Posts Tagged ‘talk radio’

There are no stupid questions….or are there?

June 8, 2010

Most, if not all of us have heard the old saying, ‘there is no such thing as a stupid question’. I actually agree with that….for the most part. I believe we ask questions, because the answers to those questions, will  have some measurable impact on our lives, or, at the very least,  influence the action we take; ‘excuse me sir, what time is the next bus?’. Stuff like that. The answer to that question could determine whether you sit and wait for the next one, or, if you live where I live and the bus is the R12, whether you just give up and go home because it will be a long time before you see another one.You get my drift, the answer determines your course of action.

Up comes the Gulf oil spill; a very tragic event by anybody’s standards. It is very difficult not to feel the frustration the people on the Gulf Coast must be experiencing. Of course, everyone is trying to do as much as they can to help and no one is doing it fast enough. People have tons of questions, and as usual there are way more questions than answers. I just think that we could go a long way to bridging that gap by being a little more sensible in the questions we do ask. If there is a real benefit to be gained from the answer, (apart from better ratings or political points) then by all means, ask away, if not, then maybe you should leave it alone. We have seen thus far, an amazing capacity for sensationalism in the questions being asked without any real or apparent regard for the consequences of the actual tragedy.

One of the earliest questions; how much oil really is spewing out of the well?  This was, and still is, a really big sticking point. The argument for wanting to know the answer to that question goes something like, ‘well if we don’t know how much oil is coming out now, how would we know when any of the attempts to stop it have worked? Hmmm…well if we can’t figure out when something stopped leaking without first knowing the rate of the leak, then we are in way more trouble than anybody thought. The thing about this and other questions like it, is that they are being asked, apparently,  on behalf of the public at large and, especially , on behalf of those people in the affected areas. Personally, I am not interested in how much oil is spewing out. Besides, I, along with most other people, already know the answer……too much, way too much. A more pertinent question would be, ‘so when do you think  you’ll have this mess cleaned up by?’, or ‘why exactly did you modify the blowout preventer so that it could no longer, ummmm…prevent blowouts?’ The only people who are getting all rabid over the ‘how much’ question are those people who are peddling devices  to be able to measure, well…..how much. The rest of us just want it to stop, regardless of how much it is.

This past Sunday, Bill Nelson, the democratic senator from Florida was on Face the Nation. In an effort to show his constituents that he was ‘getting out in front of this thing’, he declared that he made a phone call and asked, according to him, ‘one simple question, how many boats you got?’. He apparently got widely varying responses to his ‘one simple question’. My thing is though, he’s pretty lucky he got any response. How about asking, ‘what can I do to help?’. Now there’s a question that has the potential to result in a net benefit for the people of Florida. But he didn’t ask that since they might actually find something for him to do and that would not sit too well with him.  Does he have a boat to contribute to the cause? Or perhaps, there is some magic number of boats that will make everything ok. How many boats you got……indeed.

By far  the best though is, ‘what do you mean by legitimate?’. That depends, what do YOU mean by legitimate? I am no BP lover, but you don’t need to be a rocket scientist, (or in this case, an oil company executive), to see which way the wind is blowing. People will be crawling out of the woodwork, with all sorts of claims. Next thing you know they’re getting claims for birth defects in people born before Deep Water Horizon even existed. Personally, I think, in this litigious society it is bordering on silly to expect the company to say ‘yeah just bring it on, we’ll pay everything’, without some sort of qualifier. All of a sudden that executive’s words will become some sort of legal, binding, promise on the part of BP to pay everything that has the words ‘oil spill’ on it. It just amazes me that the question was asked in the first place and that it still has so much traction.

Each day I continue to look to the  Gulf for some good news. It seems as if the tide may be turning on this tragedy. I sure hope so. I do not, however, anticipate any decrease in, what I perceive to be, useless questions. After all, how else will the news media survive, and the politicians raise money, if not through the use of the tried and true stupid question?

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Play that funky music

April 19, 2010

One of  the things  few people know about me, is that I like music. I like it a lot. I listen to pretty much anything. There are, some types I do not listen to, but generally speaking, my musical taste can be reliably described as eclectic.  My wife no longer gives me funny looks when she hears some bangra, or Chinese pop music, emanating from my computer.  The presets on my car stereo range from country to hip-hop.  There are very few times when the radio is not on in my car, and this is where I encounter one of my biggest peeves.

Like I said, I like MUSIC, not commercials, not radio personalities, not strange people who call those radio personalities and divulge stuff they really should keep secret…..very secret, just music. Unfortunatley, however, it often takes me a good ten minutes from when I get into my car and drive off to when I hear the first song played.  It’s a little bit ridiculous.

There is one station I listen to that claims commercial free music for an hour and change. The first time I heard this, I thought I had struck gold. I was like “yeah, this will definitely take me home”.  I reacted like this because I’m naive. I took them at their word. After all, this is radio, this is being broadcast to thousands of people. They would not  be so brazen (or like my mother-in-law would say “brass face”) to lie to all those people. It’s not like they’re politicians or something.  Imagine my surprise when after about two songs, I hear the DJ saying “thanks to the kind folks at …… for allowing us to bring you commercial free music ” Are you serious?  So just because it wasn’t an entire 30 seconds or it did not specify a product, you think that’s not an ad? An ad does not need 30 seconds to make its point and everybody knows those guys only sell coffee so you didn’t even need to mention the product.  Turns out all the boasting  about commercial free was just “crapuccino”.

In addition, to playing as little music as possible, it turns out that apparently “DJ school” today is all about  the personalities and only the personalities.  You don’t even need a distinctive voice anymore, as long as you can speak, you’re in. You listen to the radio these days, and I swear some stations have two DJs…one male, one female. They all sound alike, they all play the exact same songs, they all have the exact same lack of knowledge of music and performers. One thing they have going for them though, is that they all have the uncanny ability to locate some of the most inane and inconsequential information  the internet has to offer. This is where they really shine. Some of them even have assistants to do this for them, because, of course, they need to keep focused on pressing the button to play all the commercials. So basically, you can get free radio, but you “pay” for it by having to listen to tons of commercials and juvenile chatter, or you can not get commercials and “pay” a subscription for satellite radio ( you can’t escape the juvenile chatter though). It’s like we’re caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place.

When they’re not not playing music,  they’re trying to get all profound and have really insightful discussions about the day’s popular topics like, relationship issues, “how many of you slept with the stripper at your best friend’s bachelor party ?” Really tasteful stuff like that.  Then listeners use them as private investigators.  They get the DJ people to call the guy and get him to admit that he didn’t “really” sleep with the stripper (besides she kissed him, he didn’t kiss her….technically). All this is taking place while wifey (unbeknownst to Casanova) is listening in. Then she makes her presence known.We don’t get too much from here on in because there is a lot of “bleeping” taking place. It gets even better when DJ guy gets in the mix (and I am not referring to music because there isn’t too much of that taking place)  and getting all upset and everything.

All I want is to be able to turn on my radio and hear some music. I don’t think that’s too much to ask. Apparently though, it’s a whole lot more than the radio stations are willing to offer.  Sigh………I guess I’ll have to be patient. I’m sure I’ll get some music……after the break.


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