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:


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