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Friday, March 1, 2013

Pamplin going chintz on radio, too

From what we can gather, yesterday was Victoria Taft's last day on KPAM radio, owned by sand and gravel magnate Bob Pamplin (new motto: "Light rail is the linchpin to vibrancy"). Now the rumor mill says that Bob Miller's days on that station may also be numbered.

Given the slew of options that consumers have for entertainment and political commentary these days, we're not surprised that the market for big name local broadcast talent is contracting. But wow, no Taft? No Miller? Who's next to go, the Larsmeister?

Maybe it's just a Pamplin thing. He got us all interested in the Trib, then gutted it. Perhaps the same pattern is now emerging for his radio station. It's too bad -- this was Pamplin philanthropy at its best, and now the city's loss. We disagreed with a lot of Taft's positions, but it was healthy for Portland to have her on the air. The same is true for the left wing station, which has disappeared entirely.

Pretty soon all that is going to be left for local news analysis are the multitudes in the government p.r. flack corps, a three-times-a-week O warming over the flacks' press releases, the latest pot news at Willy Weed, and at most a few crazy bloggers. The ideals behind the First Amendment will be rendered irrelevant, without the firing of a single shot. Hard times, peeps.

Comments (21)

I see the future - "Hits of the Eighties"

They couldn't keep ONE liberal talk station alive (KPOJ), its kinda tough to see more than a couple of conservative stations going. But then again, maybe sports talk is what the future is.

Yes, It could be the likes of Taft, Lars, and (what was) left wing radio help us to keep perspective. But I am more than ready for some changes in the line up. It's like hearing the same old songs over and over again. If the changes afoot are due to poor ratings then I sure understand. I may have been listening for the last several years, but stopped hearing them after a while. Even the Blazers bring on new talent once in a while to get us a little interested.

Does Pamplin and Co. realize what a dedicated fan base Bob Miller has?

Well you teed up Lars so here comes Tensky.

I think it's hopeless for broadcast radio. I do not listen to commercial radio stations any more, period, except for the Blazer games. For music, it's either the public stations, or more likely, the music streamed to my phone from the Google Play server. I have 20,000 tracks of my own library to choose from there. Then there are the streaming radio apps, giving me hundreds of additional options, many of them commercial-free. The thought of sitting through five-minute-long commercial blocks to get to three minutes of radio "personality" doesn't work for me any more. Sorry, no more Tom Shane sales pitches for me, under any circumstances.

A post about Bob Pamplin, Junior. What a coincidence. I just wrote him the other day:

Dear Dr. Bob Pamplin, Jr.

My name is Bill McDonald and I was one of your original columnists when the Tribune launched. In fact, the editors told me the first piece ever entered into the Trib’s computers for publishing was my column. Things went along swimmingly that first year, and then we had 9/11 and entered into a whole new dynamic where the “closer to home” mantra was overshadowed by our national response.

Just prior to the beginning of “Shock and Awe”, I wrote a couple of columns questioning the wisdom of going into Iraq. One was published; the second was killed. I was told that I had “pulled the tiger’s tail” on the subject of the war, and I was let go. Nobody wanted to hear this opinion in those days. The anger over 9/11 was being diverted into an unnecessary war with Iraq that has cost 3 to 4 trillion, and over 3,000 dead American soldiers, not to mention thousands more with lifelong injuries.

Recently, it has become quite fashionable among the pundits who sold us Iraq, to admit they were wrong. In fact, as the MSNBC special “Hubris” just illustrated, it is now clear that we were lied into the war. Recently declassified Rumsfeld notes show brainstorming sessions as the administration tried to come up with a way to tie 9/11 to Saddam, or at least manufacture a crisis with the weapon inspectors as a pretext to going to war with Iraq. Intelligence reports that were clearly false were cherry-picked and repeated over and over again, in a cynical effort to lead America into a war.

Getting canned for taking a stand against what is now considered a mistake is a source of pride for me. As a newspaper person, I got it right, and I continued my stance with my other clients. In fact, one of my political jokes that I sold to a national TV host was reprinted in Time Magazine. I was tossed from the Tribune but I did end up in Time Magazine.

Meanwhile, we had descended into an era where people who were spectacularly wrong about the biggest issues about Iraq, were often rewarded the most. For example, the New York Times was a conduit for Dick Cheney’s lies about the war, with him appearing on the Sunday talk shows, reacting to the stories as if he had just seem them – when he was the source. Bill Kristol – one of the leading neo-con advocates for Iraq – was wrong about virtually everything to do with the war, so he ended up becoming a columnist for the New York Times, as a reward for his efforts. Meanwhile I was fired.

It’s been a decade. Now that time has given us more of a perspective on things, I would appreciate it if you would rehire me. I took a courageous stand and I was right. Being right should count for something. --- Thanks, Bill McDonald

I know, let's require people with legal problems to buy spots on a broadcast commercial radio station in the county where they have the problem, regardless of she the station coverage area is within that county or what audience that station targets.

And let's require taxpayers in each one of the roughly 1000 local governments and special districts to fund hundreds of such spots, at full commercial rates, before every election, and zoning change, and public hearing.

That way, there will be a robot radio station in each county to scoop up all the money and send it to the corporate bosses back east.

Absurd, right?

Yet, That's exactly what we do with public notices and legal notices now, only instead of big radio chain corporations benefitting, it's the big newspaper chains. The absurdity is exactly the same.

I'd been a regular listener to KPAM for many years (at least since Bob Miller moved there from KEX way back about 10 years ago). I hardly listen anymore, except for the morning news at 5am.

While I harbor no ill will towards Ms. Taft, her schtick had been getting a little long in the tooth when I stopped listening to her back when they moved her from early evening to midday.

I really did enjoy Pamplin's other station, KKOV 1550 until they switched back to what I like to call "music for dead people". There they had some more interesting voices with different conservative opinions (yes, there are some); Michael Medved and Hugh Hewitt to name a couple.

If that station, which had been originally airing the same music for the dead before switching to talk couldn't make money at either, you've got to wonder how much longer AM and FM are going to be around.

Horrible news. Every time I get attached to an interesting local talk show or column (Phil Stanford) they end up disappearing. I don't always agree but I love to listen to both Victoria and Bob Miller.

It would be a good thing if crazed gasbags like Glen Beck or Rush were axed - I think they are even harmful to their own causes.

I don't always agree with Victoria Taft, but she always seemed like she would be a fun lunch date, which is everything you should want in a local talk show.

This is pretty much the standard Pamplin modus operandi. Remember the Your Northwest stores? Remember Chateau Benoit? Remember the promise to donate Ross Island to the city?

Pamplin's good at start-ups, but once he loses interest, he cannibalizes his own products.

Despite probably a million bucks worth of FREE publicity from the sycophants in the print media PRIOR to Pamplin even signing on KPAM, the place has been a ratings disaster from day one. To read the papers (remember this is BEFORE the station hit the air) in Vancouver, Portland, Salem along with business print media outlets and a total kiss-butt report from a KGW-TV bobblehead, you might have figured all other radio stations would be wise to close shop and let Bobby Pamplin have his fun. After all they had Gallagher doing talk (that lasted, what? 90 days when he was removed to the news department because of bad ratings) and then Dwight Jaynes talk show, the single most arrogant and uninteresting talk radio crap maybe in Portland history. Some wondered why the heck a very good sports columnist like Jaynes got a talk show in a highly competitive talk market but staff at KPAM was assured by Pamplin's naive and inexperienced top manager(s) that Jaynes was "quite knowledgeable" about the arts (topless joints?) culture and politics (?). Jaynes doing sports talk would have made near-perfect sense, otbherwise it was a bad joke and a disaster that led to his eventual removal from the air. Pamplin promised (pardon this expression) fair and balanced with the station but he didn't take more than a few nanno seconds to axe talker Sheila Hamilton only to learn to his chagrin she had a CONTRACT and he had to pay her off some big money...well big by PDX standards. Pamplin also had stars in his eyes over Pete Schulberg, a former KGW anchor who became a radio-TV columnist for the O after getting axed for bad ratiungs at KGW. Schulberg had the opportunity to develop a new, ground breaking, fun, exciting, thought provoking, interesting, maybe even controversial (think hard hitting investigative reporting) morning show and he had the Pamplin resources behind him to do so b ut he did what he did (none of the above) and the show was a near total failure. Hard to get decent morning ratings when the show was as bland, vanilla, safe and dull as that one was. What happened to Bill McD at Pamplin's Tribune was outrageous but I'm not sure he'd really want the job back.

"I think it's hopeless for broadcast radio."

Nah, they just need to repackage themselves as green/sustainable initiatives targeted at being advice services for co-dependent lynch-pin groups looking to make iconic statements about their diversity-tolerant lifestyle choices in the creative low carbon footprint marketplace fostering public charrettes on behavior reformation activities while encouraging the growth of the creative job class which will allow the juxtaposition a well-planned community and vibrant downtown.

I'm available to write grants for any interested station - Believe me, there's plenty of money out there for this.

(Funny - My spell check only choked on "charrettes")

I listen to Bob Miller every morning on the way to work. If he gets the axe, I'll miss his show.

He's a cranky old man, but still entertaining.

Obviously, I was venting a little after seeing "Hubris" - a show that for the first time aired Rumsfeld's memos showing him scheming for a way to send our troops into an unnecessary war.
I regret saying it was a "courageous stand" - I was really just trying to highlight the role of most media types who were water-carrying accomplices of the Bush White House.

As far as KPAM, I agree with all you said about Dwight Jaynes, but here is where I have to give the guy some props:

He's turned into a pretty darn good TV personality, and I am as surprised as anybody about that. If we can develop the Blazers bench as much as Dwight has developed between radio and TV, we could still make the playoffs.

Even his interview show could work, especially if we could get him to interview someone younger than Jim Thorpe.

KPAM is fixable. They need a 'handle' like 'The Wolf' or 'The Bull' or 'The (FILL IN NAME HERE).' Perhaps pay homage to Pamplin's roots: 'The Lagoon' or 'The Little Pieces of Rock'.

If Bob is cut, I will lead the boycott of KPAM.

Bill MD, lots of web blowoff against Maddow & 'Hubris' since she censored out, (what, you like 'covered up' better?), the media intentionally lying and therefor complicit in Bush/Cheney intentionally lying, which is war crimes, which is actionable just as much to prosecute Maddow-types (CNN MSNBC NBC CBS ABC even PBSers!) for their smoking-gun lying tongues and blood-dripping hands. Like you said, you can be proud that ethical you weren't welcome among that type.

Takeaway note that KBOO 90.7 FM -- radio of the people, by the people, and for the people, streaming live to the planet, goes on going on. No sponsors canceled their ads.
Except for the fact that KBOO proves them wrong, all about the capitalist impossibility of marketing NOTfascist radio in everything that LarsLimbaugh says is right.

People who OWN radio stations already saw reports like this months ago, in the planning (positioning) to pull-the-plug on their OWN hateTALKers which mere civilians only now see the happening.
Rush Limbaugh Still Toxic For Advertisers One Year After Fluke Attacks
- Limbaugh Is So Toxic That He's Damaging ALL Of Talk Radio -
Media Matters Blog › ANGELO CARUSONE, March 1, 2013

"... hundreds of advertisers and millions of dollars lost, the business of right-wing radio is suffering."

"Dial Global, a radio syndication company, reported roughly $100 million in losses for 2012 and publicly cited Limbaugh as a significant contributing factor."

"Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey signaled the toxicity of Limbaugh's business model as well as industry adaptation in a recent interview with Bloomberg TV, saying: 'We're sort of seeing a shift in spoken-word radio from political-based talk over to sports,' ... and 'people may be a bit tired of all the partisan bickering.'"

Yeah, Anon, Lars's larceny lickspit got "teed up" ... and Rash Lamebrain smacked him off the tee with a 3 iron hooking wildly a short bit and Out. Of. Bounds.

Like someone said above, the future of broadcast radio is dead ... and it took LarsLimbaugh to exemplify why that's a good idea: Dead scare air.

For 40 years the hippies are right in all respects:
Marijuana is NOT unlawful, bad, or unhealthy.
No nukes.
Establish just us for whirled peas.
One world.
One love.

(The planets indicate to me Lars 54th birthday Wednesday is his last one employed in broadcasting. ... we need a betting pool on which government agency he desperately goes to work flakking for. ... or betting if I'm right a year from now.)

They seem to have replaced Victoria with Michael Medved. As a syndicated show, it was probably cheaper than paying a salary for Victoria and her producer. But I think it was a tactical mistake. People that listened to Victoria were looking for the local slant. They will turn to Lars now, I think, who is in the competing time slot. I don't think they will stay on 860 to listen to Medved.

Pamplin is free to do with his money as he pleases. But propping up progressive newspapers like the Lake Oswego Review seems a bit redundant. Especially with the Big O making the smaller version Review just a less-read cheering section for the liberal elite in tony Lake O. The paper has a pattern of slipshod reporting. And it's 'letters' many times are written by activists, consultants to the city, or others with an agenda. But the paper's editor has an unblemished record of insulting regular citizens with whom he disagrees. Truly an abuse of power.

Victoria Taft was/is a breath of fresh air. Another public service to the community like this blog. Even if one didn't agree with her views, it was clear that she could take the intolerable small town crime and corruption that comes with a quarter century of mafioso loyal to Neil Goldschmidt, socialist urban planning, and get it into the discussion. Maybe even resolved.

And Bob Miller. Is there a nicer and more generous man?

Pamplin's father - a man of real integrity - must be turning cartwheels in his grave.

I already miss Victoria's show, and hope she lands well. She covered local issues like no other, and she's just plain funny. She did Yeoman's work with the Occupiers.

I also like Medved, and would often switch b/t him and Taft when he was on 1550. He's fearless, and will take the sorts of callers whom most hosts would never put on-air.

I guess I'll give Lars a bit more time now, as well. I still like Lars okay, I just catch his stuff at the later hours. Hannity ... I like better on TV.

As for Bob Miller... well Bob truly is Everybody's Friend, and it would be a grave error for Pamplin to cancel him. I'm still ticked that he got shifted a couple of hours.

Bob is the gold standard. He's funny, a bit fusty, but his warmth shines through. He's got a good crew. I'm sure he's expensive, too. Perhaps it's purely a financial decision.

The First Edition show could survive on it's own, with a good follower. I'm afraid that it won't have one for long, and KPAM doesn't have long as a local-talent concern.

Silver lining: Maybe Pamplin will put all of the Salem lineup back on again (esp. Hugh Hewitt). I don't care much for Terry Boyd's world -- put Hewitt on live.


You reminded me of Randi Rhodes' entry into local KPOJ radio declaring to Lars, "I'm here, you're done, buh bye".

Only you're even more off base by imagining he will soon end up flaking for some government agency.

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