Reason and Jest
by Scott Lazarowitz: I
Fear the Government and the Obedient Sheeple, More Than I Fear Guns
that one of Boston’s two commercial all-talk radio stations
is being closed down and replaced by another music station. WTKK
96.9 FM, “NewsTalk Ninety-Six Nine,” will cease
to be, tomorrow. Last August, Boston’s until-then third
all-talk radio station, “Talk 1200,” also ceased to
be, and became an all-comedy radio station. The joke’s on
us talk radio listeners, though. Now we’re down to just WRKO,
which has local hosts Jeffrey Kuhner and Howie Carr, and syndicated
hosts Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin, for commercial talk radio. But
public radio stations WBUR and WGBH are heavy in news and talk,
and provide a needed alternative.
I am not surprised
with WTKK’s expiring, given the decline in talk radio in general
over the last 20 years, and the decline in our culture that used
to appreciate a diversity in points of view. But nowadays, the Left,
which controls the government education system, doesn’t even
want to consider or hear other points of views, and the neocons,
who mainly have ruled over talk radio since the early 1990s, also
don’t want to hear other points of view, as both sides remain
ignorant and closed-minded.
So now, only
a small portion of the population listens to talk radio, because
it’s no longer very informative or entertaining, and only
a small portion listens to NPR or watches TV news or cable talk/news.
Mostly people turn on the radio to hear the crappy music that is
now offered, and watch boring crap on TV. America is now a nation
of unthinking, texting zombies, who vote for corrupt political sleazebags
like Barack Obama and Willard Romney, and show contempt for truth-tellers
such as Ron Paul.
been a talk radio junkie since the 1970s, beginning with Mike Miller
on WTIC in Hartford, Bernard Meltzer and Arlene Francis on WOR and
Larry Glick on WBZ. Larry Glick took calls from people in many different
states, as WBZ’s reach is quite wide, and Glick talked about
the “light” topics and was very funny. Arlene Francis
had a wider variety, discussing political issues as well as interviewing
celebrities. While Meltzer didn’t discuss politics —
his was sort of an advice show — he nevertheless cracked me
up with his addressing the callers as “honey,” and “sweetheart.”
Today he would be called a “sexist” for that. And Pegeen
Fitzgerald and her husband Edward were also on WOR, broadcasting
from their apartment that also included sounds of the cleaning lady
vacuuming in the background, and their gossiping about the neighbors
and bickering. What fun they were, the Fitzgeralds.
But it was
really Jerry Williams who got me much more interested in the issues
and current events. His show on WRKO during the 1980s was #1 in
Boston radio for several years, as were most of the other shows
on WRKO. Here is the website
devoted to Jerry Williams, who died in 2003.
background was in theater and acting, and he had an extremely diverse
palette of interests of his to discuss. He interviewed many people
from politics and show biz, and the arts and sciences. I don’t
think there has been a talk radio talent as good as Jerry Williams.
He was an old-fashioned, pro-union, pro-choice “liberal,”
who became more populist in the later years of his show, thanks
to the corruption of Gov. Michael Dukakis, the New Braintree prison
deal, and the rise in tax-thefts in Massachusetts. Starting in 1994,
Williams gradually reduced his hours on WRKO, and then fully retired
in 1998. He made a brief comeback in December 2002 on WROL in Boston,
and then, prior to his death in April 2003, had a “last hurrah”
on WRKO on March 1st, 2003.
I kind of hadn’t
been as enthusiastic in listening to Jerry Williams maybe starting
in the early 1990s, as he seemed to have become obsessed with the
seat-belt law and repealing it, and his discussions of the state
political “hacks” were endless. In other words, he was
becoming a little boring.
And with WRKO’s
decline starting around 20 years ago, I would say that the decline
of talk radio in general started around then, too. The cultural
decline since the early ’90s is related to that. The 1980s
gave us Iran-Contra and the Nazi-wannabe Oliver North plotting his
future police state, and then the Cold War came to a close. So with
those things then-President George H.W. Bush started his war on
Iraq to keep the military-industrial-congressional-security-complex
going. But no one seemed to question any of that. Bush managed to
whine his way to the UN to get that collection of dictators,
war criminals, misfits and degenerates to go along with Bush’s
Iraq. But thanks to the decline in education in America, the decline
in critical thinking, and the increase in State-worship authoritarianism,
the American people didn’t question the propaganda.
Since the 1990s,
talk radio has been dominated by the neocons. Rush Limbaugh really
became popular thanks to Bill Clinton, the Left’s own Teflon
President. And now, when you listen to the average talk radio program,
you will hear the host spending long segments talking just by himself,
and when they finally do take calls, usually it is fellow neocons
agreeing with one another and patting themselves on the back in
blindly supporting the military and the “war on terror,”
and hating Muslims and immigrants. Basically that’s it now.
No wonder their ratings continue to decline.
But if you
compare the average hour of talk radio now with discussions that
talk radio hosts had during the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s,
you’ll hear a big difference, not just in the diversity of
points of view and the talk hosts’ allowing that diversity,
but the quality of conversations was much higher then than it is
now. For example, you can hear Jerry Williams’s 1965
WBBM interview of well-known atheist Madeline Murray O’Hare
(before the O’Hare), who discussed the Supreme Court’s
ruling on prayer in public schools and how she had been beaten by
the police (interviews are at the end of that linked post).
Or you can
Williams interviewing John McLaughlin on WBZ (who later hosted
the “McLaughlin Group” on TV) in 1974 while McLaughlin
was still a Jesuit priest and working as a Nixon Administration
flunky. I think that link is the second hour of the discussion,
which is provided by the JerryWilliams.org website. Here
is the following hour. (Links open a new media player window.)
And here is
Jerry Williams interview of then-Democrat Presidential nominee George
McGovern. I don’t think they took calls from listeners,
but it is an interesting discussion.
And here is
Jerry Williams’s 1967
discussion of Jack Ruby’s death and the Warren Commission,
And here is
a 1970 interview by Jerry Williams of controversial investment advisor
Richard Ney, here
And here is
audio clip from the early 1970s with Jerry Williams taking a
call from a frustrated Marine, who stated that we the people needed
to take our country back from the liars who rule over us. Not much
has changed since 40 years ago, I’m afraid.
There are some
clips from WRKO provided on the JerryWilliams.org website, but they
do not seem to be as good as all the shows I remember hearing on
WRKO throughout the 1980s.
been plenty of times that I have turned on the radio, wishing that
Jerry Williams was still on, because on WRKO at that afternoon hour
is Howie Carr, who replaced Jerry Williams in 1994. Howie Carr is
still on! Some people had already been predicting that
WRKO is also on its way to changing formats, as its ratings have
also been very poor. Oh well, “Entercom happens,” as
Carr would say.
Now, WBZ is
considered an “all-news” station, and has good ratings.
But from 8 PM until 5 AM they do have talk shows. I suppose former
WBZ-TV reporter Dan Rea is okay as the evening WBZ talk
host, but you can only hear the Registrar of Motor Vehicles so many
times, you know. (It seems every time I tune in, he has the Registrar
of Motor Vehicle on.)
WBZ’s evening talk hosts, Rea replaced the funny and politically-observant
Paul Sullivan, who died in 2007 at the age of only 50, and Paul
Sullivan replaced the libertarian intellectual David Brudnoy, who
died in 2004 at the age of only 64. And even Brudnoy had replaced
Lou Marcel, who died at an even younger age. (Hmmm. Could
there be something wrong there at the WBZ studios? Also, WBZ radio
news anchor Darrell Gould died in 1996 at age 56.)
But early deaths
do not seem to be reserved for WBZ, as WRKO talk host Andy Moes
died at only age 50 back in 2001. Perhaps there’s something
going on with radio electronics or radio waves etc., I don’t
know. However, some talk radio hosts still seem to have very good
endurance, regardless of what might be going on in those radio studios.
Howie Carr, 60, continues on WRKO for 18 years despite the health
issues he’s had, and Rush Limbaugh, almost 62, continues his
syndicated show of 24 years despite his health issues.
And Jerry Williams
was a talk radio host from 1957 until 1998. Now that’s endurance.
But how much longer will talk radio itself last, as long as we have
a country lacking in critical thinking, and a population of zombies
who constantly hold and stare at their cell phones like a second
But there still
seems to be hope for us, and for talk radio. Despite the neocons
and progressives and the biased
news media‘s attempts at suppressing
Ron Paul’s message of freedom
and peace this past year, those ideas have been making their
way back into talk radio. Investment and monetary analyst Peter
Schiff has his
new show which is live 10 AM-Noon Eastern, and can be heard
on several radio stations (although quite a few of those stations
air only the rebroadcast of the show on weekends).
Woods fills in for Schiff quite a lot. Now, Woods is the one,
in my opinion, who has the kind of communications and conversational
talent and abilities to carry on a great talk radio show. If we
can just get the Left-progressives and neocons to try to open their
minds a little more to the moral principles of individual rights
and non-aggression, and get them to step back and see that the State
is not really what it and its handlers present it to be, then maybe
Woods and others can rejuvenate the talk radio medium, and make
it better again.
And if we can
only get the zombies all across America to put down those damn cell
Lazarowitz [send him
mail] is a writer and cartoonist, visit his
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