The Voice of Just Awful

14 Feb

Just awful. It’s just awful. Some examples: 

1. Wednesday morning we experienced the coldest temperatures of the season. There was, however, no wind to speak of, so it didn’t feel like it. Howard Stern was a repeat, so I tuned into WBEN to hear the weather, “news”, and traffic. There, the static duo of John Zak and Susan Rose yukked it up about how all those pussy schools and all those pussy kids had “cold days” a few weeks ago, but on the actual coldest day of the season, they seemed to make their way to school just fine. 

The subtext, of course, is what WBEN had  been pushing all that week that schools closed – all these soft people and union schools are un-American jerks for closing schools for cold weather. Every one of their local shows had that as a topic at least once that week. They constantly beat the drum about this complete and utter non-issue. 

So, when the morning newsreaders mount their high horses and criticize schools and kids for not closing on the actual coldest morning, they’re setting up a lie. The schools didn’t close because of low temperatures, they closed because of windchills of -20F and worse. The notion of even kids who are bundled up sitting outside waiting for buses in that sort of dangerous cold just isn’t worth the risk. But WBEN didn’t bring that up – they just left the lie out there so the olds who listen could feel superior to these pussy kids and pussy union schools.

Whatever chump runs the WBEN Twitter feed got sarcastic with me instead of addressing what I wrote. 

 

 

 

If we don’t call them out on stupid little lies, imagine the big ones they get away with on a daily basis. 

2. They put up a picture of the Slovak Olympic hockey team, thinking it was team USA, before changing it. 

I don’t know who’s running their social media feeds, but God almighty. 

3. On Thursday, Facebook added ways for people to identify their gender. The normal human reaction to that is to either cheer this, or shrug. OR TURN IT INTO BREAKING NEWS.  Literally, this “news” went out to people who subscribe to WBEN’s breaking news text service: 

This is, of course, not breaking news. What WBEN was doing was riling up its right-wing omniphobe listenership over the assault on hetero rights in Obama’s America.  You should see the comments to the thread

Facebook. An internet sharing service that is completely free of charge, wholly voluntary, which implemented a change that helps some people and has zero effect on other people. Why would that upset anyone? If it’s so offensive to you, quit. 

The assault on American values comes not from progressives or Obama or same-sex marriage or acceptance of people who are different from you. The real assault on American values comes from hatred, fear, and blatant lies.

UPDATE: 

4. This morning, Buzzfeed (of all places) published a fantastic take-down of the Trump political con game. This exchange occurred: 

 

WBEN even took to Facebook to try and make something of it, 

Here’s the thing about this. First of all, Mark Poloncarz is free to “worry” about whatever the hell he feels like worrying about. If he wants to poke fun at WBEN’s incessant massaging of Donald Trump’s prostate, then that’s his prerogative. It has, after all, been hysterical. But the subtext here is that Poloncarz shouldn’t be taking time out of his day to Tweet things to a local media outlet because taxpayers or something. So, look at the time stamp: 8:06. What’s he supposed to be doing at that time? Whose time is he stealing? Also, he’s a professional – he doesn’t punch a time clock. 

 

 If this is the “voice of Buffalo”, then Buffalo must be a horrible, awful place. 

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40 Responses to “The Voice of Just Awful”

  1. Ridgewaycynic2013 February 14, 2014 at 7:57 am #

    ‘Contrived controversy’. It’s how all Entercom stations have survived in this market, whether they are sports, right wing, or left wing. Don’t worry about getting the facts right, just rile up the masses.

    • Scott Whitmire February 14, 2014 at 8:26 am #

      Pesola?

      • Alan Bedenko February 14, 2014 at 8:51 am #

        Donald Pesola is commonly known around here as “Sandy Beach”.

    • ckg1 February 14, 2014 at 7:15 pm #

      I call them Entercorpse for a reason…if they’re not catering to listeners that have one foot in the grave, they’re trying to bury the competition…usually Cumulus; whether it’s turning WWKB into a full-fledged ESPN Radio outlet to offset 1270 the Fan and its CBS Sports Radio, or making WLKK into some quasi-alternative station to outflank WEDG. Memo to Alternative Buffalo: If you’re trying to make people think that Lorde’s music is “alternative”, trust me…it isn’t. Her stuff shows up on quite a few other formats…INCLUDING ones owned by your cluster.

    • Farmerjohn February 15, 2014 at 10:02 pm #

      Yeah, well I refuse to ever buy anything at ohlson’s because of the mouth noises Beach makes.

      • jimd54 February 15, 2014 at 10:31 pm #

        It’s so funny you say that. I can’t stand listening to Beach snorting and wheezing through a commercial. Can’t they air brush that crap out?

  2. UncleBluck February 14, 2014 at 8:26 am #

    I’m surprised they didn’t jump into the….”so I guess Al Gore is wrong about Global Warming” spiel………

  3. Sean Danvers February 14, 2014 at 9:39 am #

    Did you really expect anything different from WBEN? The only good thing about that station is that within 5-10yrs all it’s fervent listeners will be dead.

    • ckg1 February 14, 2014 at 7:11 pm #

      True. I already booted them off my car radio. And I’m far from going toes up.

    • John Wilcox February 14, 2014 at 8:12 pm #

      From what I gather, that’s actually a national trend in the talkradio format. The loons have been pandered to for so long now, that these stations have driven off most normal people who have opted out of such boring and predictable programming.

  4. Craig Wheeler February 14, 2014 at 10:01 am #

    The biased nature of WBEN drives me crazy, and on top of it, Bauerle may have people hanging around in his yard while he runs around with a loaded gun? It speaks to a tweet I saw yesterday. “To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead “. – Thomas Paine
    That’s what dealing with far right leaning conservatives, that stop paying attention to facts the moment they don’t jive with their thought process.

    • Brian Buckley February 14, 2014 at 1:39 pm #

      shorter: You can’t have a logical argument with an illogical person.

  5. Mike_Chmiel February 14, 2014 at 10:30 am #

    Wait, John Zak is alive? He was announcing school closings when I was a kid. He sounded ancient then.

    • Ridgewaycynic2013 February 14, 2014 at 8:25 pm #

      72 as of Oct. 2012. Alan Pergament did a write up in Buffalo Spree on Zach.

  6. Ridgewaycynic2013 February 14, 2014 at 10:33 am #

    As for the Poloncarz-Wenger dustup, that’s just Wenger following the Entercom way. Don’t report the news, make the news. Wenger wouldn’t make a hair on Ed Little or Mark Leitner’s ass.

  7. Michael Rebmann February 14, 2014 at 11:58 am #

    Yes, riling up the right wing base over gender identity can be considered an assault on American values, IMO. However, they do not have exclusivity when it comes to bashing values, both the right and the left have done plenty to warrant hanging their heads in shame. Libertarianism is the only ideology that respects and protects individual rights.

    • Ridgewaycynic2013 February 14, 2014 at 2:03 pm #

      “…both the right and the left have done plenty to warrant hanging their heads in shame.”

      And at the risk of bringing out my ‘one trick pony’ too often, for years Entercom programmed in this market a far left station as well as the far right WBEN. Both stations exhibited hateful rhetoric in their individual programming. It is the height of hypocrisy for them to justify that stance, unless of course all Entercom is after is the bottom line, as opposed to a political and philosophical viewpoint.

      • ckg1 February 14, 2014 at 7:10 pm #

        Ridgeway: I would argue that said “far left station” wasn’t as far left as you’d think. Mild to moderate liberal is more like it.

      • Ridgewaycynic2013 February 14, 2014 at 7:22 pm #

        Agreed regarding KB’s content before the flip to sports. Still, I’m sure you see my point that if ‘liberals are such idiots’ as WBEN / Entercom would have you believe, WBEN / Entercom’s principles certainly shouldn’t allow them to maintain a left leaning radio station for all those years unless they were chasing one thing…the almighty buck.

      • ckg1 February 14, 2014 at 7:40 pm #

        You won’t get an argument from me on that.

      • John Wilcox February 14, 2014 at 8:07 pm #

        If I remember correctly, KB went progressive as a preemptive move against some other weak-signal local AM that went progressive. Can’t remember the call letters. They also didn’t exactly maintain KB during that time either. You could often ehar two things playing at the same time. Lots of dead air. Bisons baseball(!) and very stale identifiers. They called it “new voice, new choice” for like 7 years.

        Conservatives would have you believe that KB was on par with WBEN and was just completely rejected by a metropolitan area overwhelmingly NON-right wing.

      • ckg1 February 14, 2014 at 10:08 pm #

        If memory serves, the station in question was WHLD/1270(then the Voice of Reason, now 1270 the Fan). See, Entercorpse strikes again!

      • rhmaccallum February 15, 2014 at 8:41 am #

        This is the new America my friend. The bottom line is the political and philosophical viewpoint.
        Do I hear an Amen brother?
        Amen.

    • ckg1 February 14, 2014 at 7:18 pm #

      Libertarianism is the right on steroids mixed in with granola, feel-good stuff about how drugs should be legal-among other things.

      Radio talk show host Tom Leykis-who has in the past called himself “a small L libertarian”-quipped once on C-SPAN(who was simulcasting his show)that libertarians would never get elected to office because, basically, they’re too long-winded.

  8. hwhamlin February 14, 2014 at 12:25 pm #

    No mention of your pal Bill DeBlasio (D – Sandanista) refusing to close NYC schools during a blizzard? Or the resulting screaming fit from NYC teachers and parents?
    Of course not — it pales compared to the growing scandal at WBEN, which dares to promote discussion of the topic.

  9. jimd54 February 14, 2014 at 2:58 pm #

    Well, Chris Collins never stooped so low as to lampoon the “liberal media”, right? Or is it that he just never stopped.

  10. John Wilcox February 14, 2014 at 8:00 pm #

    It’s been pretty clear for a while now that WBEN desperately needs a change of leadership in management. All of the ridiculous and irresponsible garbage that they foster can likely be traced back to one or two people there. I believe the expression is “rots from the head down”. They have wholly embraced this area’s aging malcontents as their core audience. This is a decidedly short-term plan.

    Please, Entercom, get new blood in their so WBEN can again be listenable outside of weather and traffic reports.

    • starrrbuck February 15, 2014 at 10:33 pm #

      They have wholly embraced this area’s aging malcontents as their core audience. This is a decidedly short-term plan.

      It’s debatable if that’s “decidedly short-term”, but if it’s 8.3% of WNY’s listeners (as ckg1 mentioned is their most recent rating) and attracts enough sponsors, then I wouldn’t see a reason to discontinue providing what that “malcontent” portion of residents like. Especially if it’s the highest rating among their seven stations here. If in 5 or 10 years the demographics shift and ratings drop, then changes can always be made in response.

      The remaining 91.7% have other options including WBFO for local news-traffic-weather, except when anybody can’t resist tuning to 930 to check for something to criticize when there’s a good excuse like Stern having a repeat. Perhaps a useful service is also being provided to those in a codependence way.

      Interesting that so far none of the non-Entercom stations here have started airing any of the progressive shows dropped in September from 1520. Not the independent 1230AM/102.9FM stations (are those still for sale, btw?), not any of Cumulus-owned four stations, nor the other four owned here by Townsquare.

      If anybody ever puts Alan Colmes back on, I’d probably listen once in a while. His was the only quality political talk show I’d noticed on 1520, although Randi Rhodes was good for a laugh occasionally.

      • John Wilcox February 16, 2014 at 1:21 am #

        Programming a talk station based on ideology is lazy and short-sighted. As I mentioned above, WBEN is down noticably for the Fall compared to recent years—about 20% lower in fact. This notion that everybody listening is on-board with their ideological bent is misguided. Many listen to news and other featured elements. I even find myself putting them on just because there was nothing else on at my disposal.

        Default listening is not exactly tacit approval of what they’re doing. They’d attract more people if they weren’t so insultingly one-sided. They are definitely losing listeners because of it, that’s for sure. I for one, listen to WBEN less now than ever in the last 30 years–and not because my attention’s been diverted to another source. They’re just idiotic now, not entertaining.

      • Alan Bedenko February 17, 2014 at 6:18 am #

        The talk programming is beside the point. The “straight” news is so transparently wrong and awful,

      • starrrbuck February 17, 2014 at 7:22 pm #

        @John I don’t know if your take is correct or not that it’s short sighted for a format to be based on ideology. Since it’s a common practice in many places, it might’ve been arrived at by observing results.

        If I ran 930, I’d replace some current hosts (including the morning news team) to improve quality but I’d hesitate to change the format’s right leaning ideology because that seems good for radio ratings.

        Just like if I ran the Artvoice paper, I’d hesitate to weaken its left leaning ideology or to add any news/opinion writers who wouldn’t be as slanted as the current group against things like fracking, Paladino, or Chris Collins, …

        Doing that might lose at least as many AV readers as it attracts. While radio and newspapers aren’t identical, the business models might have commonality in that targeting niche audiences of ideological malcontents, right for 930 or left for AV, might be smart.

        1230 tried a non-ideological talk format for a while (Riter, Mendola, O’Donnell, etc), didn’t succeed. Maybe somebody will try again. 970 AM was for sale not long ago. Nobody bought it to try a nonright talk format. Likewise none of the at least ten other non-Entercom stations here are trying it now. Maybe a great opportunity is being overlooked.

      • John Wilcox February 17, 2014 at 9:34 pm #

        970 didn’t have 80 years of heritage credibility, money and a solid metro signal propping it up. While I can understand maintaining an ideological slant, what WBEN engages in is well beyond the pale, especially considering they have no head-to-head competition. They can afford to be more responsible, but aren’t.

      • starrrbuck February 18, 2014 at 7:35 pm #

        970 didn’t have 80 years of heritage credibility

        Disagree. 970 had credible heritage as a news/talk public station. It could’ve been a good candidate for transition to commercialized non-right/non-malcontent talk or news/talk if anybody was willing to buy it for that. If credibility from previous generations really matters (80 years?), wasn’t it a major commercial station way back when?

        It’s signal isn’t as strong as 930, but 970 still easily covers the most populated parts of metro Buffalo according to this. The signal of 1230AM is similarly strong as 970, says the same references. I don’t know if it’s still available to buy, but the last time this topic came up somebody commented that 1230 was then actively for sale.

        they have no head-to-head competition

        If true, part of my point. If/when enough demand from listeners or advertisers is perceived for non-right talk or news/talk, I’d think it again appears from a competitor if not Entercom itself – similar to how Cumulus-owned 1270AM switched from music to sports despite Entercom’s 550, and how 1230 for a while tried their local talk format with Riter/etc bragging about being a 930 competitor.

        But “no head-to-head competition” is a big exaggeration. 88.7 has better head-to-head drive time local news than 930. It also has left-leaning (malcontented during R administrations) national talk with intermixed local news/weather competing head-to-head with 930’s Limbaugh & Hannity. Quite a few stations have drive time traffic reports. 103.3’s Shredd/Regan are 4 hours of non-right mostly local talk Mon-Fri, aimed at less aged demographics, head-to-head with John & Susan.

      • starrrbuck February 18, 2014 at 7:59 pm #

        they have no head-to-head competition

        If true, part of my point. If/when enough demand from listeners or advertisers is perceived for non-right talk or news/talk, I’d think it again appears from a competitor if not Entercom itself – similar to how Cumulus-owned 1270AM switched from music to sports despite Entercom’s 550, and how 1230 for a while tried their local talk format with Riter/etc bragging about being a 930 competitor.

        But “no head-to-head competition” is a big exaggeration. 88.7 has better head-to-head drive time local news than 930. It also has left-leaning (malcontented during R administrations) national talk with intermixed local news/weather competing head-to-head with 930’s Limbaugh & Hannity. Many stations have drive time traffic and weather. 103.3’s Shredd/Regan are 4 hours of non-right mostly local talk Mon-Fri with topics aimed at less aged demographics, head-to-head with John/Susan.

        All that aside, I’d listen to 930 more than now if it had better righty local hosts. It’s unfortunate if Bellavia’s attempt was stopped by his other employer. If Caputo wants a regular show, he could be a good upgrade for example to replace John/Susan or one of the talk slots. Or they could try recruiting new voices to Buffalo.

        I wouldn’t complain if their format became less righty as you want it to. It’s their station, they should do anything they want. I just don’t see how being as righty as they now are is necessarily bad for their business. It seems a big enough niche.

      • John Wilcox February 19, 2014 at 2:41 am #

        I’m not crazy about hosts who say exactly what i think they’re going to say before they say it. Caputo, IMHO, is boring on top of that.

        That “big enough niche” is only getting smaller and unfriendlier to advertisers. Over the last few years, especially since the Limbaugh/Fluke incident, the overwhelming majority of the top 50 national advertisers want nothing to do with the format anymore. Add to that the ever-increasing age of their core audience. Today’s talkradio is specifically pandering to a niche that will have it off into a ditch before long. Ratings are down at ALL of the biggest talk stations in the country. In some cases down dramatically.

        Talkradio managers have been working hard around the country to blow off more normal, level-headed listeners, and it’s finally working.

  11. MaxPlanck February 15, 2014 at 1:08 am #

    A 3rd string operation in a 3rd rate radio market. Is anybody listening?

    • ckg1 February 15, 2014 at 3:55 pm #

      Sadly, a lot are.

      • John Wilcox February 16, 2014 at 1:12 am #

        If it’s any consolation, WBEN usually gets about a 10 share in the Fall ratings. They are clearly down almost 20% from where they normally are at that time of year.

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