Sick Society

This makes the case. 

All Charlie Sheen all the time!

That’s Sirius XM Radio’s gift to America: a channel devoted entirely to Sheen and all things Sheen. It’s the greatest gift a society could ever want.

  Tiger Blood Radio, named after the thick, pungent, puissant, potent, puberal plasma that pulses through Charlie’s arteries, will focus on “breaking news, facts, fallout and career implications” emanating from Charlie’s eventful life.

The idea may have sprung from that most toasted of all media brains, Sirius XM gabber Howard Stern, who suggested it in a recent chat with Jimmy Kimmel.

David Blaska Asks FCC To Take John ”Sly” Sylvester Off WTDY Radio

Caffeinated Politics stands with David Blaska.  I plan to keep my readers up to date on this matter.

Before we get to the Blaska story I want my readers to think about why we tune to a radio station in the first place.  In making a selection on the dial we are asking the announcer to be a guest in our car, home, or place of business.

Considering that, and after reading the transcript below, would you really want John ”Sly” Sylvester sitting in your living room?   If not, then why have him as your guest in your home over the radio?

Blaska’s Blog has filed a formal complaint with the Federal Communications Commission against WTDY radio. My intent is to knock the Vile Radio Talker off the air.

It is Complaint 11-WB14678720. 

I do not like Big Government. But the Vile Radio Talker does. Let him go up against the lawyers at FCC. Live by the sword …

This is what the Vile Radio Talker said on Monday morning over the airwaves:

“She performed fellatio on all the talk show hosts in Milwaukee” and she “pulled a train.”

Here is a partial transcript:

How amateurish is it to have Rebecca Kleefisch, who, I don’t know, she has some like little panty business in her basement or something, I don’t know. She’s hardly a, she’s hardly an entrepreneur. You know what? You know how amateurish that is? Cold-calling?

(Using high-pitched voice, speaking as Kleefisch)

Would you like to move to Wisconsin? Would you like to move CouponCabin to Wisconsin? I’m Rebecca Kleefisch. I performed fellatio on all the talk show hosts in Milwaukee. And they endorsed me and that’s how I became lieutenant governor. And then I got colon cancer and I ran around the state to help people. Even though I have government health care, screw everyone else.

John “Sly” Sylvester Madison’s Worst Radio Personality

I am shocked and saddened that once again the radio antics of  John “Sly” Sylvester are making news.  WTDY can not be a proud place to work this week.

I am upset about the actual antics that took place this week, and also about the larger issue of what passes for radio entertainment these days.  The latter point is one that often gets talked about on this blog.

I worked in radio too, and can confirm I never once crossed the line of decency.    I provoked with news stories many issues that needed to be highlighted, but never did I make people want to throw a radio across the room.  Guns, teen suicide, AIDS and other topics were ones I researched, reported, and produced while working in radio in the mid-1980’s.  While the station had feedback from the audience none wanted me to apologize. 

If only radio could be like that again.

That Sly has made so many outlandish and unprofessional on-air comments over the years and continues to hold a broadcasting job is most remarkable. That says far more about WTDY than the folks who live in Madison.

But I must add at the end of the day it is the listening public that needs to be held accountable for the likes of Sly who continue to broadcast on the nation’s airwaves.  Too few citizens step up and demand the public airwaves be better used.  Too few listeners demand that a more common-sense tone be attached to the list of responsibilities that station owners need to abide by. 

What took place this week was totally unprofessional in every sense of the word.

Sly’s recent comments about Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch performing sexual acts to win favors, or his out-of-the ballpark words about her colon cancer, were just God-awful.

To me they were unforgivable.  Period.

On September 30th, when Rebecca Kleefisch and Ed Thompson were making news about their separate fights with cancer I wrote, in part, the following.

We know that both  Kleefisch and Thompson are trying their best with the political battles currently underway.  Now they also have to fight a more personal battle with a far more aggressive opponent that never plays fair.  Worse yet they have to do part of that in front of the public at election time.    If ever there was a time for some ‘space’ to be granted, these would be two perfect examples of when it should be offered with no explanations needed.  I think the human needs for both of these people far exceeds any political requirements.  Period.

I wish that Sly had come to the same conclusion.  There are times when we all pitch a hardball, but there have to be times when we step back and show some class and common sense.    I tried to do that regarding Kleefisch and Thompson last fall.  

Sly seems to think that all of us in radio land are nothing more than a point in a ratings book so to get more ad revenue for WTDY.  However, I find in my conversations over the months that more and more listeners are turning off the garbage of AM Radio and moving to other listening alternatives.  The latest outrage from Sly can only add to the exodus from WTDY. 

I will say the same thing I have stated before when writing about John “Sly” Sylvester.

I expect radio personalities to be like my guests in the house.   I like good talk, humor, and spirited conversation with ideas that conflict with mine.  But I do not want, and will not tolerate, the most base of shock jock type rancid talk just because some radio station has an itch for a rating.  I wish to be thought of as a listener that deserves respect, rather than just a notation in a ratings book.

Mike Crane Takes Over Wisconsin Public Radio

Thank goodness for Wisconsin Public Radio, and National Public Radio!

If you are sick of Madison’s ‘Sly In Morning’ up-chucks then you know how pleasant and informative it is to have public radio on the dial.

We are fortunate that Mike Crane has been named director of Wisconsin Public Radio.  When reading about his love of radio I found that I have stated the same about my life as a kid while roaming the dial at night.

Do you have a favorite place to listen to the radio?

Absolutely, and it’s in bed. I’ve gone to bed and listened to the radio since I was a very small child. It helps me relax, and particularly when I was younger it helped me go to far-off places because I would stay up and try to tune to the AM station that was farthest away.

I was doing the same as a boy with my radio in Hancock, Wisconsin.

Welcome, Mike, to your new position at WPR.  We will be supporting your efforts with continuing to make WPR the listeners choice.

WGN Radio Can Again Be Polite, Professional, Popular

Every now and then when I write this blog I am reminded that my interests are not exactly in the mainstream.   I am reminded weekly how marginalized some of my concerns and interests are.  That never stops me from going forward mind you, but the fact is not lost on me that I am not always sailing with much of the world.

I fully understand my limitations when writing about the days when newspapers were read by a large swath of the nation, or Saturday nights meant listening to the Grand Ole Opry.  I am aware that the best I can do is stress their value and move on.  It would be great if I could let every household experience the sound of the newspaper ‘thumping’ on the front stoop early every morning, or the sensation of pleasure as the big red curtain rises.  But the best I can do  from this blog is write about them.

But then there are issues such as WGN radio, where my desire to see the traditional role of the medium continue in this era of fast-paced technology, that reverberates with others.  My views about WGN have connected and resonated with many all over the country.  It is times like this I know there are countless who stand with me.  And I with them.

The past eighteen months have been rough ones for those who love WGN, that iconic radio station housed in the Tribune Tower.  Listeners revolted when new management ripped treasured on-air talent from the airwaves and ushered in loud political brawlers, or those who had no sense of what Chicago was all about.

Listeners had every right to feel that way.

Radio is after all about broadcasters being invited into the homes and cars of listeners.  People would no more want a boorish person lounging on their couch as they would desire a long-winded or rude person coming in through the speakers of their radio.  After all, radio personalities are guests, and should act accordingly.

I have worked in radio, and so I know I am correct when I say that guys like me were invited into the homes and cars of listeners.  I was the guest for a period of time, and acted liked one.  I was never rude or mean.  I tried to be funny and informative and friendly.  As such I was invited back over and over.  As were those who shared the microphone with me at WDOR in Sturgeon Bay.

That is what WGN once was, and I trust after the news this week will be again.  Listeners from some thirty states who can hear the station on the AM dial late at night, or those from the midwest who can listen 24/7 want to have a station again that is like what Wally Phillips would recognize.  Polite, professional, popular.

When James and I visit Chicago we always stay overnight on Ohio Street and make the magnificent mile our home base.  Late night walks up the amazing street means stopping in front of the Tribune Tower, and looking into the showcase studio.  At times on-air talent were there, other times they were broadcasting from inside the building.  Either way it was always a connection to the friendly voices on the radio.

For the past months the fond connection with WGN dwindled for me and much of the listener base.  But we have not forgotten what it once was like.  As such we are looking forward to the WGN family being restored  and renewed. 

My radio awaits the rebirth of this broadcasting giant.

WGN Radio Sees Light, Fires ‘Pig Virus’ Kevin Metheny And Jim Laski, Listeners Can Smile!

WGN radio, a station that has been my home on the dial since a teenager, has finally seen the light.  I am pleased to learn that there has been a shake-up at Tribune Towers and the ‘pig virus’ has been flushed down the toilet.  (Hopefully the sewer does not throw him back into the street.)

The station that I heard as I fell asleep at night as a teenager, traveled with during the many hours back and forth to Sturgeon Bay, and have programmed on all my radios at home and in the car, is returning to their senses.  Like many I feel very attached to this station, an 86-year-old Chicago broadcasting institution, and have long cared for it.  After all, WGN was there in all the major events, elections, and long nights when I was not feeling well.  How could I not care for it?

How many folks around the country are as gleeful as I am over the news today?  Countless numbers to be sure. 

And all for one reason.

Kevin Metheny, the WGN-AM 720 program director whose abrupt moves to grow the audience grew a well of resentment among some long-time listeners, is leaving the station along with his most controversial hire, convicted former Chicago City Clerk Jim Laski.

Laski is of course, a story all to himself.

Laski served time in federal prison after pleading guilty to one of the two bribery counts against him, admitting he accepted nearly $50,000 to steer city trucking business to cronies. Some of those who might have forgiven that transgression were unable to overlook his choppy on-air style.

Of course the damage to so much of WGN still lingers.  On-air talents like Kathy and Judy and Steve Cochran have been ruined, and listeners have strayed.  Over the past many months I have posted many times on the sadness many feel about the blows this station has taken due to the jackasses that took over management.    Never before has a power-house of a radio station been so rocked with bad decisions and arrogant and incompetent leadership.

The mess was not only what we heard on the radio, but also the ones taking place right at the head of the Tribune Company.  I was pleased when Randy Michael’s , Tribune Company CEO, was fired recently.  He will be less fond of breasts, I suspect, in the future.

As one who worked in radio I know the bond that can develop between listener and on-air talent.  What has troubled me about the WGN moves over the past months is that the bond should not be in only one direction.  The radio station must care as much about the audience, as the audience does for the broadcasters.

WGN Radio forgot that lesson.

And paid a price.

When WGN hired Greg Jarrett  (a man I have said is at his best when the volume of the radio is off) from San Francisco, and midday host Mike McConnell from Cincinnati it was clear what they wanted.  There was less of a Chicago feel to the station.  Lacking was the inside knowledge and love of the city that morning on-air talent or mid-day hosts should bring to the air.

Today we can only hope that the end of the ‘pig virus” Kevin Metheny era will bring back sanity and good taste to a radio station that has been a broadcasting icon.  Lowering standards into the gutter with trash talk is not good for ratings.  It is not good for the industry.  It is not good for America.

The old-fashioned ideals that I have over the relationship that radio has played, and should continue to play in our country, has not dimmed due to the insanity of  Kevin Metheny and others who undermined  WGN.

I am confident that the lesson has been learned, and that a brighter day will return to WGN radio. 

Every WGN listener can smile today.