Bitch, Bitch, Bitch

Politicos, prudes, and the paranoid protest the programming heard on Bay Area radio stations to the highest authority in the land -- the Federal Communications Commission

Hmmm. Maybe we'll pass that one along to FCC Chairman Reed Hundt.
Prudes even assail Ronn Owens. In January 1994, the FCC received two letters about the "tasteless and vile" material that aired on KGO when Owens invited listeners to call up with their favorite jokes. John Creaghe of Santa Rosa was particularly incensed that some of the "most offensive" yuks came at the expense of first lady Hillary Clinton.

Sometimes a listener will turn to the FCC in an (always futile) effort to prevent a station from ditching a format the listener holds dear. You can almost hear Joseph Ball's heart breaking in his 1993 letter about KFRC-AM's switch from big band to rock: "We realize that the younger generation deserves their type of music, but so do we who were raised on the tunes of yesteryear. Surely there are enough frequencies to provide programming to satisfy everyone. ... I'm sure that your office has received many complaints as well as protests concerning this change, and will rectify this situation by returning Magic 61/KFRC to its original format."

Such a sweet letter. What do you bet Joseph Ball looks like Red Buttons?
Albert A. Hoffman, "Radio Listener," wrote to vent his displeasure with KOME's decision to replace some local shows with programs that originate on the East Coast, including Stern's. Hoffman worried that this development would hurt West Coast bands poised for a breakthrough and limit career opportunities for the region's aspiring DJs. His conclusion: "I'm sure the broadcasters will save themselves a lot of money by re-using their programs nation-wide instead of hiring local talent. But when there's no cultural difference between living on the West Coast and living in New York, radio-wise, we will have lost a distinction that makes this country great."

The FCC's response: Thanks for sharing.

Contest-ing the Airwaves
Contests and giveaways are another big source of listener complaints -- one where the FCC actually will take swift and terrible action against a station. The agency holds an extremely dim view of stations that rig contests or cheat people out of promised prizes. Says Swanson: "I swear the FCC would let you do an all-Klan format, so long as people actually got the JVC boomboxes you gave away on the air."

Bay Area stations are pretty clean on this score. The one serious charge -- that KBLX-FM ("The Quiet Storm") gyped a listener out of a free Hyundai -- was investigated and dismissed on the grounds that the station was only tangentially involved in the contest. The rest of the contest-related letters consist of unactionable gripes and whines.

Two people complained about a "contest" in which KHQT-FM DJ Panama Jack offered prizes to listeners who brought him food at the studio. Steve Alvarado of San Jose groused that Panama had offered a trip to the American Music Awards to the first person to bring him the proscribed potpourri of fast food. Alvarado's concern: "These people would probably have to spend about 50 dollars to win this prize. It seems illegal that you might have to spend all this hard-earned money to win and someone else might win, sticking you with all this food. ... Can you check into this? If it is not illegal, I think it should be. It's almost like a lottery or gambling." Yep. And next thing you know the station will be into loan sharking, prostitution, and other gambling sidelines.

Debra Eaten of Hayward voiced similar outrage at Panama Jack, telling the FCC: "I'm going to be really blunt with you. Listening to this garbage on the radio made me sick to my stomach. It really 'pissed me off.' I thought I would just share my feelings with you on this matter."

KHQT was also the subject of a complaint from a listener who won a contest and got his prize -- much to his annoyance. David Burness of San Jose said a co-worker nominated him for the station's Creep of the Day honors, and he won. "The main thing that bothered me was that my full name was broadcasted over the air and embarrassed me," wrote Burness.

A Castro Valley mom told the commission that her son had been treated rudely when he called KMEL during a concert ticket giveaway. In a handwritten affidavit attached to the letter, her boy said the jocks hung up on him after asking if he would run naked through the streets to earn the tix. His conclusion: "I did not have to be treated that way, and it's not fair that they could just do this. I think it's rude of the DJs to do this to callers, because they try hard to get through, and it's pretty cold to treat callers that way. Thank you for listening."

In this age of shrinking federal resources, is this really how you want the government spending its time and money -- chasing after mean radio bullies who teased your precious?

Scott Krinsky of Danville apparently has a somewhat better relationship with KMEL. According to a letter from the homeowners association of the swanky Country Club at Blackhawk in Danville, young Krinsky allowed three KMEL vans carrying DJ Davey D. and kids dressed as gang members to enter the gated community.

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1 comments
wLauterbach
wLauterbach

I see that SFWeekly deleted all of the responses I had to this fictional article that is almost SEVENTEEN YEARS OLD!

 

I also see that SFWeekly wouldn't do an FOIA and print my letter to the FCC.  My question was related to Dr. Edel claiming that the male anus was as clean as the female vagina.  I also questioned whether Edel could practice medicine in all fifty states, which he was doing....in essence....with his medical advice program.

 

Next time, practice proper journalism and don't restrict freedom of speech.

 
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