People are opting for small farmer’s markets, often in suburban parking lots, where the produce is fresh picked and organic. The benefits include the direct relations with your food supplier, whom you trust not to be poisoning his crops or picking too early to allow for transport and shelf life in mega-stores.
As a talk radio host for two decades back in the day, I suggest that the same criteria apply to on-air personalities as to vegetables, with the emphasis on local and unadulterated product. To be truthful, few of us really care
what some redneck ditto-head in Alabama thinks of global warming or our latest war in Afghanistan. Chances are he knows nothing about the subject and is mainly calling in to be on the air and praise the host’s patriotic dedication to whatever talking points are on that day’s menu.
I am, however, interested in my neighbor’s views on the world at large, even if I disagree with them. At least I can choose to argue the point by making a phone rebuttal to the station, where only local callers wait their turn to debate the point, or change the subject if that is their choice. In the highly produced national syndication shows, only callers on the chosen topic are allowed, and nearly always those who slavishly agree with the host’s views get aired. Local hosts must answer to their community while the network propagandists retreat behind their security gates without contact with the listeners they offend daily.
Perhaps the greatest failing of national talk is its near universal reach into the lives of folk from coast to coast. In the early ’70s, AM radio was a dying format with FM stereo dominating the music market in broadcasting. Money-losing AM stations could be bought, or their licenses "leased," on the cheap and the political operatives of the right wing recognized the potential of multi-market simulcasting, both as a cost-saving per station and a tool for political power grabbing. With Rush Limbaugh spouting flaming fascism, first from Sacramento and later from his home studios in Florida, the big bucks neoconservative political actors began recruiting imitators of equal venom, filling the broadcast day with no-cost programming to the profit of station management. These days syndicators control thousands of stations, often to the exclusion of any but the orthodoxy of the programmers.
Today, most talk radio is a caricature of meaningful discourse, often with only one three-hour slot daily for local talkers, most of whom are also in line with the hard right politics of the rest of the format and the program director (chosen by the syndicators for his partisan views).
National talk also limits any meaningful argument by cutting short callers after one or two sentences, to let the host demagogue rant on the subject with a quarter hour diatribe. Local talk can stay with a discussion as long
as it takes to draw a conclusion or get a laugh, whichever proves most entertaining. Sometimes the callers even win!
Fresh veggies and local talk: a couple of the answers to the nation’s health.