Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I'm retiring

Well, it's been a long, fun stretch, but now's the time to hang up my jock. I have decided to retire from this thing.

But wait! Brett Favre's back? Do tell! Well, that settles it - I'm back!

Hey, if an over-the-hill primadonna quarterback can suddenly come out of a three week retirement (how many has that been so far?) for buttloads of money and a guaranteed starting job with his biggest nemesis, then why not little 'ol me? Therefore, this entry is dedicated to the Master Indecider, the one and only Brett Favre, who is doing his damned finest to screw up whatever legacy he still has. Only things left are steroids, dog fighting, knifing his wife and gambling on his own games. The only ones screwing up more are the Minnesota Vikings, for pursuing this whole Brett Favre nonsense.

Now, with that out of the way...

Hartmann returning to Air America?

Well, not exactly.

But there is a rumor, and one he mentioned on his show last week. Word has it that he will soon be heard (if not already) on WZAA (1050AM), the station Air America operates in Washington, DC. Likely, it will be on delay status, as the station currently shows nothing on their schedule for their late-night hours. We shall see...

Obama hits the airwaves

Since taking office seven months ago, President Barack Obama has been perhaps the most visible commander-in-chief we've ever had. Seems like he's been everywhere, whether it be in television interviews, webcasts, televised prime time press conferences, on the road and wherever else. And he's got a few radio appearances coming up, as he continues to counter all the right-wing lies about his proposals for health care reform. And what better place to start than where all the bullshit is coming from - right-wing radio.

Dial Global's Michael Smerconish will interview the president Thursday August 20 (that's tomorrow, folks!) directly from the White House. The show will show live noon-3P ET, and the 20-minute Obama interview will air at 1:10P ET, the first radio interview on the grounds of the White House in the Obama Administration.

"I am honored to be the first radio broadcaster to interview the President live from the White House," said Smerconish, who, incidentally supported Obama in last November's election. "My listeners have suggested many pointed questions that I look forward to raising with dignity and respect."

But first, Obama will hit the webcast waves, with an online webcast special featuring a discussion by the religious community of the his administration's health care proposals.

The President will appear on "40 Minutes For Health Reform,' appearing on Blog Talk Radio this afternoon at 5P ET. And no, Obama will not take calls on the show, but a White House spokesperson will be on hand to answer questions submitted by the public.

Okay, I'm retiring again

I hate training camp. I'm too old to sleep in a college dorm. Unless she's cute.

No changes for WCPT

The FCC has rejected a petition from Newsweb, owner of WCPT (820AM) in Chicago. The petition was for reconsideration of the 2005 denial of a proposed dual community of license change for the station, currently licensed to Crystal Lake, IL and another station they own, located in the northwest Indiana suburbs of Chicago.

Newsweb had applied to move WCPT's city of license to Addison, IL, which would enable them to co-locate the stations' studios. The FCC, however, decided that the benefits to such a move did not outweigh the loss of local service to the former communities of license.

Keep in mind, none of this behind-the-scenes stuff has anything to do with what they're currently putting out on the air. It's just that news is slow, and I needed something to put here.

I'm back

Okay, I guess I'll stick around, so long as I don't have to go to training camp. Let me just hop right in and start.

Wendell filling in for Rhodes

KTLK/Los Angeles talker Johnny Wendell will be filling in for the vacationing Randi Rhodes on her syndicated show today (Wednesday) and tomorrow. Just so you won't wonder what happened to Randi.

Time to hang it up again

I do have a concern with that shoulder injury that makes it hard to type all this goodness that you read here. I'm goin' back to Mississippi to ride tractors. But first...

Real-life goodbyes

Two notable media figures have ventured off to the Great Beyond recently. First, we say goodbye to a television news legend, Don Hewitt, who passed away today at the age of 86:

Hewitt was best known as the creator of the venerable "60 Minutes" in 1968, and oversaw the show until 2004. His career in journalism spanned over 60 years, virtually all of it at CBS. As a young producer/director assisting at the birth of television news, it was usually Hewitt behind the scenes directing legendary CBS News reporters like Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite, using a playbook he had to write himself. He played an integral role in all of CBS News' coverage of major news events from the late 1940s through the 1960s, putting him in the middle of some of history's biggest events, including one of politics’ seminal moments: the first televised presidential debate in 1960.

And we also bid farewell to a less distinguished media personality, conservative commentator and nasty curmudgeon Robert Novak, who died yesterday at the age of 157. But do vampires ever really die?

Okay, I wanna come back

But only if you fork over $12 million. I can't have the money? Well, I'll stick around anyway. I'm back.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

CNN moves away from booking radio talkers

Following reports from TVNewser, and a confirmation from a CNN spokesperson, Jon Klein, the president of the network's U.S. division, has asked his show producers to avoid booking talk radio hosts. "Complex issues require world class reporting," Klein is quoted as saying, adding that talk radio hosts too often add to the noise, and that what they say is "all too predictable."

So, does this finally mean they're getting rid of Lou Dobbs? Ehh, doubtful.

But what this does mean is that they will cut down on the clutter and screaming a bit. And that means potentially less face time to the likes of Bill Bennett, Michael Medved and others. However, that would likely apply to people like Stephanie Miller, so take the good with the bad.

Radio-Info's Tom Taylor, in his daily newsletter, thinks "it doesn't necessarily sound like a 'ban', as some early reports had it, but more like a caution to the bookers to avoid the same old radio faces. Problem is – those familiar folks make pretty good guests, especially when breaking news happens. They may indeed be predictable in terms of their take on current events. But their training in doing a daily radio show with no script in front of them and no producer talking in their earpiece makes them naturals for TV. I’m betting that Jon Klein’s recommendation will be adhered to for a while – and then old habits will reassert themselves and old phone numbers will be dialed again."

Nonetheless, it is nice to see a 'news' network move away from the back-and-forth screaming. Let's hope at least they raise the caliber of guests, rather than encourage shouting and bloviating matches.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Come on feel the noise

The act of picking apart all the crazy stuff that comes out of the mouths of right-wing pundits is a process akin to playing Whack-a-Mole. It requires a large, attentive staff and the job never gets done. That's why I typically shy away from that sort of thing. And quite frankly, groups like Media Matters for America do the job way better than this one man band possibly could.

The right-wing noise machine has gotten even louder, and even more obnoxious, since President Obama arrived at the White House. And even more recently, they have thrown most of their eggs into one basket, hoping that toppling the president on his biggest pet issue, health care reform, will somehow break him. Or, it will be enough rope for them to hang themselves with.

Media Matters has a nice piece up that pretty much sums up some of the things the most noteworthy of wingnut squawkers are yapping about. And apparently, the summer heat must be making them all crazy. Merely a few years after they created their own 'mockrage' over lefties who compared the previous president to Adolf Hitler and the Nazis (remember that web ad contest back in '04?), well, wouldn't you know it? They're doing it now, Godwin's Law be damned! One well-known radio host even has fantasies of killing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with poison. And of course, they're all playing the victim, hoping that their legion of lemmings will actually believe that the White House is the one that's attacking... them, even as they've been mobilizing naive fans to disrupt town halls with distorted facts, obnoxious behavior and even violent behavior. Wait! Isn't that what Hitler did when he started?

We start this merry adventure with the always-crazy Glenn Beck. Now, over the past week or so, noisemaking bloggers have been making hay about some comments made by liberal talker Mike Malloy. Malloy, never one to mince words, fantasized about Beck offing himself, with the wish of seeing it posted on YouTube (though I suspect he'll go out nonviolently via an overdose or complete mental breakdown). Of course, the Noise Machine went nuts, claiming that us lefties were all a bunch of hatemongers and terrorists. Oh, boo hoo! Meanwhile, Beck himself is not as saintly as they'd like to believe.

From Media Matters:

Then on Thursday, he poisoned the speaker of the House. Not literally, of course -- just in effigy. On live television. What's the problem? Can't you liberals take a joke?

It was a perfect example of the game conservatives in the media are playing: pouring gasoline on the fire, and then, once they are criticized, saying that they were only kidding. But what does Beck expect his viewers to take away from his broadcasts? After a week of increasingly violent protests at town halls around the country, including one such event at which protesters reportedly mentioned Beck by name when explaining what inspired them, he cannot seriously contend that his rhetoric isn't having an impact, isn't stirring up the rage and confusion that is defining opposition to Democratic reforms. How many times can Beck portray Obama as a traitor who is destroying our national sovereignty, or compare the president's health care proposals to those of the Nazis, before the anger spills over? He calls for calm, and then describes the Obama-led "brownshirts" who are silencing dissent and the "enemies list" the White House is compiling of those who dare to voice their opinions. Meanwhile, it is the Democrats, we are told, who are the irresponsible ones. It is Democrats who are using the language of "pure hate," as Frank Luntz told Beck, to describe the brave patriots who are shouting down members of Congress in defense of liberty. Why are they doing it? Beck's answer? They want to create "more problems" so "they can use the iron fist and crush people." In the meantime, Beck urged his supporters to continue pressuring their members of Congress, even if they have to "hold a meeting ... in front of their house."

Cocaine's a helluva drug, huh Glenn?

Next, Beck's partner in slime, Rush Limbaugh, has evidently forgotten Godwin's Law (an unofficial screed that claims that anyone who brings up Adolf Hitler or Nazis in an argument automatically loses - I would personally add Josef Stalin to that rule myself). Lately, he's had no shame in comparing the Obama Administration and the Democratically-controlled Congress to the Third Reich. All because of... ready for this? Health care reform. Yeah, pretty stupid, right?

With the precision the right-wing echo chamber provides on a daily basis, Rush reiterated his heartfelt belief that if Democrats have their way, senior citizens -- the very same group that benefits exclusively from that evil government-run program known as Medicare -- will spend their last days on a "Statist Farm," where they will be unable to see a doctor and suffer at the hands of heartless bureaucrats whose job it will be to "make sure certain people die." On the other hand, if you were a loyal Obama supporter, you know, like an HIV patient, you might get special treatment. Limbaugh also mocked the voice of Kathleen Sebelius (he sure hates it when women talk) and described her work promoting reform as a "campaign of pure fraud and deceit." And he had a warning for some of the crooks in D.C.: "You Blue Dogs are about to see your last days if you vote for this bill." At least he's giving them one more chance to get it right.


"[T]he Obama health care logo is damn close to a Nazi swastika logo," he said on air. He went on to explain "the similarities between the Democrat Party of today and the Nazi Party in Germany." Key among them: "Adolf Hitler, like Barack Obama, also ruled by dictate." On Friday, he did it again, but blamed Nancy Pelosi for "starting it" because she had pointed out that one conservative protester had made a sign featuring a swastika. There was plenty of photographic evidence to back her up, but Limbaugh still called her "deranged."

...Limbaugh explained that Obama's "brownshirts" were
coming, sure to make use of the "snitch website" he had set up. He warned of "union thugs" who had "roughed up" a protester -- "Mussolini-type stuff." He accused a St. Louis SEIU local of violence, and then gave out the office's address.Uhh, yeah.

Finally, if we needed further proof that syndicated squawker and CNN host Lou Dobbs has lost what was left of his xenophobic mind, he has essentially dumped the whole "Mr. Independent" facade he's been shucking and jiving us with over the years and is now a hardcore right-wing Obama hater. Dobbs is still smarting over the much-deserved criticism from the left over the whole ridiculous Obama birth certificate conspiracy theory (nevermind that Obama has been throroughly vetted by the FBI and the Secret Service prior to running for the presidency). And because of all that, Crybaby Lou has unleashed the fangs and has now turned into Bill O'Reilly:

It was actually a banner week for Lou. In fact, he officially abandoned his stance as "Mr. Independent," using his radio show to inform Obama (a regular listener, to be sure) that he was "moving from being an independent, sir, to being absolutely opposed to ... any policy you can conceive of!" Dobbs celebrated his newfound opposition by spreading misinformation on health care reform (it's socialism, by the way, because Obama's a socialist), hosting a Michelle Malkin lovefest, defending Limbaugh, raising the specter of incipient fascism, and repeatedly attacking Keith Olbermann, whom he described as a "cretin" and a "psycho" who was "psychologically scarred" from beatings by "girls" that he supposedly suffered as a child. No wonder, then, that Olbermann works at MSNBC, the network Dobbs called a "coven of thugs."

And not to be left behind by his fellow right-wing media celebrities, Dobbs offered support to a caller who threatened to "brawl" with health care reform advocates at a town hall, encouraging others like him to make their "voice heard."

But whatever you do, don't say "birther" on his show.

So, there ya go. Love 'em or hate 'em, Media Matters does a damn good job keeping up with this nonsense, and they're nice to have around in times like this. Ironic that the right-wing nut jobs they hold accountable are so arrogant and overzealous that they would gang up to torpedo something like health care reform, which is designed to protect the American people from the greedy tactics of Big Medicine (did ya hear that United Health posted a %150 boost in profits over the past year?), all because they want to stick it to President Obama. Hey, isn't that what they accused us all of doing during the Bush regime?

But with Republican favorable ratings further circling the porcelain bowl, does the mass populace really give a shit what multi-millionaire disc jockeys like Beck, Limbaugh and Dobbs think about anything? They're really just preaching to their own misinformed choirs, feeding them endless helpings of bullshit and hoping that, if repeated enough, it will actually be mistaken for truth. However, after surviving eight years of George W. Bush, and a Democratic mandate last November, it's likely that Americans are tired of all the bullshit and conservative crybaby antics, and are just looking for real change.

What Obama himself has to realize, particularly given his past experience as a community organizer, is that he wields far greater power than a motley gang of media whiners. In the current issue of Rolling Stone, in a roundtable discussion involving columnist Paul Krugman, former political advisor David Gergen (hands down the smartest guy at CNN) and documentarian Michael Moore, they all claim that Obama should be doing more to tap into his massive grassroots organization to bypass the right-wing noise machine. Wisely, Obama has even been hinting at using the Democratic power in D.C. to push through health care bills as a last resort, with or without Republican involvement. Given that Obama has more power to get things done than Bill Clinton ever did, this would be a very smart move.

America spoke up last November, and that's that. And the fact that the wingnut militia has fallen into the role that they berated the left for during much of this decade is hypocrisy at its finest.

Tuesday talkin'

A new show is hitting the airwaves soon, another radio goofball gets visited by the Secret Service, Jay Marvin's in the hospital, and there's some noise being made in the radio industry. Here's the lowdown:

Goldman gets own show

(Updated with correction)

Norman Goldman, legal analyst and frequent fill-in host for Ed Schultz, is finally getting his own show. His program, which will air weeknights 6-9P ET, will debut September 8.

Goldman's website can be found here.Thanks to Sean for the heads-up.

CBS sale could have impact for Portland listeners

The big media deal over the past week has been in Portland, OR, where CBS has sold its entire radio cluster to upstart broadcaster Larry Wilson, and his company Alpha Broadcasting. Alpha has already struck a deal to buy talker KXL and FM sports talker KTXG from another company, and the portfolio will be complete with the acquisition of CBS' KINK, KUPL, KUFO and KCMD.

The last station, KCMD (970AM), may be familiar to Portland-area readers of this blog. They carry a talk format consisting of syndicated talk shows from across the ideological spectrum, including Michael Smerconish, Phil Hendrie and Stephanie Miller. Now, KCMD has never been a ratings force. And Radio-Info's Tom Taylor says that the new management team could make some changes at the station:

Larry Wilson indicates that strong possibility to the Oregonian. The paper says "Alpha doesn’t plan to make format changes at any of the stations, and will generally leave existing personnel and broadcast lineups in place." But – "one possible exception is KCMD (970AM) , he said, which lags the others in reach."

To many readers of this blog, the only show of significance on the station is Miller's. What changes will be made at the station (if there are any) have yet to be determined.

L.A.'s KFWB goes talk

After four decades, CBS is scaling down the all-news fare at KFWB, as they add syndicated talk programming to the lineup. The new roster will be built around two Lauras - Dr. Laura Schlessinger and Laura Ingraham. Local all-news programming will still be around in selected dayparts.

Ho-hum, you say. But the shakeup of a longtime all-news pioneer is a telling sign of the current state of radio. Syndicated talk is much cheaper than live-and-local all-news programming, especially when the same company owns another local station, KNX, carrying the same format (though KFWB has, in typical L.A. fashion, differentiated itself with a more entertainment industry-heavy focus). One wonders what this could mean for other stations carrying the extremely expensive all-news format. CBS, for example, has a similar situation in New York, where both WCBS and WINS do the format, albeit with very high ratings.

Interview with Montel

Shelly from Air America chimes in with a link to an interview of mid-morning host Montel Williams. It comes from Inside Radio, and you can find it (in PDF format) here.

They just never learn, do they?

A week after some dim-bulb right-wing jock threatened the president, the Secret Service is investigating another on-air threat, this time from an Uncle Fester-lookalike FM morning guy named 'Spaz'. Here's the scoop:

A Boston radio host was interviewed by the Secret Service after he made a threatening comment about President Barack Obama while talking about national health care, the Boston Herald reported Saturday.

Anthony Parziale, a co-host on the WAAF "Hill-Man Morning Show," plans to write a letter to Obama to apologize for his remarks, George Regan, a station spokesman said.

"He plays a tough-guy role on the show. He regretted what he said," Regan said. "It wasn’t meant to be said in that context."

Robert Buster, assistant special agent in charge of the Secret Service’s Boston office, confirmed they interviewed Parziale, but declined to elaborate. "It’s an ongoing investigation," Buster told the newspaper.

'Spaz' says he intends to write a letter of apology to the president, and also wants to invite him over for a beer.

No more albums for Radiohead?

Going off-topic for this one, but the music of one of today's greatest bands helps fuel the content that you read here on this very blog. If you've never heard Radiohead, you're missing out. Simply amazing band.

But leader Thom Yorke says that the band is currently exploring the short-form online concept, intending to release singles and EPs, rather than full albums like last year's excellent In Rainbows (initially released sans record label as a 'name your price' download.

Radiohead have no plans to release another album, Thom Yorke has revealed. Long-playing records, it seems, have "just become a real drag".

Yorke's comments emerge just days after his band released a download-only single, in tribute to first world war veteran Harry Patch. This model of instantly available singles and quick EPs is the way that Radiohead now wish to proceed, Yorke told the Believer magazine.

"None of us want to go into that creative hoo-ha of a long-play record again," he said. "Not straight off ... It worked with In Rainbows because we had a real fixed idea about where we were going. But we've all said that we can't possibly dive into that again. It'll kill us."

The problem isn't the format – "obviously, there's still something great about the album," Yorke said – but with the scale and consistency of vision that is required. "In Rainbows was a particular aesthetic and I can't bear the idea of doing that again. Not that it's not good, I just can't ... bear ... that."

BTW - For music aficionados who haven't taken the Radiohead plunge yet (and shame on you if you haven't), I would suggest starting with their best, Kid A or In Rainbows, both representative of their most solid work. The esoteric critical fave OK Computer would be a nice one to hear after that, and then perhaps delve into some of their earlier guitar-oriented fare. After awhile, you could seek out the less-known stuff, such as their EP releases, live recordings and even Yorke's solo album. Radiohead is certainly an acquired taste for some, but if you appreciate a great modern cutting-edge band (even music legend Paul McCartney cites them as the most innovative group out there today), then you're in for a listening treat.

Jay Marvin recuperating

Finally, best wishes go out to veteran talker and KKZN/Denver morning man Jay Marvin, who underwent back surgery Monday in Galloway, NJ.

Marvin underwent the surgery to address the spinal infection that has kept him off the air since March.

Even if everything goes as planned, Jay has a long road ahead of him before he can consider returning to the studio. Still, Mary says he's as positive as he can be under the circumstances. "I think he's anxious about the surgery, but his spirits are pretty good," she notes. "He's had a long time to think about everything, and he's eager to get started."

Likewise, (his wife) Mary adds, "He's very grateful to everybody for all the cards and the good wishes he's gotten. They've helped keep his spirits up as much as anything."

Again, best wishes.

Friday, August 07, 2009

The working vacation (can't afford the ranch)

Yeah, I know you're hating me right about now. I admit it, I've been slacking. Hey, like I said last week, it's summertime. Hey, our last President used to take the whole month of August off, and the only thing he missed was a memo claiming that terrorists were looking to hijack passenger jets and fly them into buildings. That's not all bad, is it?

Truth is, the real world has been keeping me busy. I find myself in the interesting position of looking for a new job (as the current one is going absolutely nowhere but backward). So, I've been pounding the pavement (and the web - neat how I can save the gas and just spread my resume with a few moves of the mouse). Should have something happening by next week. Wish me luck. Hopefully the economy will cooperate.

But you've been screaming for it, so here I am, back from the ranch and my 'working vacation'.

Here's the happs:

Maron keeping busy

Air America's "Break Room Live" webcast may have been cancelled, but co-host Marc Maron isn't picking at his wounds. As always, his standup comedy career is keeping him busy. In addition, fans will be happy to know that he will launch his own podcast in the near future.

Here's what he says in his most recent e-newsletter:

Thanks for the outpouring of email and support after the third firing from Air America. I knew it was coming. I was grateful for the gig. We did a lot of great stuff in the Breakroom. You can still see it all for as long as they keep the site up.

I'm sad they canceled the internet show. As hard as it was to be part of Air America's long slow spiral into irrelevance after the show cancellation I offered to do a radio show and they wouldn't have it. The place had such promise and vision once. I really thought it might be coming back. I guess we'll see. I wish them the best of luck.

Things are much better out here in the world of real show biz. I feel lighter, more free and fucking funnier. These feelings should last right up until the money runs out. Then I'll get really REALLY fucking funny. Just got back from Montreal Just for Laughs Comedy Festival. It was great.

I'm in talks with a producer to run Scorching the Earth Off Broadway for an extended run. The show is tight now and packs punch to the soul.

Soon I will have a podcast up on a regular basis. I am putting together the ideas and figuring out the best way to do it so stay tuned for that.

Jacksonville libtalk shuffles... again

Keeping up with Radio Free Jacksonville and their endless frequency dances is akin to the U.S. government trying to track the movements of Osama Bin Laden. It can be quite confusing. Or maybe I'm just not looking hard enough.

Nonetheless, Andy Johnson has done some frequency shuffling once again. As it stands now, Johnson's liberal talk programming can now be found on WJSJ (105.3FM), minus the leased-time sports programming, which will continue airing on WJXL (1010XL) and now on WFJO, which formerly carried Johnson's programming, north of Jacksonville.

Radio Free Jacksonville also formerly simulcast on WSJF in St. Augustine Beach and WHJX Baldwin.

WZAA to carry the Ravens

Air America's Washington, DC outlet WZAA (1050AM) has inked a deal with the Baltimore Ravens to be the exclusive D.C. affiliate for the team's broadcasts.

"I’m thrilled to enter into this partnership with one of the area’s most successful sports franchises. This is a terrific opportunity to reach Ravens’ fans in the D.C. area,” said Marty Sheehan, WZAA station manager. “To be able to partner with one of the premiere brands in the NFL is exciting for our listeners, advertisers and talent.”

Granted, D.C. is not the Raven's home turf. And the local Redskins pretty much rule the roost there (owner Dan Snyder is the owner of the former progressive talker in town, WWRC, and airs his team via his local stations). But with Baltimore so close, there are no doubt a few Ravens fans in the area.

Rose to be simulcast on radio

If you're a radio listener seeking out some newsy non-wingnut fare, you now have another option. Bloomberg Radio will air the audio of Charlie Rose's nightly PBS interview show as part of a new multi-platform deal between the network and the show. Bloomberg Television has acquired the rights to air the show in a "next-day international edition" with additional material the day following its initial airing on PBS, and Bloomberg Radio will also air the audio portion of the show weeknights. The deal also includes web and mobile aspects. The show is produced at PBS affiliate WNET-TV in New York.

"For the past 18 years, our program has been dedicated to the idea of good conversation across the spectrum of human curiosity. We now make it a true global conversation. Along the way, Thirteen/WNET, PBS,, Bloomberg, supportive underwriters and a dedicated staff have enabled us to reach for a true global dialogue that defines who we are and where we are. This new partnership with Bloomberg Television is a unique and powerful opportunity to introduce to a new audience the ideas, actions and people that shape our destiny. I could not be more appreciative and excited," said Rose.

"Charlie Rose is a rare fellow in the television business. He is a remarkable interviewer and tremendous journalist, and his show is 'a must see' for thought leaders and the most influential audience in the U.S.," said Bloomberg CEO of Multimedia Andy Lack. "Now Charlie's nightly program is destined to become a worldwide brand."

Again, it's not a liberal show by any means, but if you like solid interviews and thoughtful conversation, Rose is a good bet.

They hate us for our freedom

There are many unhinged tighty-righties out there still bitter about losing the election. The radio pundits are the most ridiculous, doing all they can to topple President Obama, even if it means taking the country down with it. Why do these guys hate America?

And we all knew one thing was bound to happen. Some talk radio geek loses his shit and actually threatens the Commander in Chief. Whoops!

Turns out Bob Haa, who works for WWJB in Brooksville, Florida, got a visit from the Secret Service after listeners claimed that they heard him threaten President Obama. According to WTVT (TV) (FOX 13) in Tampa, Haa told a caller who was target practicing to "save your ammunition, don't be wasting it on a target, use it on the Administration." Haa denies the conversation went that way, and the station is backing him in the matter, while cooperating with the Secret Service.

Here's more from the St. Pete Times:

Haa, conservative host of the "Haa Wire" show on WWJB-AM 1450 in Brooksville, became the subject of an investigation after authorities were alerted to complaints that incendiary comments were made on the show.

"We're looking into what was allegedly said," said John Joyce, special agent in charge of the Secret Service's field office in Tampa. "We have yet to determine what was actually said that day."


Talk about the investigation started Friday, when Hernando County administration staffer JoJo DiViccaro started receiving calls about 10:15 a.m. complaining that Haa was making threats and racist comments about President Barack Obama.


Haa also confirmed Monday that he had spoken with the Secret Service, calling the investigation a "waste of time." The topic of discussion on Friday was health care, Haa said, and not Obama.

"There's one fruitcake in town out there trying to start all these rumors," he said. "I would never stand for anyone threatening the president. We do not have that kind of edgy talk on there."

Haa has previously faced accusations of using threatening rhetoric and promoting violence on his show. The Hernando County Sheriff's Office investigated Haa in 2001 after he was accused of trying to incite his audience to "act violently" against the County Commission. But the case was closed when investigators were unable to produce information proving those claims.

So, if spreading lies, innuendo, racist commentary and untruths isn't enough, now they're calling for armed insurrection against the government.

And they call us traitors. Sheesh!

Right-wing station can't afford employee health care coverage

This one is from a couple weeks ago, but I finally have the motivation to say something about it.

Listeners of right-wing talk radio have been hearing a lot of nonsense from assorted pundits and talking heads as of late about our Democratically-controlled government. Most ridiculous of all, aside from the 'Obama birth certificate conspiracy' nuts, is the ongoing debate about the current movement by the Obama Administration and Congress to reform our mess of a health care system.

Much of it comes across as ridiculous, ill-informed and just plain false. Thanks to them, many of their listeners don't even realize that Medicare is actually run by the government! Essentially, people that take the word of the Limbaughs, Hannitys and Becks of the world are heeding the 'gospel' of ridiculously-rich glorified disc jockeys with amazing health care plans who would rather stick up for corrupt medical and pharmaceutical corporations at the expense of the average American, as if paying $100 for a pill is merely proof that the market is effective. That's pretty sick.

And one small station in West Palm Beach, Florida, who's owner and hosts have been rallying against the so-called "ObamaCare", has all of a sudden found itself being unable to afford health care coverage. That's also sick.

Here's more from Page 2 Live (bold comments by me):

The good folks who work at radio stations WFTL (640 and 850AM) — including well-known on-air personalities like anti-immigration afternoon talker Joyce Kaufman... recently found out they’ve had no health insurance for nearly two months.
The stations’ owner, James Crystal Radio, just didn’t pay their premiums, according
to this internal memo.


“One of us tried to fill out a prescription and was told none of us had coverage,” an insider said.
About 30 employees work for Crystal, which is owned by the legendary radio mogul James Hilliard.


“We’re hitting a wall, like most in the media,” Hilliard said, “but employees will get their benefit back when the check clears. It’s been tough. Some years, the insurance premiums go up by 40 percent while the advertising revenues in radio keep going down. For employees who are paid lower salaries, the premiums equal their salaries. I’m a small business owner and most small business owners in this country are having the same problems.

“I do believe that health insurance is the single most important thing a company owner can do for his employees. But there may be a time when we can’t afford it.”

Still, Hilliard says the country doesn’t need Obama health.

“That would make health care even more expensive,” he said. “And those fines to people who don’t have health care? The government would make everything worse.”

You can insert your own jokes here. Or better yet, if you still believe guys like Hilliard, bogged down by misinformation, perhaps it's time to actually read up on the facts, rather than hear it filtered through loudmouth shock jocks pushing nonsense agendas. For those who'd like to get a completely opposite side of the story, may I suggest Michael Moore's astonishing film Sicko?

And if people like Hilliard is pissing and moaning about the cost of health care, perhaps it's time he advocate a solution. After all, the status quo isn't doing anything for him.

Finally, if Hilliard is still deducting health care from his employees' paychecks, while stiffing them on coverage, perhaps it's time the people who work for him can take matters into their own hands.

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