first term to suggest they made the wrong choice. He hasn't steered the city toward ruin so far, which is already better than his predecessor did in the same amount of time.

About the Rec Center, that's not one you can pin on Johnson. After all, he wasn't the moron who bonded the damn thing when the community 'obviously didn't want it.' He smartly wants to put the structure where its within walking distance of the people who will most likely use it.

As for Treadwell, I don't support him in the least. But if the mayor who I view as doing a good job for the city does, I'm not going to hold it against him.

And how does he award contracts to anyone? There are five city councilors who vote on any significant contract. I'm sure the other four have something to do with it.

agphoto - Something I've alluded to here in another post is the role 'Scotto' played in duping the public in Saratoga County into supporting an asinine war abroad. Few people recall he was the astroturfer Clear Channel used locally to help drum up support for the ludicrous war in Iraq. Rush is the same way, only on a much larger, more sinister level. WGY and WROW have tried in vain to emulate his success locally, but have failed in all their attempts. Frankly, I think this speaks volumes for the intelligence of the standard Capital Region listener.

9:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re:agphoto honor roll:

Don Weeks is absolutely horrible,it takes him several minutes to say one sentence and he is anything but amusing and informative, WGY would be smart if they kicked him to the curb once and for all and gave AL RONEY the much deserved spot.

Regarding your point about talk radio being conservative, of course it is as it should be as liberalism doesnt work in talk radio format, why do you think most movie stars and entertainment industry people are liberals? its all about "show" not substance.

Rush is amusing whether you agree with him or not isnt the point.

The uncontested hero of TALK RADIO is non other than MICHAEL SAVAGE.
Once he is out of the picture, any illusion of free speech and democracy is over and done with. Liars hate him because he is the last truth teller out there. I dont expect everyone to agree with him but anyone with an above average IQ listens to him and to talk radio in general. Talk Radio is for intelligent people and TV is for idiots, thats how it works.

Also, check out Rollye James who used to come on directly after Michael Savage but I guess she was just a tad too radical so now the knucklehead Phil Hendrie is on ( who is terrible)

1:47 PM  
Anonymous agphoto said...

1:47;

your opinion counts; that's what makes a mktplace, and i hope you agree that there should be something for everybody.

a few comments about your comments:

1-Don Weeks/Al Roney: i like al roney too, there should be a place for him, and would be if WGY weren't so cheap and chose to pick up syndicated programs. i'd prefer live/local, even if i disagree. Don Weeks' folksy charm gets him big ratings (and huge $$$ for his live read commercials-- trust me, I have paid for them. And they work; a good live read is one of the most powerful mktg tools out there regardless of cost. Given that he produces high revenue, you are bound to be disappointed if you hope for Don to be "kicked to the curb". Whether you like him or not, he fills cruise ships to Hawaii, etc. with WGY listeners. It's generally an older demo, but look how the ratings spike when there is a snowstorm with school closings, or when national grid goes on a long weekend...

WGY is an uptapped jewel in one respect; after the sun goes down their signal can reach almost to south florida and the rocky mtns.- there is only one other 810 in the USA - KGO in San Fran. And yet they persist in airing the same crazy crap like Art Bell which people in, say, Kansas can get on their local station. A huge missed opportunity.

2- liberalism can, has and does work on talk radio; however, they certainly have not developed stars to the extent that the conservatives have. But a liberal rush is at least theoretically possible; think of the bile-filled calls he/she would generate from the right wing. it would take somebody tough, but it is possible.

3- Rush: Dittos to your opinion.

4- I forgot Savage- you are right, he's a hall-of-famer. i laugh my head off at some of his stuff; and that's a good thing... i don't think of him as a classic conservative in the Rush/Hannity sense - to me he vacilates between Mussolini and a humanist. Very entertaining, and notable 'cause he occasionally doesn't pee on people who disagree.

5- "Talk Radio is for intelligent people and TV is for idiots, thats how it works"

Does that include Fox News? If so then dittos again.

6- Let me know if you find this Rollye James guy anywhere; i'd check him out.

9:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re:9:24 am

Rollye James is a woman, surprise surprise, you can look her up she has her own web site, WGY was stupid to get rid of her. One of her famous quotes is about the american highway system " I've driven every road in america, I 've completed it, unlike the federal government."
Thats the kind of wit that gives me hope. gotta love it.

10:19 AM  

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