Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Cleaning out the closet Part 2: Planet of the apes

Looking at the calendar, we can now see that it is indeed April, a month unofficially known as 'Green Month." April 22 marks Earth Day. And last saturday, we saw the "Earth Hour," in which entire cities turned off the lights for one evening hour across the globe and dined in candlelight. The continuing celebration of all things 'green' is evident in the radio industry.

Yates Communications received approval this week from the FCC to purchase radio station KAND (1340AM) in Corsicana, TX (south of Dallas) and announced that they will use the platform to create what they call the nation's first true "green" radio station.

"We've produced weekend syndicated earth-friendly radio content for some time. The programming ran locally in Texas' largest cities, including Dallas/Fort Worth and Houston/Galveston," says company president David Yates. "We wanted to expand our reach, but were not able find a station interested in weekday programming that encourages listeners to live a more healthy life, save money, and save the planet. We decided to do it on our own."

Veteran Dallas/Ft. Worth broadcaster Kevin McCarthy will host a show from 10A-Noon weekdays. "In Boy Scouts they taught us to always leave the campsite in better condition than we found it. I'm really excited about doing this new form of 'radio' with a great group of talented people who believe in working to make the world a better place and having fun doing it!" exclaimed McCarthy.

"Green Radio" is looking at a June 1 launch, and will displace KAND's current classic country format.

Yates Communications' new venture may create the first full-time 'green' radio station, but other stations are also flashing the green. There is, of course, progressive talker KKGN (960AM) in San Francisco, which heavily promotes the enviro-friendly lifestyle in promotions and a daily talk show hosted by Angie Coiro. Down the coast, 'hot talker' KLSX (97.1FM) says that it's going "green" for the month of April, dedicating the period as "Earth Month" and offering "green" promotions, programming, and information. Events will include a screening of the documentary "Who Killed the Electric Car?" with director Chris Paine on April 23rd.

VP/GM Bob Moore said that he is "excited that we have the opportunity to provide information to our listeners on ways they can help our planet. Everyone wants to do something to help, we just want to make it easier for our listeners by giving them ideas that are simple and painless."

And green programming is spreading to other ventures. Cary Harrison, who's late, lamented show on KTLK in Los Angeles, "Harrison On The Edge," was utterly brilliant, is back with "Think Green Radio with Harrison," which launches in over 30 markets throughout the U.S., including Boston, San Francisco, Washington, DC, Denver, Indianapolis, Raleigh, Norfolk and New Orleans. Welcome back, Harrison.

And then there's the other side. Of course, right-wingers, who seek to create nonsensical black-and-white political issues out of everything, poo-poo anything connected to environmental awareness, since so-called 'tree-huggers' make such convenient targets for ridicule (as anal retentive fundie gasbags like the Falwell/Robertson crowd do for us). In celebration of last Saturday's Earth Hour, wingnut talk radio outlet KQTH (104.1 The Truth) in Tuscon and their morning man Jon Justice (obviously not his real name) reacted to the whole concept by going live on Saturday night during the appointed hour, for an "Hour of Power" that encouraged listeners to use more energy. Callers, who evidently dialed the station up with the same knuckles they drag across the ground as they walk, said they were turning on every appliance and light in their houses to protest the environmentalists' message for Earth Hour. Oh, those wacky wingnuts...

They aren't realOf course, leave it to the holier-than-thou hide-behind-the-flag crowd to constantly fly in the face of tact and good taste. At least everyone's favorite facist MILF Melanie Morgan, the queen of bullshit bluster, got her comeuppance as the media monster environment that initially created her was the same one to kill her radio career. For fourteen years, Morgan tortured the airwaves of San Francisco with her over-the-top histrionics and blatant attention whoring. She even issued her own personal fatal fatwas against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and New York Times editor Bill Keller. She also claimed that billionaire financier and philanthropist George Soros of “cheerfully and willingly went to work for the Nazis... in order to further his own career (insert ironic punchline here).“ Pot, meet kettle. Last month, in an example of sheer irony, Morgan got the axe by Citadel Communications, owner of KSFO, due to budget cuts. In the real world, we call that karma.

And finally, the recent cutbacks in the radio industry have likely left a void of talent (if you could consider right-wing talkers to be 'talent'). But have no fear - there's new programming on the way. That is, if you could call 20 year-old Presidential speeches 'new.' Somewhere in radioland, somebody got the bright idea to recycle snippets of old Ronald Reagan speeches into new programming content for conservotalk stations, whose listeners crave decades-old ideas. But Reagan Radio? Hey, why not get it straight from the source, right?

I guess this fits into the whole 'green' concept of recycling, as these hoary old radio addresses have been regurgitated into a series of 30 two-minute radio commentaries. The segments are being produced by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation. The non-political segments, airing under the title "Ronald Reagan Speaks For Himself," features Reagan speaking on issues such as the economy, immigration, abortion, terrorism, taxes and more, though somehow, I don't think it will sound like this. Nonetheless, I'm sure you all can't wait for this.


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