Mulling Nick’s QuestionPosted by Craig Westover | 11:02 AM |
Flash, the resident “Centrisity” voice of Minnesota blogging, via an email from Nick Coleman himself, sheds light on the reasons for Nick's departure from the local Air America affiliate.
I want to say attaboy, Nick, when he writes to Flash that he “essentially quit“ his AM 950 gig because, among other reasons --
Station management increasingly demanded control over "topics, tone and guests" and ordered certain hot button topics off limits, such as guns, gays and abortion. I refused to comply."If I'm going to be put on a leash, I'm leaving," Coleman told The Blotter. (Insert you’re favorite I’m nobody’s monkey joke here.)
However, having been the butt-end (playing straight man for Nick here) of his tirades, I’d point out there is a big difference between control over topics as in censoring certain discussions and demanding that controversial topics be handled in a civil and respectful manner. Nick has a tendency to confuse “conflict” with “controversy” and “controversy” with “relevance.” A journalist takes the chaos of conflict and distills it down to the basic issues of controversy so people can have a relevant discussion. From my experience, Nick views conflict as an end in itself and thus makes himself irrelevant.
That brings us to the question Nick poses to Flash --
Now here's a question to mull:Well, having mulled for bit, the answer is that if Nick is defining “liberal” and “progressive,” the answer is probably “no.” To “prosper” in a free market, one has to appeal to a wide enough audience that one can entice advertisers and consequently make enough money to support operations if not show a profit. That probably means appealing to a wider audience than is interested in "speculation on the size of the genitals of the Power Line guys.” It doesn't mean a station can't have a point of view -- it does mean its host ought to be able to frame the point of view so it's possible to have a discussion not just a bashing.
Can "liberal" or "progressive" talk radio prosper under an
ownership that is neither?
Sounds like Air America is getting that message and apparently Nick wasn‘t.
There’s a paragraph of The Blotter article that the “hobby columnist” in me can’t let pass --
For his tenure as weekday morning-show host, Coleman received "embarrassingly low pay," in the low five-figure range--lower, he says, than union wages at a station he described as "pro-union."Five figures? For a “hobby talk show host”? I can’t make my hobby columnist remuneration get to five figures if I count the places to the right of the decimal point. But there are other rewards.
Update: Dave, Ohligarchy, from western Pennsylvania, dropped by Keegan's while on vacation a couple of weeks ago. Dave has taken to telling his kids stories about Captain Fishsticks and the evil pirate Nick. I had the honor of having my picture taken with Dave at Keegan's so he could show his kids he met the real Captain Fishsticks (kind of a Galaxy Quest moment for the Captain). Paul writes --
The kids were intrigued to learn that I had met the real-life "Captain Fishsticks". On the return journey Monday morning, we stopped for breakfast somewhere near Eau Claire. The restaurant's gift shop had some nautical knick-knacks, including a man in a shipcaptain's outfit. They insisted that it was Captain Fishsticks. Nearby was a dark skeleton wearing a black rag on its head. "And that's Nick the Pirate!"they told me.Like I said -- there are intangibles to being in the public eye, good and bad.