Friday, May 08, 2009

Thursday talk radio update I

Dave Rye said on his show yesterday that if the federal government were to reimpose the Fairness Doctrine, he would simply quit his show.

I'm not sure why this topic keeps coming up. I remain unaware of any serious attempt to reimpose the Fairness Doctrine. Is there one I am missing?

In any case, I'm not sure why it would be of concern to Dave. He presumably has worked with the doctrine more than I have (since I haven't worked with it at all, he couldn't have worked with it less), but it is hard for me to imagine any scenario, past or present, under which his show would run afoul of the doctrine. While Dave himself leans pretty far to the right on most (but not all) issues, his program is a model of fairness to all points of view. Indeed, he specifically invites opposing views. If the government were to impose sanctions on his show, then it really would be wildly out of control.

So, Dave, I know you stop by here occasionally. Please explain. Do you really think you would be affected by the Fairness Doctrine, or were you just trying to make a point?

4 comments:

Mark T said...

I am reminded to Cleavon Little in Blazing Saddles threatening to use his gun on himself.

Pogie said...

Well, if nothing else, Dave just convinced me that the Fairness Doctrine (as envisioned and politicized ad nauseum) by right wing radio should be imposed.

Eric said...

And perhaps they'll move it to newspapers - so people can enjoy my new 'Right in Montana' column in the Outpost -

Dave Rye said...

Sorry I didn't check in for three days, so I'll answer the question after readers have forgotten it was asked.

Or maybe I won't. I'll try, anyway.

I get e-mail from my conservative friends, and alarmist snail mail as well from sources leaving the predictable envelope hoping I'll write them a check, on this subject which I really think is much ado about not a lot.

Obama has said he won't push for a law (previously it was just an FCC edict) reimposing the Fairness Doctrine. While I deplore his policies and disagree to the nth degree with his beliefs, I think he is honest about holding them--and honest about not working to reinstate the so-called Fairness Doctrine. That is not to say he wouldn't sign such a law if Congress were to pass it, so maybe a TEENSY bit of alarmism is justified.

Anyway, the extreme ends of both liberalism and conservatism have their paranoid people, and the threat of reimposing FD is one of the paranoid parts of my side.

The reason I said I would quit was because--well, because I had to respond with SOMETHING in the next two seconds.

That might well be my inclination under those circumstances, however, because the days for the program would be numbered. Most of the affiliates wouldn't want to carry a basically conservative show for fear of getting in trouble with the feds unless they also came up with a liberal show of equal duration each weekday. They would just go back to music or something inocuous.

Or maybe there would be a push to have a liberal co-host. That wouldn't work, either, because a lot of callers overcome their shyness and stage fright and place their calls with the feeling that the person with whom they'll be talking is a kindred spirit. If one of two recipients of the call is a, well, hostile spirit, that would inhibit a lot of them.

Most local call-in opinion programs in relatively small markets suffer from lots of dead time, forcing the host to do a monologue. (Rush does monologues on purpose; his is a whole different ballgame.) With 15 stations carrying "Voices of Montana," that doesn't usually happen to me, thank goodness.

And, finally, part of the reason for the ad libbed remark is that I came out of retirement at the request of Northern Broadcasting System, upon the sudden and unexpected departure of David Berg. The idea was that I would fill in for a month or two until they found a new host. It has now been 14 months, and I still have mixed feelings. I enjoy doing the program once I have arrived at the studio, but there are still plenty of times when I wouldn't mind starting my day at a much more leisurely pace. Then again, the generous salary for what is basically a 90-minute day is hard to give up, especially because my retirement investments largely went south in the past year. The salary that was gravy is now partly potatoes.

In other words, on the question of how much longer I want to continue this gig, I come down firmly on the side of ambivalence.

A way-too-long answer to your question, David. I'm pleased and flattered, though, that you asked it.