Friday, February 09, 2007

More on WAVZ and Clear Channel

From reader Jack Schingh:
I read your column this morning in the week-end guide section of theRegister and just wanted to send you this e-mail concerning the demise ofAir America on WAVZ, which I don't miss at all, and the recent column byJerry Dunklee in the Register about local radio in general.
I was an avid listener of WELI, especially in the morning, but now that Paul Pacelli is gone, there is really not much local flavor to the station at all. I really only listen to get traffic reports, but trying to listen tothe news is very difficult. When they cut from FOX news to "local" news, the news reporter always seems to be quoting from either or from theNew Haven Register. You can tell they are from out of state, they can't pronounce some of the local towns correctly. I realize they are reporting the news from some place in New York state, but I guess my question to you is: is New Haven that small a market that we can't have a truly local station anymore?
I liked to listen to Jerry Kristafer and Pacelli together, they were truly funny, but that is unfortunately missing from the morning show.The closet thing to a local station and local news reporters is WQUN and you can't pick that up much outside of New Haven anyway.
Jack S.

Jack, the problem with this situation is that WAVZ owner Clear Channel is a ruthless, money-first corporation that doesn't appear to care about the public interest. Not that this hasn't happened to other media outlets in a changing world increasingly dominated by Internet and Wall Street greed. But these are public airwaves that companies like Clear Channel treat as a personal money tree. Jerry Kristafer is a survivor, and I can appreciate that. But CC should either operate radio stations in an honorable way or get out of the business. They disgust nearly everyone who cares about radio and free speech. Look at WTIC-AM in Hartford, owned by CBS. They have maintained some local news anchors and sports folk, and their morning- and afternoon-drive shows are quite good. Yes, WTIC, too, runs the overexposed Rush Limbaugh but at least they have a strong local component, too. CC is a Texas-based disgrace, much like the guys they prop up with right-wing opinion shows. CC airing progressive talk? Talk about a doomed partnership (which may have been the political strategy all along).

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