23 February 2009

On Second Thought Radio

On Second Thought Radio Network - The Home of Mike Malloy, Nancy Skinner, and Dr. Mike Newcomb

It is with great excitement and optimism that I announce today the formation of a new progressive talk radio network. The On Second Thought Radio Network will continue to build upon the foundation laid by our predecessors and will work dilligently to fulfill our fiduciary responsibilities to all investors and principals involved. Equally important, we will, with the millions of faithful progressive listeners across the country, uphold our vision to promote freedom, social justice, economic justice and peace worldwide.

Nova M Radio is kaput – and so is its $2.25 million deal to buy Phoenix AM KNUV (1190)

31 December 2008

State of Talk Radio in the Valley 2008

The time I spend listening to local broadcasts keeps diminishing to the point where this may be the final annual roundup I produce. Between podcasts and an iPhone/iPod application that allows me to tap into radio streams around the world from a pocket device, the banality of local radio shrinks in the rear view mirror.

Some 2008 developments:

And another thing — most of these radio websites are still hideous. Worse than not having any information is to clutter the net space with blinking ads and inaccurate, conflicting data. For instance, the Nova M site(s) are awful, with popups about expired certificates, then the 1190 site not showing Newcomb’s show on the schedule. And the page that I have linked below, shows one time on the schedule, but a different time on Newcomb’s page entry (did not adjust for the DST change). Even the pages for the big time stations KFYI and KTAR are bereft of information about the various hosts. This all is reflected in search engine queries too, for it’s more difficult than it should to locate a show’s web home.

But, let’s visit the 2008 rankings.

  1. Mike Newcomb (Nova M 1190 AM, M-F 4-6 pm) - Mike Newcomb returns to the airwaves after he was uncerermoniously dumped in 2007. Newcomb takes the slot of the Jeff Farias, who lost out in an internal KPHX struggle a few months back. The time off seems to have had a positive effect on Newcomb’s manner, as his program is far and above the best in the market. I like the provocative style and the focus on the callers tackling the host’s questions. My only qualm with the show would be the repeated use of phrases like “in any case” or “let me ask you this”.

  2. Jay Lawrence (KTAR 92.3 FM, SAT-SUN 7-10 pm) — Jay was the first talk host I heard when I moved to Phoenix back in 1990. It’s nearly 20 years later and he’s still broadcasting on KTAR in the same weekend slot. While it’s relegated to weekends, Jay’s show is of quality far above the Monday through Friday fare offered up by KTAR. Where conversation is actually conducted instead of the sensationalist rubbish the rest of the week.

  3. Andrew Tallman Show (KPXQ 1360 AM, M-F 5-7 pm) — As I’ve written about previously, the Andrew Tallman Show at times, is my favorite radio program, but I have to downgrade it for the ridiculous “Wacky Wednesday” program format. Also, reading verbatim from a book (part of the “Theological Tuesday” theme) more than a few verses (even if it is the bible) is just not good radio.

  4. Barry Young (KFYI 550 AM, M-F 8-10 am) - As customary the past few years, I will outsource my report of the Barry Young show, this time to a post on radio-info.com. I caught about a minute of their election special with Barry Young and some unpleasant-sounding hag with a speech impediment who pronounced all of her s’s as sh’s. I mean, she sounded as bad as Ann Landers! It was so bad I began wondering who this Larson woman is and why, with such an obvious lack of broadcasting ability, she’s even on the air. She seemed to know a lot about Arizona politics and sounded like some old local republican operative—is she an ex politician like Hayworth and on the air for her star power or something? Or was she a good broadcaster once until something tragic happened like a stroke or west nile virus and they just keep her around out of loyalty? Basically just wondering who she is and why she’s on the radio… Well, that’s really harsh, and not really about Barry, but his bourgeois companion. I feel the same way about the sound effect, but the retirement loves them their Barry…

  5. Darrel Ankarlo (KTAR 92.3 FM, M-F 8:30-12 noon) - Ankarlo, since his arrival in Phoenix, wasted no time sucking up the Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Recently, he allied with Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas to slurp at the public money trough to promote his book.

  6. Joe Crummey (KTAR 92.3 FM, M-F 7-10 pm)KTAR Program Director lashes out at rival station for their “local” program where the host actually resides in California. Fast forward some months later, KTAR hires said fraud for the same nightly “local” talk program. Crummey blessed with a marvelous radio voice, uses it to spin RNC talking points in his own manner. And lately, he’s taken the station group dive into the “if it bleeds, it leads” mantra.

  7. Bruce Jacobs (KFYI 550 AM, 5-8 am) — Earlier this year, Bruce took some heat for his verbal attack on police officer widow Julie Erfle. Bruce strives to be “Hannity lite”, but he’d be more suited to sports talk, where he could share his informed analysis, as opposed to his ignorant, lack of historical context rantings.

  8. J.D. Hayworth (KFYI 550 AM, M-F 4-7 pm) — Hayworth has his supporters, and his self-righteous shtick strikes them well. He comes across bitter and resentful to me, however.

  9. Larry Gaydos/Mac Watson (KTAR 92.3 FM, M-F 3-7 pm) — KTAR took two annoying obnoxious shrill voiced hosts and them paired them together. Now they can blather over eachother in their ignorance. Bruce Jacobs already has the Archie Bunker bit nailed down.

If I’ve neglected to include a local show, please let me know and I’ll be happy to give a listen. I must confess that I am not paying close enough attention to local radio doings, as podcasts and net streams have largely supplanted my local radio listening.

Here are my roundups from past years:

12 October 2008

Bloodbath at Nova M/KPHX

Reported on radio-info.com forum boards
Apparently, Nova M owners Shelly & Anita Drobny have fired CEO John Manzo, program director/afternoon drive host Jeff Farias, sales director Kim Macias and webmaster Billy Foster. Manzo has been hired by Randi Rhodes for her show's independent production team; it looks as if Nova M is claiming that Farias left to pursue another offer made to him and Foster quit in protest, but Farias is himself claiming they were all fired. Leonard Clark, a one-time commentator on Farias' show, has put up a website, http://www.bringjeffback.com/, in support of Farias' side in the situation...

...and, strangely, the new CEO at the "liberal" Nova M is Art Mobley, who was quoted by UPI at a few months ago as a John McCain ally (shades of Evan Cohen)...

I wondered how long Jeff Farias would get to enjoy his post after the sudden shakeup in 2007 that estranged popular liberal talk host Mike Necomb from Valley airwaves

I detest most all of the Air America network programming — it's as shrill and hateful as all the bellicose right wing talkers everywhere else on the dial. It adds nothing to the debate except more divisive namecalling and belittling of those who don't agree with the host's viewpoints. The only exceptions are Thom Hartman and Jeff's show, though Jeff mimicked a good bit of the angry conservative talk guy MO. However, Jeff is the sole voice (local talent) on the dial compared to the gushing flood of neocon and right wing voices.

16 April 2008

Yes, Ankarlo sucks

ASU Bans KTAR on Buses.

So now, KTAR is milking the incident for all its worth, attempting to elevate their right wing hate mongering KFYI wannabe status to Valley leader in that stale, overplayed radio genre.

20 February 2008

Charles Goyette Interview with David Ray Griffin

Audio of KFNX Charles Goyette radio interview with prominent 9/11 Truth Movement author David Ray Griffin.

Download/Listen to Goyette/Griffin/caller conversation

31 December 2007

State of Talk Radio in the Valley 2007

I admit, it's a struggle to compose this annual roundup. I love radio, but podcasts on my iPod have supplanted much of my allotted news/talk listen time. Still, I've managed to cobble together another appraisal of Phoenix talk radio offerings. Every year that I've logged this account, the state of talk radio in the Phoenix market has deteriorated. And 2007 is no exception.

2007 ushered in the big KTAR AM/FM split, with 620 AM now devoted to sports and 92.3 FM the home of news/talk. Yes, "it just sounds better" on FM, but the lords of KTAR programming seem to have neglected the content factor. Worse, KTAR seems to be engaged in a deep identity crisis, at least from the vantage point of their proclamations:

  • First championing "live and local" as their trademark, but then dumping that notion for delayed syndicated fare, and bringing "local" hosts in from other parts of the country who themselves are self-proclaimed host-a-likes for the syndicated Glenn Beck.
  • KTAR programmer Russ Hill decries the attention to politics on talk shows, but the station now is even more political than it's competitor that it is falling behind in the ratings, KFYI.
  • KTAR boasted via on-air promotional bits how they are "not Republicans or Democrats", yet their programming is nothing but rabid right wingers.
  • Blasting the rival station for airing a "local" show that's not really local (Joe Crummey, who was replaced by J.D. Hayworth, broadcasted his Phoenix talk show from California), yet turns around and hires Crummey for their own station.

Seriously, KTAR has swayed on these and other matters, sometimes in a span as small as weeks. But contrary to these announcements, it does appear that KTAR does have an identity and it's in the mold of Glenn Beck and wannabe imitators.

Up and down the dial, on the other talk stations, things are pretty much as they were a year ago:

  • Joe Crummey, after the uproar over his local deception, was replaced by former Arizona congressman J.D. Hayworth.
  • KFYI axed its nightly "wheel of hosts" format for the hate spew of Michael Savage.
  • KFNX continues its spate of colon blow and gold hawking shows, sans Charles Goyette in morning drive time.
  • Long time Phoenix radio legend John Dayl passed away.
  • On KKNT 960 AM, Liddy and Hill ended their on-air marriage.
  • Legendary Pat McMahon exits, again, from daytime KTAR radio.

Across the net, in blog posts and forum threads, I read a chorus of complaints about the stale state of the genre, and a never ceasing stream of queries on what new trends or rising stars can save talk radio from the sorrowful morass it has become. But it's not a perplexing puzzle at all — there is a tried and true formula that could easily restore the medium. It goes like this:

  1. An intelligent host lines up representative or experts from both sides of an issue (i.e., immigration, Iraq War, school vouchers, etc.…). It doesn't have to be always "political", but nothing stirs the soup like a heated political debate. But topics could easily extend to lighter fare, any subject where there exists a sizable listener interest.
  2. Host lobs a set of questions at each of the issue opponents. No way does the host have to be neutral, but he or she most certainly should conduct the interview in an objective manner. Nothing wrong with an opinionated narrator with their own slants and takes, but they must accommodate criticism and feedback for their adopted planks.
  3. Open up guest questioning to callers, and grant them a crack at addressing the declarations and points made and/or not made by the experts (or representatives). The dialogue and tone needs to be respectful, but the host shouldn't serve as public relations handler either.
  4. On a weekly or monthly basis, feature a special forum staffed by the most colorful and erudite callers, and let them have a chance to go mano to mano against each other and even enable other callers to challenge them.
  5. Incorporate an online presence for the radio show that serves as an extension or addendum, allowing devoted listeners denied the opportunity to call in and have their say. Or set up virtual buckets for show topic suggestions. Maybe voting on best guest of the week, or best call of the day.

While this model of conducting a radio talk show has disappeared from the airwaves, it has surfaced in the form of podcasts, albeit without much in the caller participation aspect (though with technology advances, that may soon change).

Regardless, the same old approach that's rolled out — put on an obnoxious host that just uses callers to as a prop for a diatribe — has become so tired and stale, and continues to chase listeners away. Yes, it worked for Rush Limbaugh, and for that exact age, may have been a marvelous strategy for a select number of programs. But it's a new age, and time for change, or at least a return to producing intelligent shows, without name calling and riled up, angry, frothing at the mouth listeners.

At any rate, off to the roundup:
» read more

20 November 2007

Bill Straus on KTAR Again…

… Friday morning, Nov. 23rd, from 8:30am-noon on KTAR FM (92.3).
I’m sending this to a whole lot of folks whom I felt would be interested. I was invited to sit in this Friday morning, Nov. 23rd, from 8:30am-noon on KTAR FM (92.3), and I simply couldn’t turn down the opportunity. Should be a lot of fun.

Definitely, make a point of tuning in to the legendary Phoenix radio host…