Friday, November 17, 2017

1871 There's Always Somebody Out There

1871 There’s Always Somebody Out There

We all know radio is dead.  It’s a given. It’s in the Guinness Book.  You can look it up.

We all know there are only a handful of companies that own all 15,330 licensed stations and that they all sound alike and that no one is listening.  In the Age of Pandora Premium, YouTube Red, Sirius/XM and smartphones, everyone is a program director and no one is listening to the free stuff.

This gives today’s local disc jockeys and talk show hosts (all 14 of them) the freedom each wanted to say whatever they wanted.  Careful, boys and girls.  There’s always someone out there.  And each has a chip on his shoulder.  Each is ready to argue and each is at the ready, cassette recorder in hand, to send what you say to the Federal Communications Commission, the League of Decency, the Prissy Posse or Steve Banana, the boy genius former trump strategist.

Some closet listeners remain but are accidental.  Crazy Lem lives in a hospital bed in his home in East Armadillo, New Mexico.  His radio is on 24/7.  It’s sitting on a shelf in his bedroom.  It’s too far away for him to walk over and turn it off.  So, he’s listening. And he’s taking notes and making calls.  The first is to the KJFN News department, also known as Frank. He can’t get hold of Frank easily because when the news is over, Frank goes to his day job which is behind the counter at Wendy’s.

When Crazy Lem finally does get through, he yells at Frank for “not covering “that Uranium deal between Hillary Clinton and Vladimir Putin” or “not investigating why Obama’s Grandma wasn’t responding after telling us ‘the truth,’ that the former president was born in Uganda and was the love child of Idi Amin and a white hooker from Kampala.”

All 15,330 of those radio stations are programmed by a garden gnome sitting in a control room somewhere inside Cheyenne Mountain.  Even Frank’s KJFN needs permission to say stuff between commercials for Diabetes cures and testosterone replacement pills.

The station owner, who also works at Wendy’s but only part time, listens on a private listen line and doesn’t hesitate to call when he hears something he doesn’t like.  And he doesn’t like much.

This is serious stuff. One day, the garden gnome was distracted and forgot to push the buttons that put Rush Limbaugh or The Grateful Dead or Pat Robertson or Motown Magic on about 2,000 stations each.  By sunset, the folks from NORAD -- the other occupants of the mountain -- had to be called upon to fend off a throng of protesters from the ranks of the Ditto Heads,  heavily armed Stepford Wives, the entire stoner population of San Francisco and a bus carrying 250 of Al Sharpton’s closest friends.

You may think you’re able to say whatever you want on the air.  But beware.  There’s always somebody out there.

--Get well wishes to heart attack patient John Warner.  Warner, 52, is a cardiologist and is president of the American Heart Association. The “mild”attack came as he was participating in the group’s annual scientific conference.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2017

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