During this very exciting and dramatic Presidential campaign, I have found myself listening to talk radio more than I was previously. During the 1980s talk radio was at its height. And then it declined throughout the ’90s (along with the rest of the society, alas). It seemed to have gotten a little more interesting since the 2000s, but mainly it’s conservative ranting with mostly conservative callers. There are some conservatives such as Mike Gallagher and Michael Medved who have good discussions with non-conservative callers.
During the ’80s, Jerry Williams was not only the top talk radio personality in Boston but his show was #1 in all of Boston radio, for years. On that station, WRKO, there were also David Brudnoy who later went to WBZ, Gene Burns, and Janet Jeghelian. My how WRKO has declined since then, with Howie Carr (Jerry Williams’s replacement in the afternoons) and Jeff Kuhner. The new morning show, however, with Kim and V.B., is pretty good.
Jerry Williams was an old-fashioned left-liberal who was very critical of Reagan during the first half of the ’80s, but became more of a “populist” during the second half of the ’80s in his harsh criticism of a fellow left-liberal, then-Gov. Michael Dukakis. Jerry was critical of Dukakis’s mandatory-everything including the seat belt law, as well as the Dukakis state regime’s constant raising of taxes, fees and fines, and having state police troopers hiding behind every possible bush, behind every possible corner, to catch hapless motorists to collect even more loot for the state.
Jerry was someone who felt protective of the little guy, whether it was the an innocent civilian murdered by police in a brawl at a tavern, or the lower- or middle class worker who is being taxed to death by the state. Some people thought that he had become more “conservative” (whatever that means anymore) in later years, but no, he said he was still an old-fashioned union liberal. I really believe that if he were around today (he died in 2003 at age 79), Jerry Williams would see right through Donald Trump, the authoritarian police statist. Jerry was very critical of police in general, and was extremely anti-war as well. I doubt that he would support Hillary, though.
During his tenure on WRKO Jerry frequently had on his show tax-cutting guru Barbara Anderson, who died earlier this year. In this column from 3 years ago, Barbara expresses her similar disappointment in what talk radio has become, including her criticism of Jeff Kuhner. (Even Roger Ebert predicted the demise of talk radio as early as 1968, because of Jerry’s then station, Chicago’s WBBM, changing formats.)
Jeff Kuhner, by the way, is very supportive of and enthusiastic for Donald Trump, along with Howie Carr and Michael Savage. Their nationalism, anti-immigration views and other policy outrages are based solely on emotion and not rational thought, unfortunately. I can’t believe that Carr is still on at the same time after all these years (22 years), despite his medical issues and somewhat disturbed sense of humor. Kuhner and Carr don’t tend to yell too much, but Michael Savage sure does. (Can you imagine if Savage and Mark Levin were to co-host a show? It would be all yelling, all the time.)
With the decline of talk radio has been the decline of society, as I mentioned, and also the decline of critical thinking, the decline of challenging assumptions and the status quo, and the rise in authoritarianism and collectivism, as can be seen from the aforementioned Kuhner, Carr, and Savage. Popular now are “Reality TV,” “Dancing with the stars,” Twitter and Facebook and other State-controlled social media, and Faux News cable stuff. People are zombies now, on the Left and among the conservatives, too.
During those old days of talk radio, most of it was local, although there were a few national talk radio personalities before the Rush Limbaugh-Sean Hannity crowd came along, such as Larry King. Now much of talk radio is national, and most of those guys themselves are conservative Big Government nationalists (despite their “small government” rhetoric). Throughout the country, there is huge division now between the Democrat/left-liberal progressives and the conservatives, Republicans and religious types. Perhaps it’s because of a lack of localism and much of the media is national and centralized, I don’t know.
Laura Ingraham is now closely involved in the Trump campaign, supposedly. I haven’t heard her radio show in several years, thank God, because she hasn’t been on a station in this area for a while. But she was quite irritating, quite frankly. Apparently, she has some issues. Sean Hannity is similar to Ingraham, and he also is a shill for Trump (along with Kuhner, Carr and Savage).
And Hugh Hewitt is extremely annoying, and he’s even worse now first thing in the morning. Which is why I’ve been listening more to Kim and V.B. Ever since Hewitt said on his show back in 2006 that he donated $500 to Deval Patrick for Governor, just because Patrick was a college buddy of his, and despite Patrick’s being a far-left loony-tunes, I haven’t really taken Hewitt seriously. Hewitt is also a warmongering neocon with a B.A. in “Government” (Ouch!) who worked closely with Richard Nixon. What’s not to like there?
And Hewitt had recently called for Donald Trump to drop out of the Presidential race, just because of Trump’s perverted talk caught on tape, but NOT because Trump is an anti-free market crony socialist ignoramus who wants single payer nationalized health care and who opposes free trade and civil liberties. Oh, well.
Dennis Prager is also annoying because of his authoritarian preachiness and constantly pointing out that “the Left is destroying America,” even though plenty of people on “the right” have also participated in such destruction, such as the two Bush Presidents. And Reagan as well, as I noted recently. While Prager cries that the Never Trumpers are in denial of how “the Left will further destroy America under a President Hillary,” Prager and his ilk are also in denial of how Trump is just as much a leftist, a long-time Democrat and donor to Democrat hacks, of how the “New York values”-minded Trump supports transgender bathroom intrusions, and will probably sign whatever new LGBT “civil rights” legislation comes to his desk as President, if elected. In denial that Trump is equally bad and equally dangerous as Hillary Clinton.
And Michael Medved is one of those who encourages disagreements from callers, like Jerry Williams used to do. He certainly provides an interesting discussion, which is why I listen to him a lot more than Sean Hannity and Howie Carr. However, occasionally Medved doesn’t sound totally rational, such as during the 2007-08 Presidential campaign when he was discussing candidates with Hugh Hewitt, and they were chortling and giggling how the Republican nominee should be someone with “experience,” and what they were saying sounded like they were referring to John McCain. Yes, that John McCain. Yech.
And Medved’s personality occasionally becomes fingernails-against-the-chalkboard, you know what I mean? For instance, when the discussion is about taxation, such as the New York Times‘ recent article about Trump’s questionable tax filings (if any), the “conservative” Medved turns all egalitarian and goes off on this “everyone has to pay his fair share,” and so on. What I clearly hear from him there is the politics of envy, like a leftist. And I know I heard him talk that way at least twice now.
Another example of annoying, while I really like hearing Medved’s criticisms of Donald Trump, lately he has been nearly shilling for Hillary, to the point of dishonesty, in my view. Medved rarely yells, but just the other day, in fact (I think it was Thursday), he was yelling at Sharon from Louisville, with Medved saying that it was “sick” to suggest that Hillary Clinton should be “locked up.” Medved was grilling Sharon from Louisville, interrogating her on what exactly Hillary should be charged with, stating that FBI Director James Comey’s decisions were final. Ugh.
And several times now I have heard Medved say some particular thing, and a few days later when a caller points out that he said such and such, he denies it and says, “I did NOT say that,” and so on. And he’s done that at least a couple times now. So either he’s extremely forgetful, or just dishonest. In fact, during that 2007-08 campaign Medved smeared Ron Paul by saying that Dr. Paul had appeared on the Alex Jones Show, and after playing a tape of Jones ranting and sounding like a snarling and snorting madman, while Medved didn’t actually say that that was Ron Paul, it came very close to sounding like he was saying that was Ron Paul. It was extremely dishonest, in my view. I’ll bet that other people who were Ron Paul supporters also heard that, and that the Ron Paul campaign contacted Medved after that, because just days or a week later Dr. Paul was on Medved’s show, and I hadn’t heard him on that show prior to that.
But, I still listen to Medved because he does have interesting discussions, albeit annoying at times.
And Rush Limbaugh? I’m glad he is very tech savvy and discusses those things on his show. However, it wouldn’t surprise me if he is another one of those iPhone zombies who spends a lot of time with his little electronic gadgets. Well, at least he doesn’t need Viagra to play with his iPhone. (Or does he?)
But I do wish we could go back to earlier times, so I can hear Jerry Williams again, along with Gene Burns and David Brudnoy, of course.