Thursday, April 18, 2013

Would-be Howard Stern jocks hit new low

By Don Keith N4KC



In yet another attempt by a team of morning radio hosts to attract audiences by shocking them to a greater extent than others like them who are trying to do the same thing, a new low may have been achieved.  Here is an excerpt from one trade publication:


ENTERCOM Active Rock KRXQ (98 ROCK)/SACRAMENTO has pulled locally-based syndicated  morning show ROB, ARNIE AND DAWN off the air for the rest of the week after they aired a bit WEDNESDAY (4/17) in which the hosts spoke about making a "top 5" list of reasons to hate BOSTON.
The hiatus follows criticism from crosstown CBS RADIO Sports KHTK-A (CBS SPORTS RADIO 1140)/SACRAMENTO morning host DON GERONIMO, who ripped the trio for the bit and for spending some of TUESDAY's show asking whether it was too soon to joke about BOSTON.

While 98 ROCK stuck with music in the show's absence, GERONIMO opened THURSDAY's show by playing clips of WEDNESDAY's ROB, ARNIE AND DAWN show, including joking about the "top 5 list" (with ROB saying that "that's how we express our solidarity with the people of BOSTON" and adding that he'd never been to BOSTON, and ARNIE claiming he could come up with nine things), discussing how a man whose legs were blown off while watching his girlfriend run could "hold that over her head forever," and asking whether it was too soon for jokes about BOSTON (with one of the three saying "no" while DAWN said "yes").
The hosts were also heard criticizing the NEW YORK YANKEES for playing "Sweet Caroline" ("that's disgusting") and OAKLAND A's fans for chanting "let's go BOSTON" in support of the stricken city (ROB saying "I'd have been standing with my hands in my pockets saying 'really?'") and PHILLIES centerfielder BEN REVERE for taping the words "Pray for BOSTON" on his glove.
Of course, the accused morning show team--on their web site-- defended their garbage-like attempt at humor and, instead, attacked the guy at the sports-talk station who took them to task in the first place.  They say, "The Nature (sic) of our show demands honest, noble, and real discussions and, at times, irreverence."  I guess I'm missing the "noble" part of this mess.
Ever since Howard Stern gained fame and fortune as a so-called "shock jock," others have been trying to do the same.  The only difference is that Stern is a talented man who actually knows what he can do, what is funny, and what is out of bounds.  Others--I dub them "amateurs" but they are most certainly not to be confused with "amateur radio operator" hobbyists--decidedly don't.
Chalk it up to desperation.  Stations put people on the air who try to be funny and topical, all to attract people who are either keeping a listening diary or carrying a personal people meter for Arbitron...individuals who will each statistically represent several thousand other people in their communities.  What they end up with are talent-less wannabes who are insulting, crass and embarrassing.  
I haven't heard this particular show.  And yet, I have.  I'd bet it sounds like so many others of the same ilk.  And very little like Howard Stern.


Sometimes such programming works.  If enough diary-keepers/PPM-toters get the word that, "Hey, you ought to hear what those jerks over on 98 Rock just said about Boston," then they get a temporary ratings spike.  It only takes a few Arbitron reporters to make a difference.  But don't the radio station programmers, personalities, and owners realize that spike is only temporary?  The morning team either goes bland and boring to cut down on the controversy and keep their jobs or they have to get even farther out there, becoming even more disgusting to try to hit a new level of "shock" and keep their "edge."  That's because they don't know how to be topical and funny any other way.  (Note that I see the same thing in TV shows, movies, and stand-up comedy.  I'm no prude.  I have no issues with pushing the envelope.  But crass-for-crass's-sake is not entertaining, nor is it taking the art form to any new, exciting places.  I enjoy Louis CK, Daniel Tosh, the "Bachelor Party" movies, and the like.)
Regardless, neither route is good for listeners and the sponsors who pay the bills.  
And it damn sure is not good for the medium of radio.

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