I have been an avid listener of talk radio in the Philadelphia area for many years. It all started with my Mother and her own love for the art of talk. The station that she always had on was 96.5 WWDB, and the host that I remember the most, was a fellow named Irv Homer, better known as Evil Irv Homer.
Irv had a particular style of talk where he would question all sides of the political spectrum. Nobody was off limits for Irv, not the President, not the Mayor, not any local politician, not the IRS, he was always relentless at seeking the truth.
One day, in the year 2000, I can remember that Irv was speaking about a programing change coming to the station, one that he did not agree with one bit. He was livid as he explained that a media executive sat down all of the hosts and explained that they were either going to support the right wing conservative opinion, or they could get off the plane. .
Irv made sure to let the public know about this move before they canned him like an old tomato. You see, Irv had been on the station for over two decades, from 1975 to the year 2000, and had the top rated show on the station, but that didn’t matter because he didn’t fit neatly into the new narrative lead by hosts such as Rush Limbaugh. It was a move that he found repulsive, while other hosts, like Dom Giordano, embraced it. Dom had been the late night lackey for many years, but now that he slangs the right wing rhetoric he is on at the same time slot that Evil Irv once held.
On the other side of the dial in Philadelphia we have 900 AM WURD,the only black owned radio station in Pennsylvania, who brings the news and talk from an African American perspective. The opinions expressed on the two stations are normally the polar opposite of each other. One calling Black Lives Matters protesters “terrorists”, the other calling them “activists”. One asking how you could have taken the bait and either not voted, or voted for Trump, and the other side, who are baiting the hooks with the very raunchy kind of ignorance that Trump exudes.
I have always wondered just why 900 am has had to run a disclaimer, yet 1210 am does not? The disclaimer that is broadcast on 900 am says “The opinions expressed by the hosts, guests, and callers of 900 WURD are not necessarily the opinions of the ownership, management, or advertisers of this station”. I can’t tell you why they run the disclaimer, but they do so, several times a day.
I recently wrote the management at 1210 AM asking them to please bring on a progressive host that could help level the playing field a bit from their normal pro conservative rhetoric. I did not expect a response, but I actually got one, it was from the programming Director, Jared Hart, and I was shocked at his honesty.
Jared wrote “All of our hosts will put someone they disagree with to the top of the phone bank, every time”, which is a joke considering I am banned from calling the Christine Flowers Show, and Ken Matthews has left me on hold for 45 minutes while he didn’t take one other call. I have even called from a different line, gave a fake name, and he took the other call.
What he also wrote is something that needs to be known by all in our country and the world, Hart wrote “Above all, WPHT is an entertainment outlet and I’m not sure the connection with conservative views, despotism, and the destruction of the free press. WPHT has an internal philosophy that when we are educating people, we’re losing them. We are entertainers, from start to finish.”
Just so we are clear, these hosts at 1210 are not a part of the media, they are not news reporters, and have no required ethics in what they “report”, they are merely entertainers and should not be taken seriously. Their rhetoric is not based in facts, and it doesn’t have to be. They are “not here to educate the public” as Jared wrote, they are here to entertain us, like a group of clowns.