I wasn’t going to chime in on this, but our little Portland radio drama is national news now and how many chances am I going to get to ride the coattails of a hot news topic? Call me a mercenary if you must, but at least hear me out first.
The show in question, the particular event that got Marconi, Tiny and Nik booted off the airwaves, is a prime example of what happens when you try to make money off of pushing the envelope of tastefulness. Had it not been the beheading thing, it would have been something else eventually. (For the record: No, I didn’t hear the bit. I also haven’t watched the video. I intend to avoid doing either for as long as possible, thanks.)
This isn’t to say I think these guys are inherently bad or evil in and of themselves. Actually, generally speaking, I’ve had good rapport with them when they’re not on-air. But look at what their mandate is: To draw in listeners by being as outrageous as they can get away with.
Problem is, you’re looking at an audience that’s increasingly difficult to shock or surprise. KNRK has traditionally (and I use that word advisedly) been all about the young turks, the ones who pierce and tatt and get rowdy every chance they get. These are the people who made Jackass a sensation. How do you keep their attention? It’s simple, but not easy: You have to ratchet up the shock factor, and keep trying new, crazier things… and you get in trouble. The core audience for this kind of radio station admires people who get into trouble, especially if they do it while offending the “normal” people, the uptight masses. I’m not making a judgement call, here, I’m simply stating a fact.
They crossed a line, a big fat neon red line, and there’s no question that the Powers That Be took the only action they could take. That’s how the game is played. Any corporation in the country would be hard pressed to justify or gloss over what happened, so if you think it’s somehow a travesty that Marconi & Co are off the air… well, I can’t help you. If you decide to boycott the station or the company’s roster of stations, that’s your decision. I can virtually guarantee, though, that for every person who dials away because they’re gone, there’s someone dialing back in for precisely the same reason.
That’s just the way of the world, folks. That’s the biz.