By Tim McGivern and Steven Robert Allen
TJ Trout gets issue-oriented. In case you haven't noticed, the 94 Rock morning showman launched a new billboard where his mouth and nipples are covered with tape, with the mock-headline, "FCC-friendly radio." He designed the ad himself and, although it made me laugh like a howler monkey, he says it's not all tongue-in-cheek.
Truth is, TJ's pissed that the FCC is ratcheting up fines against on-air talent "for being controversial." He says Rep. Heather Wilson is leading the call for stricter fines and suppression of free speech on the airwaves and hopes the locals will share in his outrage. From TJ's perspective—and "Thin Line" wholeheartedly agrees—If you don't like what he's saying, change the station!
Of course, by now Alibi readers are aware of Wilson's creepy-weepy renunciation of Viacom CEO Mel Karmazin in response to Janet Jackson's split-second boob-flash (you can still hear her wail here). Trout, however, says he's not interested in criticizing Wilson personally in any way, nor engaging in partisan politics. It's the free speech issue that's got his veins bulging at the temples.
"If you look at what's going on, Wilson is spearheading the new drive to empower the FCC," said TJ. "It's her agenda. On the local level, if you don't like this, register to vote. If you don't like what's going on, make a change," adding: "I guarantee we'll get her on the air before the election is over." Good luck with that. And let us know in advance, so we can all tune in like good patriots. (TM)
Nice work, Jim. Generally, we don't go out of our way to praise the programming at KKOB 770 AM radio, since the station isn't exactly a resource for informed critical analysis. However, "Thin Line" recently tuned in to Jim Villanucci's afternoon call-in show, and we were pleased to hear the host speaking genuine sense to some of his dipshit callers.
"The last couple days," he said in a phone interview last week, "some listeners got upset because I've been speaking out against what they did to the prisoners at Abu Ghraib. (A caller named) Maria asked if I'd forgotten about 9-11, and I told her Iraq had almost nothing to do with 9-11. I said the main reason al Qaida is in Iraq is because we're there."
Maria insisted that the people being tortured were our enemies. "Give me a break," Villanucci said. "They were just rounding up people at random. A lot of those Iraqi prisoners are out now and doing interviews about it, because they were innocent."
Villanucci isn't willing to pass the blame to part-time military personnel, either. "All the higher-up guys are condeming the abuse even though they probably ordered it. They're just letting the lower level guys take the fall for it."
Kudos to Villanucci for looking beyond the unwavering partisan spin that Rush Limbaugh spews. "I'm not a typical, cookie-cutter, right-wing radio host," he said. And, sometimes he's actually funny. (SRA)
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