Sunday, February 22, 2009

Radio Days

Way back when, before I had satellite radio or an iPod, I would listen to broadcast radio. I guess I'm a media and first amendment buff, so I felt the bittersweet emotion of enraged amusement.

I'd leave work between 4:30 and 4:45, and tune to 99.5, WBAI, the flagship Pacifica station, and listen to Eutrice Lied (and eventually some other fop named Hugh after they had their leadership shakedown) do Talk Back, a phone-in show. you can imagine...

A classic example is the caller complaining about the police rousting the homeless from their cardboard boxes on cold nights to force them to shelters. The following week someone would call about the tragedy when a firetrap killed a family, but the city wasn't doing enough to provide the poor with safe if we can ever have it both ways.

I'd reach the edge of the reception range, and tune to 104.9, WIHS, the local Christian station, to catch the 5 pm news (listener supported...and I could never determine if it was kind or cruel to offer a pledge if it would be used to get their lead newsman a tongue transplant...the guy reminds me of William Shawn, the leader of the rat pack in The Princess Bride...both in appearance and voice).

Every day there would be an obscure story about abortion...not really passing an opinion, but planting enough seeds to make it seem it was rampant. All stories about Bush were positive. All stories about Kerry and the Democrats had a negative slant...such as how he might be more accommodating towards gays. There were always stories about Christian persecution somewhere in the world, and occasionally there would be a story about how some other faith was kind. The best I can say about them is that they were routinely pro-Israel.

But the bias from both sides was clear...particularly in the selection and presentation of stories and discussion...and it was a bit entertaining while it lasted.

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