The Fall and Further Fall of Local Talk Radio


I’ve reached the stage in life where my parents have become pretty smart. One lesson they taught me was “take care of the small things and the big things take care of themselves.” It seems true. They lived their lives that way and retired well. My father (peace be upon him) just didn’t get to enjoy it for as long as he deserved.

Yesterday, I felt the need to share this valuable lesson with someone who happens to be a local disc jockey. He prefers “talk show host,” but we’ll compromise on disc jockey because I know he hates that. It’s also a much milder term than “ass hat” which, though more fitting for his pompous personality, just isn’t polite. Bless his heart.

It all started innocently enough. I tuned my car radio to my local news/talk station in hopes of catching the morning traffic report. You see, during the morning drive-time, the biggest draw on WVNN is the traffic report. In fact, the reasons to tune-in to WVNN’s morning line-up in descending order of usefulness and importance are:

  1. the traffic report
  2. the weather report
  3. the news
  4. the commercials
  5. the emergency alert test squelch
  6. any accidental dead air
  7. the Dale Jackson show

Having just missed the traffic report, I was forced to sit through Mr. Jackson blathering joyously about his first show of the new decade. His comments rang my fact-checker bell. When I reached the office, I sent the following email to dale@wvnn.com

Subject: Please stop with the New Decade stuff

Dear Mr. Jackson,

Please stop perpetuating the myth that we are in the second decade of the 21st century. Decades, centuries, and millennia start in year one. Note, there is no year zero on the Gregorian calendar. The 21st century and new decade began on January 1, 2001. The first decade of the 21st century still has a almost a year left. It ends on Dec 31, 2010.

I know your show is an opinion show, but some facts are simply facts. Calendars are squarely in the facts category.

I followed the email with this tweet to @TheDaleJackson: Stop with the “new decade” stuff. The 1st decade of the 21st c. doesn’t end until 31 Dec 2010. Knock it off!

I figured even though Mr. Jackson’s show bears the disclaimer “opinion,” some things are not open to interpretation. The fact the Gregorian calendar starts with year 1 (there is no year zero) is a small, but important thing. I figured if someone was going to talk about weighty topics like politics, my wasted tax dollars, the state education budget, or the joys of owning a pet ferret, he’d want to get the little facts right. This would increase his credibility when he began pontificating on the flammability of his own farts. I figured wrongly.

My first clue that things were not going well was Mr. Jackson’s reply to my first tweet where he simply makes fun of my name. Even before kindergarten I learned that name calling served only one purpose – to deflect attention from the real problem. My less-than-common and slightly unusual name is a perfect springboard for those who have no other defense, especially wit.

Here’s how the Twitter exchange spiraled out of control after the initial contact.
@theRealBarefoot: Indeed. I am the real and genuine Barefoot and the decade still doesn’t end until 31 Dec 2010. Get a calendar. Get a clue.

@theDaleJackson: you seem very serious about this decade stuff. Doesn’t seem like a good way to start the new decade.

@theRealBarefoot: If you can’t get the small things right, people question the big things like thinking Doc Griffith ain’t all that bad. (Doc Griffith is a reference to Congressman Parker Griffith (R) 5th District, AL for whom Mr. Jackson has a real bad boner.)

@theDaleJackson: You were the guy that was screamin “THIS ISN’T THE NEW MILLENIUM”in 2000 weren’t you? Aren’t you special. (I think that was meant to be a question though it lacked proper punctuation.)

@theRealBarefoot: It’s useless to argue with someone like yourself who just wants to argue and belittle. What’s this on my radio, NPR? *click*

@theDaleJackson: Sure thing pal. You are listening right now just liek [sic] you were yesterday. Welcome to the new decade.

@theRealBarefoot: No. Not listening, but I did look at your website long enough to notice the giant ego that is your tag cloud. (“Dale Jackson” is by far the most dominant phrase in his site’s tag cloud, lower right of the site. Oh, and I honestly was not listening to his radio show at this point.)
@theRealBarefoot: Next time you have someone on your show who brings up education in AL, ask them how to read a calendar.

@theDaleJackson: You are really irrationally upset about this decade thing. Huge ego on a talk show host? That is a phenomenal observation. (I would have gone with the classic “Dr. Obvious” quip here, but no one claimed Mr. Jackson came armed to what is turning into a battle of wits.)

@theRealBarefoot: The calendar doesn’t upset me. Your response to a simple fact check does. Is “can’t be wrong” in your contract?

@theDaleJackson: Actually it does. It also says I must put up with idiots and crybabies. Keep in mind you are mad I said it was a new decade (To clear your confusion here “Actually it does” would have been the proper response if I had said “Does it say in your contract, “You can’t be wrong?” He seems to be reading his own thoughts into my tweets.)

@theRealBarefoot: If I’m mad about anything, it’s chowder heads who perpetuate any type of error even when faced with simple facts.
@theRealBarefoot: Thank you for your correspondence. It’s been your pleasure to have someone pay attention to you for more than 6 minutes. (The “6 minutes” quip refers to the need for morning drive-time radio to repeat itself about every 12-15 minutes due to its revolving audience.)

@theDaleJackson: If only I had an outlet to talk to people and tell them what I thought. Don’t think your [sic] important because I engaged you.

Here I let Mr. Jackson have the last moronic word in our Twitter exchange. It was obvious to me that he was no longer reading my tweets. Apparently, 140 characters is a bit too much information for him to ingest in one sitting. Anyway, the response necessary to such a malicious salvo requires more than 140 characters.

No, Mr. Jackson my brief sullied encounter with you does not make me important. My worth as a human being is not measured by your warped yardstick. I’m important because I’m a loving husband and father. I matter because I have a brain and think rationally. I count because I provide for my family and am a faithful friend. I’m important because I’m a productive member of society who produces tangible goods and services and not just something slightly more distinct than arrogant belching for sleepy coffee swillers.

I started this post with what I feel is one of life’s important lessons. Being a man who hates stagnation, I like to find something new in whatever life sends my way. I’ve struggled to find something lasting and good from this brush with Dale Jackson. These are the diamonds I’ve squeezed from this rough patch of coal.

Lessons Learned
Having a microphone and 50,000 watts does not increase one’s intelligence. Mr. Jackson is the self-proclaimed “smartest of the dumb.” Having a radio show only ensures that his ignorance is heard by slightly more people than the crazy homeless man who shouts at traffic.

Some people have a face for radio. Not only does Mr. Jackson typify this old adage, he also has a voice for newspaper. His abrasive, caustic bark, some say the result of undescended testicles, is only over shadowed by his striking resemblance to a 5 foot 4 inch penis with a barely distinguishable human face.

If you expect the worst from people they will live down to your expectations. When I asked, “Is ‘can’t be wrong’ in your contract?” Mr. Jackson’s reply was, “It also says I must put up with idiots and crybabies.” It takes only a few minutes of listening to his show to hear Mr. Jackson’s opinion of me extends to his entire audience. This speaks volumes about Mr. Jackson lack of real character and maybe just a little bit about his audience.

I liken this attitude to the cop who, after dealing with criminals all day, begins to see only the criminal in everyone. This is a sad outlook on life. I’ve always found when you expect and encourage the best from someone, more often than not, you get just that. However, the very existence of this blog posts proves the converse is true, too.

Take comfort in your radio. There are dozens of stations from which to choose. I shall thank the most benevolent God daily for NPR, classic rock, and even the CD player in my car. Any alternative to the befuddle bemoaning dripping out of WVNN every weekday morning is welcomed. If by some weird twist of karma, my radio becomes locked on WVNN, I pray my windows still roll down so I can drown out the sniveling, whining and erroneous prattling of Mr. Dale Jackson with the rushing drone of the wind.

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4 Comments

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  1. I had the exact same topic of conversation with my aunt. Though she is smarter and the conversation was more intelectual and in the end I did convince her that this is not a new decade. Though, I think she still kind of believes her original source, The News.

    Thankfully I have not had the oppurtunity to hear The Dale Jackson Show.

  2. Great post, Jackson probably never will get it… people like that give me a pain.

  3. I got into an email exchange with a sports radio host out of Charlotte for his liberal rants when Rush almost bought into the Rams. I told him to stick to sports where he was only half annoying.

  4. A guy like that on the radio who expects people to take him seriously? Sadly, they probably do.

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