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.