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Friday, December 2, 2011

The trials of finding direction for The Coffee Party

We’ve fooled around with podcasting in hopes of being able to broadcast a decent show.  None of us particularly liked our voices.  Of the five of us, four decided Saturday nights were best spent at the local bar that recently opened.  I decided my voice wasn’t all that bad and pursued the idea of podcasting a bit further.

Because I’m borderline obsessive compulsive about details, I listened to talk radio for the past month.  I figured I’d listen to the pros and then emulate what they do.  Can’t go wrong with that plan of action.

Wrong.

I went up and down the FM dial and found three talk stations.  Two were conservative and one was all sports.  Moving up and down the AM dial, I found the same thing plus a couple of Christian talk and one psycho-babble talk station.  By far, Christians and conservatives dominate the radio talk circuit.

You know the old saying – those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.  This past month I learned something new.  Those who think and reason, lead; those who can’t, talk and talk a lot. 

Thus ended my desire to podcast a show.  Talking should have more purpose than to be a cheerleader for whatever group hires you.  Hey, no one in their right mind likes republicans or democrats.  All the cheerleading in the world won’t change that fact.  And since when did God need cheerleaders?

Our Church down here is full of old people, and I mean really old people.  The average age of the congregation is probably around eighty.  I can see a need for our Church to broadcast live the services to our members who can no longer physically make it to Church.  A simple podcast over the Internet would help those homebound members to feel like they are still part of the Church and part of the community.  Every Church should consider live podcasting of their services to their members who are unable to physically attend.  The cheerleaders on the radio, however, need to find God – and get a real job.

There are some ambitious cheerleaders out there in the world of talk radio.  They double up in their cheerleading efforts.  These extra-hardworking cheerleaders can be found on conservative talk radio.  Their primary objective is to root for the republican party by demonizing anything less than conservative.  While meeting their primary objective, they do double duty of cheerleading for God. 

You might wonder what would drive anyone to become a cheerleader on talk radio.  Simple answer – money.  I’ve listened to a lot of conservative talk radio because I thought I was conservative.  Turns out, I’m not, if conservative talk radio is what it means to be a conservative. 

Whether the host was Rush, Hannity, Beck, or Savage, they all shared one common trait: they tried to hawk something to the listener, usually their latest book or next speaking engagement, but nothing to sell was off limits. 

Rush Limbaugh cracked me up.  After ranting for a half hour about the 50% of people who didn’t pay any taxes last year, calling them lazy freeloaders and every other name in the book, he tries to sell a tax service that would cut your past tax bill by half or more.  Think about it.  People who owed no taxes because their incomes were too low and they qualified for the earned income tax credits are lazy freeloaders, but then Rush wants to sell the taxpayers who owe a lot of money a service that would allow them to owe next to nothing compared to what they were supposed to pay.  Yes, hypocrisy abounds on conservative talk radio.  No wonder Rush has been gabbing and selling for the last quarter century or so and yet has contributed nothing meaningful to better our society and country.

I began to wonder what sort of people tune in talk radio.  After listening to the callers, it didn’t take me long to figure it out.  Most calls invariably started out with a speech about how wonderful the host is.  Then the caller reiterates what the host just spent the last half hour talking about.  Finally, the caller thanks the host for the honor of talking to him and encourages him to keep up the good work.

The cheerleaders have their own cheerleaders!

Let’s put this in perspective.  At a football game, you have cheerleaders rooting for their team while entertaining the audience (fans).  The fans, in turn, root for their team and may steal a glance at the cheerleaders occasionally.

On talk radio, you have the cheerleaders rooting for their team (liberals, conservatives, God or whomever their cheerleading for) while entertaining the audience (fans).  The fans root for the cheerleaders and occasionally express an original thought in support of their team (liberals, conservatives, God or whomever they support). 

In short, listeners of talk radio are followers lacking original thought, almost a mirror image of the host’s personality.  Fans of talk radio are cheerleaders in training, I reckon.

All five of us did have one huge surprise, though.  Someone more ill informed, ignorant of facts, and brimming with arrogance than any politician, lawyer, or used car salesman spews his ignorance as facts daily.  That person is Michael Savage and his show, Savage Nation.  We never thought there would be anyone, much less a national personality, who could top our local hero and former host on WZBH, but we were wrong.  Not one of us could listen to Savage for longer than a full minute.

Savage’s show should come with an FDA warning.  “Listening can cause dizziness, nausea, and vomiting.  The most likely side effect of prolonged exposure is brain damage and, although rare, brain death.  At the onset of any symptom of a side effect, turn your radio off and consult your therapist before tuning in again.” 

For those readers who know we got our start with the WZBH Critics Page, please don’t expect a Savage Nation Critics Page.  We don’t need to consult anyone to know to steer clear of the show for mental health reasons.

My month of research led me to one conclusion – I ain’t no cheerleader.  I’ve joined the other four in deciding podcasting a show is best left for the double talkers whose sole purpose is to get money from you or the advertisers. 

The pen, however, is mightier than the sword.  I’m hoping the typeset is mightier than the sword, too.  I’ve decided to join my friends at our one and only local bar on Saturday nights, continue to get input from them, and then type away for anyone’s reading pleasure.  Reading requires thinking and concentration.  Thinking and concentration are an anathema to cheerleaders.  Hopefully, The Coffee Party will attract the real thinkers who are willing to think outside of the box. And maybe even effect change in some small way.

I reckon the worse The Coffee Party will do is attract no one, but will hone my writing abilities as I enjoy a couple of after hours beer.  It’s better than listening to talk radio, and healthier too. 


Posted by The Coffee Party

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