Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Where has everyone gone?

Since our last review, there have been some changes at WZBH, none of which, we believe, were the direct or indirect result of our work here.  The big news is the departure of Crank from WZBH.  He accepted Matt’s old position at WGMD. 

We always held hope for Crank.  He didn’t let his conservative view of the world trap him in a quagmire of contradictions and hypocrisy like so many of his conservative counterparts.  Unfortunately, he played second fiddle to first, Matt, and then JJ.  Briefly, Crank stood alone between Matt’s firing and JJ stepping in, but to our dismay, he flopped around during those couple of weeks like a fish on the moon.  When JJ stepped in, Crank took up the straight man role and let JJ be (or try to be) the comedic star.

We can’t get WGMD here, but one of us had been working in Salisbury and caught parts of Crank, who now goes by his real name, Andrew Murr, in his new gig.  Our other critic’s take: “The fish is done flopping around on the moon.  He’s flopping around Salisbury right now.  At least he’s getting closer to the water.”

In case Andrew Murr is reading this, here’s our constructive criticism we hope you can take something from.  (Yes, we really do want to see you rise to big stardom and believe you can.)

First, stay away from the conservative playbook.  On any given day, whether one is listening to Limbaugh, Hannity, Savage and, yes, even Walsh, they all say the same thing almost verbatim.  We don’t know who writes the conservative playbook all the conservative talk show hosts follow so write your own playbook and stand out from the crowd.

In writing, one is taught to avoid passive writing and write in the active voice.  None of us know the radio business, but we think it’s safe to say the same rule applies to radio.  Listeners don’t want to hear what things seem to be.  They want to hear what things are.  They don’t want to hear what things appear to be or probably are.  They want to hear what things are.  They don’t want to hear what you think.  They want to hear what you know.

The worse advice anyone can give is to tell you to talk to your audience as you would a friend.  Odds are the passive voice is the way you talk to your friends.  Stop using the words “seem”, “appear”, “probably”, and the phrase, “I think”.  A good cook rarely uses salt and when he does, he uses it sparingly.  Think of those words as salt and put the cap back on the shaker when you do your show.

The above advice we offer for free.  People pay good money for that kind of advice.  Oh, and knock it off with that talk about building another bridge from the western Shore to Cambridge. 

With Crank’s absence, JJ has assumed the lead role on WZBH’s morning show, now called The Worse Show Ever With JJ and Sarah.  JJ has undergone a subtle, but noticeable transformation.  He’s dropped the dumb act, one he never pulled off very well to begin with. 

He’s also dropped his homophobic remarks.  Hardly a day goes by, though, that as he is talking about something, he’ll interject “No homo” to clarify to the listeners he is not gay for talking about whatever he’s talking about.  We write that off as his own insecurity in his manhood.  You never here a gay guy talk about a beautiful woman, for example, and feel a need to interject, “No hetero” to make it clear he’s not heterosexual.  That’s because most gays are secure with who they are.  Maybe JJ will be secure with himself some day, too.

Sarah is a token female version of Crank, only more subdued.  To be honest, Darnell’s Mr. Turtle has more personality than Sarah.  Sarah should go home and learn something from Mr. Turtle before returning to the show.

On a closing note, for those who may be interested, an update on Matt Walsh.

Matt left WGMD and is now in Kentucky on WLAP.  Being subject to prejudices and stereotypes like everyone else, our first thoughts were he was where he belonged.  After following his first few weeks in KY on FaceBook, turns out he may not be where he belongs.  The fans of the station are a tougher audience and don’t fall so easily for the empty rhetoric Matt is known for on Delmarva.

Anyone who has listened to Matt long enough knows he’s limited in material.  Don’t vote Republican or Democrat.  Teachers are pedophiles.  We’re doping our children to cure the fictional disease ADD.  Abortion is wrong.  Muslims are evil.  Social programs are a waste of your money.  Immigrants are taking over the country.  And back to don’t vote Republican or Democrat.

Don’t believe us?  About a year or two ago he posted a little clip about passing a stranger every time he went to the ice machine.  That might have been posted around his honeymoon time.  Now he’s in Kentucky and posted it again.  New audience makes old material new again.

But it’s this post by Matt we found most interesting:

Well, Billy, when there's been a certain group that has tried numerous times over 5 years to take away you and your family's livelihood you might, after a while, come to the point where some of these adjectives seem appropriate. Remiind me to tell you some time about how GLAAD told me they were going to send me pamphlets on the "correct" way to discuss "LGBT issues". And then some other time I'll show you the mounds of hate mail and veiled threats I've accumulated over the years for the sin of speaking my mind on the subject. And don't even get me started on all the "tolerant" folks who swore up and down they would do everything in their power to get me fired. So yeah, when I use these words I've got 5 years of experience dealing with this sort of "advocacy" to back it up.

Matt forgot to tell his new Kentucky fans that three years ago, he aired a particularly offensive show aimed towards gays, Blacks, and women.  He failed to tell them that after some fans complained, the next day he defiantly stated he wouldn’t apologize and challenged his listeners who were offended to “go ahead and call the station and try to get him fired.”

No, the story is the militant gays swooped down and tried to take away his livilihood.

Matt validated what we suspected.  While Matt was busy daily ranting against some made up fan living in Mom’s basement for making this page, we were paying attention to who was using the page.  GLADD wasn’t the only organization taking an interest.  At least three other non-gay groups took an interest.  We suspected we were being successful in our endeavor and Matt has validated our suspicion.

As for the accusation of taking “away you and your family’s livelihood”, that’s the nature of public life.  Matt and every other talk show host has made a living off threatening other people’s livelihood by constantly denigrating everything they do and everything they say.  We’ve done nothing differently.

As residents of Delmarva and listeners to the public airwaves, we have just as much right to voice our disagreement on what is being aired as Matt has the right to voice his disagreement with, well, just about anyone who is not White, conservative, Christian, and heterosexual.

Here’s the lessons Matt should’ve learned:

  1. Be careful what you challenge your listeners to do.  They just might take you up on it.
  2. One earns a lot of respect if he backs up his opinions with facts and tells the whole story, not just the parts he wants others to hear. 
  3. Listen to your audience.  Believe it or not, they do have the power to make or break your career.

GLADD and the other three groups would never have heard of Matt Walsh, The Matt and Crank Show, or even Delmarva if only Matt had followed those three rules three years ago.  The big question is will Matt make the same mistakes in Kentucky?


  1. I think Crank is gone too!

  2. #whereisCrank935

  3. Crank returned to WZBH shortly after leaving. The morning show went through many incarnations and the station lost much talent (http://wzbhcriticspage.blogspot.com/2014/04/wzbh-hemorrhaging-talent.html), but Crank remained behind. He does the morning show solo, now, 6am-9am.

  4. A lot changed quickly, as we learned last night. Crank is no longer with WZBH and this update (http://wzbhcriticspage.blogspot.com/2015/03/crank-is-gone-sans-apology.html) is the most we know right now.