Hockey Mom Takes on Radio Right
Editor’s Note: There’s been a lot of talk in recent years about right-wing dominance of America’s talk radio, even as liberal Air America tried to create some slight balance but struggled to survive without anything approaching adequate funding.
The ideological asymmetry has caused some grassroots Americans to challenge local right-wing hosts simply by calling up and weathering the predicable abuse and mute buttons, as one of our readers Lynne Gillooly from the Charlotte, North Carolina, area describes in this guest commentary:
My name is Lynne and I am a 52-year-old basketball-playing Hockey Mom. I own a small business and have four children. Until 1999, I was an Independent voter. I voted for R. Reagan and Bush 41, but not for Bush 43.
During the impeachment of President Clinton, I began to pay a lot more attention to National Politics. I am now a card-carrying Democrat.
Over the last six or seven years, I have called the 50,000-watt WBT AM program in Charlotte during the 3 - 6 p.m. slot after the Rush Limbaugh show dozens of times. Initially, the host was Jason Lewis. He has since moved on and fills in for Rush from time to time.
Although WBT is corporate right-wing radio, Jason and I had many conversations and debates on issues. He nicknamed me "Liberal Lynne". He thought that was an insult, but I was perfectly happy with it. He was not afraid of an open discussion even though we disagreed most of the time.
When Jason left Charlotte, a man named Jeff Katz took his place from 3 – 6 p,m. He was a bit more inflammatory. His style was more akin to Michael Savage and Sean Hannity.
He would take my calls about half of the time. Usually, I would get my initial point across and then he would find the mute button in a hurry.
Jeff was let go in December and the new host is Tara Servatius. The word was that she was smart and did a lot of research. I thought she would be more like Jason Lewis, which would be an improvement in my mind.
I took several weeks off from listening to give my brain a respite from feeling like it would explode. I basked in the joy that Mr. Bush was leaving and Mr. Obama was being inaugurated.
On Thursday, Feb. 5, I listened and could not control myself from calling. The usual corporate Republican talking points were flying.
I called both days (5th and 6th). We had brief discussions both days and on Friday, Feb. 6, after we spoke, Tara announced on the air that it would be fun to do a podcast with me on her show. She said it would be good for ratings, but she may need to wear her boots.
At first, I was nervous, but soon decided to accept her invitation. Since then, I have e-mailed her three times to accept her invitation. I also called three times last week, only to hold for four hours total (over three days).
It could be that she has changed her mind or she is just not that into me. I do not know because she will not respond. Tara claims that she wants an open debate concerning the big issues we have to deal with like the economy, health-care, Iraq,, etc,, but in reality you must be like-minded to participate.
I am not a journalist or politician or even a good public speaker. If they are afraid of a middle-aged Hockey Mom, it is no wonder why they are having panic attacks about the Fairness Doctrine. Since Obama took over talk radio is in serious "talking points" mode and no dissent allowed.
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