I was tuning in the shine on the light night dial
Doing anything my radio advised
With every one of those late night stations
Playing songs bringing tears to my eyes
I was seriously thinking about hiding the receiver
When the switch broke ’cause it’s old
They’re saying things that I can hardly believe
They really think we’re getting out of control
Radio is a sound salvation
Radio is cleaning up the nation
They say you better listen to the voice of reason
But they don’t give you any choice ’cause they think that it’s treason
So you had better do as you are told
You better listen to the radio
I wanna bite the hand that feeds me
I wanna bite that hand so badly
I want to make them wish they’d never seen me
Some of my friends sit around every evening
And they worry about the times ahead
But everybody else is overwhelmed by indifference
And the promise of an early bed
You either shut up or get cut up, they don’t wanna hear about it
It’s only inches on the reel-to-reel
And the radio is in the hands of such a lot of fools
Tryin’ to anaesthetise the way that you feel
—Elvis Costello “Radio Radio”
As much as I love the freedom of doing my show online every day, the stark reality is that it doesn’t pay the bills.
I’ve worked in radio my entire adult life. I actually majored in broadcasting in college and haven’t held another job other than in this industry that I simultaneously love and hate. I hate it because it’s changed so drastically in the 30 years I’ve been doing it, and in ways too numerous to recount here today.
The “talk radio” station is nothing like it was back in 1981 when, as a recent college graduate, I headed for NYC and got a job working at WMCA. The station was home to conservative talker Bob Grant (with whom I worked for three years as his producer), liberal Barry Gray, and other hosts with varying points of view and topic fodder.
Today, that type of station no longer exists. Most talk stations are political in nature, and are either right wing conservative talk or liberal – “progressive talk.” Unfortunately, the number of progressive talkers is dwarfed by those that air only the conservative point of view.
Here in South Florida, we used to have a progressive talk station. Clear Channel decided to dump it over two years ago and put in its place the market’s sixth sports talk station in order to run the “Fox Sports” format, which they own.
South Florida is home to two conservative talk stations, the Clear Channel owned WIOD, and the James Crystal owned WFTL.
It’s the latter that is in the spotlight today, as their local midday host Joyce Kaufman will head to Washington DC as Congressman-elect Allen West’s Chief of Staff. Why is this important? Here’s Rachel Maddow’s report on it from last night’s show:
Pretty frightening, huh?
I’ve actually worked at WFTL twice. And on Thursday afternoon, I got a phone call from the General Manager inviting me to lunch to talk about an opportunity there.
I know I’m biting the hand that could potentially feed me but I could not, in good conscience, keep quiet about this.
I don’t have any major revelatory statement to make… just a commentary on the mood of the nation and how, if we don’t learn to work together, we will be torn apart.
Listen live beginning at 10am ET. Or come back later for the podcast….
Also on the show today, Truthout‘s Jason Leopold on his latest piece: “Special Prosecutor Declines to File Criminal Charges Over Destruction of CIA Torture Tapes”.
And Russ Baker, author of Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, the powerful forces that put it in the White House, and what their influence means for America, to counter the George W. Bush book/image rehab tour currently underway.
Here we go…