Fans of KTRC, the liberal talk radio station in Santa Fe — and fans of liberal talk radio everywhere for that matter — have taken a couple of vicious blows in recent days

On Thursday, syndicated radio host Ed Schultz — who promotes himself as “America’s Number One liberal talker” — announced that he’s quitting his three-hour weekday radio show. The way he made it sound, he just wants to go fishing. However, Schultz said he’ll continue doing his weeknight television show on MSNBC and he’s going to start doing an hourlong audio show that will be available on his website.

That was last week. The week before that, another popular syndicated host, Randi Rhodes also called it quits.

While the Rhodes departure was announced several weeks in advance, Schultz’s announcement even took his affiliates by surprise. “We just got the news ourselves,” said Scott Hutton, general manager of Santa Fe’s Hutton Broadcasting, told me Thursday. Hutton wasn’t sure what would replace Schultz’s show.

When Rhodes left the airwaves, KTRC did some reshuffling of its schedule, moving Thom Hartmann’s show up to Rhodes’ 1-4 p.m. time slot and replacing Hartmann’s 4-7 p.m. slot with a guy named Norman Goldman.

If every place had Santa Fe’s political leanings, Hutton observed, liberal talkers probably wouldn’t be dropping so rapidly.

Hartmann has a following here. Hutton said several listeners were glad that his show is now live on KTRC (which means you’ll probably hear more people from Santa Fe calling in).

This Goldman guy lost me, though. I tuned in a few nights ago, and the first thing I heard was Goldman not comparing the Republican Party to Hitler, but saying the Republican Party is Hitler. Perhaps a lot of profound political dialogue followed that, but I wasn’t listening.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the aisle and the dial, right-wing host Sean Hannity’s show was dropped by his syndicator. So on KKOB in Albuquerque and many other stations across the country, Hannity was replaced by Michael Savage (who was fired by the pre-progressive MSNBC 11 ago for telling a gay man who had called his television show, “I hope you get AIDS and die”).

To admit to a guilty pleasure, however, currently Savage is my favorite because he is so far out there. A woman I know, who is liberal, says she believes that Savage is actually some kind of parody of right-wing radio hosts — some kind of Stephen Colbert without the punchlines. I don’t believe that, but he’s the most consistently entertaining of any of them, left or right.

I probably listen to political radio way different than most fans of the medium. To start with, when I’m in my car (almost the only time I actually listen to this stuff), I do a lot of flipping back and forth between left-wing (KTRC) and right-wing (KKOB). Usually, I change channels when the one I’m listening to gets dull. (Or the host calls someone a Nazi.)

Sometimes, when there’s a hot topic, you can create some homemade comedy with your car radio.

For example, in 2012, the day after the news of Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” video broke, both Rhodes and Hannity were frothing. Flipping between their stations made it sound like a shouting match was going on inside my car. Both broadcasters got more and more outraged by the minute. (My kids both are happy that they no longer have to depend on me for transportation.)

Speaking of unintentional political comedy on the radio, a few weeks ago, Ed Schultz said something that nearly made me laugh so hard I nearly drove my car off the road.

He got in an argument with a caller and said, “Well, you’re a fricking [expletive]. How about that? Get the [expletive] out of here! How about that? I’m sure they hit the seven-second delay on that one. … I hope that that didn’t go out. Did we catch that one? I need some direction. Did we catch that one? Yes or no?”

The answer was no.

I’m not sure whether that had anything to do with Schultz’s departure. Maybe the outburst was an indication he really does need to cut back on his hours.

Contact Steve Terrell at sterrell@sf newmexican.com. Read his political blog at roundhouseroundup.com.

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(5) comments

Ron Johnson

Savage is one of few slightly independent right wing talkers. He will still attack on cue and in unison with all the other right wing talkers. He will still repeat the same primary memes and lies and distortions. Assessments of talkers like Savage, who may be entertaining, have to be weighed against the fact that the right wing talkers are still part of a giant propaganda operation designed to create an alternate reality and disrupt any thoughtful fact-based discussions about major issues. Like gun control, and rape, and immigration, and global warming.

Most liberal talkers do their own work and research and may talk about the same issues with similar views but they don't make a living selling ignorance, hate, and lies. They don't have to.

It is important to sample right wing radio and that's where thinking Americans have failed in protecting their democracy. When you hear Savage or Limbaugh or Hannity and then the local idiots at KKOB talking about the same issues the same way, know that all the other right wing talkers are doing the same. It has made a big difference the last 20 years.

Now, for instance, there are millions of idiots out there who listened to and cheered on right wing radio chickenhawks like Limbaugh and Savage as they lied us into Iraq, attacked Iraq war critics, helped Republicans obstruct funding for veterans, and now they will blame Obama and scream for someone else's head.

Thanks again to Hutton and KTRC.

Ron Johnson

"If every place had Santa Fe’s political leanings, Hutton observed, liberal talkers probably wouldn’t be dropping so rapidly."

Wrong. The makeup of talk radio around the country is not determined by 'market' forces. Maybe to some degree on the local level, but nationally, the idea that 19 out of 20 Americans who would listen to talk radio prefer the racism, sexism, ignorance, global warming denial and coordinated partisan lying of right wing radio is an insult to Americans.

That is the proportion today. In most parts of the country it's very hard to impossible to find free talk about current events and politics while driving and working that isn't right wing.

Right wing radio is a coordinated propaganda operation. The Koch Bros style think tanks feed more than 1000 radio stations and over 400 fools and liars. And they protect their advantage. Liberal talkers are up against a monopoly, just like a small hardware store vs Home Depot. Or the many small businesses going up against Wall Mart.

Thank goodness for Hutton and KTRC for injecting some sanity into NM. KKOB is a blight on the state and UNM should be ashamed to associate the Lobos logo with it, selling out their mission statement in exchange for a few thousand dollars a year.

UNM needs to look for non political alternatives to broadcast their games, not a station that has been used for years to attack teachers as well as public education and it's funding in order to privatize it.

Peter Neal

Not sure where he is on the dial these days, but I used to occasionally listen to Mike Malloy for entertainment as well- his vitriol and sheer hatred of anyone who was not a hard left liberal/progressive was really funny. I imagine he needed to replace the spit shield on his microphone daily.

Ron Johnson

Mike is on 1260 KTRC at 7PM!

sanchez rae

I also listen to Michael Savage for humor. Only in the car for short rides. He laughs at himself too and it helps. But he's really *out* there, insults everyone, no matter. I consider it my duty to tune in once in a while as all my other media is straight progressive. Thanks for writing this Steve!

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