Skip to comments.Kopel: Air America: the good and the bad
Posted on 05/22/2004 10:36:00 PM PDT by VisualizeSmallerGovernment
Kopel: Air America: the good and the bad
'O'Franken Factor' rivals best right-wing programs, but 'Rhodes Show' is awful
May 22, 2004
You can't listen to the new left-wing talk radio network Air America on the air in Colorado yet. But people who have Internet access can tune it in at www.airameri caradio.com. Is it worth doing so? I would say yes.
The network's flagship program is The O'Franken Factor, co-hosted by comedian Al Franken and Katherine Lanpher (10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Colorado time, weekdays). The two make a good team and, overall, the show is about equal in quality to many of the syndicated right-wing talk programs, such as the Sean Hannity or Michael Medved programs.
Right-wingers sometimes ask, "Why does the left need a talk radio show? They've already got NPR, The New York Times, CBS, ABC, NBC and CNN." Well, it is true that all of those news outlets (and much of the news staffs at both The Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain News) tilt left. However, the need to maintain a veneer of impartiality usually prevents direct ideological instruction.
Freed from the pretense of impartiality, talk radio hosts (like newspaper columnists) provide the audience new frames for understanding the news. The best columnists and hosts do not just talk about the events of the day, but advance the story.
Like Rush Limbaugh, Franken is unabashedly ideological but brings enough new information to his program so as to be persuasive to some moderates, and worthwhile listening even for ideological opponents.
Unfortunately, Franken is followed by four hours of The Randi Rhodes Show. A good radio host knows much more than the average caller, but Rhodes does not. Last Monday, for example, several callers raised issues (including Colorado Springs Bishop Michael Sheridan's controversial voter instruction letter), about which Rhodes had no idea. Like KHOW 630 host Scott Redmond on a bad day, Rhodes had a single idea (Donald Rumsfeld is responsible for Abu Ghraib) which she vainly tried to stretch into a full program.
On the radio, hyperbole and invective usually succeed only if they're funny - as they sometimes are on Franken and Limbaugh. With Rhodes, however, all you get is the same kind of flat pronouncements you could hear from a seventh-grader in Boulder: George Bush is "deaf, dumb and blind" and "stupid" and "an idiot" and people who vote for Bush are "morons" and "pathological."
For someone with such a smug sense of intellectual superiority, Rhodes is remarkably ignorant. Monday, for example, brought the bizarre claim that United States bombed Dresden after the Germans had surrendered in World War II. Actually, the bombing was three months before the Germans surrendered.
In the Rhodes early afternoon time slot, Colorado listeners who want leftist radio would do much better to tune in Enid Goldstein on KNRC 1150-AM. Goldstein's not good enough to be a national host, but neither is Rhodes, and Goldstein has a better voice. Goldstein brings the advantage of doing Colorado stories. Moreover, Goldstein provides very good coverage of the performing arts in Colorado, and frequent interviews with local artists and critics.
The Colorado legislature recently lowered the legal standard for "driving under the influence." The new standard for DUI is a blood-alcohol content level of at least .08 percent (down from the previous level of .10 percent). The standard for the lesser crime of "driving while impaired" remains at .05 percent. On May 11, the News presented a pair of charts that purported to explain "The new DUI law and you." The charts, however, were almost entirely wrong.
The charts showed the approximate blood-alcohol percentage of men and women of various weights who consume various numbers of drinks. Some boxes were shaded to show when a person is "Legally intoxicated." For example, a 220-pound male who has six drinks within 40 minutes, would have a BAC of .10, and be legally intoxicated. The chart, however, misinformed readers about the new Colorado law. According to the chart, persons with a BAC of .08 or .09 (e.g., a 120-pound man who has three drinks) were not "legally intoxicated." Thus, the chart was precisely wrong on the effect of "The new DUI law."
Other boxes on the chart were shaded to indicate "Driving skills significantly affected. Possible criminal penalties." The proper boxes for this shading would have been BAC of .05, .06, or .07 - which is below the legal limit for intoxication, but which still constitutes the crime of "driving while impaired." The News chart, however, wrongly claimed that a BAC of .04 was illegal. Bizarrely, the News declared that a BAC of .03 (which is always legal for adults in Colorado) was illegal for some people (a 240-pound man with two drinks) but legal for some other people (such as a 140-pound woman with one drink).
The News compounded the false charts by shading all levels for zero drinks (.00 BAC) to declare them the "Only safe driving limit." Certainly this is the position of alcohol prohibition advocates; the Colorado legislature, however, does not take this extremist view, and the extremist view had no business appearing in a chart which purported to describe Colorado's laws.
Yeah seems like they haven't studied the successful business model of the successful right wing radio shows.
As I understand it, they won't allow any of their shows to appear on a station if Rush Limbaugh is also on the station. Now THERE's a great business model. "See those 600 most successful AM stations in America? Don't put our show on one of those."
Really? Because I think the Minneapolis station is only carrying Franken's "show." (I say I think because I'm not willingly going to tune in and find out.)
If so, I wonder how Mpls. got to only play 3 hours of drivel, as opposed to, what, 18?
Leftists don't much like individuals. All is one, one for all, and all that stuff. Sooner or later they are going to PROVE collectivism works. Honest. (snicker)
That comparison is absolute garbage. If Medved is Oxford, (or better yet, Hillsdale) O'Franken is the local "Canine College."
Air America's largest advertising account is Walgreens. You can email their customer relations departmrnt at: Consumer.Relations@walgreens.com
In some markets, they've been allowed to pick and choose. I'm sure Franken got to be on in Minnesota because of his roots there.
Still, when you consider that Air America is PAYING stations to broadcast the programs, you'd think they'd want to be on as few hours as possible.
How many TOTAL markets are they even in? More than a dozen?
As I understand it, the corporate sponsors were buying time on the stations, not neccessarily as an ideological support for the programming.
Still it is funny that Air America spends all its time railing against big business, corporate greed, the high price of pharmaceuticals, etc. Yet their big sponsor is the largest drug store that has ever existed in the history of the world.
Meanwhile, Rush Limbaugh is supposedly the tool of "rich Billionaires" (Al Gore's exact phrase), and his sponsors are mostly Ma and Pa operations like Snapple, Hooked On Phonics, Select Comfort, The Mosquito Magnet, etc. At least, they start as Ma & Pa operations before the Limbaugh advertising makes them enormously successful.
Last I heard, they hadn't cracked the dozen barrier yet. Though supposedly they have 15 stations "on the way" or "lined up" or something.
I know if I had 60 million dollars the first thing I'd do is try to broadcast 18 hours of hate radio on some 250 watt blowtorch in the middle of a swamp.
They have to have the whole station, lest the people hear an alternative viewpoint.
LOL. Smartass! ;-)
The next logical step would be to strap people into chairs to force them to listen.
I've listened to Air America. This is way off base. Franken is horrid in radio. Uh, uh, uh, uh uh, uh. And he talks too slow. If Franken was not bashing Bush during an election year on and didn't have what little fame he had he'd never get hired by any radio station. So, he is on Air America which will die shortly after November when it is no longer needed.
And I don't think people like listening to other people moan and groan and bitch and complain. Air America has the same problem John Kerry has. They see every glass as half full.
Katherine Lanpher originated, as an air personality, on KSTP 1500 AM in the Twin Cities, MN. Prior to her chrysalis, she had been a five-and-dime hand-wringer at a local left-leaning newspaper.
As a talk show host(ess), she was an unabashedly far-left suck-monkey, but she at least tried to maintain an all-viewpoints cover for her devil's advocacy. Since her silly efforts preceded el Rushbo, she sought an edgy, hip-tone that often drove the conservative audience into a blood-frenzy. Station calls demanded her head on a platter.
Pretty soon, Katherine was headed down the ratings tube until the local NPR affiliate threw her a lifeline. When able to vent her Leftist spleen with decorum, she managed quite a few interviews with Alfranken amidst yuks and high-fives. Is it any wonder that they now collaborate on the (Sc)Air-America Network?
These creatures (Lanpher and Franken) actually poison a local deli where I used to obtain the finest Rueben sandwhiches this side of New York. Today, knowing that they have eaten there fills me with the kind of dread one might know if 'Typhoid Mary' was found to work in the kitchen.
G-dmust be saving a special place in hell is the best way I can think of it...
SO what? Ideological propaganda is still propaganda, in bucketfuls. Gobs and gobs of it; in over 150 newspapers in the country and ubiquitously over the airwaves. Who wants a radio station shouting the same tripe, only stridently? This could never work. I agree with another poster; it dies in November, no matter what.
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