Ralph Doty: It’s time for radio and TV host Glenn Beck to goIf Midwest Radio’s corporate bigwigs have the courage to get rid of Glen Beck’s show, it would be an important step on the way to restoring KDAL-AM to its former greatness.
By: Ralph Doty, Budgeteer News
Many people reacted in horror this week after radio-television host Glenn Beck called a respected U.S. senator a prostitute when she was able to secure $100 million in federal Medicaid subsidies for her home state — before she announced she’d vote to bring a health care reform bill to the Senate floor. In other words, she was just doing her job. (Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana also made it clear that she may not vote for the final bill in a month or two.)
Here is how political commentator/verbal assassin Beck — heard on KDAL-AM (610) and Fox News — described this lady lawmaker who is regarded by her colleagues as one of the Senate’s most respected members: “She is a high-class prostitute. … She may be easy, but she ain’t cheap.”
It is the latest in an unending stream of slanderous, sickening, coarse and mean-spirited vitriol from Beck, a man who is every bit as irresponsible as Rush Limbaugh. Indeed, Limbaugh could not resist joining in the garbage talk when he called Landrieu “the most expensive prostitute in the history of prostitutes.”
In light of Beck’s comment on this and many other issues, KDAL should take immediate steps to drop his show from its program lineup. Indeed, a reliable source told me a few days ago that Beck’s radio program on KDAL is “skating on thin ice.”
The final decision on what to do about Beck’s show will ultimately be made by folks at Midwest Radio’s corporate headquarters in Green Bay. (Which leads one to ask why local program decisions are being made by people who live hundreds of miles from Duluth.)
Midwest owns six Twin Ports radio stations, including KDAL-AM and KDAL-FM. If Beck’s show is dropped, it would be a good move to bring some political balance to what, at one time, was the premier radio station in the Twin Ports.
For many years, especially under the leadership of Carl Casperson and John Russell Snee from 1948 to 1990, KDAL dominated this radio market, especially during the morning hours.
In the days of Hunter Como, Dick Anthony, John Russell, Eddie Williams, Bill Krueger and Marsh Nelson, KDAL pulled in nearly half of all folks who had their radio turned on during those hours.
But with many additional radio stations in the Twin Ports — 23 to be exact — and some poor programming decisions, KDAL’s slide in recent years has been precipitous. It went from No. 1 a few years ago to No. 7 in the most recent Arbitron listener survey.
Former Midwest executive Ron Stone turned the station into a political voice for reactionaries, including former radio hosts Carinda Horten and Russ Stewart, a former Duluth city councilor. Horton is now a Republican candidate for local public office.
The sense of balance, once the hallmark of KDAL, has mostly disappeared.
To regain its former luster, KDAL must make major programming changes to once again be the Twin Ports’ premier radio station for news, weather, information and balanced talk shows.
If Midwest Radio’s corporate bigwigs have the courage to get rid of Glen Beck’s show, it would be an important step on the way to restoring KDAL-AM to its former greatness. It won’t be a moment too soon.
Recently, I interviewed five people about their impressions of Duluth Mayor Don Ness’ performance halfway through his four-year term. The in-depth discussions were with two Duluth businessmen, a former UMD professor and administrator, the AFL-CIO Central Labor Body president and a former Duluth mayor.
I also talked at length with Mayor Ness regarding a self-assessment of his performance. I was frankly surprised at his candor.
My next column on Dec. 12-13 will focus on what these folks said. For the most part, I don’t think you’ll be surprised at the final grades given on Mayor Ness’ “report card.”
I am always a little surprised when loyal readers ask me: “Where was your column in the last Budge?” Well, I write my column every two weeks. Each one takes up to 20 hours of work to finish, including background research, interviews and up to seven rewrites. As a result, many months ago editor Jana Peterson permitted me to reduce my workload to 26 times a year.
If you watch television (except for folks with satellite dishes), then you need to know that the Twin Ports’ PBS station, Channel 8, now has four outlets: 8.1, 8.2, 8.3 and 8.4. Each one has different programming.
Most significantly, Channel 8.2 offers repeats of many prime time programs seen first on Channel 8.1. The reruns are available later that same evening. So, if you miss a program on Channel 8.1, you can usually see it two hours later on Channel 8.2.
Your letters are always welcome at email@example.com, or c/o Duluth Budgeteer News, 424 W. First St., Duluth, MN 55802.