The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

30 June 2007

Seattle Media, KIRO Talk Host Mike Webb Murdered


What's The Appeal Of A Dishonest Host?

As a fresh- faced newcomer to a talk station some years back, I received this brilliant piece of managerial advice: "be sincere, Brian. When you're a phony the audience will sniff you out very quickly. They're not stupid, don't ever forget that."

While the best hosts in this crazy business do understand that basic concept, others do not, or simply don't know how to be honest. If managers spent more time listening to their own stations, they might spot one of these shysters in the lineup, long after the audience has figured it out.

I've encountered a handful of hosts actually willing to "change" their political ideology to suit a particular station's needs. A liberal can become "conservative" for a few hours each day and who will know the difference?

Another scam is to call one's self a "libertarian" in order to hide clearly conservative standpoints from unsuspecting lefty programmers. Nearly every time, that one works like a charm.

Beyond that, there are more subtle forms of deception that pop up in talk radio, none more apparent than what's been heard on the Seattle airwaves since yesterday's revelation that former KIRO- AM libtalker Mike Webb was murdered.

For entirely self- serving purposes, at least two area hosts have been singing his praises, when both were actually far from friends or supporters of his work. In fact, one openly campaigned against Webb within the building.

At the time, that talker was correct in doing so, as Webb's behavior both on and off the air absolutely screamed for termination at least two years before it finally occurred. Many staffers had gone to human resources representatives, but the company was hesitant to fire him.

A common perception (whether true or not) was that his history of litigation against former employers had Entercom nervous about termination. For at least a few staffers, however, knowing that Webb carried a loaded gun actually made it safer to keep him around than have a disgruntled loose cannon outside the building, looking for revenge.

These hosts know all about Webb's destructive antics inside the station, which included sabotage, filing phony harassment complaints against co- workers, working to destroy the reputations of managers he didn't like through downright dirty schemes and much, much more. All of that was long before the felony fraud conviction.

Now that tragedy has unfortunately befallen Mr Webb, these hosts have rewritten history to show he was a fantastic guy whose work they greatly admired.

In our culture, when someone passes away (particularly after circumstances of this nature) it's typical to remember the best of what the person brought to those around him. If that were the case with these talkers, I'd have no argument.

Instead, it's clear they're using the situation to improve their own dubious public images, praising Webb while denouncing the blogger who doggedly attempted to hold Mike accountable for his actions when others were afraid of the consequences.

There's nothing more phony and outright dishonest than that. Worse, it's cowardly.

Think the audience is stupid? Guess again.

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  • considering your consistently partisan disingenuine twisting of your stories - repeatedly and obviously, that "sincerity" you were advised to demonstrate didn't carry over to your copy & paste efforts here.

    By Blogger TJ, at 02 July, 2007 19:20  

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