Tuesday, February 18, 2003

The Patriot Follies

Duane writes in to express his opinion (one that I share) on the operations of local Twin Cities radio station AM 1280 The Patriot:

I read your review of the Hugh Hewitt On Ice event (which I didn't attend, opting instead for the Norm Coleman Swearing-In Partry at the St. Paul Radisson) as posted at the blog. I understand the problem of trying to put on events on a limited budget, etc. But...

This is not the only issue that clouds the excellent mission of The Patriot. I love the station between 11 and 8 weekdays, 9-12 on Saturdays, and 11-5 Sundays, having a personal distaste for the Savage style, the buffoonish mediocrity of Gallagher, and the nerdish ignoramusness of Fredenburg. What really galls me, over and over- and I cannot believe that station management is totally unaware of this- is the continuous and repeated technical screwups regarding basic broadcast operations.

There is not a single week that goes by where there aren't at least two instances of extended dead air, consecutively repeated hours of broadcast (last Sunday, the Medved show with David Frum was on from 3-4 and again from 4-5, as far as I could tell in the in-and-out-of-the-car activities), or multiple (in the same hour) cases of competing commercial overdubs- where the production "engineer" laid down a new track without first "degaussing the cart" (erasing the tape- broadcast recorders don't have erase heads the way our home cassette recorders do). Or the cart is inserted at the same time as the sat feed is running live, etc.

Go monitor the weekends, and you will be appalled. I cannot imagine how they get any sponsors to pay for Saturday time, given that these overlaid sound tracks are always blocking the messages on a significant number of program breaks.

And what bothers me is that 1) I e-mailed the operations guy and he never responded; 2) nor did Jay Larson; 3) it never gets any better!

Thus, it is quite easy to see why the "Hugh on Ice Twice" event was a joke as well. The operations director, or whoever "supervises" the engineers has to be someone's nephew. Makes you nervous about American quality and competitiveness

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