A while back, I wrote a post about what they were doing to an old friend- a local radio station. New developments have happened, so I'm going to tell the story chronologically for you out-o-towners.
It all began when the station hired a new general manager. Like most radio constituencies, nobody cared much, and probably never would have had change been subtle and without rudeness. However, the person hired a) was not given a mandate to subtlety, and b) came with a record from one end of the midwest to the other of doing what he was about to do.
The station had one live weekday program, a drive home 3-hr segment. It was currently hosted by a full-time insurance advisor who was conservative- even Tea Party-, evangelical, and entertaining. He had a good sized, loyal audience, and even though I was more moderate than he (which is saying something), the only ones who didn't feel at home on his shows were far-left types whose idea of public debate was "talk fast and loud, and hang up in disgust when the host tries to disagree".
Our GM would fill in at times when the host had personal or business issues call him away, and this is how I first heard of him. I found him obnoxious and demeaning, and would switch to music when he was on, long before I knew he was the GM. I told the host that, but the host would never say anything bad against him, not in all the time then or since.
One day, they got the bright idea of simulcasting the AM station on one of their FM channels. Never mind that talk on FM is much like talk on your iPod. And never mind that they would be putting a long running, reasonably successful classic rock station down the drain, offending that "niche group" and leaving a popular DJ (and employee) with nothing better to do that host a weekend-kickoff party at a local sports bar and castigate policemen for not knowing who he was when he got pulled over.
They forged ahead, and somebody in the higher reaches of ownership got a second bright idea- that the host wasn't exactly the "hip" voice needed for "hip" talk radio on FM. About this time, the host's popular producer gets canned. It is only after everything fell out yesterday that she told us that she was fired based on a lie that the GM told, and was told "Don't even try to defend yourself", when she tried. Now, it was time to train the guns on our host.
He was told to do more "pop culture" and less politics, which was the strength of his program. He regularly had local pols, senators, congressmen, and the like on his "newsmaker line." He refused, and one day we were told that for health reasons, he'd be cut down to the Saturday morning show, and our wonderful GM was now the host. And this is where it hit the fan.
As I said, our host had a strong loyal fan-base, and one of these was a local popular political blogger. (Not me, I said "popular"!) He had a lot of connections, and swiftly found out that while the host did have health issues, that they were the cause of his ouster was a lie. He was aided in the battle when a newspaperman who regularly traded tidbits with him exposed it in the evening paper. At this point, I had thought, "Oh well, give the dude a chance." What I heard was two days of Lady GaGa and Octomom, and anyone not wishing to talk about this was rudely dismissed. One lady said she wanted to go back the way it was, and GM/host sangsonged, "BO-rinnnnng," and hung up on her. (He later angrilly told me that, "She lied to my screener to get on." I doubt that because I had remarked to Laurie less than a minute before her call that "With all the tinfoil brigade and other headcases calling in today, either he doesn't have a screener or he's been told "weirdoes only" ".)
That's when a huge bunch of us lit into him on Facebook. He defended himself snarkily and rudely for a while, with the help of a lackey whose FB id was "I'm Jesus Christ I Am" and turned out to be his buddy/assistant GM. These two upped the stakes when they started a libellously "funny" discussion about both the former producer and the head of our local Right To Life Chapter. That's when our blogger friend and five others- known to our GM as the "Gang of Six"- began to go to station advertisers and say, "Do you really want your spots on this show?" A LOT of them didn't, and soon the station's advertising was strewn with PSAs and station promos.
At this point, one sunny Friday, the GM/host went on a rant ON-AIR against the "Gang of Six", making threats at them and saying the famous line: "This is MY station. Daddy gave me the keys. I have a lifetime contract." This also made the evening paper, and shortly thereafter GM/host was back to just being GM. At this point also, the former host was canned from the Saturday show.
The slot was filled with replays of other syndicated shows for a while, but soon, it was decided that this was not "hip" either. GM tried out a cavalcade of contestants for the live slot, including a talk-show host from a small down-state station (who had ingratiated himself in town for standing up for GM on his show), and a former mayoral candidate/partner in an architectural firm whose stint consisted of playing six degrees of buildings we built. With no candidate really catching fire, and advertising slipping to the point where our blogger heard yesterday on-air, "The 11 o'clock news report is sponsored by.... no one", GM and little buddy/ass't. GM got the golden toe at last yesterday. And the congregation said, "AMEN!"
Whether the damage can/will be repaired is for time to tell, but at least GM is now available to wreak havok in some other unsuspecting town as he did in Ft. Wayne, Dallas, Detroit, and a host of other towns between. Maybe he'll learn that it's best not to insult your audience BEFORE you get your changes accepted, or that some audiences, despite the sweet corn growing out back, are too sophisticated to be lied to. But, having seen his prior record, and what he did here, I kinda doubt it. The sad thing is, had he been a little more sensitive and a lot less arrogant, none of it needed to happen.
Funny the things that happen when the camera isn't right there. For example, two nights ago, I went to the back door to watch Mr. Woodpecker at the seed bell (He's getting about half possessive!), and saw one of the fawns in the woods. Haven't seen them out back for a while, and I'm wondering if the group might be ready to move on for a while. (They picked a good weekend for it, if so- more on that later.) Last night, I took our boy out on the porch for a last pee-trip when I saw a pair of eyes looking at me from the woods. Scrappy smelled it, too, and went nuts. But the eyes disappeared into the dark without being identified.
I think I got that ID about 2 AM this morning. Scrappy started whining growling, and yipping looking out the bedroom window (AKA Scrappy TV). I could see... something... moving around in the half-light (back yard gets some light from the parking lot lights). I grabbed my binoculars, and saw it was Mr. Fox. I could tell it was the Mr. because he has that messed-up tail. He had been going back and forth at the edge of the wood hunting some poor mouse or something. He apparently got it, then came out into the yard so Scrappy could watch him eat.
At times, he seemed to be eating. Then he'd look around as if something was hidden in the grass and getting away. In either event, he definitely knew Scrappy was watching, and was content to play to the audience. After about 10 minutes or so he either ate the meal or got tired of messing with Scrappy, and moved on.
None of which made camera- but these did:
|They are having their annual "Soccerpalooza" down in our usual haunts this weekend. Scrappy met the U of Louisville team.|
|Everything blocked off and fenced past this point. Now you know why I said the deer picked a nice weekend to move.|
|And just when I was checking out these odd little fungi...|
|...Scrappy found this! Not sitting there, of course.|
|Looked like a small fox to me.|
|And as I typed this, I heard the CHEEP CHEEP of Mr. Cardinal.|