Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Air America or Clear Channel

I've been a radio talk show junky since the very early '70s when Mick Martin, Charlie Weiss (high school classmate) and Travus T. Hipp (Sunday night talk host, most of the '70s) hosted the first, Sacramento area, freeform station KZAP FM.

I listened intently when local, nutrition guru Cary Nosler (Captain Carrot) popped up on KCRA AM and couldn't wait for the late night discussions of Art Bell and his phalanx of scientists on KSTE AM. I was there for the KFBK-AM debuts of Christine Craft and Morton Downey Jr., and then Rush Limbaugh in 1984 when he returned to radio as a talk show host here in Sacramento, CA.

These days I work my way around the AM dial daily to the likes of "Armstrong and Getty," "Al Franken and Laura Flanders," "Randi Rhodes," "Sean Hannity," "Michael Savage." I like radio and I like politics, and it doesn't get any better for talk radio junkies than today's superstar line-up! But I'm having a problem with "today's" radio: The "left" is just a mirror image of the "right" and vice versa. I'm not getting useful, factual, trustworthy information anymore, just a bunch of disparaging, fault-finding, name-calling hyperbole.

You may be curious about my above selection of talk shows that range from the extreme left to the extreme right. I'm not a conservative and I'm not a liberal; I'm a free thinking, independent, amateur journalist that is more interested in understanding and dissecting issues than picking apart politicians, just to push my views. I've always been interested life, "everything about life" and I don't want to miss a thing. Although I may have personal leanings (I grew up in the '60s) and think I have a few answers, I absolutely want to keep my mind open on every topic.

I'm concerned with the thoughts and conclusions generated by an American public that merely mirrors the voices of "talk show hosts, broadcast reporters, news writers and college professors" without ever checking the facts. I want only to discuss... not argue, issues... not politicians. I spend many hours reading and researching news topics, forcing myself along the way to keep an open mind, in order to accomplish this task. My opinions reflect a desire to see the other side of a popular idea, if for no other reason than to see the other side.

Air America Radio, a network featuring "The Al Franken Show" that was founded in 2004 as a "progressive alternative" to right-wing talk, is now providing a balance to the dominance of Clear Channel Radio's Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage after years of conservative radio. To out do the other, each talk show host is pushing the limits of responsible broadcasting in an effort to shock you into NOT touching that dial.

Keep in mind that it's called a talk show for a reason: that's "show," as in fun, entertainment, circus act, side show.