Sunday, April 27, 2008

Berg on Rye

Speaking of talk radio, as I often do, local listeners have taken a beating of late. First we lost Marvin Granger and "Your Opinion Please," the best talk show on radio, for my money, because it was the only one that seemed interested in actually airing competing viewpoints and ideas.

Then KBUL replaced "Brian and the Judge" with Dennis Miller. Dennis Miller? "Brian and the Judge" had a fundamentally conservative point of view leavened by a certain sense of fairness, courtesy and curiosity absent on most other conservative shows. Most importantly, the Judge is a bulldog on defending the Constitution and civil liberties, a quality often absent among the radio frauds who claim to be conservatives.

Dennis Miller is a disaster. What little I've heard so far has been disorganized and annoying, with no discernible point of view. He has somewhat famously leaned to the right since 9-11, but I haven't heard much of that on his show yet. Instead, I have heard stupid gimmicks and absurd callers.

Miller always has struck me as a clever but not terribly funny guy whose incredible penchant for topical allusions brings at most a wry smile, rarely a laugh. Wry smiles don't cut it on radio. Most notable reference from what I've heard so far: "Sal Maglie chin music." Yeah, I get it, but so what?

The other notable local talk show event was the replacement on KBLG of Dave Berg with Dave Rye, apparently the result of a contract dispute. This may be an improvement. Nothing against Berg, but I think we've heard about everything he has to say, dozens of times over. Dave Rye, as his occasional and always welcome appearances on this blog indicate, is a fair-minded and reasonable fellow.

Still, is there some reason why every available hour of political talk radio has to be filled with absolutely nothing other than the usual conservative line? I mean, just for the hell of it, why not occasionally have somebody as host who doesn't automatically lean Republican? I don't get it, and I am profoundly bored by it.


Anonymous said...

If you haven't been listening to Dave Rye, he's been working hard to give liberal voices extra time to talk. I'm sure conservatives would complain that he gives them too much time.

I'm sure a lot of conservatives would be happy to trade radio air time for some space for their points of view (beyond letters) on local/state issues on newspaper editorial pages. Perhaps someday they'll just start an "alternative" statewide paper that will come at things from a conservative point of view. With the internet, that sort of thing is increasingly possible.

Likewise, there's nothing stopping liberals from going into the radio business. There's probably some Air America guys around who can provide tips on getting started.

Shane C. Mason said...

Losing 'Your Opinion Please' was indeed a loss. That was the best show on Radio.

Anonymous said...

I tried to call Berg one time a long time ago. The stationed answered, and then I waited, and waited, and waited some more! After 45 minutes of his monologue without taking a call, I hung up. I would LOVE to speak to Dave Rye. I have great respect for Dave even though we are polar opposites. Let me give you an example. One time, I worked for an organization in Blgs, and we looking for someone to sit on our board. Someone suggested Rye because, the "guy just can't say no when asked to help". That's the kinda guy Dave is.

Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers!
Dave, if you're reading this, LET ME ON YOUR SHOW! I could be the resident lefty wacko!

David said...

Anonymous 1029, You are indeed right that Dave has gone out of his way to give liberals air time. Still, that's not quite the same thing.

But I don't see how you can compare talk radio to newspapers. The Outpost's pages are always open to conservative voices (Outpost columnists have included Rob Natelson and Brad Molnar), and conservative pieces typically run without argument or contradiction, unlike liberal voices on radio. Moreover, conservative voices dominate the ranks of nationally syndicated columnists, and local editorial pages, while they mean lean liberal, overwhelmingly endorse the status quo. To say that conservatives can't be heard in American newspapers is to live in a fantasy world.

Radio is vastly different. KBLG runs conservative talk from 9 a.m. daily until turning to sports late in the evening. KBUL runs conservative talk from 9 a.m. daily until "Coast to Coast" unleashes the UFO crowd. Liberals who call in to these conservative talk shows typically are mocked, derided and interrupted.

Your suggestion that the free market should take care of the matter lacks merit. But I can't take room here to explain fully why. Maybe later.

Anonymous said...

Donw at the unemployment line, "Tell 'em Taylor sentcha!"

Joe said...

I nominate Dave Crisp as moderator for a new show on YPR. Maybe a show with Crisp and Kemmick.

Mark T said...

There is an audience out there for liberal talk, but it lacks advertisers. And in radio, stations sell audiences to advertisers. Nothing more. Advertisers are in charge of content.

If you doubt me, take a gander at the long list of Fortune 500 Companies that boycotted Air America.

Dave Rye said...

Larry, feel free to call if and when you don't have a class to teach between 9 and 10 a.m. weekdays. In Great Falls, the program is on KQDI, 1450 AM.

My hosting is a case of being unexpectedly dragged out of retirement by a desperate network, following David Berg's very abrupt departure. I am only there on a temporary basis (meaning somewhere between a month and five years). Anyone who wants the job--well, let us hear from you. As soon as a permanent host is in place, I'll be happy to return to what has been a happy and fulfilling retirement.

The timing has also been impeccable. My 34-year-old son has incurred some unexpected major medical expenses this year, and the extra money couldn't come at a better time.

Thanks to those of you who offered nice comments. I must admit that I'm not being totally altruistic in trying to give major time to liberal points of view which clash with my own. They provoke conservatives to respond, which keeps me from having to do a monologue.

Anonymous said...

It will be interesting to see how Fulwiler reinvents himmself this time. Love him or hate him, he has a knack for survival.

Ed Kemmick said...

As for putting on people you disagree with, Dave, you've got that right. I think it was Goethe who said he learned the most from books he completely disagreed with.