What a Red Herring — the AP asks: Is “anything goes” radio all but gone?

As it appears on CNN.com, the AP article poses the following:

This month, a Phoenix disc jockey was dismissed after an offensive call to the widow of St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Darryl Kile. The firing came just weeks after a pair of New York shock jocks were dumped for encouraging listeners to have sex in church.

Are the days of “anything goes” radio gone? Does FM now stand for “fire me”?

Let me be very, very clear. Not at this time, nor at any time in the last twenty years, has commercial radio seen anything approaching “anything goes” radio. Never.
Yes, with the rise of the co-called “shock jock” we have seen a suffocating tidal wave of no-talent frat-boys turn morning radio into a barnyard cesspool of racist, mysogynist, homophobic and jingoistic drivel. But, please, let’s not mistake this for “anything goes.”

Because in this shit-filled arena, there are clear rules that must be followed, and not anything goes. Rule one: you must act like a foul-mouthed playground bully. Rule two: you must objectify any woman within calling-distance of your program. Rule three: you must show complete disregard and antipathy for feelings, emotions, or anything else remotely identified by the culture as feminine. Rule four: you must be a white, male American, willing to turn on any non-white non-native-born-American at the turn of a hat, especially if he’s arab or of middle-eastern descent. (and the rules do go on, I’m just tired of spelling it out).

These are very strict rules, and if you break them, you will suffer endless ridicule and harassment at the hands and microphones of America’s shock-jocks.

On so-called “anything goes radio” there is no room for debate, no room for dissent, and no room for anyone who is female or not a white American male who expresses any opinion remotely critical of the behavior of these “shock jocks.”

Furthermore, you will not get a syndicated morning radio show.

Anything does not go in radio. True “anything goes radio” would air voices critical of the mainstream order, of our impending war on Iraq, of the War on Dissent disguised as a War on Terror. Real “anything goes radio” would take on really shocking topics, like hypocrisy of American Christianity and “under god” in the pledge of allegiance. “Anything goes radio” wouldn’t be afraid of shocking people by exposing them to ideas that cause them to question their beliefs and the way they live their lives, rather than simply grossing them out.

Yet again, what this AP article is an example of is a “let’s create news” story, which is 1000x easier to produce than actually going out and sticking your nose behind the curtain to see what the wizard is up to. Why not ask, “how come our airwaves are dominated by these syndicated assholes, when local morning programs ruled the day just 10 years ago?”

Because that question requires critical journalism, and too much goddamn effort, that’s why.

3 Responses to What a Red Herring — the AP asks: Is “anything goes” radio all but gone?

  1. ed dal October 16, 2002 at 5:02 pm #

    Try Pacifica. WBAI 99.5 NY, WPFW 89.3 DC, KPFA 94.1 Berkeley, KPFK 90.7 LA & 98.7 Santa Barbara, KPFT 90.1 Houston. They all have web sites and stream. Start here; http://www.pacifica.org. Also, Democracy Now! at 9am et.
    Or any local community radio station that is an affiliate, Warning!!!!!!NOT NPR or PRI.

  2. paul October 17, 2002 at 2:11 pm #

    Sure, Ed, we can always turn to these alternatives — at least those of us who know about them. But the point I was getting at is not that there’s absolutely no ‘anything goes’ radio, but rather that the mainstream’s conception of it is so utterly fucked up. What pisses me off is how crass and small-minded disrespectfulness and bigotry is portrayed as being irreverant or challenging, when it’s about as challenging as a frat-boy in a sports bar calling somebody a fag.

    The problem is not that ‘anything goes’ radio doens’t exist — it’s that it only exists in small little enclaves of the dial, while the remainder is dominated by commercial schills with mouths full of poop. Further mistaking this shit for challenging ‘anything goes’ radio only anesthetizes the public’s taste for something that would actually frighten them into thinking.

  3. Carl Worner January 13, 2008 at 2:13 pm #

    Hi! Just to let you know my show is The Anything Goes Radio Show…and believe me, anything goes on my show. Music of ALL STYLES, comedy & interviews with anybody. Its on internet radio…the future of radio.
    Carl Worner

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