Back from a whirlwind trip to New York to speak on a panel at the Talkers convention, a symposium for talk radio sponsored by Talkers magazine and Michael Harrison. I accepted the invitation immediately and was thrilled to learn my panel was not “Talk radio frauds”. It was great fun and I got to hang with my two BFF’S – Stephanie Miller and G. Gordon Liddy.
This is one of the few traditional industry conventions left, complete with exhibits, liquor, award banquets, liquor, keynote speeches, and liquor. And as a special bonus this year, Sean Hannity hosted an ice cream party for all the Obama Haters! I was kind of hoping the rest of us could go over to Randi Rhodes’ for kugel but that was not to be.
What would a symposium about radio be like without the New Jersey Nets dancing girls? Screw Lou Dobbs and his First Amendment speech!
I missed the first day’s program. I was en route. But day two was highly entertaining. It started with KFI’s popular morning man, Bill Handel giving a stirring keynote address telling us that local radio was dead. This was a lovely lead-in for the first panel of the morning – “The Case for Local Radio”.
That was followed by a great session called “The Rumble”. Here a variety of highly opinionated talkshow hosts debated the hot button topics of the day. Anytime Randi Rhodes or Bill Press or any Democrat made a statement it was met with polite applause. Anytime one of the Conservatives made a point the house went wild. Phil Hendrie was his usual irreverent self, syndicated host Neal Boortz kept steering us away from Health Care and the War in Iraq to the more important story of a woman in Florida who was in a car accident because she was shaving while driving. Wow. Talk about multi-tasking.
High and low light of the session was panel member, Steve Malzberg from WOR, New York. This guy is a complete utter fucking moron. And if anyone comments to say he’s really just a patriotic American than you are a fucking moron too. Hey, it turns out Barack Obama and his entire administration is made up of Communists and Marxists. Oh no! Get to those fallout shelters! The Commies are coming!! We better stop Obama NOW before all we’re all eating borscht! Thank goodness for Errol Louis from WWRL, New York, who provided the voice of reason and calm and perspective before Malzberg could reopen the McCarthy hearings.
Moderator Allan Colmes invited questions from the audience. This bird-like woman who has a syndicated relationship show based on the teachings of Ayn Rand asked an Ayn Rand related question and when the panel dismissed it she completely wigged out, screaming the Ayn Rand prophecy until she almost had to be restrained. It was great theater.
A surprisingly lavish buffet lunch followed. I was seated next to a delightful sex therapist from Trenton, New Jersey. She told me about a marvelous Swingers Club in L.A. See? These confabs are instructional.
For the rest of the afternoon I just munched on Sean Hannity cookies. I wonder if money from his Freedom Concerts went to providing the icing.
My session was at 3:30. By then the auditorium was only half full. Either folks were getting weary of all the panel discussions or there was a Communist meeting at the Russian Tea Room.
Our topic was “Managing a Talk Radio Career”. Those who weren’t texting, tweeting, reading their email, surfing the web, or playing Free Cell on their phones seemed to really enjoy it. “Managing a Talk Radio Career” is another way of saying, “Tell us the many ways you were fired”. Everyone on the panel, including moderator Dr. Joy Brown of WOR (the station Kruschev has vowed to bury) has been canned numerous times. Panel member, Lionel had the misfortune of working recently for Air America. Lionel, by the way, was far and away the funniest panelist of the conference. And that’s all you need to know about radio. The most entertaining personality in the room is out of work.
Thanks again to Michael Harrison for staging this event. Whether it was challenges to our future or the debate over endorsing colon blow, the sessions were lively and thought provoking. I was there with several of my KABC colleagues – John Phillips, Doug McIntyre, and Nathan Baker. John files his own recap of the convention on LA Radio People.
One question that still haunts me though: Is a Communists or that woman who shaved while driving a bigger Pink Menace?