Wednesday, August 12, 2009

12 AUG 09: A Darker Tone of Voice

One man tells me it's only a matter of time before Columbus has a "talk-radio" station on the FM band. But he may be overlooking something - we may be approaching that now. It's happening during the morning and late afternoon. The hosts simply play a little music when they need to go to the break room for coffee.

The new Columbus radio ratings came out Tuesday, to remind me of this. They show a big upward trend for an FM station which talks a lot in the morning and late afternoon -- not with right-wing conservatives, but African-American backers of President Obama. You know, the ones more likely to sit politely at health care forums....

WKZJ-FM "K-92.7" has seen its ratings jump nearly 50 percent in a year, to tie for second place in the spring report. It's the station presenting Tom Joyner in the morning and Michael Baesden during the afternoon drive. Is it just me, or did Baesden stop calling his show "Love, Lust and Lies" after Barack Obama became a serious Presidential contender?

The Tom Joyner and Michael Baesden shows tend to be as much talk as music, and sometimes the talk dominates. In fact, Baesden takes calls every day about a variety of topics. Of course, he's based in New York - but that means WKZJ has almost as many local talk shows as WDAK.

On top of that, K-92.7 midday host Chris Green does more than spin soul music. I've heard him hand out "Idiot of the Day" awards, based on issues in the news. I don't know if he's ever consulted with Sheriff candidate Mark LaJoye, about giving one personally to me.

This may explain why K-92.7 did something in the spring ratings I'd been expecting to occur for years. It topped WAGH-FM "Magic 101.3" - where midday host Edgar Champagne now may have to settle for a rum and Coke.

On down the dial, the announcers on WFXE-FM "Foxie 105" aren't afraid to have open phone lines to discuss hot topics. Michael Soul did that recently, after the Russell County School Board decided not to renew the superintendent's contract. From the short clip I saw on TV, Soul was more buttered than hot....

Foxie 105 continues to lead the Columbus radio ratings. But Tuesday's report showed the numbers dipping again, as they did a few years ago. The report offers no real clue about where its listeners have gone. Well, there's one longshot possibility - and I can't imagine Foxie's fans would switch to Bear O'Brien.

That's the other big story from the spring radio ratings. WKCN-FM "Kissin' 99.3" jumped up to tie K-92.7 for second place - and the country station now has twice the listeners of WSTH-FM "Rooster 106." PMB Broadcasting looks brilliant for bringing Bear O'Brien back to Columbus last August. Bears can devour Roosters every bit as much as foxes.

The spring radio ratings had their usual slight ups and downs. But here are some other things we noticed....

+ WOKS has become the top AM station in Columbus. It had a big boost in the spring - so maybe all the new police officers are giving more listeners the blues.

+ WDAK no longer is the top AM station, as its ratings dropped by about one-third from last fall. I thought conservatives needed a place to rally, after losing power.

+ WBOJ-FM "103.7 The Truth" continues to grow, with more than twice the listeners this spring compared with last year's premiere. If this contemporary Christian station keeps building an audience, some churches I know might succumb to the pressure and add guitars during services.

+ Both "sports talk" stations on the AM band failed to appear in the ratings at all -- and there are few things more boring in sports than a scoreless tie.

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E-MAIL UPDATE: Tuesday's complaint about the Georgia "Move-Over Law" and a trip to Recorder's Court brought little sympathy from one reader....

Sounds like Miss Nicky doesn't want to pay up is the REAL issue. She said that the ticketing officer was there but that he left and that 2 other officers went looking for someone that she described. It sounds like a ploy to get out of paying, describing an officer that she knew already left the court room! If she studied the law, got her degree & at one time wanted to be one of Columbus' finest - she would hopefully have some common sense. It is not only the law but COMMON sense to get in the left lane whenever someone is pulled off on the shoulder. Do you suppose she didn't make it on the CPD & has a BIG chip. Tell me, Nicky, if it was your loved one out there on the streets as an officer, wouldn't you want people getting over for them or would you just up their life insurance!!!

Uh-oh -- someone needs to help me here. Did the Move-Over Law get mentioned in the book "Glenn Beck's Common Sense"?

Meanwhile, the supervisor of the Columbus Police Patrol Division explained the traffic ticket procedure to us Tuesday. Major Julian Graham says if any officer-switching occurred in Recorder's Court, it should be brought to his attention. Hopefully he wears a name tag at all times, to avoid any confusion.

Julius Graham noted officers normally are NOT allowed to represent each other in a court hearing. But if a group of officers is involved in an arrest or a ticket, any officer who witnessed the incident can appear and speak for the group. OK - but let's see an accused speeder in Recorder's Court demand an officer pass an eye exam.

Matters of law and order are scattered in our review of other Tuesday news:

+ Columbus Council tabled the proposal for a city Crime Prevention Director. While that was expected, something unexpected happened during the debate - as Councilor Mike Baker made a comment which put him on the TV news. You can't hide on that platform for the entire four years.

(Mayor Jim Wetherington said he doesn't mind the delay, if it will mean a united Council. This happened after he shook the hand of WTVM General Manager Lee Brantley, for that "Thunder on the Hooch" commendation - so the mayor may be drinking decaffeinated coffee these days.)

+ Senator Saxby Chambliss came to Columbus for a forum on health care - except he held it privately at the Chamber of Commerce office, with NO public meeting. And then they accuse Democrats of having something to hide?!

(Rep. Artur Davis appeared in Auburn, and told the Opelika-Auburn News he would vote NO on the health care reform bill right now. That explains why Davis is running for Governor - to handle easier issues, such as proration.)

+ The Russell County School Board asked the District Attorney to investigate graffiti painted on a driveway in June. WTVM reports the graffiti suggested a school board member's spouse committed adultery - and a football coach is accused of doing the painting. If that coach had left a comment about Phenix City Central, there might not be any problem....

+ Troy Public Radio's "Community Focus" discussed the campaign for a new Alabama Constitution. Supporter Jim Vickery said the current special session of the legislature makes Jefferson County the "poster child" for home rule. Some Phenix City residents probably want to put Rep. Lesley Vance on a wanted poster, as an accessory to taxpayer robbery.

+ The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported a Cobb County man is wanted for illegally dumping trash in the street. An arrest warrant claims the suspect had items in the trash bags with his name on them. I get upset about junk mail, too - but at least I take white paper to the recycling bin.

The number of unique visitors to our blog in the first half of 2009 was up 11.1 percent! To advertise to them, offer a story tip, make a PayPal donation or comment on this blog, write me - but be warned, I may post your e-mail comment and offer a reply.

BURKARD BULK MAIL INDEX: 448 (+ 7, 1.6%)

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