Thursday, March 3, 2011

Shout Radio and the Budget Battle in Madison


If you think there’s little civility in the Capitol, tune in a Madison or Milwaukee shout (talk) radio station for a few minutes. It’s getting downright nasty.

This morning, WTDY’s Sly read aloud from the CCAP website, informing his listeners that Miss Vicki (shout-show host on WIBA in Madison and WISN in Milwaukee) has had dealings with a local utility company regarding non-payment of a bill. Sly was mad that on her Milwaukee talk show yesterday, she said exiled Senator Jon Erpenbach was living paycheck-to-paycheck and this his parents were helping support him.

Such is the grist of shout radio these days.

These two particular shout-show hosts do more yelling than all the other shout-show hosts in Madison and Milwaukee combined. Sly’s vocal outbursts are legendary, and often get him in a lot of trouble, when he devolves to name-calling. He frequently plays the sound effect of a cuckoo clock when he disagrees with a caller. (That’s pretty mild compared to the stuff he’s said about women like Robbie Webber, Condoleezza Rice, and Rebecca Kleefisch. )

Miss Vicki’s shout quotient has gone up considerably in the past couple weeks, particularly on her Madison afternoon shout-show. Odds are good that if you tune in at any given time, within a few minutes you’ll hear her shout down some caller who dares to disagree with her point of view. She’s far less tolerant than Sly of callers who don’t bark the party line.

Another delicious bit of broadcast irony: some of the biggest names in shout radio railing against the unions lately are union members themselves. Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Glenn Boeck, and their ilk are ALL members of AFTRA, the American Federation of Radio and TV Artists. (Locals like Miss Vicki and Sly are not…..God forbid anyone at Clear Channel or MidWest Family should belong to a UNION.) El Rushbo and the others don’t mention that, nor do they seem to acknowledge that their ultimate hero (Ronaldus Maximus, as Rush calls Ronald Reagan) was president of the Screen Actors Guild.

Unlike my fellow Irishmen O’Reilly and Hannity, I’ve always put stock in the Celtic saying that he who raises his voice first in an argument has lost.

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