D.L. Chandler's frequent thoughts on the world of hip hop and beyond

Friday, June 25, 2004

Trolling Through The Late Night AM Radio Wasteland

I’m going to take a different route with my Confluence entry this week and make it a little more personal than usual. I had a severe case of writer’s block last night and I decided a highway drive would free up some thoughts. After painfully sifting through the garbage on the FM side of the station – with all the requisite slow jam/love song sets because of the late hour – I stumbled upon a goldmine of entertainment: AM Radio. I am completely hooked to that side of the dial now. The variety of programming is far more interesting in comparison to what you will witness on the FM side. Of course, you have to endure a fair share of badly produced commercials for “male enhancement," hair loss, and financial counseling but it is all worth it for the occasional gems you reap.

Last night, however, I realized that AM radio is home to a bevy of President Bush apologists and they’re heavy into their Right-leaning agenda. Thankfully, they allow countering views from those on the left but as radio host Dennis Prager said in his syndicated talk show late last night, the Left enjoys hysteria and mayhem. Prager railed off against director Michael Moore's new film, Fahrenheit 9/11, and criticized Moore for attacking Bush and painting him as an incompetent leader. Not that Bush needed much help in that arena given some of the decisions by he and his administration in the last 4 years but Prager raised some good points from the Right that I wouldn’t have been exposed to had it not been for my late night road-toiling. One thing is highly noticeable as well. These Right-leaning talk show hosts, for all their pro-American values and morals, are really behind Bush and his team – almost with an apology at the ready for being supportive.

Another show I happened across was The Mike Gallagher Show show. If I can find where his show runs on the dial, I’ll listen to it again. The host is affable, quick and isn’t afraid to let someone from the Left challenge his strong, conservative views. Although he isn’t as gung ho about all things Right as Mr. Prager, Mr. Gallagher was at the very least fair.

However, the frustrating thing about AM radio is the reception. Just as the show was getting good, I would lose range due to my driving up and down the highway. I drove around an extra hour and half in an attempt to get Gallagher’s show back on the dial when I stumbled across the evening's weirdest offering. It was a politically-themed call-in show directed towards truck drivers. Because of the reception, I kept missing the call letters but I can assure that this show (which is based in Denver, Colorado) was the strangest thing I’ve ever been privy to. The callers used their CB radio handles when calling in so that made it even more comical to hear "Big Bear" or "Heavy Foot" drop their versions of political science.

But it didn’t stop there. I happened across one station playing some pretty poorly constructed rap songs so I braced myself for it and listened. It was a song about getting registered to vote – well, it pretended to be a song anyway. I truly believe they will have this song on repeat in hell for infinity. And while I appreciate the message and the intent, the execution was laughable and amateurish. Much to my frustration, I wasn’t able to the get the "artist’s" name or else I’d be providing a sound link for the column. I can’t be alone in witnessing that horror.

Don’t be afraid to venture off into the deep darkness that is AM radio. You never know what will come to light. If you can weave around the countless gospel and religious station formats, you'll find something worthy of interest.


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