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.

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