Thursday, July 5, 2012

Eason and Rodgers: Professional Broadcasts trumps Politics

I was heartened to hear from Jim Eason.

I remember, once again, that we didn't agree much, politically, but that was besides the point. Eason was, first and foremost, a professional broadcaster. He understood how to conduct a radio interview, was mostly civil and showed deference toward most guests and callers. And he was damn entertaining without being obnoxious on the air. A far cry from the posers of today's blighted radio scene.

Lee Rodgers, a frequent visitor here, was much the same. I openly chided the ex-KSFO/KGO talk veteran on his frequent want to be overly cranky, but I admired his work and respected his innate ability to provide civilized discourse and thought. How refreshing, how genuine.

A far cry from the shouters and con artists today who live on false "controversy" and insist on dumbing down their limited audience, most of whom, frustrated with the transparent charade, have moved on to other forms of radio, mostly satellite or the Internet.

They have tired of the new business model where sophomoric doofuses and carnival barkers have been given the keys to the car. Only no one is watching the drive. The act has become the centerpiece of the act and the audience is too wise for that nonsense. They know all too well that you can't fool everybody.

I know a lot of you out there miss people, the real pros like Eason, Rodgers, and Rothmann, just to name a few off the top of my head.

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35 comments:

  1. I don't agree with those guys' politics, either but I understand where you are coming from. Today's version is phony and contrived so much so that it's like those people are more like cartoon characters than talk-show hosts.

    What did you think of Bruce Williams when he syndicated coast-to-coast? Also, the original Larry King show when you would dial in (long distance) and they'd let the phone ring until you got screened to be on the air?

    Bruce Williams and Larry King could do radio and do radio well, in my opinion.

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    1. Back in the 80's I ran the board while Bruce Williams was on. I remember one night he was bemoaning the demise of the American manufacturing sector. He said "in 20 years we'll all be selling hamburgers and insurance to each other." How prophetic.

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  2. I'll never forget Eason's admonition: "Don't get mad at politicians, DRIP on them," DRIP standing for "Don't Return Incumbent Politicians."

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    1. Unless it was Reagan.

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    2. I liked the DRIP campaign as well. We shouldn't have re-elected Reagan - he was a much as a drip as everyone else that has held the office in the last 40 years.

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  3. I miss John Rothmann unbelievably. It is so rare to be entertained AND educated at the same time. I wish he had been chosen rather than Gil Gross for the afternoon time slot at 910. I like Gil, but he's not "must listen" radio to me.

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    1. I like Rothmann and Gross, but I think Gil is in the right time slot. Rothmann would be great in the old Gene Burns slot, 7-10pm. His show requires a longer attention span. I don't have time to focus until the evening. Well, my comment sounds like a slam on Gil, but it's not.

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    2. John Rothmann is a good host like many of the other ex KGO people, including Jim Eason. But I never warmed to him because I am Israeli. Like many pro-Israel Americans, he could never find fault with Israel, no matter how egregiously we acted toward Palestinians. That and the fact that he seemed to think any threat, real or perceived, big or small, toward Israel should be always be met with large martial response. This is far too easy to advocate when you are sitting in the relative safety of the US. But those of us who live or have lived there, know that more measured responses have proved more effective toward peace and stability.

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    3. America cannot afford to fight another of Israel's battles for it. Many Israelis and many American jews do not approve of preemptive strikes on Iran or the slow genocide of the Palestinian people. John Rothmann certainly knows the history of American presidents and is quite the scholar. I wish he would acknowledge this profound division in Israeli and Jewish thought.

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    4. This idea, that Jews are bitterly divided, is false and just the latest tactic among Israel critics.

      How does Israel policy affect your life? It doesn't! Learn to program computers or something if you want to improve your life. Stop whining about something which has nothing to do with you.

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    5. Is 10:06 kidding? U.S. policy with regards to Israel affects us all in the United States. The day the U.S.A. stops fighting Israel's wars is the day Israel will really "have nothing to do with (us)".

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    6. 5:02:

      No, I'm not fucking kidding.

      Please articulate for us how our Israel policy personally affects you. Be specific.

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    7. I completely agree, Palo Alto. Both were among my favorites, but especially John, because of his vast knowledge and the ability to educate in the most interesting manner. Miss, Miss, MISS!!!!

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  4. I agree with you I miss John Rothman as well, although I like Gil, he is well informed and has connections so he gets good commentators, but he gets a little tiresome at times, and some of his subject I don't care for. Of course that happens with any hosts, but less so with John Rothman for me, probably because I'm a history buff and political junkie. Of course I miss Gene Burns as well, but even if he had not been fired from KGO, he most likely not be on the air anyway, due to his stroke.

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  5. Was Bruce Williams the guy that sounded like your Uncle, who did the late night show with a poddle in his lap?

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    1. what the hell is a "poddle"?

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  6. Rich, you are a real student of the medium. This last column shows perspective, critical thinking and analysis. Clever writing is often not good writing. You are on the right path. Keep going.

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  7. I agree with 3:10pm. Although I prefer Rothman over Gross, the problem for Rothman is he is too predictable. Rothman's strength (the Middle East) is also his achilles heel. People tire out of Muslim Brotherhood talk and his Israel is never wrong stances. There is no surprise to any of his political positions! Gross, for all his faults at least mixes it up with topics and is not as predictable. If I were in power I would remove Alan Colmes from 7 to 10 and put Rothman in his place. Gross followed by Rothman is a winning combo.

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    1. I agree 100%, I like Alan Colmes, but he is not local, and he has too many crazy callers. I don't totally agree that John Rothman is predictable, yes he is very pro Israel, but I do feel he is fair, and he has critized Israel at times.
      No one is going to like everything a host does, unless you are a ditto head, and can't think for yourself. Many hosts fail to deal fairly and accurately with Israel and the Middle East, they usually favor just one side and then omit important information that would give a balanced view.

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    2. US policy is completely pro-Israel because it's unambiguously the correct position to take.

      It's only a few whiners who complain about our pro-Israel policy, as if it affects their lives in any way. (It doesn't.)

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    3. Colmes show is more cheaper and he does homework. John has a tendency of b.s-ing his points. It comes from his days as a debate team captain at Washington High. As a trust fund baby, he looks at life too optimistic.

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  8. Eason had another: VETO --- Vote Every Taxsucker Out


    "Do what you can, but behave yourself."

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  9. Oh, to remember:
    5-9a Dunbar-Wygant
    9-Noon Owen Spann
    12-1p Noon News
    1-4p Jim Eason
    4-7p Baxter-Jan Black (later Allen)
    7-10p Ron Owens
    10-1 Art Finley
    1-5a Bob Trebor (whose real name was Hernandez -- He used Trebor, Robert spelled backwards)

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    1. ahhha! thank you 8:41 for the refreshing memory!
      i guess we only have the *memories* of good radio anymore...

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    2. Also Mike Krasny at 10:00pm. Thoughtfull comments.

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    3. See now, there's the difference right there: 8:41 still remembers in fine detail the KGO lineup of... 20 years ago, or thereabouts? People cared about the programming and it mattered! Nowadays, even Jared can't remember who the hell was on last weekend, much less give a damn. Nor does it much matter, since they're all reading the same liner cards anyway.

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  10. Ken, aka "Bubba" and apprentice RedneckJuly 6, 2012 at 4:35 PM

    Years ago, when we moved to Asheville I corresponded with Jim Eason, who lived in Asheville at the time. Then he, unfortunately, moved back to California. Boy! Do I ever miss Jim and Lee Rodgers......and Al Collins. Do I date myself? You bet! BTW - I am still telling people on a regular basis, come November D.R.I.P.!!!!

    Jim: If you read this, I'd still like to correspond. My email hasn't changed from when we first moved here.

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  11. Was I just not paying attention say 15 years ago when I listened to Lee Rodgers on KGO? He didn't seem to be the right wing tool he became. Was I just too young and stupid, or was he always like he is now?

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  12. November 6, 2000+12. President-elect Mitt Romney!

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    1. Milk toast? He is not winning, just ask Dr. Savage...

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  13. Oh yes he is!!!

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  14. I can only say, thank goodness we have Michael Krasney on KQED each weekday from 9 am until 11am. Without annoying commercial breaks, Krasny is actually able to get deep into important and interesting topics with intelligent conversation.

    It's too bad that local AM talk radio has become so 'dumbed down' over the last 15 years. I think it's a result of media consolidation, less creative broadcasting people in the front office,
    and a general slothfulness on the part of listeners.

    People have become so lazy, intellectually speaking, in this country, that many don't even understand the most basic functions of their own government. It's no wonder why so many are fondly recalling 'the good old days of the 1950-90s, because we had a better quality of life, and a higher educational level than we do today in this country. Radio is merely a reflection of how we have lost our 'greatness.'

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  15. I'd be shocked if Americans vote in Mitt Romney for president.
    Certainly the direction of the economy will have a major say in deciding this race, but when you take in Obama's body of work for four years, he hasn't done that bad a job.

    It's funny, but I still get a kick out of people who call Ronald Reagan a great president. People forget that Reagan tried to turn the clock back on Civil Rights legislation, did everything he could to dismantle hard won legislation to protect the environment, and was the first president to really embrace the idea of deregulation (and look what disaster has resulted from that!)

    Eventually though, he came around to realizing that when you work as a president, you have to modify and compromise, and most tea partiers and right wingers would today consider many of his ideas to be 'liberal.'

    But to label Barack Obama a liberal president is really naive. Obama is left of center, but he is a moderate. It's amazing that the Republican Party has moved so far to the right, and is so beholden to extremists like the tea party crowd, that they've lost sight of this.

    Rockefellar, Nixon, and Gerald Ford would all be considered 'Liberals' by most hard core members of the 'Grand Old Party' today.

    By the way....here is the definition of the word liberal, directly from the Encarta World English Dictionary:

    "Broad-minded and tolerant with different views and standards of behavior in others....favoring gradual reform, especially political reforms that extend democracy, distribute wealth more evenly and protect the personal freedom of the individual.. Generous with money, time, or some other asset."

    I don't understand why some folks consider these less than admirable qualities.

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  16. Mention Rockefeller, Kennedy, Nixon, & Ford and you'll have the tea baggers up-chucking in the sink!!!

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