Critic's page of WZBH The Beach, 93.5 FM on Delmarva. What was an effort to document the sexist, racist, Islamaphobic, and homophobic programming pervasive in WZBH's programming has now become a review site of the station as they work - slowly - towards a more diverse staff and programming style.
This morning on the Matt and Crank show, Matt and Crank promoted an upcoming concert featuring many of the '80s hair bands. To this critic's surprise, their promotion amounted to the problematic bashing of gays. In the world of Matt and Crank, one turns gay by taking gay drugs or something and gay men wear wigs and make up. Intelligent listeners wouldn't even entertain the idea of one turning gay much less the idea that there are gay drugs that could turn one gay. Intelligent listeners also know that gay men don't wear wigs and make up. Transvestites, transsexuals, and female impersonators wear wigs and make up regardless of their sexual orientation, but gay men generally don't wear make up and wigs. It is a sad statement that WZBH allows their DJs to perpetuate myths about gay men.
This morning on the Matt and Crank Show, while promoting a contest where the winner who texted in their most awkward moment would win tickets to ski trip, Matt talked about awkward moments for White people and elaborated how Blacks and other races didn't experience awkward moments. A White "on Chinese" or a White "on Black" - awkward for the White, but not for the Black or Chinese.
We know that people experience awkward moments and that experience is not dependent on one's race. This critic and friends are still scratching their heads over this one, though. Just what the Hell was their point?
As a long time listener of WZBH, it has become apparent that the DJs, and particularly Matt and Crank, view the world as White, heterosexual, Christian male and then there's everyone else. Everyone else is open to ridicule. We're still debating whether the segment was a statement about White guilt, their perception of less than human other races who are incapable of feeling awkward in an awkward moment, or just adolescent chatter about much of nothing to kill some air time.
So you be the critic. Just what the Hell was their point?
Just as JJ's off-hand comment about a bunch of guys watching porn must've been "awkward" presents a problematic commentary, this morning on the Matt and Crank Sho, Crank offered more of the same. While talking about football and the Ravens, Matt made the observation that with the Ravens' recent loss, he was left with an empty feeling like one gets when they break up with their girlfriend. He said after breaking up, you have no interest in girls and, as a "defense mechanism", you might consider becoming gay or going the "dude route". Crank immediately chimed in that being an eunoch or asexual or would be a better choice and he just couldn't handle the "dude route".
This is actually more than just a problematic exchange. The message delivered clearly was an anti-gay message. First, one doesn't choose to become gay. Second, there is nothing wrong with being gay so there is nothing to "handle" about it. What is it with WZBH's DJs that they can't go a day without making an anti-gay remark? Better yet, where is WZBH's programming director to ensure such homophobic slurs arren't aired?
I reckon it was just another happy - and accepted - gay bashing day at WZBH.
Honestly, he sort of slipped the slur in. On "Lights out with JJ", JJ quipped about a gang of burglars in Australia dubbed The Goldilocks Bandits. The bandits have burglarized several homes and businesses and apparently make themselves feel right at home. They cook a meal, drink a whole bunch of alcohol, opened the Christmas presents, and watched porn. When JJ mentioned watching the porn, in a subdued voice, he remarked that if the bandits were all "dudes", watching the porn must've been awkward.
Ok, JJ, are you implying there are no gay or bisexual men in Australia? Or maybe gay and bisexual men are so morally upstanding, they would never resort to a life of burglary? Would watching the porn have been awkward if all the bandits were dudettes, i.e. women? Or are you saying that heterosexual men only watch porn when women are present?
While JJ's comment is not an outright gay slur, it is problematic. WZBH's target audience appears to be young males from high school through college. (That may explain why the nine DJs are around thirty or younger.) For a young, gay listener, especially in the age group where a young man is trying to come to grips with his sexuality, JJ's comment serves to reinforce the notion that there is something wrong or unnatural with being gay.
JJ's comment by itself may have been an off-hand remark from a straight guy who really doesn't understand what being gay means, but at WZBH, these sorts of off hand comments are made often. A faithful listener of WZBH may come to internalize the belief that there is something wrong or unnatural with being gay. Why else would a radio station allow the comments to be made on a regular basis if there weren't some truth to them?
JJ, stick to telling the story without the subtle, anti-gay commentary. Your listeners can add their own thoughts about a bunch of drunk burglars watching porn together and whether they were even all guys or not. And some of your listeners are gay, so why insult them?
Unfortunately, this critic was returning home from work and was unable to record the segment.
In what may be an unprecedented move, Matt, of the Matt and Crank Show, uttered a profound statement. In a segment about Crank finding a lost dog, a caller, using a bad Asian accent, tried to claim the dog. Matt reprimanded the caller for using stale stereotypes of Koreans in a vain attempt at humor.
What a break through! If only Matt and Crank - and a couple of other DJs - would discard stereotypes when trying to make a point or be funny, the overall programming on WZBH would be more palatable. For the listener, the change would be like scrapping the McDonald's happy meal for an Olive Garden pasta feast. Then, if Matt and Crank and a couple of the other DJs moved from scrapping the stereotypes to interjecting originality, for the listener, that would be like moving from the Olive Garden to Chef Ramsey's five-star restaurant.
But, alas, Matt's reprimand for using stale stereotypes to be funny was lost on him an hour later. He, Crank, and Intern A produced a rap song, "Teach me to be a hippie." Throughout the morning show, Matt stated he didn't think the song turned out as funny as he imagined it. Before playing the song, he told listeners to imagine an old, Black homeless man singing. Why old? Why Black? Why homeless? And why tell the listeners what to imagine as they listened?
Matt was right. The song sucked. Something about incest with cousins, hugging trees, and protecting animals. There were parts of the song where this critic could imagine an aging Cheech spewing his drug-warped philosophy, but that's only because Cheech played the part so well on That 70's Show. For all of Bill Gate's money combined with all of that FaceBook founder's money, this critic couldn't even pretend to have imagined an old, Black homeless guy rapping the song.
When listeners started texting praise for the song, Matt commented something to the effect that the rap song wasn't that bad for a bunch of White guys at a rock station. No. It wasn't that bad. It was worse than you thought. The stereotypes used to preface the song, used throughout the song, and used after the song served no purpose other than to denigrate those who don't belong to the group of good ol' young White guys down at the local rock station.
Below is the segment about the lost dog and Matt's reprimand to the caller for using stale stereotypes in an attempt to be funny. Unfortunately, after recording, this critic had to leave for work and was unable to record the rap song segment.
Last night, WZBH Critics Page listened to about an hour each of the early evening show hosted by Chris Steele and Lights Out with JJ.
Chris Steele didn't steer clear of controversial commentary. He dove head first into a commentary on the rising gas prices. He quite effectively expressed the frustrations many people feel with the rising gas prices, government ineffectiveness, and the powerlessness of the average American to do anything about it. Steele proved one can tackle controversial political speech without singling out a group of people based on their race, ethnicity, sex, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, or physical disability for blame or ridicule.
JJ contributed his nightly dumbass report. Usually his dumbass reports are entertaining and makes the listener shake his/her head in disbelief. Last night was no exception as we learned of an argument over french fries that led to a shooting. If any criticism were to be leveled, it would be JJ's use of the phrase "nightly dumbass". "Dumbass" carries with it a small degree of affection. When your friend does something stupid, he's a dumbass. When your kids do something stupid, they're dumbasses. When a stranger does something stupid, they're idiots.
Unfortunately, during both shows, a promo clip from the Matt and Crank Show originally aired earlier in the morning was played. Each time, Crank had the opportunity to once again remind listeners that scientists in Japan are trying to clone a mammoth because "They're Japanese. They have no scruples." The fact the scientists are Japanese has no bearing on the level of scruples they may or may not possess.
WZBH Critics Page monitored yesterday's early evening show with Chris Steele for about an hour. Delightful programming. Plenty of music with minimal commercial breaks and station promotions.
This morning's fare on the Matt & Crank Show stood in stark contrast to yesterday's evening show. In an hour and twenty-five minutes, Matt and Crank managed to attack gays, the Japanese, women, and midgets with their banal, high school level "humor".
WZBH Critics Page tuned in during their news story of scientists and experts claiming that California should prepare for a super storm as archelogical evidence indicates California is prone to super storms every couple of hundred years. Matt commented that after the Great Flood, God promised He would not flood the lands again, and sealed that promise with a rainbow. He theorized that maybe since Californians have "bastardized" God's symbol of that promise, God will take back his promise and wash all those immoral Californians out to sea. He added he certainly wouldn't miss California if it were washed out to sea. The subtle, anti-gay sentiment was made clear.
Matt and Crank then covered a story about the Japanese scientists' plan to clone the extinct mammoth. When Matt rhetorically asked why the Japanese would attempt such a thing, Crank's response was that because they were Japanese and they can and the Japanese have no scruples to weight the possible consequences of bringing back an extinct animal. Talking about mammoths, however, allowed Matt to interject two jokes aimed at overweight women - one about the "Asian elephant" he went to school with and the other about the "fat chick" he created in one of his crude cloning experiments that went wrong. In one fell swoop, they managed to slam people of a particular national origin and overweight women in general.
The last entry was a challenge to Intern B to research "freaks" so that they could award circus tickets to a listener who could answer Intern B's questions about freaks. Idle banter about "midgets" ensued followed by the claim that throwing water on a midget causes them to change into gremlins. Apparently, in Matt and Cranks eyes, little people are freaks who turn into gremlins.
WZBH Critics Page stopped listening to the show at this point. Banal, adolescent humor to deride gays, the Japanese, overweight women, and little people within a little over an hour was enough entertainment for one morning. Regretfully, recordings of the particular segments mentioned were not made.
Joe S. alerted us to the Matt & Crank FaceBook abuse. From the official WZBH website, there is a link to the Matt & Crank FaceBook page. Turns out, the FaceBook page is not an official extension of the Matt & Crank Show, but is, instead, the personal page for Matt. It is easy to see how fans of the Matt & Crank Show would join the Facebook page, believing the page offered a means for the DJs and fans to interact, and then be in for a rude awakening.
There are several clues that the FaceBook page is not an extension of the Matt & Crank Show. The most obvious is the absence of Crank anywhere on the page. Less obvious are the presence of Matt's parents and girlfriend and the occasional personal messages posted.
Posted below are a couple of exchanges on the FaceBook page that shows what fans can expect if they join the page believing they can interact with the DJs.
Attacking the family of a fan who made a comment on a free speech issue brought up on the show:
oMatthew Walsh I like how you put that in quotes like it's something that I actually said. However if you think graphic depictions of rape and torture should be shown to children then I'd say that's your own issue to work out. Lord do I feel sorry for your kids.
December 30, 2010 at 7:40am · LikeUnlike
oJoe S. Proper grammar puts the lesson I learned in quotes and nowhere does the quotes imply that it what you said. There are two people on the show - you and Crank, in case you forgot - and between what you both said, that is the lesson I learned as credited after the quote. The rest of your insinuations of my character warrant no response.
In pioneer days they suffered through frigid winters with no heat, meager rations, and no four wheel drive for their covered wagons. Now the Weather Channel forcasts two inches of snow and we close school a day early, run out in a panic to buy milk, eggs, and toilet paper, and we call out of work for the rest of the week so that we don't have to drive our SUVs in the type of weather they built SUVs to be driven in.
oJoe S. I do recall that you nor Crank showed up for work the day after our last snow storm and poor JJ had to pull a double shift. Did you call JJ and tell him to get plenty of sleep so he'll be ready to cover for you and Crank tomorrow morning?
January 11 at 4:24pm · LikeUnlike
oMatthew Walsh Joe, you try driving your 02 Hyundai Accent 120 miles from Baltimore in a blizzard at night and tell me how that works out for you.
Our last snow storm wasn't a blizzard and, in fact, Baltimore only got about an inch of snow out of that storm. The blizzad and heaveist snows were in southern Delmarva. Georgetown got about what we got here - eight inches. In the pionee...r days, they had no cars, but had two legs. Have we gotten to the point that no one knows how to walk to work any more? Or here's a thought. One of your coworkers could've swung by and picked you up. I'm sure not everyone drives a little car. All I know is it took me twice as long as normal to get to work, but my little '03 Mazda Protoge got me there and home. Almost got stuck in a couple of snowdrifts, but Old Reliable pulled me through. So how did it work out for me, you asked? Tense and long, but it worked out fine.See More
January 11 at 4:43pm · LikeUnlike
oMatthew Walsh I guess you missed the "from Baltimore" part. Walking to work from Baltimore would have been quite a trick. I guess I'm just not tough enough. Anyway I don't quite think there's any need to justify myself to you, but I thought I'd throw you a bone since I generally ignore your comments.
oJoe S. No, I didn't miss that part. You missed the part that the very complaints you make against others and how they react to a storm is exactly what you are guilty of. So claiming a blizzard of one inch snow in Baltimore preventing you from getting to work runs right along with how so many others react to a little snow. Oh well. I plan on not tuning in tomorrow morning because you nor Crank will be there. JJ is good to listen to, but the night show is more his element.
Joe, you missed the part where I fail to give a damn about your asinine opinions which you post on my Facebook religiously. Up until this point I have tolerated it because you clearly listen to my show on a daily basis. However my patience ...has now officially ran out so you'll have to find some other way to occupy the 8 hours of your day that you normally spend picking fights on my Facebook wall. I have actually learned from you, and a few others, that there really are people out there who I would prefer didn't listen to my show. If it wasn't for the fact that women, including my Mom, are reading this, I'd have a few other choice words for you. For now suffice it to say that I find you extraordinarily irritating and in serious need of some Jesus in your life. And probably a hobby.See More
Joe S. no longer posted after this last exchange. We at WZBH Critics Page look at these two examples of exchanges on FaceBook as a fan respectfully entering a debate based on the content of the show (first example) or content of the FaceBook posting (second example) and being resoundly ridiculed for daring to express an opinion that didn't agree with the DJs, in this case, Matt's opinion. At the time of this posting, WZBH Critics Page cannot confirm whether the fan, Joe S., stopped posting because he tired of the verbal abuse for expressing his opinion or if he was banned from the FaceBook page as Matt's last response seems to imply.
The WZBH Critic's Page is a blog to track the sexist, racist, Islamaphobic, and homophobic commentary often heard on WZBH, The Beach at 93.5 FM airing out of Georgetown, DE. While the station does play some decent rock music, commentary by the nine, thirty-something or younger, White male DJs often targets women and minority groups for ridicule. Women are consistently referred to as "chicks", Muslims are hellbent on destroying America, Black people are mocked, and real men act a certain way.
This blog is born out of frustration from a Matt and Crank show on August 18, 2010, where both DJs labeled homosexuals as perverts and mentally ill. About a month later, they included a segment on why women shouldn't be high school football coaches, which amounted to nothing more than twenty minutes of sexist rantings.
While the abuses are prominent on the Morning Show, the other DJs help carry the negative tone through their shows. Chris Steele regularly refers to women as "chicks". JJ worried about anyone who knew one day in November was National Coming Out Day. On another segment, he wanted callers to reassure him that when some friends came over to watch football and drink a few beers, a couple of his friends weren't gay because they cooked up a five-course meal during the show.
WZBH's programming does not reflect the diversity that makes up Delmarva. A look at the profile of all nine DJs is testament to that fact. WZBH needs to reign in the young, White, Christian, heterosexual males running the show.
The first step would be bringing in a more diverse DJ staff. Women and minorities like rock music, too.
The second step would be to delete links to personal FaceBook pages. Currently, the one linked to the Matt & Crank Show is not a FaceBook page for fans to interact with the DJs as an extension to the official WZBH web page. It is Matt's personal page where he berates fans who don't agree with him and promotes his own (presumably not the station's) personal moral , religious, and political views. If fans are not allowed to interact freely on the linked pages, then the pages shouldn't be linked from the main WZBH web page as if it were an extension of the official site nor should the page be promoted on air as an invite for fans.
If those two steps are followed, particularly the first step, the third step would follow naturally. The programming tone and overall message being set by WZBH and Great Scott Broadcasting would be more diverse and inclusive of all the listeners and fans on Delmarva.