By Ken Krayeske • 8:05 PM EST
Chaz and AJ of WPLR proved today that they are the state's best morning radio show. They confronted a critic head on, and while they haven't won me over, they did the next best thing - they offered me four one-minute spots over the next four weeks to discuss pressing issues that they fail to cover.
What Luck! And now, I am trying to figure out how to use that time. I need your help to determine the best ideas for it.
But first, let's review how I got there, what I said and how listeners responded, and try to craft 240 seconds worth of message that resonates and potentially grows into something larger.
Twice since May, I've written posts critical of Chaz and AJ and their kid-gloves handling of elected officials. They've let the likes of Gov. M. Jodi Rell, Vice President Dick Cheney and presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain talk without answering a difficult question.
This morning, they gave me ten minutes of rebuttal time, after reading on the air some of my complaints about them. They found my posts on Myleftnutmeg.com and at the40yearplan.com, and they mentioned both websites prominently. Big up for MLN!
Then they asked me what I thought. I had a lot I wanted to say in 10 minutes, but basically, I said that the airwaves are public property, that Chaz and AJ are lucky to be doing the job they do, and that they have a responsibility to represent all points of view equally.
To buttress that claim, I discussed the Fair Time doctrine, officially outlawed by the Reagan administration, but put to lay by the Kennedy-Nixon debates in 1960.
Fair Time, as enforced by the FCC, demanded that if a tv or radio station gave 10 minutes to a major party candidate like a Democrat or Republican, that station, to maintain its license, had to give 10 minutes to a Libertarian, a Socialist, or any other minor party candidate.
If Chaz and AJ did that after Cheney, they might have brought on Ralph Nader or Bob Barr. If they hit Cheney with a question, they could have asked him why a person no less that the University of Massachusetts School of Law Dean said that Bush-Cheney may be one held triable in a court like at Nuremberg?
I also mentioned that I wasn't the only one who they should be talking to - New Haven Independenters like Paul Bass, Melinda Tuhus, Melissa Bailey, New Haven Alderman Allan Brison or even Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman. These people all have valuable ideas to contribute to the democratic debate which are being ignored.
In talking politics, I tried to stress that I don't care for labels like liberal. I am human.
One of the Deejays, I'm not sure who, said, yeah, but people like our humor, and we lose audience if we start doing news. I responded that Jon Stewart manages to discuss current events and yet he maintains a large audience. So large that he was a guest on this very show a few weeks back.
I took a Stewart line of attack and said mass media outlets like morning radio - not just them - do a disservice to citizens by glossing over news. For example, that morning's news report said Fed chairman Ben Bernanke is going to speak to congress today about the crumbling economy, and then Jay Leno has good job prospects.
What about the thousands of people left poor by the second largest bank collapse in American history, namely, the crash of California's IndyMac Bank this past Friday.
I tried to be as straightforward as I could. I explained I was a journalist. Then they offered me a minute a week for four weeks. As long as I didn't dis the advertisers. At some point in the conversation, I referenced the CarMax ad that aired prior to this conversation. The ad said people can't give up their cars yet, but they can get ones with better gas mileage.
Well, duh, I countered, the $165 billion for war that President Bush just signed is the money that would go to build our mass transit facilities.
After I hung up, confident that I had made some headway, they opened the lines to callers. The first caller, Dave, seemed to make my point about needing real sources of news.
"If we want to get 100 percent of our news, I'll listen to Fox," Dave said. Meanwhile, studies show that people who watch Fox News consistently know less about current events than non-Fox watchers.
An email that they read off next made no sense, other than to say that "This could be good. This be aiming all of AJ jokes. What a tool."
I'm not sure if the emailer labeled me a tool and an easy target, but whatever.
Craig, the next caller, responded against me.
"You guys got a great show," he told Chaz and AJ. "You have on different points of view. This guy wants nothing but far left. So if you do that, you should get Ann Coulter."
Craig explained that I was so far left that I was biased in my point of view. His media criticism was limited to a dictate: "Kids shouldn't be watching Jon Stewart for news."
The next caller, Rich, railed on me.
"He doesn't want to be called a liberal, don't give him time," Rich said. "You give him a minute, and he's ungrateful."
Rich tried to make a point about Cheney, but ended by suggesting I was a dirty hippie.
"We elect people to make hard decisions to keep us all safe," Rich said, and we have to abide by their choices. Rich acknowledged that I might have made some points, but that Chaz and AJ should give five hours of time to conservatives.
"I bet he wears tight shorts and has a tree hugger sticker on his bicycle," Rich said.
Indeed, I do wear spandex when cycling sometimes. It's more aerodynamic. My heroine Megan Doll defended me.
"He is very passionate," Megan Doll said, "and he has a point of view that needs to be heard."
One caller, "Preacher," said he thought I was too forward in claiming the public property of airwaves as mine.
"He's impinging on my airwaves," Preacher said. "We are wasting a lot of money on the war, and that's a bad decision, but whatever."
So, whatever, readers. I need help. What kind of spots should I do? What can I say over 60 seconds, four times in the next four weeks, that appeals to juvenile humor, yet projects valuable information that the listening audience needs to hear?