Musings on Central Coast Talk Radio

A friend of mine and of the station shared a recent non-Arbitron research finding that three central coast talk radio stations have distinct listener bases with little crossover. Apparently, the audiences of KNRY 1240 AM, KSCO 1080 AM, and KUSP 88.9 FM – an NPR affiliate – do not overlap. Whether KRXA shares listeners with any of these stations was not addressed. At first, I was somewhat surprised by the findings but upon reflection they make a lot of sense. First of all, KNRY has very few listeners – probably averaging a few hundred at most – at any given time. Then too, it is likely that those few listeners are almost all on the Monterey Peninsula. KSCO’s audience is much bigger of course but is centered in Santa Cruz where KNRY doesn’t come in real strong. Also, KSCO’s die-hards are largely far-right dittoheads who can’t be bothered with the facts. By contrast, KUSP’s listeners are mostly Santa Cruz 60’s liberals and wannabe 60’s liberals who instinctively despise the Zwerlings, are suspicious of AM radio, and who, less understandably, prefer their political talk devoid of humor, personality, or modulation.

While my friend did not mention KRXA’s audience, I do know that we share some listeners with KSCO, although I have no idea how many. A number of the KRXA faithful keep me posted on the Zwerlings’ antics. I have also heard KRXA callers on KSCO on occasion. The overlap results I think because both stations have at least one good local host – Rosemary does a decent job in the morning – and relatively strong signals. Also, KSCO’s audience-grabber Limbaugh can be entertaining (in a sick way) as are (I hope) our hosts (but not in a sick way).

Another similarity both by my friend and I have observed is that despite their political differences, many KSCO and KRXA listeners seem to share an “if you’re not with us, you’re against us” mentality. And, frankly, I think both groups are right to have this worldview.

Let’s start with the average right-wing extremist who listens to Rush with absolute faith in every venomous word that drips from his lips. To believe Rush, he must wipe compassion and empathy from his hard drive and reject huge swaths of science and even the evidence of his own eyes and ears. If an individual or news organization describes any of the massive suffering caused by conservatives and their policies or even pays lip service to basic facts, that entity becomes immediately suspect to the doctrinaire conservative. Basic human decency and reality quickly and easily decimate every claim that Rush makes and more generally his perverted ideology. But, if you love Rush and if your entire worldview is based on his, how are you likely to respond to anybody who pokes holes in it?

Now let’s move to the average KRXA listener. Over the past 30 years, she (or he) has watched with ever-increasing despair: 1) the growing gulf between rich and poor, 2) the onrushing ecological disasters that now beset us and without immediate corrective action threaten extinction to 2/3rds of extant species, 3) our killing sprees on foreign shores, 4) unpunished torturers in our midst, 5) 20+ percent of American children living in poverty, 6) Tens of millions of good middle-class American jobs transported to the far east, and 7) on and on and on. At the same time, this liberal observes the mainstream news media trying to distract us and the conservative media demonizing those who try to improve the current unacceptable situation. How is this thinking caring fully human individual likely to respond to anybody who refuses to condemn conservatives, i.e., those who 1) are (a) directly responsible for and (b) profiting from this tragic situation and 2) refuse even to acknowledge real solutions?

The answer to the question: How does each group of listeners respond to those who don’t share their views? Each looks at the other derisively, with dismay, and ultimately frustration and anger.

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5 Responses to Musings on Central Coast Talk Radio

  1. Shade says:

    My favorite station to listen to is KRXA. While I do occasionally listen to the two NPR stations low on the dial (especially Sunday mornings), mostly I listen to KRXA or KGO with a preference for KRXA. I like KRXA because it is local and because I am more trusting of the information the station provides (since the station is not as beholden to corporate interests). In addition many KRXA hosts “sort of” know who I am while to most KGO hosts, I’m just another goofy emailer.

    Unfortunately, Hal & company seem to have hard time understanding where I’m coming from and they sometimes take offense to the views I express. While I’m generally a far-left Liberal (especially on social issues), I refuse to be anybody’s dittohead. I listen to the views presented on KRXA & consolidate these with my own education & experience.

    I am continually aggravated by those on the left who offer simplistic idealistic environmental solutions. While such solutions might (debatably) work for those with family wealth, such solutions would cause a decade of pain for the working-poor (a group that is already under great stress). Specifically (today), I’m talking about Hal’s stuck-on-stupid insistence that the left push for an immediate $5/gal gasoline tax, which would then supposedly “trickle-down” to the working-poor to reduce their pain. Like the caller/host that called Hal out re his insensitivity to racial issues, I’m calling Hal out on his insensitivity to the working-poor! My experience & education have taught me that any structural economic changes will “trickle-on” the working-poor long before any “trickle-down” occurs. The working-poor are always the first to feel the pain and the last to benefit.

    What is possibly even worse is that Hal’s idea of an immediate $5/gal gasoline tax is not politically viable. Continually presenting this as the left’s solution to our environmental and economic woes only serves to marginalize an important pro-environment and non-corporate voice. Think about it Hal. Find a way we can ALL immediately benefit instead of a simplistic solution that can only be reasonably considered by those with enough wealth to insulate them from financial pain! You can’t ignore the mass of humanity already living on the edge of survival. Keeping them alive is going to require embracing less idealistic options.

    One such reasonable option is to demonstrate to the world that we are prepared to develop more nuclear power and that we will require vehicles to run on either gasoline or domestically produced natural gas. Just beginning to implement this would help drive down the cost of imported energy and thus make it possible to slowly phase-in a carbon tax (something that I agree is necessary). Unless we do this, our fate will remain in hands of corporate/banking/investor speculators who feel no threat by the Green options the left currently proposes (because they know such options won’t be viable for decades). Photovoltaic electric still only produces less than 1% of our nation’s electricity while nuclear produces 19% (and no nuclear plants have come online for well over a decade)! Nuclear & natural gas are energy options that have proven to work and they are Green compared most current energy production (though not completely safe or without potential environmental consequences).

  2. peter says:

    I truly believe the far right is starting to blow it. I think there will be a ‘lift” in conciousness, slowely, and as more people get involved , more people will listen to stations like KRXA.. I truly believe we are starting on an “upswing” and with the internet, etc. and “truth” coming out, and people starting to realize what’s really going on. We are on an upswing. History will look back at this media “era” with the right wing talk and attacks as just a “defining” moment of crazyness in this country. Logical, cooler heads WILL prevail. The far right, it’s minions and power grabs with total lies are blowing it for themselves, and they will be exposed. In fact , they are exposing themselves. It CANNOT continue this way. With our first black president elected…the GUNS came out…We are in a nasty transition which in our “real time” seems to be taking a long time…We are doomed to failure unless we wake up and try to turn things around before it’s too late, ecological, physcological, and political. We should stop calling politicians, politicians and start calling them PUBLIC SERVANTS, as they should be. Just the title would lesson their power in a certain sense. That’s why we NEED KRXA, and that’s why KRXA will only grow (maybe slow in our real time) but it will have a place in history.

    • Shade says:

      I’m not so optimistic. In spite of KRXA, corporations have more power than ever & their power is rapidly increasing. Corporations are now mostly International & they make decisions based solely on what their governing boards perceive to be in THEIR best interest. Corporations now play the populations of countries against each other. Worse, they are experts in taking advantage of our failing schools to wage a war of disinformation that causes low-information, bible-thumping, gun toting voters to vote against their own interests.

      Even those of us on the left who are enlightened can’t agree what do in response. I personally feel that many economic & environmental solutions offered by the left are doomed to failure on several fronts. First, many of the left’s solutions are not politically viable. Corporations will ensure that the public will vote against anything that could cause economic turmoil or a redistribution of power/wealth. Even if implemented, the left’s “do-nothing other than the most idealistic approach” would result in our country’s inability to support its existing masses during the transition period (that would easily take a decade or more). This is not to say that corporations are doing a better job of creating a sustainable economy… they are not.

      The goal of the left should be to provide the best possible life TO THE EXISTING MASSES while doing the least possible amount of harm to the environment. Unfortunately, these are conflicting goals. To accomplish both, the left must take a page from the corporations and recognize that to survive, THE COUNTRY’S ECONOMY MUST DO ITS BEST TO DROP A NET PROFIT TO THE BOTTOM LINE EVERY YEAR. The left does not have the luxury of taking a decade off from supporting the masses while the most idealist solutions are developed/built/implemented. This will require that the left choose the most acceptable existing “off-the-shelf” technologies EACH YEAR concurrent with investing in Greener more idealistic options. If there is a shortage of funding (as is likely), current needs must be given the highest priority.

      Given what I see of our economy, we will be lucky if the U.S. government (as we know it) survives throughout our lifetimes. If the economy gets much worse, the people may revolt alright but rather than the people taking power, it is likely that it will be the military that restores order. At that point all pretense of democracy might be destroyed. Even if our government does survive, I am not optimistic that most of us in the working-class are likely to experience anything but misery in our old age (although I am hoping for the best). It is this perception of our existing dire straights that causes me to get upset when KRXA takes up so much time offering solutions that I recognize won’t/can’t work.

      • peter says:

        I agree with you Shade..we ARE witnessing the destruction of our country..and the corporations have the fact I think we are a facist democracy..but I have hope because I see a rise in conciousness and we are actually fighting for our rights, and against the corruption…There are a LOT of NEW progressive organizations sprouting up and giving “truth” to the masses. The more KRXA’s there are, the better it will be.we may not agree on everthing, but we have to keep educating as many people as we can. Roosevelt fought corporate America and the greedy…It could happen again…We NEED a real leader, who won’t back down and stands on his principles and fights for the common, working middle class…I fear someone like that will never get elected….but…it’s possible. I have to have hope..Looks so dizmal right now..we certainly shall see what happens.

  3. Len ... "0" + huMAN says:

    note”WO”r”THY” At this point in “time” … “I” personally “think” all NEWS/TALK RADIO Stations/Host(s) {of course, “Republican/Conservative” tilted Stations etc., probably “will not” participate, so “Liberal/Progressive” tilted “RADIO STATIONS” … NOW IS yOUR “TIME” TO BE THE(E/r) LEADER OF THE “BUNCH”!!!} should “initiate and execute” Major Campaigns (NOW)
    as an “Early Warning” before the upcoming “ELECTIONS” … that “WE” are “not” VOTING again for “ANYONE” who “will not” pledge to and “vote” for “CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM” LEGISLATION … period!!! Then, after getting the “PROPER REPRESENTATION” for the “PEOPLE” … “WE” can get “much MORE” of the (Real) PEOPLE’s BUSINESS (like mentioned above etc.!!!) done! “wHOever” said “U” cannot/should not “Lead/Direct” this “COUNTRY/WORLD” unless you are and/or must be a “Millionaire or ABOVE???? Where did that COME FROM???

    “SEE” … WE HAVE “QUIETLY AND graduALLy been “HOODWINKED” … hUh??? By wHOm …..??

    Soooooooo, let “US” FIX “it” !!!!! “TIME HATH COME”!!!!!!! “FAIR” …?

    SURELY, “will” drastically LIMIT CORPORATE AMERICA’s Influence in “POLITICS” !!!

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