It is a sure sign of getting old when your conversation begins with "I remember when" but alas, I am at that stage. I was raised on talk radio. I use to love the give and take and the contrary opinions of host and caller. It was the stuff that made talk radio in Boston some of the best in the country. However what passes for talk radio now, is in name only. In this historic presidential election it is difficult to listen. First the ground rules have changed. To call a station and to get on you must clearly agree with the host. Now there are some exceptions. Dan Rea of WBZ , Jim and Magery of WTKK, and even Howie Carr of WRKO (though lighter) allow those who disagree to get some time and voice their opinions. They are the exceptions.
Now in 2008 you get Jay Severin who insist that if you are one leaning towards Barack Obama you must be anti American. Following Jay is Michele McPhee who is as equally uninformed. On the am dial you get to listen to the rantings of Michael Savage. It is a long, long way from Jerry Williams, Paul Sullivan and the best of them all David Brudnoy. The problem with today's talk radio is that it is simply not entertaining. When the host is only interested in those who fully agree with him, what value is that? How does one convince someone of the other sides opinion when those with a different opinion are mocked, insulted, and called losers and such.
In Boston Jay Severin is the king of this. His show is simply, at least for now, a political ad for right wing republicans. He does get ratings. This simply means there are lemmings in every political shade. Yet is Boston served by this? Does the listener get any value from his show? When Jay talks the ins and outs of the political process he is very good. When he dissects what each candidate must do, or the states that must be won etc he is at his best. Yet with each day passing and the election getting close he has become more unglued. The code words that are used "us vs them" the "bastard factories" "the losers" say more about him than anyone he is attempting to insult.
This is talk radio? No it is not. It is an avenue for those who are simply in a position to scream, to scream. I will admit that Severin is the most frustrating, aggravating and hypocritical one out there. He speaks of "babes" every chance he gets yet does anyone realize he is a married man? He rants about MSNBC and the losers there yet was employed by that very station. He insults and mocks folks who will call into his show yet when he perceived that Don Imus was not paying attention to his "political analysis" he made a big point of announcing that he has sent a letter to Imus requesting he no longer be brought back as a guest. Jay was insulted. He is not insulted, he is a phony. Now he is screaming that we must Impeach Obama. Now I am not as politically astute as Jay, but doesn't one have to be elected and sworn in first?
Well this is my rant about talk radio. It has come a long way from Sullivan, Williams and Brudnoy. A long way for certain, but it is a long way in the wrong direction.