Monday, August 20, 2012

You can’t say anything on radio anymore, but let’s shoot the immigrants

We were treated to an entire first hour of whining about how one can’t say what they want on the radio any more.  Heck, even Phoebus made the same comment on his show the night before.  Crank, JJ, and Sarah carried the sentiment a step further.  They blamed the evils of FaceBook for allowing anyone to complain about what they hear.  Of course, these people jump on FaceBook for no other reason than they want attention.

This is what happens when a station hires a bunch of inexperienced, non-professional kids to sit behind a microphone.  What do Crank, JJ, and Sarah base their entire career on?  That’s right.  They complain about everything they read on the Internet and, obviously, they complain about FaceBook and its contents.  Why do they spend four hours every morning complaining about what they saw on the Internet?  Obviously for the attention.  You see, it’s ok when they do it, but not when anyone sitting at home does it.  Go figure that logic.

Here’s the reality of it, since Crank, JJ, and Sarah are a little confused.  The station didn’t hire you because they thought you should have a public platform to say what you want when you want.  They didn’t even hire you because they thought what you had to say was relevant.  They hired you to entertain and attract listeners.  The more entertaining you are, the more listeners tune in.  The more listeners tune in, the more ad revenue is generated.  The more ad revenue generated means bigger profits for the station and maybe a bigger paycheck for those behind the microphone attracting all the listeners.  Tee the listeners off and you lose the ad revenue.  Lose enough ad revenue and you might lose your job.

Listeners who use the Internet to air their opinions about the entertainment they are hearing is a much more effective way to gauge the appeal of a show among fans than the old-fashioned way of mailing a letter to the station.  Back in those days, it was easy for stations to ignore the genuine sentiments of listeners than it is today.  Today, that letter gets posted on FaceBook instead of thrown away once the station received it, and, sometimes, huge sentiments of agreement over the complaint erupt.  The average listener has a more effective tool to air his complaints, and, yes, get the attention of the advertisers sponsoring potentially offensive shows.  To the non-professional behind the microphone, that power is a threat, not an asset.

Unfortunately, this past week, we let the ball drop.  Three days in a row, JJ plainly stated we should shoot the illegal immigrants as they crossed the border.  (Ok, JJ only wanted to shoot them two days in a row.  On the third day, he wanted to feed them to the sharks for Shark Week.)  What he said is akin to saying, in a different time and place, let’s fire up the ovens and invite the Jews for the Great German Bake Off.  There is no justifying JJ’s sentiment.  (We should have made note of the sponsors advertising during these segments, however, the three of us who listened over the course of the week were never in a position to jot down the advertisers.  We’ll do better this week.)

Such sentiments are born out of bigotry, if not racism.  You won’t hear JJ complain about the estimated half a million illegal Canadians in this country.  You won’t hear him say we should build a wall along our northern border and post snipers along the wall to shoot anyone trying to enter this country illegally.  It doesn’t matter to him that the few terrorists thwarted at our borders were stopped at the Canadian border, yet none were ever stopped at our southern border.  See, Canadians are White and speak English so they’re all right.  It’s the brown-skinned, Spanish speaking ones ruining this country.

Can one talk about illegal immigration on the radio or is that a taboo subject?  Of course one can talk about it.  If the prejudice and bigotry didn’t get in the way, how could the show have gone?

It was only a couple of months ago, JJ reported that for the first time, Asian immigration outpaced Latino immigration.  Companies needed more skilled laborers and they found them in Asia.  If Rush Limbaugh is to be believed, for the first time, Latino immigration is at an all time low, if not reversing.  With the economy down, jobs simply aren’t here and many Latinos are going home.

With a little real-life research, not Google research, Crank, JJ, and Sarah could’ve learned that Perdue in Salisbury has a huge Latino workforce.  Sit in their employee break room, as one of us did while waiting for a job interview, and one is hard pressed to find anything written in English.  Even the company newsletter is written in Spanish.  The one of us who applied for a job with Perdue didn’t get the job, probably because he was the wrong color and spoke the wrong language.

Then there was the push a year or two ago to limit the number of work visas granted to immigrants to work in the crab houses.  A Dorchester County councilman tried to argue that teaching a Mexican to shell crabs was easier and cheaper than training a local born citizen.  Think about that.  He believed that teaching a Mexican, who most likely never saw a blue crab in his life and probably didn’t know English, would be easier to teach than a Dorchester County native.

Now a clearer, and more accurate, picture of the immigration problem emerges.  The immigrants aren’t a bunch of criminals looking for a free ride.  They are coming here because companies are giving them jobs.  And if enough immigrants with the right skills aren’t coming, companies go looking for them.  Immigrants aren’t stealing American jobs because, given a choice, companies don’t want to hire Americans.

Take it a step further, and look at the Chick-Fil-A controversy.  We know JJ is not against same sex marriage because of religious beliefs.  We truly believe that if JJ were to walk into a Church, the windows would explode and the pews would erupt in intense flames.  It’s fine he’s against same sex marriage and even stated so.  We know homophobes are against gay marriage and it’s not a big deal.

JJ, however, supported Chick-Fil-A and boasted of eating their delicious chicken sandwiches.  Guess where that chicken came from?  Yup.  Some Latino at Perdue cut it up, packaged it, and shipped it out to Chick-Fil-A.  Chick-Fil-A uses Perdue chicken.  So while supporting Chick-Fil-A’s owner’s right to voice his opinion on same sex marriage, JJ inadvertently supported Perdue bringing immigrants over to supply the chicken.

Look, you can say anything you want on the radio.  What we, and maybe other listeners, object to is passing off prejudices and bigotry as fact and not looking at the whole story.  If you’re not professional enough to present the facts and the whole story and keep your prejudices to yourself, perhaps you should step away from the microphone.  It’s too much responsibility for an amateur to handle.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Crank's uneventful return and while we're at it - Matt's re-invention of himself

After a build-up all weekend, the big surprise on The Worse Show With JJ and Sarah this morning was Crank's permanent return to his old spot.  Our one word response - bittersweet.

For those who haven't been keeping up with the local radio soap opera, here's a quick run down.  About two months ago, Matt left WGMD for a new job on an AM station in Lexington, KY, WLAP.  Before we could stop celebrating Matt's departure from Delmarva, news came quickly that Crank was assuming Matt's old position at WGMD.  Using his real name, Crank launched a new career with The Andrew Murr Show.

Less than two months into his new career, the lead morning man, Dan Gaffney, abruptly resigned his position after 27 years on Delmarva radio.  Andrew, aka, "Crank", promptly filled his position.  Something was happening over at WGMD, but with all the FaceBook chatter from Crank, Dan, Matt, and a few others with WGMD, we haven't figured out what the truth to the shake up is.  We really don't care.

A couple of weeks after Dan's resignation, Andrew found his way back to WZBH and resumed his old character, Crank.  In the first 45 minutes of the show, Crank and JJ managed to ridicule gays, Iranians, and obese people.  The ads over the weekend didn't let us down.  The Worse Show Ever did get worse, worser, worsest, and worser worsible - just to make sure JJ understands what is being read to him here.

Sadly, Sarah was forced in the backseat, again.  Just when she was finding her character, one that we enjoyed being played off of JJ, she has been demoted to the token female on the show.

Despite Crank's FaceBook explanation of why he left WGMD after two months, we're pretty sure Crank is a smart man and realized he didn't have what it takes to be an engaging solo talk show host.  Despite the alleged offer of more money to stay on, he probably realized when WGMD got done with their axing shake up, he'd be the last one on the butcher block.

On a side note, we beg to differ with JJ about Crank not "looking gay".  We're not sure how one "looks gay" unless the reference is towards the flaming stereotype that most people automatically think of when they hear "gay".  But let's back up a minute here.

Remember awhile back we said we might take a trip to Baltimore and take an unscientific poll on JJ's gay sex appeal?  One of the two women in our loose knit group is friends with a guy, who is gay, and lives in Baltimore.  He agreed to take us on our tour of the gay bars if we were serious about it.  We've already taken the virtual tour through the links he provided.  After looking at some of Crank's pictures on the WZBH website, we all agree Crank looks gay.  He'd fit right into the leather bar as a cub.  JJ fits right in as the Daddy bear.  (We hope we got the terminology right.)  Yes, we've been doing our homework, something we would like to see Crank, JJ, and Sarah do more of before doing their show.  And, yes, we're tentatively set to hit Baltimore this Saturday and we'll take Crank's picture along to test his gay sex appeal, too.  Of course, we were supposed to go two Saturdays ago, but one of us backed out last minute.  We'll see what happens this Saturday.

Matt, on the other hand, is in Baltimore and will be heading back to Kentucky in a day or two.  We figure he needed a break from the complex lies he is telling his KY fans about himself.  After a rant a month or so ago about militant gays trying to get him fired just before his wedding, he posted a thank you, of sorts, to Dan Gaffney when Dan announced his resignation from WGMD, Matt's old station.  In a nutshell, Matt made the claim that Dan took a chance on him that allowed him to break out of the rock format boredom and do his own thing.

Recently, he posted that his year anniversary since leaving WZBH was coming up.  He claims that he "took a leap of faith" and accepted a job at a rinky dink station that gave him the experience to jump to a bigger station in Kentucky.  For being the "truthsayer of [whatever station he's at this month]", he sure can spin a good lie.  (Wow, three jobs in a year.  He sure can't hold down a steady job, can he?)

We'll set the record straight.  Matt was fired from WZBH.  That's the only logical explanation for his doing the Monday morning show and then posting in the afternoon that he wouldn't be returning to the show and WZBH wouldn't allow him to do a farewell show.  We then had to wait almost two weeks for his announcement of his "big job" at WGMD. 

Contrast that with Crank's departure.  Dan Gaffney announced Crank's coming onboard at WGMD a week and a half before Crank left WZBH.  On Crank's last day at WZBH, he got to say goodbye to his WZBH fans.  And two months later, WZBH welcomes him back.

None of us are rocket scientists, nor geeks sitting in Mom's basement, but even we know a firing when we see one and Crank wasn't fired.  We didn't even need a couple of beers to figure that one out.  Sorry, there was no "leap of faith" to voluntarily leave a full time position for a part time position at a smaller station.  Matt was fired and had to take whatever offer came through.  Maybe some day Matt will find the moral fortitude to tell his fans the truth instead of spinning fanciful tales.  (Following this argument is Matt's fanciful tale in his own words.)

Some fans out there may be wondering why we are so persistent with detailing what really happened instead of letting Matt say what he wants.  Two reasons: first, Matt owes Delmarva a huge apology for that partcularly offensive show on Aug 19, 2010 where he railed against gays, Blacks, and women.  Second, and a lesser reason, is during election time, he went on and on about Christine O'Donnell admitting on TV she tried the Wiccan religion when she was in college and wondered how, twenty years later, she could be calling herself a Christian and running for public office.  We stated it before and we reiterate.  We want this blog to be a testament to Matt's early days so that in twenty years when he decides to run for public office, some young upstart on the radio can dig up the dirt and ask how a bigot who freely expressed his homophobic, racist, and sexist views could possibly be a serious candidate the people would want. 

We believe in karma, but sometimes, it doesn't hurt to lend it a hand.

Matt's own words on leaving WZBH:

I'm reminded that next week will be my one year anniversary in talk radio. I've been in the broadcast business for five but only in talk for one. A year ago I decided to leave my full time gig doing a morning drive rock show for a part time position hosting a late night talk program in the same market on a smaller station with a weaker signal. It was two months before my wedding and I was taking the biggest gamble of my career. WGMD had never had a four hour local night host so my show was initially a try-out situation. But it was an opportunity to do talk radio -- which had been my single goal for at least 7 years-- so I put my faith in God and grabbed it. A few weeks after my wedding my position was converted to full time. About 7 months later I signed a contract with WLAP to host afternoon drive in the awesome town of Lexington, a city 40 markets higher. So that sums up the past year, not that you asked. It's crazy to think that only a year ago I was on rock radio in southern Delaware playing tazer trivia and forcing the intern to lick the inside of a dumpster (don't ask).

If I could just tell you two things I've learned that I'm sure you already know: 1) If you dream big you have to be prepared to take big leaps. 2) If you're waiting for the ideal time to make a huge change, I promise you it will never come. Me, I'd rather die of exhaustion wandering in the desert than on a bench in the bus terminal surrounded by the rotting carcasses of my broken dreams and untapped potential. I don't exactly know what I meant by that last part but screw it, just go with it.