It was nice to tune to WGN and actually hear an interview with MICHAEL FRANK, of Salon.com, who wrote, "What's the Matter With Kansas." Progressive! It is also encouraging that Tammy Duckworth will be heading the Chicago Memorial Day parade. Even though so much that has destroyed the world has come out of Chicago, it is still nice that there are progressive and liberal voices and activities there, including the WCPT radio network. But, Chicago has a kind of meat-head mentality when compared to people in Madison, generally speaking. But, not to let Madison off the hook, a lot of people there also have issues.
One good thing about my little wine parties is, besides removing me from two days of my beleaguered life, it makes me loose enough to call a radio talk show in the morning, or something. I called the Ed Schultz Show. Anybody hear me????
I tuned into the Ed Schultz Show today. Mike Rogers, of http://www.rawstory.com, was hosting. What did I hear?
Today is the LAST day of the Ed Schultz Radio Show!!!
Ed Schultz was once a conservative, back in Virginia, back when he thought that an interest in sports and hunting meant that one was a conservative. But he saw what hypocrites the Republicans were, and he switched. For about ten years, he has had a very prominent progressive radio talk show emanating from Fargo, and then from NYC. I don't always agree with him, but I usually do - strongly.
Back in 2011, Ed became intrigued with the Madison popular rebellion against the selfish Koch puppet, Governor Scott Walker, who sought to destroy public workers' bargaining rights and pensions. He had rationalised this attack by claiming that it was a budgetary necessity. Yet, he had given away $millions in government contracts to tycoons and corporations who had supported his campaign - THIS was the real hemorrhaging of the Wisconsin State budget.
An upswelling of teachers and firemen and police workers and regular citizens from across the state rose up to contest Scott Walker's unfair "Austerity" moves, which meant to undercut the Union power of the Democratic Party, such as it is today. Not before long, Ed Schultz was reporting on these protests at the State Capital, and holding rallies at the Barrymore Theatre. The information, links and encouragement from Ed Schultz became indispensable to the Madison movement, which began to get support nationwide, and to awaken people to similar takeover attempts in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and elsewhere.
Madison was the nascent spearhead of the OCCUPY movement, even garnering support from protestors in the, "Egyptian Arab Spring".
The Ed Schultz radio show has been a crucial lifeline to progressives, and just plain real people, across the country, providing insight and perspectives completely ignored by the corporate media. It took weeks before that media even gave MENTION to the tens of thousands of protestors at the Wisconsin State Capital. (I wonder why that was, don't you?) Now, I hear that the progressive commercial Madison station which carried Ed Schultz, the Mike 91 FM, has switched formats - losing not just Ed, but other popular progressive talk show hosts.
The reality is that progressive radio pulls strong ratings wherever it is given a chance to compete, as opposed to, e.g., the "supply-side" placement of Rush Limbaugh, (who is sitting pretty with a multi-year, multi-million dollar contract), in markets which don't even want him. But, within the last year or so, progressive stations have been dropped not just in Madison, but in Portland, Seattle, San Francisco and Denver. Why?
Talk Show host, Norman Goldman, once adamantly explained that the loss of progressive stations was simply due to market decisions, as described to him by the nice people in the business.
In fact, there is this "market" factor: Advertisers who want to stop paying for commercials on, e.g., Rush Limbaugh, (who has had a falling out with women and others, for some reason...), simply tell the radio corporations that they no longer want to advertise on, "Talk Radio." Well, the term, Talk Radio, applies to both conservative talk and to liberal or progressive talk. (Monopoly-pushed conservative talk carries at least ten times more numbers than progressive talk). Thus when advertisers drop conservative talk, they drop progressive talk as well.
That sounds like a simple fluke, (so to speak), that progressive should be lumped in with conservative. But these people aren't in kindergarten - they know what they are doing. They know that they have an inherent bias against progressive talk, even though it pulls good numbers in local markets.
But Norman Goldman believed that progressive station formats were being replaced by more boring SPORTS formats, (and by pompous Republican formats), because so many radio stations now are essentially zombot, with few humans working them. Therefore, it is cheap to spread out ads over MANY loser stations, and still satisfy the advertiser with numbers. If the radio mega-corporation, (like Clear-Channel or Cumulus), want to show an advertiser numbers, they grab a couple here and a couple there, and pretty soon they have a few million listeners, spread out across the country, listening to zombot sports stations, and such. Thus, they feel they don't need to pay for expensive talk radio - even if progressive talk pulls numbers locally.
This is true. And it is a direct consequence of the Telecommunications Act (of 1992?), which was signed by Bill Clinton. This law allowed monopoly companies to buy up local markets, and so eliminate competition - nationwide. With strong competition out of the way, they could then switch to the dysfunctional zombot strategy, which is ONLY about pulling profits for the overlord CEOs and stockholders. It is a short-term approach - another expression of ("supply-side") vulture capitalism - which is doomed to fail eventually, unless bribed and naive politicians deem the monopoly(s), "too big to fail."
Since this is doomed to fail, I do have hope that progressive radio can return, stronger, so long as money in politics doesn't prevent it. But the impact of automated radio, and of internet competition, still is a reality, and will mean there will continue to be adjustments in terrestrial radio.
However, as usual, there is more than one side to this story. What isn't being mentioned is that the same people who greedily strive for profits, at the expense of listeners, tend to be the same sort of people who ALSO have a personal agenda to stifle progressive voices - since such voices advocate grassroots and diversity enterprise. Unions, as a primary example. It is not as if the progressive stations along the West Coast just disappeared out of a market decision to switch to zombot format, as once believed by Norman Goldman.
In fact, the more I study capitalism, the more I see that greedy conspiracies are necessary to insulate and implement such travesties as become inherent in poorly-regulated, dysfunctional monopoly capitalism. Monopolies are monopolies, mainly, precisely because they are becoming dysfunctional - and so they more and more become welfare queens, "too big too fail." A look at the audience disatifaction for both Comcast and Time Warner, who have been seeking to merge, bears this out. Just like bullies, monopolies tend to be full of you-know-what, and so vulnerable to being toppled. In this, there is hope.
Nevertheless, there are thus greedy humans all along the upper echelons of such companies, conspiring to make decisions which are NOT market-oriented, but which are FEUDALISM-oriented, interested less in labour and money, and more in fraud and personal CONTROL. They are a function of dysfunctionalising capitalism. And, so often, they think themselves ordained by gods, yes? They are a part of this crazed socio-political mania to defend a stagnating Status Quo. And that's why sports seems like a nice fit, for a society encouraged to become more blindly militant, like folks in old Rome.
Well, Norman Goldman apparently changed his mind. Why? Because he said that he heard that corporate CEOs had been laughing amongst themselves, gloating over their success at killing the progressive station in the Denver area.
Why is ed Schultz being taken off the air? Mike Rogers made a cursory mention that Ed had made the decision - but we know this is not true. If this had been so, Ed would have given fair warning. Instead, he vanished. He was actually luckier than most such victims, because at least he managed to get the network to allow him a final day, albeit hosted by someone else.
I called the Ed Schultz Show today. I simply had to, after so many years of benefitting from it. I was lucky to get on air, fairly soon. The funny thing was that the call-taker thought I was Sharrod Brown. I was pleasantly gregarious and apparently had a, "raspy voice"! Oh no! I HATE raspy voices, ha ha. I later listened in on the radio, and the raspiness was due to my phone, or the phone connection.
Well, one thing the call-taker said was to avoid asking WHY Schultz was leaving. He actually described such a question as, "Weird." Do you believe that? They were trying to squelch that topic. It must have been in the termination agreement, I am thinking. But calling it, "WEIRD," just seemed so Orwellian, it made me cringe, because this sort of behaviour is a big reason why "Libertarian-Constitutionalists", etc., really hate liberals.
I got on air and immediately said, "Progressive Radio rocks!" I managed to squeeze in a few iffy points, including some promo of my LJ communities!
Another thing I managed to suggest was that some progressives consider getting micro radio transmitters, and broadcasting Ed Schultz, et al, over FM locally. It doesn't cost much to do this - and so I URGE YOU TOO TO GIVE THIS SOME THOUGHT!!
I also urge you to keep posting in madison_fights and o_c_c_u_p_y! As I see it, we are still only just beginning! I hear so many pertinent stories from Wisconsin, about Scott Walker, ("John Doe investigation" judge suggests opening up records to the public); or about military vehicles promised, "not to be used against town folks..." - (then how about using VANS instead?) - I wish I could post more, but unfortunately I am not only disabled, but now I am being charged an extra 10 cents per minute for being online. Why? More monopoly nonsense. This country has the slowest and most expensive internet on Earth. I only use dial-up, but it can cost me $100 a month if I am not careful!
I have always a big lover of radio. Now that I am disabled, and poor, I don't have a lot else to keep my mind running. Terrestrial radio has certain advantages over the internet. But when the internet tries to replace living radio, it hurts free expression, and it also hits the poor and marginalised the most. (I saw an ad for a local block party, in which I was interested in knowing more. The ad said to contact the neighbourhood association for info on ticket prices, etc. But it gave no phone number - just a FaceBook address! No, I am not an old crank, behind the times. Quite the opposite I think we all know that FaceBook will be going the way of MySpace pretty soon).
So, again, please try to keep the movement - and radio - and the LJ communities alive. Things seem bad now, but big changes are coming. Things will get worse before they get better. Please tell radio stations and corporations that you want progressive talk! Who knows why Ed Schultz left - but he remains online, and on msNBC. Whatever the reason he left, this is another symptom of progressive voices becoming silent. And, also, please open yourself up to ideas and voices from various directions! There is a LOT that true progressives share with many people on the, "far-right", such as MARCHing AGAINST MONSANTO, ( http://www.earthjustice.org ), anti-war, and so forth. A good book to check out regarding this topic is Ralph Nader's latest, "UNSTOPPABLE"
Also, just FYI, http://www.kochbrothersexposed.com (.org?).