Sunday, March 21, 2010

Women: Do not shave and drive

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?


Johnny said...

Thanks for the recap! I have to admit I would much rather read about a talk radio convention then ever attend one ever ever ever ever ever again.

YEKIMI said...

Now I know why I was never very successful in talk [or any other format] radio. Apparently I'm not insane enough.

Alan Coil said...

I've seen a picture of Randi Rhodes. She looks nice enough, but that voice petrifies me.

I read that the lady you mention was shaving her vagina.

Ayn Rand was the original ass-hat.

Weisenheimer said...

Ken, you're the funniest guy on this planet. Please return to do Seattle Mariners radio!!

Simon H. said...

The woman was shaving her vagina WHILE driving?

Now THAT'S what I call multitasking....

By Ken Levine said...


Thanks much. Let the Mariners know you want me back.

A. Buck Short said...

This is why I now confine my listening exclusively to the CONELRAD Network.

As a dating couple, Ayn Rand and Alan Greenspan were ahead of their time. Today they’d be on TMZ as “Randspan.”

gwangung said...

As a dating couple, Ayn Rand and Alan Greenspan were ahead of their time.

Given Rand's taste in men, Greenspan's a step down. Hannibal Lecter's more her style...(and, no, I'm not kidding about that....)

Anonymous said...

I'm not a big Hannity fan, but I work in radio news and have to get details right. So I feel I must point out that the story about him taking money from the Freedom Alliance charity came from an anti-Hannity columnist and was repeated without fact-checking by the American Spectator website, which has since retracted it. Freedom Alliance denies that Hannity ever took any pay or expenses from them and says he's donated over $300,000 of his own money to college schoarships for veterans' kids. Their full statement with the numbers is here:

And as long as I'm correcting details, the police report about the woman in Florida said she crashed her car while she was shaving her "bikini zone." She was, naturally, heading south, toward Key West, so write your own Bermuda Triangle jokes.

Unknown said...

You Know we liberals have Bill Maher who is consistently more entertaining and intelligent than anyone on the conservative circuit-that is unless you consider raving lunatics which is what Glenn Beck and a number of them are, entertaining. And they lie and lie and lie. I think liberals have a much more difficult time attracting the big numbers on radio because liberals as a group are a lot more intelligent than conservatives-thus they're busier and not as easily manipulated as the morons who hang on Rush's every word, who can rightly be compared to religious fanatics. Also, we don't worship Bill Maher-I don't anyway-he does a lot of stupid things and has some viewpoints that are harmful in general to liberals. But liberals embrace the notion that we all must work together, that all of us deserve to eat and now that all of us deserve health care not just the well off. And the conservatives are very often just plain selfish.

Let's use abortion as an easy example. Liberals aren't for abortion because they like to see babies die. On the contrary. We know there are already too many people and not enough resources. A lot of the people having unprotected sex are stupid and incapable of raising a child. Which means someone has to pay for those children and the conservatives sure don't want to spend a dime doing that. They rail and rail of the immortality of killing babies as something against God, but so is allowing countless children to live in squalor, as they propose. In one of my blogs I write about a 14 year old girl raped while staff slept at Las Encinas Hospital and how immoral it would be to force her to carry such a child through pregnancy. All of the really idiotic comments (and there are close to 80) come from pro-lifers some of whom can't even spell (and they sure don't understand the concept of God or the fact that the Bible is full of impossibilities and is largely fiction) all of the really intelligent comments come from people who understand the real economics and the realities that children living in squalor creates crime and health issues that are very expensive:

Liberals don't have the luxury of making their shows a circus for morons and they can't possibly compete with the showmanship of some of these people, many of whom such as Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh I consider the very epitome of evil.

Anonymous said...

Hey Rodney, thanks for the assumptions about all republicans. Gotta love those "open-minded" liberals.

Amy said...


I'm not certain that intelligence is the key factor. If the goal is audience share, a well structured, carefully and fairly delineated argument will probably fail. Nothing is quite as titillating as unbridled passion.

You may mean immorality.

Please, gentlemen, consider the probability that any woman might shave her vagina. Such fastidiousness is rarely seen.

Unknown said...

Yes, of course I mean immorality and not immortality, I'm a human being and make plenty of mistakes.

You're absolutely right about unbridled passion-I have an extremely valid reason to sue Meg Whitman and Skype and I make absolutely no bones about it at my blog in what I refer to her as. And quite honestly it's just the tip of the iceberg regarding that horrible woman. Because there is the real issue that the lives of myself and a woman I very admire and want to protect are in immediate danger from a guy that has already ambushed and choked me, I also use unbridled passion when referring to that. I believe under the circumstance it is highly appropriate. Rules of decorum go out the window in such cases. And passion does get more attention you're absolutely right.

As far as all conservatives being a certain way I don't know that to be true. I do know there are some seriously mentally unbalanced and potentially dangerous conservative nutcases out there (bringing rifles to a town hall debate on Health Care? An asshole congressman basically calling a lunatic who files into an IRS building killing a worker a hero?) Such people deserve to be mercilessly manhandled at every available opportunity.

Some people question my sanity and it's a core method of the people desiring to end the lives of myself and this woman, but the fact is life sometimes demands that you act aggressively. It's appropriate when defending oneself against danger or people that would plot to hurt you. It is inappropriate in the face of discussion of issues and it is certainly inappropriate when combined with lying and grandstanding to snowball people into thinking a certain way on an issue, as assholes like Glenn Beck do.

Any conservative really worthy of the true ideology would divorce themselves from such theatrics and rampant dishonesty.

D. McEwan said...

"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 [Did you mean "philosophy"?] until she almost had to be restrained. It was great theater."

Those surviving Ayn Randians are nuts. When I ever-so-innocently wrote a column on The Huffington Post last year that was basically about how insanely idiotic The Fountainhead is, I got more comments than on anything else I've ever written, half of them from complete imbeciles spouting her nutsy, altruism-is-evil/selfishness-is-virtuous philosophy, and the other half raking the first half deservedly over the coals. She is dead, her philosophy is absurd, and it somehow still has clots of rabidly stupid disciples, and they Google her daily, so trust me, they'll be right here commenting since you mentioned her name.

I had one of my rare-but-treasured personal chats with Barry Humphries the week that column was up. He said I'd wisely chosen a target who was dead, but her rabid defenders are still out there in full-force, as you saw, all unaware that they are "Great Theater," but nothing else.

The closing line of my column was "Ayn Rand died the day after John Belushi died, but I don't think she did so just to cheer us all up again." When I quoted that line to Barry Humhries, he laughed out loud. That was one of the greatest moments of my life, seeing and hearing Barry laugh at one of my jokes. It made Ayn Rand's whole hideous life worthwhile.

Anonymous said...

"She told me about a marvelous Swingers Club in L.A."

I don't believe you-- what was the name?

bevo said...

What is this thing called radio? Does my car have one? Is that area in the middle of my dashboard console referred to as a radio?

Did I pay extra for this contraption? Are the buttons with the numbers on it used in conjunction with the radio?

If your show is not available through iTunes, then there is no chance I am listening to it.

BTW, the woman shaving her bikini zone? Read the whole story:

wv - antercu: the period or time before the cu.

Unknown said...

Radio has immunerable possibilities. Unfortunately the idiots running it are ruining it for the most part.

I have an idea for a music format in which the hits and top album tracks from the beginning of recorded music-basically 100 years now or close to it-are all part of the playlist. This is an example of the type of thinking radio needs to survive. Traditionally, radio targets sex, age and income demographics with specific programming. In the example above, you are no longer targeting your audience that way. You are targeting a mind set-in this case, people who are open enough to all sorts of music to give equal opportunity in their mind to Perry Como, Led Zeppelin, Britney Spears and thousands of other artists. No one is doing anything like that on radio and if radio is to prosper it needs to expand it's thinking (and it's talent pool and stop treating the audience poorly and using the stations as nothing more than electronic billboards to sell audio advertising. Why would anyone care about advertising if your content is horrible to begin with? So in the music example above you're programming to a mindset-people open to new experiences, open to exploring, probably more intelligent than the average listener.

Radio is already doing this to a point as the target audience for Rush Limbaugh etc.-especially the fervent listeners-is closed minded, easily manipulated morons.

Ref said...

Radio stations, like most mass media, are increasingly owned by large corporate entities. The people who own these entities are either business people without political goals or Republicans. The message they put out is conservative. There is almost no "liberal" media in this country. There is conservative media and centrist media that gets called "liberal" because it isn't doctrinally conservative.

I listened to Air America for about twenty minutes a day for two months before it folded. It was always the Bill press Show in that morning drive slot and it was terrible. It consisted of Press or whoever was subbing for him talking about where he'd been and where he'd stayed and what he'd eaten and taking calls from other people discussing the same subjects and congratulating each other for being themselves. It was pathetic, boring, and totally lacking in substance. Why liberals listened at all is beyond me.

Shelia said...

Rodney, are you aware that you are sounding exactly like what you are denouncing? Sure there are conservative nutcases, just as there are liberal nutcases. Nuts abound on this planet.

I happen to be conservative, but I listen respectfully to what others are saying and when I disagree, I do so without screaming. I'm a regular reader of this fairly liberal minded blog (as well as others), and I frequently don't espouse Ken's view, but I respect his talent and love his sense of humor. I also read Michelle Malkin's blog and watch Fox News as well as my local news, which has a liberal bent. And guess what? I am pro-life, believe in God and can spell too! I just happen to favor the potential life, but I would never call someone who has an abortion a baby killer. I think abortion is a way more complex subject than "pro"-something or "anti"-something.

Now, given all that, how would you label me?

Isn't it okay to have differing views? There will never be such a thing as everyone marching in lock-step toward any ideology. Diversity of viewpoint isn't all that bad. Sometimes I learn from opposing views, even when I hate what's being said.

You said: "Any conservative really worthy of the true ideology would divorce themselves from such theatrics and rampant dishonesty."

Theatrics? Rampant dishonesty? Seriously, Rodney? Be real for a second: You can see that on both sides, can't you?

Please, Rodney, stop the name-calling. It's boring and is making you look like a nutcase.

Unknown said...

In reality there is absolutely no reason for myself or any intelligent person to give consideration to the views of people such as Ann Coulter, Michele Malkin, Rush Limabaugh, Glenn Beck, etc.-there was a heated exchange on IMDB regarding the Tucker Max failure of a movie I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell in which the Tucker Max team said how can you criticize the film if you haven't seen it? The script was widely read and panned at the time and someone rightly said "If you tell me the main ingredient in your souffle is bat guano, I don't have to actually taste it to know it's going to taste like bat guano." And indeed that's the way the box office for that atrocious script played out after much bragging for months by Tucker Max ("Anything The Hangover does we can beat. Easily." (never mind that The Hangover's gross is north of $400 million, in the end I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell might have cracked $3 million if they were lucky-I lost interest in following it ages ago and I only followed it for the atrocity it was to become.)

The point being I don't have to watch Fox News to know a number of things they report will be flat out lies-it's what a number of educated people already report as their M.O. I don't have to read Michele Malkin to know I'm going to despise everything she says, I don't have to listen to a speech by Michelle Bachmann to know most of it will contain raving lunacy (after all, this is the woman who takes in girls from broken homes and then blames their personality issues on public schools and has made some really idiotic comments about God.) I simply don't have to expose myself to that garbage and I choose not to-the track record speaks for itself.

Nor do the liberals have all the answers and a lot of them have proven to be dishonest. But there are also a number of them that take the phrase my brother's keeper and the Neil Diamond song He Ain't Heavy He's My Brother to heart while very few conservatives do.

John Galt said...

I'm impressed to see that anyone who doesn't run lock step with Ken's liberal ideas is a "fucking moron". Tolerance indeed.

Anonymous said...

The difference between the left's sideshow clowns and the right's sideshow clowns, is that the left knows they are clowns and puts them where they belong, on Comedy Central and HBO.

Mary Stella said...

the more important story of a woman in Florida who was in a car accident because she was shaving while driving

There's more to this story. I know this, not because I was the woman, but because it happened in the Florida Keys so it was all over our local news and Sheriff Department's site first. (Our S.O. has its own Facebook page.)

Not only was the woman shaving her vajayjay while driving, her ex-husband was her passenger and she was on her way to Key West to meet up with her boyfriend. According to her, she wanted to "Be ready".

Most of the world reads a story like this and thinks it's totally out there. We who live in the Keys, just laugh and shrug. We are the lightning rod for weird and strange things are typical.

Like the man who works as a roofer during the day and a male dancer at night. He roofs wearing work boots, tool belt, and a thong. He looked better doing so 15 years ago.

Tom Quigley said...

..."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"...

Yet another possible explanation for unintended acceleration....

Anonymous said...

Weisenheimer - I with you! Let's start a campaign to get Ken back with the Mariners!!!

Anonymous said...

Count me in. Ken Levine was absolutely the best thing about those years in which we fans suffered through something that slightly resembled baseball.

The Rally Fries segment that takes place during every home broadcast would be priceless!

Dr. Leo Marvin said...


I agree there's no reason to waste your time on the ravings of Coulter, Limbaugh, Malkin or Beck. But people like Sheila are another matter, and I'd like to think there are more like her than those hateful buffoons. My own views are pretty far left, but I consider divisive lefties like Michael Moore and Keith Olberman as bad as the Coulters and Limbaughs. To me, the more meaningful distinction is between people who think we all belong to one or another Manichean stereotype, and the rest of us who think that whatever our political views, most of us have more in common than what separates us.

Unknown said...

I don't know Sheila and maybe that's an issue for me. How could I? I really, really would like to make some real life friends for a number of reasons one being the horrible situation of felony stalking my friend Tamar and myself are in which my psychiatrist labels hard core harassment and the complete isolation and loneliness of being at the mercy of stronger and more dangerous and violent people than I-with possible connections in the LAPD yet-and the other because all the good ideas I have of my various projects are impossible to get anywhere with alone.

Sheila may indeed be someone worthwhile I would certainly give her or other people consideration and while I don't know Ken I do respect what he's done-clearly he had more doors open for him at a younger age than I did and that's part of why he has a nice resume today.

There is also some kind of passion within me that sees this woman with so many talents (Tamar) and such a high level of intelligence and I just wonder how anyone could be so consistently cruel to her.

In general I'm pretty selective about anything I watch and I sometimes regret starting to watch a series that turns out to be a waste of time in the long run. For that reason, I don't watch any news programs and feel I'm informed fairly well by the LA Times website and things I come across here and there-even Bill Maher irritates the crap out of me at times and I never watch John Stewart. I did like the comment about the left knowing to keep their clowns where they belong.

I also think after reading the description of the Air America morning program I could have presented a much more interesting show even without trying very hard-and of course I would have tried very hard to make it work.

D. McEwan said...

"John Galt said...
I'm impressed to see that anyone who doesn't run lock step with Ken's liberal ideas is a 'fucking moron'. Tolerance indeed."

Wow, the fictional "hero" of Ayn Rand's unreadable barbell-disguised-as-a-book, Atlas Barfed, commented! I said the Randian idiots would come crawling out of their dens.

Unknown said...

I never even heard of her until she was mentioned on a Simpsons episode. She must have been the Dan Brown of her day. (From what little I can tell here, both are equally full of shit.)

Anonymous said...

hello, I am doing a research paper for my school on sitcoms and I was wondering If I could contact you in any way or if I could even get some other contacts from you.
- thankyou haley elise.

John said...

A decade-plus-six-months ago when he was running the late-night shift on WABC in New York, Malzberg made a habit of claiming the Bill Clinton was going to use the upcoming Y2K catastrophe to cancel the 2000 elections and keep himself in office past the eight-year presidential limit. So that's what you were dealing with there, Ken.

On the other side, Bill Maher is the most predictable contrarian on the enire planet -- if everyone says the sun rises in the east, Bill's going to say the opposite just to create some buzz for himself. Anyone who had watched his ego grow over the years on "Politically Incorrect" knew he was going to come out the Monday after Sept. 11 and say something "shocking", because Leno and Letterman were going to give the more straightforward feelings of what that day meant to them. When you make it your schtick to never go along with the conventional wisdom, that's just as boring as the ones who always shy away from controversy.

Anonymous said...

I hope you weren't joking about Stephanie Miller being your BFF and I hope you were joking about G. Gordan Liddy.

Stephanie Miller puts on a fun morning show for liberals and her sidekick Jim Ward is hilarious.

-bee said...

Randi Rhodes is kind of a genius. I understand why many are offput by her abrasive personality, but on occasion she will take a really complicated political issue and in, say, 45 minutes, deconstruct and describe it with a clarity that I find breathtaking.

She isn't always RIGHT (for some months she was declaring the Public Option would be a sure thing) but she almost always makes a great case for her arguments.

Whoever writes the comedic skits for her radio show does a great job too - they are the kind of thing that Saturday Night Live SHOULD be doing but are far too cowardly to do.