when will the audience be to blame?


So I’m checking my Treo today and up flashes as “news bulletin” from All Access, a radio industry e-zine.

XM SATELLITE RADIO has suspended OPIE AND ANTHONY for 30 days, effective immediately. The suspension follows the airing of the “HOMELESS CHARLIE” rant about Secretary of State CONDOLEEZZA RICE last week for which XM and O&A apologized”. That “rant” included a guest musing about raping Secretary of State Rice, First Lady Laura Bush and Queen Elizabeth, according to the New York Daily News. I did not hear the broadcast.

It went on to note that the suspension was a result of recent statements that O&A made on air that “put into question whether they appreciate the seriousness of the (“HOMELESS CHARLIE” broadcast) matter.”

Yes, this IS satellite radio that these former terrestrial radio shock jocks got suspended from…the very “panacea” that was to be the safe haven of “naughty” former terrestrial radio shock jocks everywhere. I’ll leave it to the more suspicious of you out there to determine if this firing had more to do with the mix of politics and business (i.e. the pending merger of XM Satellite Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio which would need governmental approval the FCC commissioner had previous to this incident indicated he is loathe to offer) rather than anything resembling broadcast standards.

Back track a few days earlier when WFNY/New York (former radio home of Howard Stern and terrestrial home of O&A) fired on-air hosts Jeff Vandergrift and Dan Lay of “The Dog House with JV and Elvis” show. Their bit involved calling Chinese restaurants and making obnoxious and insulting statements. I did not hear the broadcast.

Comedian Donnell Rawlings was fired from New York’s Power 105.1 FM last week for making an anti-Semitic remark on air. I did not hear the broadcast.

And then you remember the whole Imus thing.

So with all these disc jockeys fired or suspended, when do we get to fire the audience?

Yes, the audience.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if a radio station General Manager thought he or she could make their company money by broadcasting knitting and crocheting 24/7, you’d be listening to “Yarn 105.3” right now!

But people are listening to what I consider crap radio. Lots of people. And advertisers are spending money to have their products and services featured on these shows. Lots of money.

So since these listeners have made a choice that they are free to make and these advertisers have made a business decision that they are free to make, why are we blaming the disc jockeys?

Sure what they are saying is vile and crude and abhorrent to most of the citizens of the free world. Their humor is at best sophomoric most of the time. The problem is there is an audience…a big one…for these types of broadcasts.

Who is taking THEM to task?

It is the audience who is the truly guilty party in these matters. it certainly isn’t only about the broadcasters and the stations. In fact, I don’t think it’s even mostly about them.

I’m not sure if the audiences for these crap radio shows are getting what they want or getting what they deserve. I’m just glad there’s still an “off” switch and that I know where it is.

3 Responses to “when will the audience be to blame?”

  1. Love this post Peter! I once ‘got away’ with saying something on Radio Disney that would today have me fired from any station. It was innocent, a mistake, and came from me being young and naive- not malicious. 3 mothers called and complained, I appologized to each of them personally and it was forgotten. That was about 8 years ago…today it would have made national news. It is beyond silly that ‘we’ as an audience have created these shows (by listening) and now ‘we’ are complaining for what they’ve become. It’s extremely rare for me to turn on a radio or a television in the mornings anymore. Good riddance.

  2. You have to rent the movie “Idiocracy.” It spells it all out for you, my friend.


  3. Thanks Kara and Dan.

    Kara, it IS amazing how content has changed.

    For awhile, it seemed like we were feeling our collective way along in broadcasting, being a “bit” naughty. Now it seems the sophomores have taken over the school (both in the classrooms AND the administration 🙂

    The bad news is the concept and practice of reasonable humor (and I’ll grant you one person’s opinion of reasonable can greatly differ from others) will start to be sanitized to the point of oblivion at the rate we’re going. We simply can’t seem to find a happy medium. And with all the racial defense groups, nothing will be seen as funny because humor comes often at the expense of another…it the degree of that expense that our broadcast community cannot seem to figure out.

    Dan, I hadn’t seen the movie Idiocracy, but I really enjoyed the trailer: http://www.worstpreviews.com/trailer.php?id=8&item=0


    Best always,