Category Archives: Radio

Democrats Believe “It’s the Messaging”

But not the message.

The NPR and WAMU production 1A:

The Democratic party is out of power in Washington and in two-thirds of state legislatures. Even with the country’s changing demographics on its side, the party is more removed from power than it has been at almost any point before. The same voters who had previously embraced the New Deal, built the Great Society and put their hope in the nation’s first black president are not turning up in the numbers they once did. The party has been described as being on life support. What will it take to bring it back to health? Guests include Cenk Uygur, co-host of “The Young Turks”, Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Illinois, 17th District), Stacey Abrams, House Minority Leader for the Georgia General Assembly and State Representative for the 89th House District, Symone Sanders, political strategist, Margie Omero, Democratic strategist and pollster, and Rich Benjamin, senior fellow at Demos.1A podcast tile

There was a lot of interesting disagreement on the show, but the participants seemed to agree that the lesson of the last few elections is not that the ideals put forward by the Democratic Party are flawed. The messaging was poor.

Democrats talking with other Democrats on a radio show whose audience is made up of Democrats…are convinced that their ideas are not wrong.  

It’s the messaging. If only they could reach the right groups with the right strategy.

At one point a panelist puzzled over the 53% of white women who apparently voted for Donald Trump, and she referred to one group as “Walmart Moms.”

I applaud the work of progressive strategists who deeply wish they could find a way to communicate with America. I encourage them in their efforts to fine tune their message to appeal to various groups, including apparently “Walmart Moms.”

My wife shops at Walmart, but don’t tell me that term is a compliment.

Don’t ever change. Rearrange the deck chairs on your political Titanic. Shift the messaging. But whatever you do, don’t change your opinions on gun control, federal funding of abortion and contraception, forced funding of birth control for nuns, 32-ounce sodas, trans-fats, Milo Yiannopoulis’ freedom of speech, the right of cops to defend themselves, the morality of breaking windows and burning things in protest, safe spaces, trigger warnings, cultural appropriation and queer men in the ladies’ room. 

It’s the messaging. Go with that.



Too Big for Britches

I was raised by the kind of parents who would lift you up when you were down, and knock to flat if you became arrogant.  The worst thing you could be was “too big for your britches.”

Melissa Harris-Perry has been fired from her job at MSNBC in the wake of an email which she sent to colleagues criticizing the management for preempting her show during the primary season.

Her earrings are made of tampons. But she is not a “little brown bobble head.”

The New York Times:

On Friday, she went public with an email that she sent earlier that week to staff members in which she complained that the NBC News chairman, Andrew Lack, and Phil Griffin, the president of MSNBC, were letting her twist in the wind.

“I will not be used as a tool for their purposes,” she wrote. “I am not a token, mammy, or little brown bobble head. I am not owned by Lack, Griffin, or MSNBC. I love our show. I want it back.”

She later explained in an interview she did not believe that her lack of airtime was because she was black.

I saw this while Googling her:

Melissa Harris Perry.png

You can learn a lot about someone from how they describe themselves.

I work part-time in radio.  I’ve been preempted by special events, weather events, and one year my station decided to run NASCAR, and I “lost” lots of work.  It’s the nature of the business that sometimes you have to be flexible.  As far as not being a tool for the executives purposes…apparently she wasn’t a useful tool.

Some people just lack the maturity.  Some have a great sense of their own worth.  I don’t know why Melissa Harris-Perry decided to throw away her career on TV, but I really hope she learns a lesson about britches.

The Department of Corrections

Earlier this week I looked at, but did not listen to, a podcast by Bill Schmalfeldt.  It was 72 minutes long.  I marveled.  I assumed it was about his current situation.  It was not.  I apologize.


The pen is mightier than the sword, but in a fight, pick up the Sure 55.




I do stand by the other statement I made in the post:

“Bill Schmalfeldt’s writing is not nearly as good as Faulkner or Hemingway.” 

There.  Now he can say that Dave Alexander has compared his writing to Faulkner and Hemingway.


Are You Done Girding Your Loins, Schmalfeldt?


Some tidbits from Bill Schmalfeldt’s Twitter feed.  The WAR iconography and vocabulary is a bit much:

No Quarter.png

Seventy-two minutes.  Seventy-two minutes.  And we’re obsessed.


Once again, for background.  Bill Schmalfeldt is an internet blogger, former writer for the Daily Kos,  former radio announcer on SiriusXM,  habitual oversharer, author of several books (some of which he wrote himself) and comedy CD recording artist.   The books and CDs are available at Amazon in much the same way Marc Singer movies are available on VHS at the thrift store.

Despite spending his entire adult life trying to become famous, he considers himself a private person.  He has described bowel movements and loved ones online with equal passion.

Bill Schmalfeldt’s writing has been compared to Faulkner and Hemingway.  His podcasts have elements which are both welcome and enjoyable. * 

He is suing several people who he says have done him wrong.  While some folks have said some truthful bad things about him, and some hyperbolic bad things about him, the case is embarrassing. 


Don’t screw with him when he uses words like “shall.”  Methinks he sees himself as avenging knight, and not a goofy troll.

He is simultaneously facing new Peace Orders/Protection orders from the same folks he’s suing because apparently that’s one of the only ways to keep him from contacting you. Well, it doesn’t always work. 

Tomorrow he will likely add another to his collection.  I’ll be there to see it happen.  Bill has complained that too many of the people he harasses live too far away from him.  He doesn’t travel well.  I know it’s inconvenient, but until Bill starts harassing people in person, some travel will be necessary. 


* “Bill Schmalfeldt’s writing is not nearly as good as Faulkner or Hemingway.” 

“Parts of Bill Schmalfeldt’s podcasts are both welcome and enjoyable. Sadly, the dead air only lasts a bit, he finds the microphone button and then he’s talking again.” 



Lester Klemper, Private Dick – Reign of Terror

Welcome readers!  Look around for a while!  This is like an instalanche, but more selective.

Music: Slow jazz up and under.

Anncr: We return again to the Adventures of Lester Klemper, Private Dick.  Klemper has found himself unarmed and out-manned, once again.

SFX: Traffic, people milling aroundKLEMPER

Anncr: The scene?  A street corner.  Dusk.  The streetlights are just beginning to come on.  They, like our hero, are dim.

Klemper: So here  I am, outnumbered again.  Four members of a paramilitary group surround me, itching for a fight.  The Navy trained me in basic self defense, but I haven’t used those skills since I fought the Japanese during the Vietnam War.  And this was four on one.

Girl Scout #1: Um.  Mister.  Do you know we can hear all that?

Klemper: What?  Oh yeah?

Girl Scout #2: Yes, Mister.  You’ve been narrating for like five minutes.

Girl Scout #3: So are you gonna pay for the cookies you ate, or what?

SFX: Footsteps approach.

Speedway: Say Klemper!  Who’s your swell new new friends?

Klemper: It was Brett Speedway, a sometime colleague with a shady past.   Some years ago…

Speedway:  Klemper, you’re narrating again.

Klemper:  Sorry.  bad habit.

Girl Scout #1: So are we gonna get our money for the cookies?

Speedway: Hey girls, I’ve got something better than money.

Girl Scout #2:  Whats this?

Speedway: That’s a backstage pass to see the Impalas.  The hottest band in town. We’re playing at the Pantages Theater…I’m the lead singer, Brett Speedway.  You’ve Probably heard of me.

Girl Scout #1: (long pause)  I think my grandma used to listen to you.

Anncr: While Speedway tries to line up a new group of fans for his big band, we pause to mention our sponsor, Chesterfield cigarettes.  The mild taste for those who smoke two or more packs a day.   4152110241_a28853cd41_z

And now we begin act two at stately Hooge Manor, home of  Quantum Magnate John Hooge.  Mr.  Hooge is in his favorite chair, with his feet on an Ottoman as his British butler Smithers walks in with an iced tea in a Hoogewash mug.

Hooge: Smithers, where’s my wife today?

Smithers: Photo shoot I believe, Sir.

Hooge: Vogue again?

Smithers: I believe she said something about Town and Country.  She is at the lake house.

Ottoman: (Thick Turkish accent)  Can I get up now, Mr. Hooge? ottoman_empire_asia_1792

Hooge: Sure Ahmed. Let me move my feet.  You take the rest of the night off.

Anncr: Mr. Hooge and his stylish wife will appear again in next week’s episode. Meanwhile, at a dingy diner across town, two men stare at each other across a dark booth.

Klemper: OK.  I’m not sure I get this.  So, you’re planning several felonies, just to get the police to forget about another crime.  Somehow I think…

Speedway: Focus Klemper!  Cops are like preteen girls.  Fickle. One minute they’re all over you like tovex residue, and the next they won’t return your phone calls.  I’m going to give them coppers some real work to do, and mysteries to solve.   Your part of this plan is simple: Take the Chevy and empty the trunk.  Then wash it out completely.

Klemper: Right.  Empty out the back seat.

Speedway: The trunk.  Focus!  The trunk!

Klemper: And wash the hood real well!

Music: End theme up and under.

Anncr: Join us next week to find out if Lester did his job.  Will he destroy the really cool alarm clock thingies he finds.  And why does Speedway own a pint-sized police uniform?

Lester Klemper, Private Dick is a work of fiction.  Any similarities between these characters and real people should not be such a big surprise.  And remember: It’s always better to be a private one than a public one.

Music: Up and out.

Dennis Ryan

A quick story about somebody I worked for twenty years ago.  Dennis Ryan was the General Manager of Adirondack Radio in Lake Placid, NY.  In those days I was  hotshot newshound.  When I interviewed with Dennis, and Program Director Bob Selleck, two questions stood out.

“So, where to you want to be in five years?” 

I pointed to Selleck. “I want his job.  But I want him to have a better job.”  That answer probably sealed the deal.  Next question:

“Do you drink beer?”

My answer?  “Sure, you got any?”  Dennis gave me a loud laugh that sounded like it came from a barrel.  I got the job.

One day he came in the studio frantic to get a lost dog report on the air.  Dennis loved doing that kind of thing.  I introduced Dennis, and pushed the button which I thought would turn on Dennis’ microphone.  It instead lit up a satellite medical show. 

“Ladies and gentlemen, General Manager Dennis Ryan of Adirondack Radio with an important announcement”

“Testicles”  Dr. Dean Edell said one word before I flipped the switch and turned on the guest mic.

“Folks, we got a lost dog…”

Dennis wasn’t wearing  headphones.  He had no idea.  I imagined people all over town wondering why Dennis said,”testicles” on the radio. Years later when I told him that story, he laughed that big laugh.

I learned more in that year than I can say here.  When money was short, and my car broke down, Dennis took money from his own pocket.  Winter came, my jacket wasn’t up to the task, and Dennis took me to get a parka.I enjoyed many, many beers with the Adirondack Radio Good Guys. 

I also learned how to make a radio station the center of a community.  Dennis broadcast from garage sales, fire department fundraisers and took the fire truck out to schools dressed as Santa.  Dennis put on the 4th of July fireworks shows in Lake Placid – literally settig up and launching the pyrotechnics.  Years later,  Dennis spearheaded the effort to repair and relight the Olympic Torch.

It’s been twenty years; I worked for Dennis about a year.  Still, barely a day goes by that I don’t apply a lesson he taught.  He insisted the Good Guys pushed in their office chairs, worked hard, and enjoyed the most beautiful place on earth, the High Peaks region of the Adirondacks. The picture on my blog heading is from Dennis’ facebook page. 

A few weeks ago Dennis ended his own life.  He was healthy, well-respected in his community, and married to a wonderful woman who loved him.  Still loves him. And yet he gave it all up. 

I don’t know why.  I’ve given up trying to figure it out.  But let me tell you this.  I know there’s just about no price I wouldn’t pay to hear that laugh again, and to know that Dennis was there.

Dennis Ryan was 58.

An update: I remembered that there is a video of Dennis talking about his father who was a Pearl Harbor survivor.   The first part (the sailor introducing Dennis)  has poor sound, but when Dennis starts talking, the audio is super clear (so don’t turn it off right away!)