Sunday, December 30, 2007

2007 Year End Radio Wrap UP

What a huge year for the medium that has survived attacks from TV, video, iPods, Satellite and Internet.

Here's my rough draft on a year end wrap up:

The big stories, not in order yet:

1)Clear Channel seeks to go private and divests stations as its stock goes down.

2)The FCC opens up to small broadcasters and looks like it might start examining radio airwaves as they are: temporary licensees of the public airwaves.

3)KGO-AM, San Francisco's most popular station gets hit hard: Pete Wilson dies in July; Ronn Owens collapses and suffers amnesia in September; Bernie Ward indicted for possessing child porn in December. Ratings wise, even those things don't touch it.

4)KPIG program director Laura Ellen Hopper, who made Americana music a national format, dies in spring, saddening musicians and fans worldwide.

5)Using hate talk techniques that are a throwback to the racist radio of the 1930s, talk demagogue Michael Savage yells his way to No. 3 most popular host, behind Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. He sues the Arab organization CAIR for putting his Anti-Muslim rants on its website and using them to raise money. His own nonprofit status is revoked by the IRS and the State of California, after he fails to file tax forms for three years.

6)The People Meter, the electronic device that will measure what people are actually listening to on radio is introduced in Houston, Philadelphia and New York. Rock stations gain popularity; soft music, Spanish and urban broadcasters lose. In New York they protest that not enough minorities were given the monitors and the company goes back to written diaries for a while, until it can get a bigger sample size. This will be the biggest story of 2008.

7) Don Imus calls the Rutgers University woman's basketball team "nappy-headed hos," bringing a new racial epithet to the mainstream. He is fired by CBS and half a year later rehired by ABC. After big attention to his first shows, his ratings, which were never that good, dwindle.

8)Sirius and XM satellite radio networks seek a merger. Conventional broadcasters, who have previously tried to get as many stations as possible to create their own monopolies, protest it as a monopoly.

9) The FCC allows radio broadcasters and newspaper publishers in major markets to own TV stations, in an effort to help media struggling with competition from the Internet. Some say it's not enough. Others say too much power is concentrated in too few hands.

10) Media Matters, the Washington, D.C. based liberal watchdog, gains national notoriety, playing exerpts of shows by Limbaugh, Hannity, Savage and Bill O'Reilly and holding them accountable. Its account of Rush Limbaugh saying that troops who speak out against the war aren't "real" soldiers, draws fire in Congress and helps Limbaugh raise money in a backlash effort.

Send me your stories, so I can flesh this draft out..


Thursday, December 27, 2007

Sammy Hagar Launches new Radio Station New Years Eve

Read about it here::CABO WABO RADIO

Sunday, December 23, 2007

More El Tri in New York

God bless the Internet and Javier Martinez....

One song I played last Saturday with El Tri has made it to Youtube...I hope the others will too...This made my day. I thought this was all lost to the ether...What amazing times we live in..

Check it out ...and let's hope he gets Besame up there too..

Friday, December 21, 2007

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Tune In Ronn Owens from 10 a.m. to noon Friday

I'll be on, doing "The Best Music You Never Heard," with musical submissions from all over the Bay Area...

Should be fun radio, taking the Bay Area's top talk station musical for a couple of hours.

Check it out, call in, comment here...

Alex Lora and Me on MTV Radio

Forgive me for being self indulgent...but I have to share some of the best times of my year. This was on MTV radio, in Times Square...the song is about the victims of the World Trade Center...

I'm really bummed, because I think I gave the best performance of my life the next night at the Nokia Theater and don't have video of it...If anyone has the song Besame, please post it on YouTube...gracias....Alex wrote that song, and the one below, in jams with me.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Keith Richards doing extensive interview on Sirius Radio tonight and tomorrow

From a press release:

NEW YORK, Dec. 19 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- SIRIUS Satellite Radio will broadcast tonight an exclusive in-depth interview with Keith Richards, one of rock's living legends. This rare interview was conducted by Steve Jordan, Keith's friend and bandmate from The X-pensive Winos. The interview will air on The Spectrum, channel 18 at 8 pm ET on December 19th, with encores on December 20th at 1 am and 5 pm ET. Additional replays of the interview will air on The Spectrum and Classic Vinyl channel 14 through the month.

In the one-hour exclusive, SIRIUS subscribers will experience a rare trip into the mind of Keith Richards as he shares stories on a variety of topics including his three day road trip with John Lennon through England, his first encounter with Muddy Waters at Chess studios, his infamous meeting with Peter Tosh, meeting Chuck Berry, and the life-changing experience of hearing Elvis Presley for the first time on Radio Luxembourg.

"Keith Richards' life and music define the rock-and-roll experience," said Scott Greenstein, President, Entertainment and Sports, SIRIUS. "We are thrilled to provide our listeners with this unique and intimate window into rock history through one of its founding fathers."

Keith Richards also shares his passion for music, the artists that have inspired him the most, and his experiences working with artists that he "worshipped" as a child. Listeners will also hear Keith discuss "Pressure Drop" and "Run Run Rudolph," two songs he recently released commercially, for the first time.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Keith Richards is a founding member of The Rolling Stones and one of rock's pioneering guitarists. In 2003, Keith Richards ranked number ten in Rolling Stone magazine's top 100 guitarists of all time. Over his four decade career, Keith Richards has worked on various solo projects as singer, songwriter, and producer with some of the greatest artists in rock history.

Visit for more information.

New York Times piece on Michael Savage needs copy editing

Sad to see the New York Times print stupid errors.

In this story Jacques Steinberg says Michael Savage was thrown off his radio simulcast on MSNBC after attacking a caller who identified himself as gay...

Nope. The show was not a simulcast, but an original for TV.

And the caller never identified himself as gay. Savage just used an elementary school level attack, lashing out as someone as gay for no reason. It just shows the kind of hatred brewing in the man.

See for yourself here.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

El Tri hits Times Square and a few media outposts know it

Mexico's most famous and enduring rock band, El Tri, played New York's Times Square Saturday, and like the illegal immigrants they sing about and who packed the Nokia Theater, the band was largely invisible.

The New York Times, just around the corner, ignored the show, as did the Village Voice, the New Yorker and all English TV and radio.

The Daily News and Newark's Star Ledger ran nice stories (note to the Star Ledger writer: Mexico's 1971 "Woodstock" was 500,000 people, not 50,000).

The best thing about my time at the Mercury News was meeting and getting to know these guys.

Singer Alex Lora, who has produced 42 albums in 39 years, invited me to join him in the concert, which was a historical event for the band: it's big shot at notoriety at the center of New York. I also followed him on a 15-hour publicity tour of Spanish radio stations.

I'm awaiting some video of my playing in the concert. Totally bummed that my camera ran out of batteries.

Alex on the radio:

When I get it, I can show you the evolution of a song. Alex wrote the music while we jammed together at the NAMM music store conference in LA in January and added words. It's now a big hit in Mexico, called "Besame," and I got to share in a long two-harmonica introduction to it live Saturday.

Birth of Besame:

And the final video by El Tri:

Some observations: hanging with Alex, one sees just how many Mexicans there are here, even in places such as Indiana, Iowa and New York.

We were mobbed everywhere, from Queens to Madison Avenue. People saw us and begged us to come in for free coffee, food, chat and autographs. Lora, who believes in giving back everything he can to the fans, rarely says no to anything they ask.

Most of them are illegal and do not come over the border by land. They have fake documents and they fly in.

"What choice do I have?" said a 30-year electrician who has been in New York for 10 years. "I can work in Mexico for 26 dollars a week and not be able to feed my family, or I can come to the U.S. and make $26 an hour."

Lora sang a song called "Las Victimas Invisibles de Nuevo York," about the illegals who died on 9/11 in the World Trade Center (one he wrote on our first jam in 2001).

And the feeling in the mainstream media is that Mexicans here are still largely invisible, perennial busboys.

But this show, where they paid $50 and $75 a ticket and packed into one of the city's most prestigious theaters, was another wake up call. The cultures are merging, and the results can be sublime and wonderful.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Bernie Ward Defense Fund and a Column

Here is the link to a page administered by Ward's former producer on the God Talk show, Lynne Sloan and parts of a column being syndicated later in the week, including a phone conversation with Ward.

First off: KGO operations manager, Jack Swanson, acknowledged that the station isn't talking about Ward, who is suspended.

"I understand if you view that as hypocritical,” he said Monday.

Ward was home this week, in shock, feeling like he was in “lock down” and that he had little support.

He said in a phone interview that he wished he had a chance to give his side of the story on his radio show.

“All I would ask is why?” he said. “I’m not accused of being a predator. I wasn’t producing or manufacturing it. I didn’t pay for it, and obviously with the three-year wait, I’m not a danger to anyone.”

When he told prosecutors that he was writing a book, he says, they acknowledged that and that he was doing research. But it didn’t affect their decision to prosecute, the way it would, say, a murder suspect, who could get first or second degree homicide charges based on his intent.

There have been other cases of journalists running into problems with the law for investigating child porn, including former New York Times reporter Kurt Eichenwald who downloaded images and wrote an expose on a child porn ring, and testified against them, but wasn’t prosecuted himself.

Some have suggested that if Ward were writing a book, he should have worked first with the U.S. Attorney’s office, but as a journalist doing research, it wasn’t something that he considered.

“I’ve tried to live my life by not hurting anyone,” said Ward, who turned down a plea bargain proposal for him to take five years in jail. “I keep hoping for common sense to win out.”

Ward has been replaced by the station on his shows the past week, but he is still employed. He has a huge audience that has rushed to his support, some fearing a plot by conservatives to silence him, others waiting to see what happens in a trial.

I’m a Ward fan, although we have had our run-ins. He’s been one of the only voices on the commercial airwaves for left-wing politics.

He was a consistent critic of the war in Iraq and was one of the earliest to report such things as Blackwater’s involvement in the war.

I have trouble believing that the government would target him, but I had trouble believing that it would file a case against the Duke lacrosse players if they weren’t really guilty.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Conservative Talk Host Rusty Humphries Says Waterboarding Isn't Torture, it's fun.

I have to stop listening to these folks who can do little more than make things up, but I accidentally listened to Rusty Humphries tonight, on KNEW-AM (910). For a minute, he had me, talking about how much he likes Kansas City, and how he lived on the Plaza (one of my favorite places on earth).

Then he talked to a caller about waterboarding. When she described it as tying someone's hands and dipping them in water till they almost drown, he took her on.

"They tie your hands," he said. "And they pour some water on your face. You know what I call that? Summer at the Humphries family house. "

To that I say, Rusty, where is the logic? If waterboarding is so benign, why do questioners want to use it as a tool to get answers from terrorists???

I defy Humphries to undergo a serious waterboarding session and see if he still feels that way afterwards. In fact, I'll give him $1,000 if he comes out afterwards and thinks it's fun.

For the record, here's Richard Levin's account of his experimental waterboarding, something that convinced him that "torture is abhorrent."

And here is Wikipedia's definition:

Waterboarding is a torture technique that simulates drowning in a controlled environment. It consists of immobilizing an individual on his or her back, with the head inclined downward, and pouring water over the face[1] to force the inhalation of water into the lungs.[2] Waterboarding has been used to obtain information, coerce confessions, punish, and intimidate. In contrast to merely submerging the head, waterboarding elicits the gag reflex,[3] and can make the subject believe death is imminent. Waterboarding's use as a method of torture or means to support interrogation is based on its ability to cause extreme mental distress while possibly creating no lasting physical damage to the subject. The psychological effects on victims of waterboarding can last long after the procedure.[4] Although waterboarding in cases can leave no lasting physical damage, it carries the real risks of extreme pain, damage to the lungs, brain damage caused by oxygen deprivation, injuries as a result of struggling against restraints (including broken bones), and even death.

This video sums up life in Silicon Valley

Here's one for my non California readers: a great take on business life in Silicon Valley.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

The only place not talking about Bernie Ward is KGO

You can tell a lot about a news media outlet by the way it covers itself.

Basically, if the media treated everyone with the kid gloves they use handling their own, they would have a lot more friends. There would also be no exposes, investigative journalism or critical thought.

Competitor KCBS-AM (740) was all over the story of talk host Bernie Ward's Thursday arrest on suspicion of transmitting child pornography, including posting podcasts of interviews with his lawyer and agent that were picked up by other stations. It was the lead story on the Drudge report and the main topic of Michael Savage's talk show for two days. (Including, I believe, playing the CBS podcast.)

KGO's news side covered it, but the talk hosts kept a wall of silence around the story.

On Friday KGO topics such as Mitt Romney's religion or the CIA cover-up of torture tapes sounded anemic compared to the Ward case. What was on most minds was whether the station's most vocal liberal host had done something gruesome and illegal.

Operations manager Jack Swanson didn't return repeated phone calls and emails.

On one hand, I agree that he is in a corner. A lawyer himself, he knows that broadcasting speculation about an employee he may have to fire could have serious implications.

On the other, the station didn't shy away from discussing Rush Limbaugh's arrest for buying illegal pain killers. KGO's sister-station KSFO-AM (560) broadcasts Limbaugh's syndicated show, although it wasn't all news all the time.

Just imagine how would the station be covering Gavin Newsom or Barry Bonds in the same situation? Talk wallpaper, right?

I know I'm in shock about this. I can't believe Ward would do what he is charged with, and want desperately to believe his defense, that he was working on a book.

Its certainly possible. And while in earlier times I would be inclined to believe that federal prosecutors wouldn't file frivilous charges, I'm more skeptical about the government, in part because of things Ward has shown.

He was the first national host to talk about Blackwater, and at first I thought it was a crazy conspiracy theory. It turned out to be more true than anyone can believe. He was adamantly against the war, from the start, even when his peers were for it and the media was labeling as traitors anyone who questioned it.

With government that lies about weapons of mass destruction, with a commander in chief who gives out the wrong phone number on a national broadcast about a service to help people in trouble with mortgages, anything is possible.

You want another example of kid gloves? Check out my old newspaper's coverage of its former publisher George Riggs winning an award as executive of the year.

The guy's paper lost a third of its circulation, and its deputy managing editor says the community hates it because it has no personality...but he wins a big award and no one questions it or raises any irony in the story covering the award. You know they would if this were some other industry patting itself on the back.

That's one reason bloggers are getting so much more powerful. They can ask: how did they give this award out? Random drawing?

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Ever Inaccurate Michael Savage revels in Bernie Ward's arrest

(images: Michael Savage, carrying a purse and hanging with Alan Ginsburg in the 60s , and today)

Savage had some good taste, saying he prayed Ward was innocent for the sake of Ward's "five children." (He has four.)

Then, he played the song "Thank Heaven for Little Girls"...bad taste..

But how can people ever trust him?

Yesterday he claimed the Omaha shooter was black and that the press wouldn't release his name the same way they would for a white shooter.

The shooter was white. Savage never corrected or retracted that falsehood. He has a picture of the man on his website, but again, never corrects the lie he put out on the airwaves Wednesday.

And, he's continually trying to raise money for his lawsuit against CAIR, but never says what happened to the $900K he raised for his Paul Revere Society, which has had its tax exemption pulled by the IRS. Why isn't he using that to fund his case?

Why hasn't the IRS or the State Attorney General Jerry Brown filed charges? If I were late on my tax filings, I'd bet I'd hear about it. It always struck me as strange that Savage, a conservative, donated $5,600 to the liberal Brown's campaign.

How do Savage fans listen to this tripe day after day and never call him on it??

Today on his site, Savage has KGO-AM and he broadcast a KCBS-AM podcast on the air. Isn't this he same thing he's suing CAIR for: appropriation of his broadcast content? Is this any less fair use than CAIR's use of his content?

Then, ever classless, he spent time trying to get a Las Vegas restaurant owner to get him a reservation for after the fight Saturday and promising to give them free publicity. How sleazy can he get and how can stations allow him to broadcast this garbage?

Bernie Ward Indicted on Federal Child Pornography Charges

I heard the shocking news about evening host Bernie Ward this afternoon on KGO-AM (810), like most people, and heard Operations Manager Jack Swanson say he was shocked and couldn't comment.

The federal indictment is sealed and Ward, 56, turned himself into authorities today.

The KGO report quoted Ward's agent and attorney saying that Ward was researching a book four years ago, the same defense used by the Who's Pete Townshend when he was arrested for possessing child pornography.

Ward is a former priest, an educator at San Jose's Jesuit-run Bellarmine Preparatory School, and the host of the Sunday morning "God Talk" show. His nightly KGO show is heard from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Afternoon host Gil Gross, who sounded upset, told listeners he knew no more about it then he heard on the news.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Jason Ricci Rocked San Jose; I'm still recovering

Check this video....not from San Jose, but played with the same energy:

In San Jose Sunday, Jason Ricci played four hours....from 9 p.m. till 1 a.m., with only one short break.

The band didn't muck around between songs...and I have to give the San Jose audience credit: they were taken and giving him big ovations from the minute he stepped on the stage at JJ's Blues. And it wasn't just a bunch of harmonica geeks....but genuine music afficianados.

Hey, they were out late on the first school night of the week, and that says something. Also, they were way ahead of the curve on an artist who has huge potential. If he had played in the 1960s, he'd be as well known as Eric Clapton or Mick Jagger.

Can the same thing happen today? Maybe. Hell, he'd be happy to be on a level with Derek Trucks, playing jazz, rock and blues and touring in a bus, not a van.

And one can't forget his band, New Blood, is like a Supergroup. Shawn Starski on guitar, Buckweed on bass and Ron Sutton on drums are each stellar. They keep up and push Ricci, who played a set of about 90 percent originals from his new disc, "Rocket Number 9," which is named for a song by jazz master Sun Ra, the album's only cover.

I could go on and on...but check some of the videos on Youtube...they say more than I can.

Note: no other Bay Area media has covered this guy: that's ridiculous. But you get what you pay for.


Marcus Osborne, the only African American in local country radio, is gone

Marcus Osborne, who gave country radio's 95.7, "the wolf," color in more ways than one, has left the building.

Osborne, a very bright and funny guy, was let go, in what appears to be a difference of creative vision.

Here is the story I wrote about Osborne when the show started.

You can read marcus now at

A quote from show originator Osborne, back then:

"We pitched the show as a black guy, a Jewish guy, a gay guy and a blonde -- what could be more Bay Area than that?" asks Osborne, who taped himself and his Jewish friend Gill Alexander doing a fake show as an audition.

Sad to see him go, but this is one guy who will go on to bigger and better things.

Clear Channel Clears Staff and Wants More Stations

Clear Channel, the San Antonio radio conglomerate that owns more stations than anyone else, fired a dozen people in its San Francisco office, including KNEW-AM/KKGN program director Bob Agnew.

It also cut costs by cutting heads in Chicago and Honolulu.

The company has petitioned the FCC to raise from 8 to 10 the number of stations in a market a company can own. Cut staff, raise monopolies. Great for business.

But the company, whose founder Lowery Mays strongly encourages his managers to donate to Republican causes (reminding them of their expected tithes in quiet conversations at his Christmas parties), is under pressure in the waning days of the Bush administration to get his big business bigger.

Company CEO Mark Mays, who promised the deal to take CC private by the end of 2007, has failed to deliver on that, moving the deadline now to June. These are people who can't be happy with the growing tide of Democrats in office.

At least right winger Rupert Murdoch, who is supporting Hillary Clinton, has the sense to put some eggs in the other basket, although I think he's doing that because he knows she can't win and another Dem might be able to.

Monday, December 3, 2007

IMUS returns with an apology

"I will never say anything on this program that will make those women at Rutgers regret or feel foolish for accepting my apology," said Don Imus, in a long, some times rambling speech opening his first show back in eight months, after being fired by CBS for calling the basketball players "nappy headed hos."

"Neither will anyone else on this program," he added.

He said he never intended to infer that the women were prostitutes and that after meeting with the team for four hours, he learned that his was a hurtful choice of language that was no less hurtful when used by comedians such as DL Hughley or Damon Wayons.

Imus said he has diversified his cast and that his "great" radio show would continue. He apologized for his "reprehensible" remark and said that "what happened is what should have happened."

Being criticized, and having his statement taken out of context was out of his control, he said.

"Everytime I would start to get pissed off about that, I would remind myself that if I hadn't said what I said, that we wouldn't be having this discussion and I wouldn't have to deal with that and the women at Rutgers wouldn't have to deal with that."

He called himself a drug addict and alcoholic and said that since he has been in recovery, he has been able to start a better life. He said this incident was similar, a chance to start again and do better things.

"Other than that, nothing else has changed. Dick Cheney is still a war criminal. Hilary Clinton is still Satan and I'm back on the radio, " he added.

Guests included musician Levon Helm, historian Doris Kearns Godwin, Mary Matalin and James Carville.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Here's an interesting site calling for the boycott of Rockstar energy drink, which is owned by Savage and family

Called "The Truth About Rockstar," it notes that Savage's son's company is now about to sell in Mexico and has removed links on its site to Savage, who has preached hatred of Mexicans, gays and immigrants.

The site offers the famous Savage video that got him thrown off MSNBC.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Amateurs get a shot on getting your music on the radio: In honor of Pete Wilson, Ronn Owens will revive "The Best Music You've Never Heard''

Here's where you can get details about submitting to "The Best Music You've Never Heard," a Dec. 21 two-hour-long show for great local talents to get aired on the Bay Area's biggest radio station.

The show which Pete, producer Sandra Firpo and I developed years back, will air November 21.

I'm really excited to do it with Ronn because he has interesting takes on pop music and strong opinions.

The show, sort of an American Idol before the big weed out, has a lot of fans and is often really surprising for the high level of talent and ambition in the area.

Pete Wilson suggested the show after catching a world music band he loved in a restaurant and wondering why they weren't famous, despite their talent. He wanted a forum on the area's most-listened-to station to play others like them.

Pete and I used to do the show as if we were playing poker, listening to the music and keeping our opinions off our faces until it was time to talk. And Pete always had a rule: find something good to say and don't be Simon Cowell.

I have a feeling that Ronn and I, being native East Coasters, may be tougher.

Do I have to start working on one-liners now??

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Speaking of Savage, here is a great take on the morons who follow him

Michael Savage Sues CAIR and asks for donations: But Michael, where is the $900,000 you already raised?

Right wing radio host Michael Savage, who has regularly used lawsuits as publicity stunts, says he will file one Monday against the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which has called for a boycott of Savage's advertisers for "anti-Muslim tirades."

Savage, they say, has called for making the construction of mosques illegal in the United States, and has had a history of hateful comments about Muslims.

On Thursday, on his syndicated radio show, Savage, 66, read his lawsuit, drafted by attorney Daniel Horowitz. He called it a "seminal battle that will be as big as Roe V Wade."

The suit against CAIR claims that the organization of "stealing his work, misrepresenting it and seeking to have advertisers drop from his show." He said he is suing the organization for copyright violation. He also said that he believes the tapes of his show were "stolen" by Media Matters, the media watchdog that focuses on conservative media.

"Im going to call on you next week to make donations to the Michael Savage defense fund because it's going to cost a couple of hundred thousand dollars," he told listeners.

He also lambasted other hosts, Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity for not "drawing their wagons in a circle" and getting behind him.

On its website, CAIR has plenty of examples of Savage's hateful talk.

Savage's shouted anti-Muslim attacks included:

"I'm not gonna put my wife in a hijab. And I'm not gonna put my daughter in a burqa. And I'm not gettin on my all-fours and braying to Mecca. And you could drop dead if you don't like it. You can shove it up your pipe. I don't wanna hear anymore about Islam. I don't wanna hear one more word about Islam. Take your religion and shove it up your behind. I'm sick of you."

"What kind of religion is this? What kind of world are you living in when you let them in here with that throwback document in their hand, which is a book of hate. Don't tell me I need reeducation. They need deportation. I don't need reeducation. Deportation, not reeducation. You can take C-A-I-R and throw 'em out of my country. I'd raise the American flag and I'd get out my trumpet if you did it. Without due process. You can take your due process and shove it."

"What sane nation that worships the U.S. constitution, which is the greatest document of freedom ever written, would bring in people who worship a book that tells them the exact opposite. Make no mistake about it, the Quran is not a document of freedom. The Quran is a document of slavery and chattel. It teaches you that you are a slave."

To listen to these and other bigoted statements by Savage, click here.

The CAIR site continues:

Michael Savage has a long history of rhetorical attacks on Muslims and other minorities. In 2004, Savage stated: "I think [Muslims] need to be forcibly converted to Christianity...It's the only thing that can probably turn them into human beings." In 2006, he called for a ban on Muslim immigration and recommended making "the construction of mosques illegal in America."

Savage has a long history of hate talk against gays, immigrants and minorities. Even today, he inferred that CNN host Anderson Cooper was gay and allowed a gay "fake military" general "paid by Hillary Clinton" to infiltrate the Republican debate.

Savage was fired by MSNBC television for this antigay harangue.

Oh, you're one of the sodomites. You should only get AIDS and die, you pig. How's that? Why don't you see if you can sue me, you pig. You got nothing better than to put me down, you piece of garbage? You have got nothing to do today, go eat a sausage and choke on it. Get trichinosis. Okay, do we have another nice caller here who's busy because he didn't have a nice night in the bathhouse, who's angry at me today?

Savage also has a history of filing ridiculous suits, even though he often lambastes trial lawyers, including John Edwards, for filing frivilous suits.

In 1996 he sued the University of California at Berkeley's Journalism school for not considering him as a candidate for dean and claiming he was discriminated against because he was white. The candidate who got the job, and had journalism degrees was also white. The suit was dropped.

In 2004 he sued Websites called "Michael Savage Sucks," "Savage Stupidity" and "Take Back the Media" for $500,000 and lost the suit.

From 2000 to 2004 Savage raised $962,129 for a nonprofit he founded called "The Paul Revere Society." He claimed to take no money from the nonprofit, yet management expenses documented in his filings were $50,196; fundraising was $109, 413, according to documents he filed.

The IRS suspended his tax exempt status June 5, 2006. See the document here.

The charity's board of directors includes Savage, his wife Janet Weiner, and a chiropractor, Dr. Anthony Dincho.

The big question here is: where is the rest of the $900,000 he raised under his nonprofit exemption and why isn't Attorney General Jerry Brown looking into it?


Current TV: the future of journalism

This has nothing to do with music or radio....well, maybe a little...but to paraphrase Jon Landau: I have seen the future of journalism, and it's Current TV.

One of my students showed this clip to the class...and it's hard not to watch it and realize that supported and edited citizen journalism is the wave of the future.

I didn't see this on 60 Minutes, or my local newspaper, which has become a thin advertising supplement with little content.

Watch it for yourself...and I bet you will join the 52 million Current TV fans. You will never look at immigration the same way.

KPIG in syndication: great news for hog fans

This just in from the great Tom Taylor at

Now the Pig’s really on the loose – the K-PIG, that is.

The lovable Americana/alt-country porcine critter based in Watsonville KPIG, is going into syndication, thanks to Dial Global – so stations around the country can adopt the K-PIG brand and feature its live 24/7 programming mix of unpredictable music and humor.

Dial Global says their deal also includes “an arrangement to provide KPIG to stations for use on HD”, which I think means HD-2 channels. Dial Global Programming President Kirk Stirland says “here’s a format that listeners really get passionate about, done by some of its pioneers.” Among KPIG’s many “firsts” is its claim to being the first terrestrial station to stream on the Internet, back in the dark ages of 1995.

That was due to the vision of recently-deceased KPIG founder Laura Ellen Hopper. Dial Global says the pork hits the satellite dish on December 31.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Jason Ricci in San Jose Sunday; but otherwise, there is no live town like Santa Cruz

Jason Ricci, one of my favorite artists in the world, plays JJ's Blues in San Jose on Stevens Creek Sunday, for $12 or some pittance.


You will thank me. If you like jam bands, he's got the best on the road right now. If you like the blues, he's all over it.

If you remember the days when Hendrix and the Doors blazed paths across the country---or if you don't, and you want to revel in music as exciting as that era's before anyone else knows about it--this is your chance.

The guy covers everyone from Little Walter to Sun Ra and has some great originals.

I saw some of his competition last night in Santa Cruz, John Popper and Blues Traveler, who were better than I expected, but lean more toward pop and jamming than anything else.

Popper and crew rifled through songs, stopping only once or twice to acknowledge the audience. I think he needs to connect more, to let them digest what is going on instead of blazing through it all.

Even the Dead, the jammiest of all jam bands, stopped to tune and chat occasionally.

Blues Traveler played the Catalyst. Down the street, at the Crepe Place, the once and future Bob Dylan, Dan Bern held court, for an acoustic one-man set of old and new material.

Bern is a contagious performer, with Dylanesque wordplay, and catchy tunes, who spits it out so well, he makes it look easy.

Hard to believe this small college town can support so much live music on a Tuesday. But there's more tonight: "African Artist of the Century" Youssou N'Dour plays the Rio Theatre, while Bern plays again at the Crepe Place across the street.


Sunday, November 18, 2007

Imus may be back, but Mark Fuhrman is gone

The former Los Angeles police officer who prompted the media to talk about the "N-word," during their endless OJ Simpson trial coverage, lost his Spokane radio show last week.

Who knew Fuhrman had a radio show? And maybe now he could pair with Imus to really put the cracker in the cracker barrel.

Furhman, who ran to the white bastion in Idaho, was a talk show host on KXLY-AM from 1999-2004, and then was on Citadel's KGA, from which he was let go.

Citadel is the company syndicating Imus. Hmmm...maybe he really will work with the fake cowboy.

This information, passed on by Tom Taylor's tip sheet at

Saturday, November 17, 2007

What's Wrong with KGO and ABC News These Days?


Especially on the weekends, when I depend most on radio news, I'm hearing really badly written and reported items.

Today at 11 a.m., an ABC news reporter on the national ABC news on KGO-AM (810) was talking about the case of a police officer who had apparently murdered his wife. She was found "drownded" the reporter said.

DROWNDED???? OW. And it sounded like English was her first language.

Then in the local news, reporter Jenna Lane told the story of a Santa Cruz area hotel where as many as 1,000 people were sickened by some kind of virus. BUT, she never named the hotel.

Why report the story then? It really doesn't give the information we need, which is a trend I've noticed on weekends there. Half-reported stories presented more as filler than for giving listeners news they can use.

(The Santa Cruz Sentinel, which phoned every restaurant in the county, notes that Sanderlings Restaurant in Aptos has been closed since Wednesday and was undergoing a thorough cleaning. The County Health Dept wouldn't confirm the name of the closed restaurant, but a Sanderlings employee confirmed it for the newspaper. Sanderlings is part of the exclusive Seascape resort.)

I'll call news director Paul Hosley Monday to find out what's going on.

Have you heard any more of these flubs I should ask about???? Post them here.


Pam Coulter, the ABC reporter answered this little blog. I give her great respect for stepping up. I made an error reporting "drownded." She said "drownding," but as an accidental slip of the tongue, not because she thought that was the word...

(Here in California, I hear people say "broughten" for brought and I once heard "shoave" as the past tense of shove, so I was worried that that stuff was creeping into the most educated demographic.)

Hey, this immediate Internet feedback is keeping us all honest....

here's her note...

I was alerted to your blog because I was the anchor of the 2pm ET ABC newscast on Saturday. Here is the exact wording of the story mentioned in your critique:

"A nationally known medical examiner has examined the body of the third wife of former Chicago police officer Drew Peterson and concluded she was MURDERED. Kathleen Savio's death was originally ruled an accidental DROWNING. Her father Nick Savio said the new findings bring them some comfort…

Savio cut :12 OQ: behind bars
Peterson's fourth wife has been missing for more than two weeks."

I listened to the air check of the newscast, and I said MURDERED, not DROWNDED. However, as I was reading, I did add a "d" sound to the word DROWNING, making it sound like DROWNDING. It was completely inadvertent, and things like that sometimes happen in live radio. It was more of a "slip of the lip" than a grammatical error. I would hate to think my English skills brought dishonor on the excellent public schools I attended or Cornell University.

Thanks for listening!
Pam Coulter

Friday, November 16, 2007

Pacifica Radio Opens Archives Nov. 27

Before NPR, before PBS, Pacifica Radio was out capturing the most monumental events of our nation’s recent history.

The Pacifica Radio archives contain some of the most important and valuable recordings in public media. For one day this year, November 27th Pacifica will broadcast 19 hours of moments that changed the world-covering music, politics and social movements.

This programming will be broadcast on all 5 Pacifica Stations (SF, NYC, LA, DC and Houston) and will be streaming on Pacifica’s website.

These will include a reading of the Watergate transcripts by the likes of Mama Cass Elliot and guest appearances by Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt and Graham Nash.

The schedule isn't up yet on their site, but will be at

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Ever Classless, The Doghouse is back, dishing out dirt.

I can barely bring myself to post this, but the JV and Elvis Doghouse, pathetically, is broadcasting on the Internet, hoping to get a new gig, after being fired for a racist skit about Asians.

What's worse is that the way they are hoping to get in good graces with Clear Channel or CBS, is by ripping current KYLD and KITS morning shows. How low can they go? The plunge seems endless.

But, scarily, if Imus could get rehired, anything is possible.

Here is an excerpt from Elvis's (pictured above) blog (I post these so station managers who hire them can't claim they didn't know what they were getting):

Hey all...Sorry for no blog in a few...I got AIDS,Sickle Cell,The Mumps,Syphilis,and crabs over the weekend....I'm cool now.. Fuck Woody on LIVE 105 in San Francisco...This hack has no idea what it's like to do a good show on the radio and what it takes...My guess is he'll be replaced in a matter of months...whatever... How many times can my Goddamn Chargers build me up to tear me down again.. I have not watched football at all this year,but to lose to Minnesota nd give up a league record 296 yards to Adrian Peterson,then beat Indy the next...I can't take this anymore...Let's face facts...It is New England against either Dallas or Green Bay in the super Bowl...The Pats will crush either,,,would be kind of cool to see Brett Favre and the Packers get there with Favre being 64 years old...He is still a bad ass and his team has no running game but a great defense... Is it weird that I used to have an ex-girlfriend(25 years ago)that liked to eat my ass and then come up for a kiss?Thats not weird,but the fact that I never stopped her... When she would come up after chewing my ass hair and look for my tongue I used to make a bee-line for the kitchen to get a beer....Then use the beer bottle to...well you know... Props on Koof getting on the T-man abortion of a show on Monday...If the rest of you weasels had our back like Koof,maybe we'd get out of JV's bathroom doing a show...

And JV's (apparently he's no longer talking to God and inviting listeners to prayer sessions)..

T-Man took our old station out of he top 10. Woody has been even more hideous !! Howard Stern used to pull huge numbers for LIVE 105.

By the way, I don't think you heard Sarah and No-Name talking about us. It was The Woody-Cock-In-Mouth-Show. I know, Alice, Live 105, it all sounds he same.

We moved theT-Man rip fest to next to next Tuesday. BUT GO CHECK OUT THE PICS THAT ARE ALREADY FLOWING IN on the pics. section!!

I'll do my best to keep you updated on where we are headed with the new site, our new partners, and more.

I'll also make sure you get the most important news here, as well as links to all the latest internet shit!!

Call me on the show and remind me to get on Elvis' ass about going to the streets to shoot video content.

If the show sounds a little different, remember, it's just Elvis and I right now in my personal studio. Next year, we plan on having a studio built. When we do that, we can bring in people around us as well as guests. Shit foo...we is the meat and potatoes any hoo!!

If you have not heard the shows from Monday and Tuesday morning....I suggest you listen to them now....they were pretty fucking good.

If any women are feeling horny.....and would just really love to masturbate with us on one of the night shows....please contact us.

I'd also like to hear from someone that's about to break up with someone and you want us to do it for us.

Thanks for the posts.....I do read them!!!!

Swift Kids for Truth Ads: Wish They'd Been Out During the Last Election

These two ads are great illustrations of the lies you hear on talk radio everyday, and that filled the airwaves in the last Presidential election, and the current never-ending one.

Maybe this time the public won't get Swift-boated.

Although, let's face it: the Republican machine and its talk radio arm has been brilliant in its ability to make a war dodger a hero, while a veteran was portrayed as a coward, not to mention the Clinton thieving from the White House ploy, discredited by all investigators.

These days, I've been loving Bernie Ward's show. Of all the local talk hosts, he was the one that was right on about the war from day one.

He reminds his audience daily that the price of oil was $15 a barrel when we went into Iraq. Of course this was a war for oil. Someone is making big bank on it, just not the average Americans.

On the other side of the aisle, I'm loving Bill Wattenburg's take on the San Franciscans told not to help clean the Bay because they weren't "trained" for it. Ridiculous, he screams. They were told that so some bureaucrat could pay $200 an hour of our tax money for some officials to do it.

Some were arrested for trying to help.

San Franciscans and Marin-ites, who long for whales to save, would have been out in droves immediately scooping up oil and getting it into containers, if the officials hadn't discouraged them.

I wish Wattenburg, who has some great credentials, could tell his audience what the war in Iraq would look like when it's won.

Lastly, O'Reilly again: complaining that newspapers put on the front page that U.S. civilian security forces went out and killed innocent Iraqis, but didn't report on that page that the rate of U.S. deaths has gone down....

Well, Bill, if the U.S. wasn't where it didn't belong, there would be NO deaths, like your argument about illegal immigrants and crime. If they weren't here, we wouldn't care about their crime.

Can anyone read this suit and take O'Reilly seriously?

The third anniversary of this great suit against Bill O'Reilly passed....

I wish some investigative reporter would track down Andrea Mackris and see how her life has changed. How much did O'Reilly have to pay to shut her up and make her go away?

Read the suit here.

Someone should call O'Reilly's show everyday and get his take on this...It would make this no-spine zone guy's head spin.

Wikipedia notes this of Mackris, whose suit originally asked for $60 million:::In 2005 Mackris purchased a condo in New York City's Upper West Side neighborhood for $809,000. Mackris's former salary of $93,000 per year was about half the down payment [4]. One year later, in May 2006, Mackris spent another $430,950 on an adjacent unit in the building, according to deed-transfer records.[5]

That silence bought a lot of nice apartment space.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Should Imus be back on the air??

Here's my take on "Mornings on 2"...what do you think?

Monday, November 12, 2007

NO, Christine Craft is NOT buying KSCO-AM-(1080)

The things that come out of this little independent Santa Cruz radio station are sometimes so goofy that a radio columnist could spend all his time as a fact checker.

Last week, the station owned by Michael Zwerling, put on promos for a guest appearance by Sacramento and KGO-AM radio talker Christine Craft saying that she might buy the station.

"Do I have the money to buy it? " said Craft by phone today. "The long answer is No. The short answer is NO."

When booking her interview on owner Zwerling's Saturday morning show, she mentioned that she would love to buy it, which Zwerling spun off into a promo for the show.

"I told him that if I had the money, I'd buy it in a heartbeat," said Craft. "Then he made up this crazy promo."

The Santa Cruz Sentinel picked up on the item and it got propelled to blogs. Strange that no one thought to call Craft for a comment.

There are people looking for progressive millionaires who might be able to raise the capital to buy this strong signal that reaches the entire Monterey Bay, and San Jose on a good day.

But no action yet.

I love the wacky little talker, which is one of the most non-corporate stations anywhere, with the friendliness of a local diner.

I'd sure love to see someone buy it whose views could reflect the political diversity of the region.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Battle of the Under 18s is the most exciting Last Band Standing Day

And a tough one, for sure.

It's All About, a band of kids in middle school, is a lot of fun and entertaining.

But on their run through of "Panama" and "Back in Black" they sounded just like what they were, and it was an uphill battle against the older high school students in Joe.

Joe was a bit soft on "The Wait," but absolutely nailed "White Room," the way they nailed "Come Together" last week.

They made the covers their own, adding vocal inflections, some keyboard parts and a heavy drum delivery. It sounded at one point like Janis Joplin fronting Cream.

If you had to pick one band to carry the mantle for the Bay Area and KFOX, that was the one. Joe was a band that would make audiences say: "I can't believe they are so young."

Check the videos below and tell me what you would have done.

I think I made my call based mostly on vocals, which were stronger by Joe and are the thing that stand out most hearing a new band. The guitarists in both bands were very impressive and tasteful.

I gave Joe a 9.9 and It's All About a 6.5, my biggest spread to date. But frankly, I was really disappointed that three of my favorite bands didn't make it to the finals: The Floyd Project, the Covergrrls and the Subway Tokens, largely because we judges were so impressed with all of the competitors that we gave them very close scores.

That meant the voters ruled the decision, which means that the band with the most friends and the best mailing list can stack the deck. They brought judges in to make musicality a standard as well, and, while we struggled and sweated, not finding much bad in these bands that were weeded out from hundreds, but some were clearly a bit better than others.

Feel free to comment below.

Here are a couple of links to Tom Waits' performances at the Bridge School Benefit

Check these for the outlying limits of performance today....This guy is so far out there, I can't think of anyone comparable.

Video ONE

and TWO:

Monday, November 5, 2007


The talent in this valley is simply amazing. And it's almost scary to think that all of these musicians have day jobs.

Today's contenders at the KFOX contest were the Floyd Project, which, not surprisingly, is a San Jose band that covers the music of Pink Floyd versus EVOLUTION, a Journey cover band.

Both were excellent, flawless, and in some ways better than the originals. That's the real measure of a tribute band, I think. Not just to duplicate, but to add something to the mix.

The Floyd band, had five of its members from one family. Singer Clayton Johnson plays keys, as does his 14-year-old son, Haven. Clayton's three sisters sing dynamic background vocals.

I was blown away. They covered Floyd's "Welcome to the Machine" and "Have a Cigar" faster than the recordings, reminiscent of the early Floyd days, when they played fast and furious.

I figured a band this tight toured all the time...but they don't. They've only had one recent gig, back in July...

Bookers, do you hear this? These guys would be great at Music in the Park or maybe a regular gig at the Catalyst. Just look at the success the White Album Ensemble has had. I think this would naturally follow.

I gave them my only 10 of the judging.

Evolution followed with a solid replication of Journey.

The only problem for me is that I'm just not a big Journey fan. I mean, I like some of the songs, but am mystified about why anyone would want to cover them.

The KFOX audience differs though. They love this band, and they carry off the imitation with real panache and flash. Steve Perry's vocals are tough to duplicate (though not tough enough for the actual Journey to keep finding new singers from cover bands, which also strikes me as weird).

What's next, Phil Collins and Celine Dion tribute bands???

Meanwhile, I gave them an 8, although for the musical chops and flash, I might have given more. I just thought it took more sophistication to pull of the Floyd tribute.

(Attach hate mail here!!!!))

Thursday, November 1, 2007

HEY: Check this cool website: DEEP ROCK DRIVE

The concept is wild, and it may help some of the younger bands I heard today.

It's called Deep Rock Drive and it's a website where you nominate a band, and if 1,000 or more people sign your petition and pay $7 each, the band plays a concert, seen worldwide on the web. The band takes half the money and some goes to charity.

Some people think this could be the next MySpace for real music freaks.

It's like the minor leagues that music is missing these days, and a chance for people to see shows they can't get to (those who need to hire a babysitter; those who need a babysitter; those in faraway places where talented bands can't always afford to hit)...

As a critic, I know there are so many great bands who can't afford to tour and be seen all over. The record companies are nil; MTV is gone; it's so hard to find great new music. This seems like a place that can solve the problem.

My first petition is for Bill Miller, one of the greatest unknown artists I know. Every person I've recommended him to has thanked me. The second will be Jason Ricci...but there are so many more I could do. Hey, maybe Tom Waits, who never tours.

It's free so check it out; nominate your favorite bands and let me know what you think.
PHOTOS:Jason Ricci/Bill Miller)

Don't Judge, Lest Thou Be Judged: KFOX's LAST BAND STANDING IS AWESOME

I'm having a great time judging bands at KUFX-FM's Last Band Standing contest....but I'm gaining a lot of sympathy for Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson.

It's not easy, or always fair, judging artistic merit. And sometimes, with parents who act like Little League fanatics, it can get downright ugly.

I'm judging along with musician Robert Berry and concert promoter Read Zaro.

You can see videos of the bands at (Pics: L-R: Joe; It's All About; Subway Tokens)

I would love some input from some of you.

The first two days we scored cover bands, two each day, as they gave live radio performances on two songs. Based on our votes, and internet votes from fans, the bands can win some great prizes. Judges were brought in this year, after three previous versions, to make it more a contest of talent than of mailing lists.

But even that hasn't always worked.

The first day saw the East Bay's MamaLuke! battle the CoverGrrlz. The first band standing, MamaLuke caught a big break by going first to a panel of new judges.

Their versions of Tom Petty's "Listen to her Heart" and Joe Walsh's "Rocky Mountain Way," were true to the originals, but lacking in much inspiration. The band's singer was a solid showman, but his vocals were ordinary on tunes that didn't require great singing.

There was an out of tune guitar in the first song, but we judges didn't know if we were hearing what would be the best band of the week, or the worst. The fact that they were enthusiastic and played the songs recognizably earned a lot of charity.

Too much, it turned out.

The band got 7s and 8s from the judges. But then the Covergrrlz, who played better and with more panache, got a similar score, meaning that the one with the most fans votes would win.

MamaLuke moved on, and the judges decided we had to be tougher to make a difference.

Which isn't to say that Mamaluke, or any of these bands was bad. If anything, this contest has made me appreciate how much talent is out there at all ages.

So far, the under 18 bands are even better than the adults, maybe because they have less to lose and are more willing to take chances with the material. Or they just hear it through fresh ears.

The second day saw the Megatones slip by the Caloric Ultra Rays.

Frankly, it was a tossup for the judges. Both bands played well, hit the notes and seemed confident and entertaining.

Then came the junior category, and our toughest day.

The South Bay band Joe was the best band I've seen so far, covering Neil Young's "Ohio" and brilliantly taking on John Lennon's "Come Together." It was the latter song that sent chills up my spine.

Jordan, the 17-year-old female singer, sounded like she'd been in the business for a lifetime, her voice a throwback to crooners like Nancy Sinatra. The guitarist, Jeff, threw in a Voice Box solo, on the effect he'd only bought two days before the show.

That was the kind of inspired chance none of the established bands had taken on, and they got my highest score, a 9.5, and high scores from Read and Robert.

All of which irked the parents of the kids in competitor Crimes of Passion.

That band was OK, on "Rebel Yell" and "You Really Got Me," but the singing was flat, the drumming sludgy, despite the highly touted Eddie Van Halen pyrotechnics of 16 year old guitarist Juliana.

They sound much better on their website and demos, particularly when compared with the other bands, who seemed looser and more fun.

We wanted to grade the younger bands on a curve, but it was hardly necessary. They all had as much talent and grit as the adults, and I think a couple of them could beat the adults in a playoff.

I gave Crimes an 8; the other two scored them lower, and the difference helped clinch it for Joe. Listening back to the tapes, we were right, although the band's fans and parents were upset.

The parents of this band were roadies, cheerleaders, coaches and had stage-parent-itus, unlike the others, who mostly stood back and let the kids shine. I'd advise these parents to step back and let these kids breathe the fire of rock on their own, and play because they love it, not because you want to make them stars.

Maybe the most amazing thing is that these high school and junior high kids are huge fans of classic rock and have the talent to improvise on it.

Thursday's duo was the best all around, at least as entertainment.

A San Jose trio The Subway Tokens smeared "You Really Got Me," with the "Eruption" intro. They nailed every note and had fun doing it. They made it look easy and with a brother and sister guitarist and bassist, I could really see them taking off on originals.

(Behind every cover band is a great songwriter wanting to break out.)

Then came the Little Rascals of Rock, Morgan Hill's It's All About, a bunch of eighth graders who restored my faith in the future of rock.

These kids were so at ease, and so funny, you couldn't hate them, even when they had to stop "Hells Bells" to tune up.

Their singer advised us to grade them on a curve, because unlike the other bands, they couldn't even grow facial hair. The little blonde bassist, who headbanged so hard it looked like his head would fly off, called Greg Kihn "bro," with complete cool.

I thought Kihn should hire them on the show as his house band...Imagine the joy they'd bring to parents and kids driving to school together. They were naturals, and played well. They scored just a shade lower than the Tokens.

The winner will be announced tomorrow at 10 a.m., and next week will be Tribute Bands and the finals in the other categories. Check it out from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. on 98.5 FM.

In these days when radio plays so little local music, and does so little to support it, this annual contest is a huge event for the South Bay. The station and the bands should be congratulated for putting it all together.

Imus hiring again shows radio's dark side

On television Rush Limbaugh claims that African American Donovan McNabb gets a pass from the media because of his race -- and he's fired -- but remains the most popular talk host on radio.

On television, Michael Savage calls a caller a sodomite and says he hopes he gets AIDS and dies, and he's gone from MSNBC in the blink of an eye -- but keeps a healthy radio audience.

And now, Imus, who stirred the national discussion on race and was fired April 12 when he called the Rutgers University women's basketball team "nappy-headed hos," will be back on radio December 3, on ABC radio's New York outlet.

ABC, which was bought from Disney by New York's Citadel Broadcasting, owns San Francisco's top radio station, news/talk KGO-AM (810) and conservative talk station KSFO-AM (560). There was no word on whether Imus would be picked up out here, but the station's operations manager Jack Swanson was in New York for meetings this week.

Citadel CED Farid Suleman recently defended Imus in the New York Times.

"He didn't break the law. He's more than paid the price for what he did," said the executive who once oversaw Howard Stern at Infinity Broadcasting, as the assistant to Mel Karmazin, who left to head Sirius satellite.

African American and women's groups are rightfully outraged at the return of a demon they thought was exorcised by national outcry and protest.

Imus fans have found no replacement for the host, whose ratings weren't great, but who had top flight political figures as regular guests.

Suleman, no doubt following in Karmazin's tradition of taking on controversy, must figure that with election season approaching, Imus may be able to attract an audience and syndication. Maybe he figures that the public is so numbed by the constant barrage of hate speech and lies by the likes of Ann Coulter and Bill O'Reilly, that it will accept anything.

Contract details weren't announced. Imus had signed a five-year, $40 million contract with CBS before his firing and settled privately with the network after threatening a $140 million lawsuit. His show was on 70 stations.

Originally, I thought Imus would be back, possibly on satellite, because the radio world is so starved for talent and attention that someone would take a shot. When it didn't happen, I was relieved, like the medium was gaining a moral compass.

But apparently not.

The $64,000 question is whether the big name politicians will return. One would think not, but one of the most unlikely voices, Al Sharpton, said he thought Imus "had a right to make a living."

The other question is why is radio so much more tolerant of intolerance and bad taste, then television? Is it because TV is a forefront medium that requires full attention, while radio is a red-headed (not nappy headed) stepchild, that serves mostly as aural wallpaper during a drive? Or that TV has so many more viewers and higher stakes ads?

I've never accused TV of having highbrow taste, but at this moment, the comparison with radio is helping it look that way.

These are scary times. As enlightened as we think we are, the level of public discourse seems at times no more enlightened then it was before the Civil War.

The same day the Imus announcement was made, news outlets are playing a tape of a call made by the star of cable television's "Dog, the Bounty Hunter," Duane Dog Chapman, to his son, laced with hate talk and the N-word.

The A&E network has suspended production of the popular show.

In the phone call, released by the National Enquirer, Chapman was irked that his son was dating an African American woman and said it could hurt the family, because the family often used the N-word and they didn't want it misconstrued as racist.

Maybe Suleman timed his release perfectly. Nappy-headed ho sounds positively Disney compared to the Dog's rant.

Or maybe Suleman can hire Dog, after he's fired from television, as a cohost with Imus. The duo could help bring listeners who left the medium after KKK wizard David Duke lost his radio show.

There will be plenty of people defending Imus's right to freedom of speech, and I hope, plenty of people using their own freedom to boycott the station and its advertisers, who are again confusing hot talk with hate talk in the name of upping the bottom line.

PS: i'll be on KTVU Channel 2 Friday at 8:15 talking about the Imus decision with Ross McGowan.

Monday, October 29, 2007

San Jose's KFOX: SHEEP, A Halloween Play and me in the mornings for two weeks

Here's something different for Halloween:

Rocker, author and DJ Greg Kihn has written a play that will air at 5 and 9:30 p.m. Halloween eve, so you can listen before and after taking out the kiddies.

Called "PLAN 98.5 From Outer Space, " it's a change from most modern fare. And remember this is the anniversary of another big radio play, "War of the Worlds,: broadcast Oct. 30, 1938.

Kihn's play features the KFOX staff and Santana singer Tony Lindsay.

Then, over the weekend, the station will host its original "Extra Hour of Sheep," music to entertain you during the extra hour you get when moving the clocks back.

Here's what you get at 2 a.m. Sunday morning, for the fifth time the station has done the special baa baa programming::::

George Shearing "Early Autumn" (Get it? Shearing? And it is, after all, early autumn. Used this as the intro bed)
Pink Floyd "Sheep"
Monty Python "Flying Sheep"
Strawbs "Sheep"
Adrian Munsey "The Lost Sheep"
Johnny Standley "It's In The Book" (Little Bo Peep)
Baa Ram Ewe (brief clip from "Babe")
Paul McCartney "Ram On"
Randy Newman "Mr. Sheep"
Gene Wilder and Daisy from Woody Allen's "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid To Ask)"
Bob Rivers "Dirty Deeds (Done With Sheep)"
Stevie Ray Vaughan "Mary Had A Little Lamb
The Singing Sheep "Baa Baa Black Sheep" (short clip only)
Stan Freberg "Point Of Order" (Baa Baa Black Sheep)
Canned Heat "Wooly Bully"
Monty Python "Killer Sheep"
Theme from "Silence Of The Lambs" (plus some dialogue with Jodi Foster & Anthony Hopkins)
Genesis "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway"
and a whole mess of bleating sheep.

Also, I'm one of the judges for on Greg Kihn's Last Band Standing Contest, along with rock star Robert Berry and promotor Read Zaro. You can hear us, sans Paula Abdul from 7-9 a.m. for two weeks.

I wanted to be like Simon LeGree Cowell, but the bands this morning, MamaLuke and Cover Girls were too good to knock.

Any tips or advice from listeners??

Michael Krasny, KQED's thinking man's radio guy

Here's a book review that ran in Sunday's Mercury News on radio's Michael Krasny::

The literate radio host
By Brad Kava
Special to the Mercury News
Article Launched: 10/28/2007 01:43:57 AM PDT

In his years on commercial radio, talk show host Michael Krasny was told to limit his vocabulary and to keep his show dumbed down so listeners would not feel stupid.
He makes up for it in his autobiography, "Off Mike: A Memoir of Talk Radio and Literary Life" published this month by Stanford University Press.

His subjects range from the hard-boiled radio manager whose loves were ego and power, to authors such as Salman Rushdie and Larry David.

Krasny ultimately left commercial radio - one station fired him because he had "too many old broads on" following interviews with Jessica Mitford and Doris Lessing - and has spent 14 years on KQED-FM, where he hosts the station's erudite two-hour interview and talk show "Forum."

Perhaps the biggest plaudit to give Krasny - who aspired his whole life to be a novelist, but settled for hosting talk radio and television shows, doing live interviews and teaching college - is that this book is well written, and will equally please literati and listeners of commercial radio.

One critic complained the book should have been called "On Mike." But part of the book's charm is that Krasny, 62, doles out some of his toughest shots at himself, as he grew from a Cleveland hoodlum to the holder of a doctorate in English teaching at San Francisco State University.

So many memoirs leave out unfailingly human moments of pain and doubt. But Krasny recalls those moments, like throwing up on his first job interview at a professor's home.

These stories are balanced with his slow march to success in the Bay Area, including his stints on Marin's KTIM-FM (where he did a show called "Beyond the Hot Tub") and 10 years with San Francisco's most listened-to station, KGO-AM (where his nighttime show mixed collegial intellect with entertainment), and his current high-profile position hosting "Forum" at 9 a.m. daily.

At the end of each chapter of his life story, Krasny weaves in summaries of his interviews with successful authors, such as Khaled Hosseini, Philip Roth, Norman Mailer, Gore Vidal, Isabel Allende, Amy Tan and Kazuo Ishiguro. Radio fans will instantly recognize the pattern: They are like the hourly commercials and news that punctuate a talk show.

It's a good twist in this age of channel surfing. Fans of literature may only want to read about the authors, and radio fans may want to skip the interviews and stick with stories of the airwaves.

My biggest problem with the book was his failure to name names. For example, he doesn't identify a boss by name, and he recounts a story of a famous rocker indulging in preconcert sex without identifying him.

In an interview, Krasny said he preferred not naming everyone, some for reasons of libel, others just because he didn't want to. But he goes so far in telling all most of the time, it's frustrating not to carry it through to the end.

He even leaves out Michael Savage's name, although the high school graduation speech at which the conservative radio talk host heckled Krasny has been extensively reported.
His description of the now-popular host who practices "pathology dressed up as conservatism," is a great example of Krasny's storytelling, and his candor.

"I would later on feel involuntary twinges of envy for this despicable man, a toxic, incendiary gasbag with a growing, undeniable appeal - who would go on to build a major national career out of a frappe of jumbled extremist views and the sort of kook and shock-jock excess that I had come to speak publicly about as giving talk radio a bad name."

There's always an underlying self-doubt with Krasny, even as he is hired to high-paying jobs interviewing corporate CEOs and the world's top authors.

Krasny never feels that he has achieved his own dream of writing great literature, although, like James Lipton, he's become identified with the oeuvre of doing serious, unfailingly well-prepared interviews, a respected art of its own.
Even at the height of success, when one of his students calls him "professor Superman," Krasny, unafraid to show his warts, responds: "Read my book."

A Memoir of Talk Radio
and Literary Life
By Michael Krasny
Stanford University Press, 344 pp., $24.95
KRASNY l Erudite radio host
shares stories of his career

Sunday, October 28, 2007

REVIEW: Neil Young's Bridge School Concert: Neil, Metallica and Tom Waits give some strong sets

Neil Young
didn't headline his own show and there were no special guests, despite the rumors that Bruce Springsteen would show (that a local newspaper devoted tons of space to). There wasn't even the usual campfire jam on the end on some classic Young tune.

But there were still some great surprises Saturday night in an outdoor show at Shoreline Ampitheatre that lasted 7.5 hours.

Jerry Lee Lewis and Metallica closed the show at 12:30 a.m., after Young's earlier set. Also featured were Tom Waits, John Mayer, My Morning Jacket, Tegan & Sara and Regina Spektor.

Young played a set that drew largely from his new disc, "Chrome Dreams II," released this week, and was a throwback to the long jamming days of 1971 songs like "Down by the River." He, drummer Ralph Molina, guitarist Ben Keith, bassist Rick Rosas and guitarist Anthony Crawford tore the place up for almost a quarter of an hour on "Hidden Path," a wonderful return to the old jamming days.

"I'm not doing any songs you know, probably," Neil said, by way of apology. At least he threw in "Oh, Lonesome Me," the Don Gibson cover from 1970's "After the Goldrush." But the set was one of the best by Young in years, because the new material was melodic and tight.

Tom Waits....what can you say? Looking like a dark Fantasia cartoon character come to life he sang from "Hello Dalai," a religious-one-man musical, backed by the cellos and violins of the Kronos Quartet and a bass player. He performed it first in 2003 at a New York Avery Fisher hall show for the Dalai Lama.

Laced with cynicism and despair, and sung with his carnival barker voice, the songs included "God's Away on Business," "Cold, Cold Ground," "Way Down in a Hole," and "The Part you Throw Away." It was a tour de force for the Bridge, an artist using an acoustic forum before 20,000 people to really try something adventurous.

His face lit up in red like a devil, it was one of the the most artistic moments in 21 years of Bridge School benefit concerts. In his past Bridge appearance in 1999 the classic rock audience waiting for the Who, Sheryl Crow and Pearl Jam, streamed out. This time, they were rapt, and gave a standing ovation. Metallica's James Hetfield introduced Waits as one of his favorite performers and lyricists.

Metallica headlined the show with a set of mostly unexpected cover songs. James Hetfield has never sung better, with surprising resonance and passion on the likes of Rare Earth's "I Just Want to Celebrate," Nazareth's "Please Don't Judas Me," Garbage's "I'm Only Happy when it Rains," Dire Straits' "Brothers in Arms" and Bob Seger's "Turn the Page."

Who knew Hetfield knew Dire Straits or Garbage, let alone could bring out real emotion for them? Maybe it was Metallica's time off that had his voice so fresh, or the fact that he didn't have to scream for an acoustic set. Metallica has stayed fresh by continually challenging its audience, and this set was another winner.

"Bridge School Shocker: Metallica was acoustic and funky," Hetfield said, writing his own headline for the audience, after the Rare Earth cover.

They also threw in some Metallica songs fans really wanted: "Disposable Heroes," "All Within My Hands" and show closer "Nothing Else Matters," before Pegi and Neil Young thanked the audience and left.

John Mayer, backed by David Ryan Harris and Robbie Macintosh, did a predictable, but lovely set, including "Slow Dancing in a Burning Room," "Waiting for the World to Change," "Gravity" and Tom Petty's "Free Fallin'"

Jerry Lee Lewis, the 72-year-old killer, did the set that most pleased the children behind him, with showstoppers "Great Balls of Fire" and "Roll Over Beethoven." Lee looked more fragile than he did at the show two years ago, never wrestling the piano or playing with his feet. Neil Young sat offstage playing air piano and dancing and hugged Jerry Lee when he got off.

My Morning Jacket were interesting, if a bit slow on a long day of music. "Golden" and "Gideon" were almost like homages to Young, with Jim James's voice paralleling Young's airy registers.

Tegan and Sara's set included their wonderful hit "Walking with the Ghost." Newcomer Regina Spektor's schtick is using scat sounds instead of words, something that may catch on big as the generations grow less literate. Seriously, her singing was strong and true in a less angry Alanis Morissette vein.

Young opened the show on acoustic guitar with his standard, "Sugar Mountain," and the new "Beautiful Bluebird."

Overall: if you hit the last four sets, you got your money's worth.


(PIC: tom waits,