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Hell Freezes Over: Listeners Complain About Talk Radio Tactics

by Steve Young

The Outrage Of Selective Outrage

It took some time, but still, it was nice to hear. For an hour, enraged callers peppered the KABC (Los Angeles) host for his annoying methods of handling their calls.

Incessant interrupting.

Talking over them.

Turning down the mike.

Et al. Lots of et al.

Wow. I've been waiting for years for the callers on the right to put the hammer down..

KABC-AM, the L.A. home of syndicated Hannity and O'Reilly; locals Elder and Rantel. Four of the biggest incessant interrupters, talk-over-them'rs, turning-down-the-mike'rs and et-al'rs. Mostly et-al'rs. How I've longed for this passion-packed backlash.

Finally the audience has realized that talk radio has reduced debate to a 'who is louder wins' polemic; that all these years the listeners have been belittled; fed pablum that goes down easy because it ONLY supports their side of the argument; that the Lords of Loud do not trust the listeners with ALL the truth.


But alas, there was one little hitch. The host who was being bombarded was none of the four listed above. He wasn't even a conservative, as odd as that might be to believe outside of the need to be in their parking lot to receive their signal, Air America. This was long time radio maven, Ken Minyard, hosting the 5-9 pre-O'Reilly morning slot at KABC.

The irate callers were irate at Minyard for his take on the anti-Kerry Swift Boat story that, up till now, talk radio has dealt with in a most fair and balanced manner. In fact, just to make sure the Swifties get their balance, for the past three weeks, Hannity has given the authors and the story only two and a half hours a day of his total three hours. Fox News is considering renaming Sean's nightly TV hour, "Hannity and Swift Boat Captain Against Kerry Name Here."

Minyard has been a mainstay in talk radio since the Roosevelt administration. The first Roosevelt. While he would probably admit that he leans a bit to the left of Limbaugh, his shows have always had their share of both sides need to be heard attitude. But this past week he seemed to feel that some of the fuel that was being thrown on the anti-Kerry fire was questionable. Especially questionable were the comments from swift boat commander, Larry Thurlow, who has said there was no enemy-fire during Kerry's saving of Green Beret John Rasmussen. Now, it seems, Thurlow's own Bronze Star commendation during the same incident, reports enemy fire.

Man, were the callers incensed. They attacked Minyard for:

..incessant interrupting.

...talking over them.

...turning down the mike.

...and, of course...the ever popular et al.

This is not to say that the righteously indignant callers were incorrect. But what I'd like to know is how these same offended callers have reacted to the right-minded zillionaires of talk radio who have been doing the same and much, much worse, 24/7 for years to adversarial callers for years?

Now, I'm not going to start with the ole calling the kettle black or those who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones or how do you like it now that the shoes on the other foot or what's good for the goose if good for the gander or even the for crissakes man, how do you not see how these AM Republican talking point parrots don't trust you with ALL the facts so that when someone comes in with a legitimate argument they shout them down with nothing more than a reiteration of the litany of same ole same ole then hangs up on them with the sad lament..."Liberals."

I just won't do that.

What I will say'll hear more both sides of an argument with Ken Minyard in one morning than you'll hear in a week on all the other talk shows on radio put together.

And for that I will take one hour of him acting a bit like his much richer radio brothers.

Steve Young has hosted on KABC, but after this article, don't hold your breath

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Albion Monitor August 17, 2004 (

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