Monday, April 26, 2004

talkin' loud (and sayin' nothin')

There are times whenever I'm driving between Amherstburg and Ontario where I've gone through all the CDs I brought along for the trip or the other drivers are too insane to take your hand off the wheel for more than a second to change the CD. Unfortunately, the radio landscape is bleak. Lots of signals come in at night, but most provide entertainment for all the wrong reasons.

Usually I can get away with CBC, but when the odd program sends my ears screaming, it's time to wander the dial. FM usually proves hopeless, one cookie-cutter, tightly-playlisted station after another. Over to the AM dial, where many a strong signal is wasted on nationally-syndicated talk shows. All these stations from far-flung locales like St. Louis, Philadelphia, Nashville, etc, which could provide interesting windows on what's going on in those locales. Still, I may stay on a station for a few minutes to see how much lower the pole has fallen.

Things you notice after checking out a few of these cheap air-fillers:

1) Those callers who froth the most usually reveal their ignorance of the subject at hand by getting their insult terminology wrong. For example, if you're going to bash someone for being too far to the left for your liking, the insult to use is "commie" or "pinko", not "Nazi" or "neo-fascist", which are more appropriate for the person calling in.

2) Every third caller will be an old grump who wants to the good ol' days, when food was bland and prejudice was

3) Every fourth caller is there to inflate the host's ego.

4) Most US talk show hosts sound as if they attended the William Shatner Academy of Dramatic Pauses. Through generous use of dramatic spacing, they can stretch an item that should take 30 seconds to read into a 5-minute melodrama. These pauses must be accompanied by a tone of outrage, no matter how small the item is.

5) Commercial breaks will contain no local content, unless it's a station from Soviet Canuckistan. The ad selection will always include Larry King promoting a pseudo-health product (all of which sound alike, be it garlic tablets or orange juice), death-related topics (funerals or wills) and Hooked on Phonics. If it's a particularly right-wing and/or religious station, add in promos from groups like Focus on the Family.

6) When there is a local newscast, the only stories covered will be the latest homicide/major arrest and the tiniest tidbit of news about (name of musician/fancier of chimps and children banned from this website).

7) When all else fails, callers blame the Jews/Muslims/Non-Believers/Feminists/ Homosexuals/Educated Elite/Illumnati/the guy who invented the parking meter/aliens from the planet Krang-Kor and other grand conspirators for all our miseries ("Yeah, Bob, first, may I say I think your show is the best! I just wanted to say that I stubbed my toe, but it's the Krang-Korians that caused the porn video, sent by them to tempt me into damnation, to be in the way. It's all a conspiracy, Bob!")

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