People Get Ready

[ make levees, not war ]

Better dead than blue

Posted by schroeder915 on November 12, 2006

For most of the day on Saturday, WSMB 1350 AM was broadcasting … dead air!

If this is what Entercom had in mind by killing the progressive talk Air America Radio format in New Orleans, their motto must be “better dead air than blue.”

So much for Entercom’s “on demand” schedule of WWL 870 AM/105.3 FM re-runs on 1350. Today, however, they’re back to broadcasting the same content on three FCC-licensed frequencies.

I don’t take issue with the logic that citizens would benefit from a time-shifted schedule which offers interviews on topics of interest to New Orleanians rebuilding their lives and their city. I do, however, object to Entercom simply dumping that content on two other stations. I do take issue with the competence and objectivity of WWL’s hosts. Far better could be done within the program schedule on WWL alone — and by more completely utilizing archived content online.

If Entercom management wanted to re-broadcast its WWL content, there are 15 hours a week in Rush Limbaugh partisan drug-addled rants that could have been eliminated. There are 20 hours a week of Monica Pierre listening to her co-host “aaah”-Bob-“aaah”-Del-“aaah”-Giorno-“aaah” talking about himself. If DelGiorno stopped saying “aaah” all the time, WWL could probably find another 10 hours. There’s George Noory’s alien abductions on “Coast-to-Coast” — another 20 hours a week. There’s 15 hours a week of sports talk with Bobby Hebert and Kenny Wilkerson. On 1350 AM, there’s Tom Fitzmorris’ food show that’s about as interesting and relevant to New Orleans’ recovery as watching cows graze. I support the restaurant business, wholeheartedly, but 15 hours a week is excessive.

Some of those shows may have loyal listeners, but, for example, do we really need three hours a day of sports talk, when we may not have sports in this town for very much longer without a city, as long as we can’t get Category 5 storm protection and coastal restoration, when insurance companies and contractors are ripping off citizens, when more than 200,000 residents are still spread out across the nation wondering when they might be able to get back into their homes? By the same token, do we need to hear about alien abductions, and Tom Fitzmorris humming while ingratiating himself?

I suspect that what’s really happening is that Entercom made a decision to cut costs. The dead air on Saturday is probably more owing to the fact that Entercom operates the station unattended. I’ve suspected as much before, since advertising and station id’s frequently play on top of regular programs on 1350. And the reason why Entercom is dumping redundant content on three licensed frequencies, is because it’s cheaper to do it. They don’t have to hire any additional people to create original content on those other stations!

Again, Entercom can’t be allowed to offer right-wing partisan views, without in fairness delivering an alternative perspective. Republican radio vs. Democratic radio isn’t the ideal for what we need to foster open, civil dialog in our democracy. The Fairness Doctrine is. We should restore the Fairness Doctrine for the well-being of our democracy. Barring restoration of the Fairness Doctrine, we should roll back media concentration. And barring a rollback of media concentration, we should demand better and more balanced use of the public airwaves. Tell the new Democratic Congress to reign in corporate control of our media.

Then:

  • Tell Entercom management to dump Rush Limbaugh or restore the progressive talk format on WSMB.
  •  

  • Tell Entercom management to use its WWL schedule more wisely so that listeners can hear the vital information provided by guests interviewed at other times — without infringing upon other frequencies.
  •  

  • Tell Entercom management to consider whether or not the talent it has on staff now really is the best they can do.

If Entercom can’t use its six radio licenses in New Orleans to more responsibly serve the community, it should be required to turn them over to citizen groups that positively have an interest in content that better serves their needs. And that goes for every other commercial broadcaster in the city!

WWL: Ask for Todd Manessas, 593-6376 (leave a message if he doesn’t answer)

Entercom: 866-490-3153

The Times-Picayune: letters@timespicayune.com

Related:

How corporate control kills media democracy

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5 Responses to “Better dead than blue”

  1. f p said

    What do the folks at the Urban Conservancy think of this with their Stay Local campaign?

  2. Funny you should ask. I was just talking to someone from the Stay Local campaign yesterday, but this didn’t come up.

    I’m quite serious about challenging commercial broadcasters — Entercom and Clear Channel are likely targets.

    They ought to be shivering in their tassled loafers by the shifting media market. The only thing that will save radio, IMHO, is if it starts responding to the community more. Who better to do that than the community? If they were smart, Entercom or Clear Channel would be giving away programming control to the community.

    If I were a media attorney, I’d be filing a suit to take away someone’s license already.

    Anyone out there want to get a radio station going for the community, I’ll drop everything to give the effort a hand.

    We need someone well-versed in FCC law to get this moving.

  3. gbitch said

    I knew I should’ve gone to law school.

  4. F P said

    What happened to WRNO? http://community.livejournal.com/neworleans/2455884.html

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