Monday, February 18, 2013

Where's My KYNS?

Calhoun's Cannons for Feb 18, 2013

Woa.  Here today, gone tomorrow.  One day I'm listening to our county's only progressive talk radio, KYNS, 1340 AM, and the next day, instead of Ed Schultz or Tom Hartman, up pops HEADLINENEWSALLTHENEWSMORENEWS!NEW!NEWS!EVENMORENEWSHEADLINES! rat-a-tat-tat being shouted with crashy bangs and blurts of music designed, I presume, to keep a drowsy driver awake by goosing him every few seconds with blasts of noise. "News" out of context, mostly drivel, pretending to be just-the-facts, but if you listen carefully to the often inane questions the two "hosts" ask of their various brief "guests," you'll get a whiff of Fox-y "news" spin, not just in the questions asked but in the follow-up questions NOT asked.

I looked at my car radio in shock and said, What the hell? Bill Benica's show did come on at noon, as usual, but there followed the creepily amazing Roy Masters, host of "Advice Line," billed as America's first conservative talk radio host.  With his cheesy fake-sounding quasi-British accent, he "counseled" various hapless, clueless callers by spouting some weird amalgam of Come to Jesus/Salvation/Zen Meditation gobblygook.  And when it was clear the caller was having trouble understanding what in the hell this guy was getting at, he would insult them and tell them they knew nothing, were hopeless and to go away.

At first I thought Roy and his "Advice Line" show was a  SNL parody with Christopher Walken playing the addled, phony guru.  But, no.  According to Roy's website, he's been at this for years, though you'd never, know it.  If you want a perfect example of the term, "blither," as in "This man is a blithering idiot," tune in Roy.  Of course, there's other possibilities than mere "blithering;"  ADD/ADH?  Senile? I challenge anyone to listen to the show and tell me just what he's peddling because it sure isn't helping the hapless. Confusing the confused, maybe, but "helping?"  Oh, dear me no.

On the other hand, if laughter is the best medicine, then Roy's your guy.

Which is more than I can say for one of the weirdest shows on the station -- the Treasure Ivan Show which consists of odd 60+ year-old kiddie songs/music from old radio/ TV programs that appears on Saturday and Sunday morning.  The program and its hyper-cheery host is the kind of offering that causes mothers to draw their kids close and say, "Pay no attention to that man," while hustling them out the door as fast as possible. Which raises the question: Who is that show aimed at?  I can't imagine any kid being interested in re-runs of Howdy-Doody, and if the show's aimed at nostalgic baby-boomers, what kind of old geek would spend an hour or two listening to obscure old kiddie radio shows?  Except the creepy "Uncle" your mother warned you about?

Local Tribune reporter, Bob Cuddy wrote a column on the KYNS changes and noted that the station management did not return his calls, so to date nobody knows why they changed formats.  Loss of advertisers? Poor ratings?  Cuddy did quot advertiser Michael Morin of Morin Brothers Automotive who said a station salesperson told him "KYNS was shooting for a more affluent audience."

Affluent audience? As in "highly educated, affluent?"  Blithering Roy?  Creepy Treasure Ivan?  Really?

The Tribune's website does offer a possible key to the interesting "problem" of AM radio going all Rush Limbaugh/conservative, even in our county, which is over half-full of highly educated, latte-sipping, tree-hugging progressives: demographics.  Talk AM radio is primarily conservative in content across the country.  Why?  Well, Limbaugh and his ilk's primary listeners are mostly older, blue-collar males (i.e. NOT the highly educated or affluent). The young, the educated, the affluent don't listen to AM radio.  They get/buy their information/entertainment on smart phones, Sirius radio, or streaming or podcasts.  Or as one on-line commenter so aptly put it, "Who cares if conservative talk radio is the only gig in town.  Their audience is old fogies listening to their AM/FMs with antennas."

Can't you feel the sneering "eeeuuuuuu" that should go before the word "antennas?," 

So, there you are.  If your listeners are old (poor) fogies with antennas, you won't get the high-end advertisers hoping to sell high-end things to highly educated/wealthy listeners.  And without a good chunk of money you can't buy quality (progressive) programing.  You end up with Blithering Roy. Or Rush Limbaugh/Glen Beck whose ratings numbers are dwindling as their listeners die off, fearfully clutching their antennas, awash in a rising multicultural tide. 

So another "progressive" AM station bites the dust, which means I'm back to playing musical chairs by bouncing to KVEC 920 very early in the morning for King Harris' local news, then tune in Bill Benica at noon for more local commentary, and to Dave Congalton's show for more local news and guests, but for the rest, it's our own public radio (which is doing "progressive" talk radio at noon and after).  And, on the weekends, considering the state of my garden and home, I never miss "Garden Compass" or the  "At Home" repair show. As for the in between, it's back to various FM stations, bouncing between the classic rock, country/western or classical. 

True, I'm an old foggie with an AM antenna, but my radio still comes with a "dial," so when a station offers stuff I don't want, I'm gone, baby, gone.



Ron said...

That's funny, Ann, that you picked up on that "old foggie" comment. I read that, too, and thought the same thing: Great comment!

Of course, hands down, the best radio station in the county (or just about anywhere, for that matter) is Cal Poly's own, KCPR. (How do those kids have such excellent taste in music? I hear old Black Sabbath -- with Ozzie! -- all the time, and it sounds great.)

They should put the Supes meetings on KCPR. I bet they could use that $20k.

Anne R. Allen said...

LOL Blithering Roy et al. I remember when I turned on the TV one night in the 1980s after coming in from a late night at the theater. I sat down to watch the hilarious skit on Saturday Night Live. Only it went on too long--way too long. Finally I realized this wasn't Saturday night. It was Sunday. And that wasn't a Saturday Night Live sketch--it was Jimmy Swaggart.

Sewertoons AKA Lynette Tornatzky said...

Hmmmm, maybe they are courting a buyout by right-wing Clear Channel?

"Almost all of Clear Channel's primary talk stations are affiliated with Fox News Radio for national news" Wikipedia

Sarah Moore said...

Having lived in Palm Beach Florida for several years, listening to the 97.9 WRMF has become a daily ritual for me. I start my day off with a healthy breakfast and tune in to 97.9. ’The WRMF Morning Show’ with Jennifer Ross, Deena Lang and Joe Raineri makes it the hottest show ever. Tune in today or stream online at

Churadogs said...

The issue of geezers with antennas does hi-lite there's yet another division in America: Old, poor Luddites with antennas vs young, rich techies, both of whom are getting entirely different information, speaking a different language, which means they end up living in entirely different "realities."

And we wonder why the country is so divided and has such a hard time both communicating and finding common ground.

Sandra Gore said...

If you've driven to Vegas a couple of times, you'll be familiar with the choices between hate radio talk show, Christian evangelicals and Hispanic music. Oy Vay!

Anonymous said...

Hey, Sandra, on the rare occasion when we have to drive to Vegas (we almost always fly) we take my car with SiriusXM radio. The one time we took my husband's vehicle was so demoralizing we just turned the damn radio off.

Churadogs said...

Anon: Yep, and another dividing line in our culture; people who can afford Sirius (and cable TV and internet streaming, etc.) and those who can't, which also creates separate worlds. Very interesting, the whole phenomenon.