Jim Walsh's Big Hairy Weblog Thingy

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Truth, Justice, and Whatever

Have you ever heard a radio show where they interview a psychic? Usually when you do, you'll hear a lot of folks calling in (in my opinion, they're being scammed, but that's another issue).

You will, however, almost never hear a show that does psychic stuff exclusively, every day. The reason is though such a show would no doubt get a lot of folks calling in, very few people would actually continue to listen.

Most broadcasters know this; they take it as common sense. Yet hundreds of my fellow travelers in the radio biz are, in their own way, doing exactly that.

I thought about it while watching the tube tonight; ABC News ran a short segment about how, in a nod to the overseas market, the producers of new Superman flick have stricken the line about the "American Way." Specifically, they won't use that phrase anymore (he'll still stand for "truth and justice").

No big deal to most people - though you can be sure that by tomorrow radio squawk hosts across the fruited plain will jump on this, all high and mighty, as yet another "attack against America."

And why will they do this? Is it because mainstream Americans really give a wet slap? No.

They'll do it because they know it will generate a ton of phone calls from the fraction-of-one percent of listeners who do care: the extremely old, extremely conservative hard-cores who have nothing better to do with their time, than call their local radio station all day.

In other words, the hosts are lazy; they'd rather get the easy calls and delude themselves into thinking "more means better," than do the hard work of actually developing topics and opinions of interest to people in the "real world."

Meanwhile, the format continues to sink in the ratings as the audience literally passes on to that great American Legion Hall in the sky - and no one is replacing them, because your average middle-class, middle-age American has other issues on his mind, like the price of gas, getting his kids into college, why the deli down the street from the office can't make a decent outgoing sandwich...

Ya know, real-world stuff.

I'm not saying you couldn't have a little fun with a topic like the Superman thing - just lighten up, OK? Treat it like what it is: a pop culture event. Leave the lunatic fringe stuff out of it.

So all you talk hosts, stop taling the easy way out and start thinking about how you can really entertain and serve your target demo. Talk about real-world issues.

Like how much they're charging at my local movie complex for tickets to see Superman Returns.

Now that's un-American...

(Update: You da man, Jeremy...)


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