Friday, September 22, 2006

Demand more from WWL radio

The first topic of the day on WWL radio today?

"Rabbit Ears, HD or Satellite-How are you gonna watch the game?"

It's only when I'm driving to work in the morning, or taking a lunch break, that I can listen to WWL radio news. Unfortunately, most of the time, it seems that the only news WWL thinks we residents of this destroyed city need to hear is Saints news.

With some 200,000 flooded homes in New Orleans (120,000 severely flooded) -- and most of them still not repaired, with over 300,000 residents still not back in their homes, with a foundering neighborhood planning process, with an invisible mayor, with insurance companies ripping off their policyholders, with Entergy claiming it will have to raise rates 120 percent while its parent company is making billions in profit for its shareholders ... with so many more issues on the table in post-Katrina New Orleans, its seems logical that citizens need more information from newsmakers explaining what the hell is going on.

But WWL is more optimistic. It's Saints season! And the Saints are going to be on Monday night football. Who cares about all that other depressing, tedious crap. News? Phewy! You wanna rebuild New Orleans? It's all about the Saints!

While driving to the doctor's office from work yesterday, I tuned in for a few minutes of a now rare newsmaker interview with Steven Bingler -- you know, that's Steven "Bungler," the guy whose inept Concordia planning firm got the no-bid contract to oversee the most important planning process in history.

The fact that nobody understands what his firm is doing, that there's no transparency to the process, that this was a rare opportunity for citizens to actually hear what Bungler has to say in the hope that he might clarify what's happening ... well, you might believe that WWL agrees, and that it would post the audio from that interview on the internet for residents to hear on demand -- but you'd be mistaken.

WWL could argue that it doesn't have an obligation to archive its audio on the internet, sure. But it's the prominence and frequency with which WWL advertises itself as the "official" news station in an emergency that ought to produce a more enlightened appreciation of its mission to the community.

In fact, WWL advertises on its Web site that it's looking for reporters who want to cover "The Story of the Century." Applicants might want to consider how much they like covering the Saints before sending in a resume, because it seems WWL thinks "the story of the century" is not the rebuilding of New Orleans, but the Saints.

I think there ought to be a larger discussion about what the responsibility is of both broadcast and cable outlets to the community. I won't go into it here, but just for the sake of stimulating thought, I'd direct readers to consider the number of radio stations out there that have returned right back into what they were doing pre-Katrina, playing the niche format-ratings game, spitting out mediocre music as a vehicle for advertising, rather than addressing the needs of the local community.

Does anyone remember how broadcasters are supposed to prove to the FCC that they're fulfilling a mission to serve the community when they reapply for a broadcasting license?

I think it could pretty easily be demonstrated that with a few questionable exceptions, none are. Which could make the next round of FCC application reviews interesting if anyone wanted to challenge a broadcaster's license.

Back to WWL, I never used to listen to WWL before Katrina, because it was full of obnoxious talk show hosts. The only reason I started to listen to WWL after Katrina, was because I could hear it all the way over there in Pensacola, and with virtually no information at all coming out of the mayor's office, other than The Times-Picayune online, WWL was the best place to go for information.

Now, a year later, I find fewer and fewer reasons to tune in.

I'm still waiting to get a response from the General Manager about requests I've made to have recovery-related interviews posted on the internet archive.

Consider the following tabulation of programs archived on the WWL site for the month of September through 9/21. Hurricane recovery ranks as only the third most important issue:

  • 41 programs about Saints football (56 percent)
  • 14 programs about Vince Marinello (19 percent)
  • 11 programs about hurricane recovery issues (15 percent)
  • 4 programs about LSU football (5 percent)
  • 3 programs about crime (4 percent)
I know that WWL covers hurricane recovery issues more in its live broadcasts, but you'd have a hard time finding those programs in the list of archived programs:
  • Saints WR Joe Horn press conference 9/21
  • Saints Head Coach Sean Payton press conference 9/21
  • Saints RB Deuce McAllister press conference 9/21
  • Saints QB, Drew Brees explains the keys to the Flacons defense 9/21
  • Tommy Tucker and Monica Pierre talk about ethics City Councilmain at Large Arnie Fielkow 9/21
  • Harrahs GM Jim Hoskins talks to WWL's Dave Cohen about opening the new Harrahs Hotel this week 9/21
  • Saints LB Scott Fujita press conference 9/20
  • Saints Head Coach Sean Payton press conference 9/20
  • Falcons RB Warrick Dunn press conference 9/20
  • Saints QB Drew Brees press conference 9/20
  • Saints RB Reggie Bush press conference 9/20
  • Falcons Coach Jim Mora press conference 9/19
  • Bobby Hebert and Kenny Wilkerson visit with Falcons kicker, Morten Andersen 9/20
  • Garland Robinette visits with Saints Owner, Tom Benson 9/20
  • Tommy Tucker and Monica Pierre interview Superdome spokesperson Bill Curle 9/20
  • Kenny Wilkerson visits with Saints Wide Receiver Joe Horn 9/19
  • Saints Fans Buying Season Tickets tell WWL's Dave Cohen they are excited 9/19
  • Saints Head Coach Sean Payton on Green Bay game and preparing for Atlanta 9/18
  • Tommy Tucker and Monica Pierre go one on one with Saints QB, Drew Brees 9/18
  • Former President Bill Clinton speaks to WWLs Garland Robinette 9/16
  • LSU versus Auburn Audio Preview for Site 9/15
  • U2 and Green Day among the musical acts booked for Saints' Monday Night Football, WWL's Kenny Wilkerson tells Chris Miller 9/14
  • Saints RB, Deuce McAllister Post Practice Press Conference 9/13
  • Saints RB, Aaron Stecker Post Practice Press Conference 9/13
  • Saints Head Coach Sean Payton on preperation for Greenbay 9/13
  • Green Bay Head Coach Mike McCarthy 9/13
  • Saints QB, Drew Brees Post Practice Press Conference 9/13
  • Saints RB, Reggie Bush Post Practice Press Conference 9/13
  • Garland Robinette interviews Walter Leger of the LRA 9/13
  • WWL's Dave Cohen talks to Superdome Commission Chairman Tim Coulon about phase 1 construction completion at the Dome 9/13
  • Bobby Hebert and Kenny Wilkerson visit with LSU Head Coach, Les Miles 9/12
  • Bobby Hebert and Kenny Wilkerson visit with Saints DT, Brian Young 9/12
  • Spud McConnell Talks Superdome restoration with Bill Curl of SMG and Tim Coulon chairman of the Superdome Commission 9/12
  • Garland Robinette visits with Mayor Nagin 9/12
  • Mayor Ray Nagin and his One New Orleans Committee on 100 days progress report 9/12
  • Bob DelGiorno and Monica Pierre go one on one Viginia Boulet - Mayor Nagin's Advisor on Entergy 9/12
  • Garland Robinette visits with Virgina Boulet 9/11
  • LSU Football Coach Les Miles talks about getting ready for the Auburn Game 9/11
  • Saints Coach Sean Payton Monday news conference after Saints beat Browns 9/11
  • Bob DelGiorno and Monica Pierre go one on one with Saints QB, Drew Brees 9/11
  • Don Dubuc and Monica Pierre interview Mary Elizabeth Marinello's mother Bertha Norman 9/8
  • WWL's Bob Mitchel expresses his feelings about the arrest of Vince Marinello 9/7
  • WWL's Hokie Gajan comments on a dear friend and Colleagues (Vince Marinello) arrest 9/7
  • WWL's Bobby Hebert comments on a Colleagues (Vince Marinello ) arrest 9/7
  • Attorney Jack Martzell provides analysis on the Vince Marinello case 9/7
  • Sheriff Harry Lee Explains what took place on the day of the murder of Mary Elizabeth Marinello 9/7
  • Sheriff Harry Lee explains why Vince Marinello has been placed on sucide watch 9/7
  • WWL's Kenny Wilkerson goes one on one with Harry Lee on the decision to charge Vince Marinello with Second Degree Murder 9/7
  • WWL's Kenny Wilkerson comments on a Colleague (Vince Marinello) thats in trouble 9/7
  • Jefferson Parish Sheriff Harry Lee announces the arrest of Vince Marinello part 2 9/7
  • Jefferson Parish Sheriff Harry Lee announces the arrest of Vince Marinello part 1 9/7
  • UNO Criminologist Dr Peter Scharf speaks to WWLs Mike Conti about a spike in violent crime 9/7
  • Jefferson Parish Sheriff Harry Lee says Marinello murder was a hit 9/7
  • Jefferson Parish Sheriff Harry Lee on search of Marinello trailer and home 9/7
  • Garland Robinette interviews Dan Packard of Entergy 9/6
  • Garland Robinette interviews Walter Leger of the LRA 9/6
  • Garland Robinette interviews Mayor Ray Nagin 9/6
  • Garland Robinette grills the mayor about complaints he's been invisible and negative press 9/6
  • Garland Robinette asks the mayor about racism in New Orleans 9/6
  • Saints WR, Reggie Bush Press Conference 9/6
  • Saints QB, Drew Brees Press Conference 9/6
  • Saints Head Coach, Sean Payton Press Conference 9/6
  • New Orleans Saints Owner Tom Benson says community has stepped up 9/5
  • Bob DelGiorno and Monica Pierre interview Jefferson Parish Sheriff Harry Lee 9/5
  • Spud McConnell chats with NOPD Chief Warren Riley 9/5
  • Bobby Hebert discusses the Saints acquisitions this week 9/4
  • Saints Head Coach Sean Payton press conference 9/4
  • Saints S Roman Harper press conference 9/4
  • Saints WR Marques Colston press conference 9/4
  • Saints WR Joe Horn press conference 9/4
  • Saints Jamaal Branch press conference 9/4
  • Saints G Jahri Evans press conference 9/4
  • Bob DelGiorno and Monica Pierre go one on one with Jim Hawthorne the Voice of the LSU Tigers Radio Network 9/4
  • Jefferson Parish Sheriff Harry Lee comments on the Mary Elizabeth Marinello murder 9/1
  • Hurricane Expert Dr. William Gray speaks to WWL's Mike Conti about his revised forecast for 2006 9/1

Tags: | | | | | | | Katrina Dissidents | Failure Is Not An Option | Ray Nagin | Recall Ray Nagin | Hurricane Katrina One Year Anniversary | UNOP | Unified New Orleans Plan | Steven Bingler | Concordia | Journalism | Media


At 9/22/2006 12:43:00 PM, Blogger jeffrey said...

Schroeder, I appreciate what you're saying here. The major news outlets tend to cover the easy and the sensational rather than.. well.. the news. Unfortunately it didn't begin with football season. The same argument can be made about the nightly "breaking news" crime porn reports.. or the Marinello thing... or WWL's Medical Watch series wherein Meg Farris explores such health related issues as weightloss and wrinkles. Actually the football coverage qualifies as a notch above most of the bullshit filler we've been subjected to lately.

At 9/22/2006 01:22:00 PM, Blogger Mark said...

I ain't no lawyer, much less an expert on FCC law, but you seem to have the beginnings of a filing there.

At 9/22/2006 03:08:00 PM, Blogger Edie said...

That is a wonderful observation and staggering breakdown of the topics. Coming out of Eastern Kentucky, I was always irritated by the incessant basketball coverage--and by the disproportionate funds that went toward sports over basic human needs such as dental care and road repair.

At 9/22/2006 05:52:00 PM, Anonymous duncan said...

Too right.

Another spot on post.

The media should be balancing the drivel with some serious debate and investigative journalism.

Well, because the prevailing attitude of the powerful in New Orleans remains:
We'll do the tricky stuff like syphoning $$$$$$$$$'s to each other while you fuckers can have your bread and circuses. Let them eat King Cake and watch The Saints.

If the so-called reporting media won't pay attention then who will?

At 9/23/2006 11:03:00 PM, Blogger bayoustjohndavid said...

"Back to WWL, I never used to listen to WWL before Katrina, because it was full of obnoxious talk show hosts."

Last time I heard Bob Delgiorno (don't know where's he been the last couple of weeks), he said about the governor turning down Bush's offer of aid after Katrina. I generally tune out except for the weather and local headlines in the morning, but I prefer it when they are discussing the Saints or Vince Marinello. Hell, last time I listened, they were getting upset bout the state going to easy on Willie Nelson; Im serious.

At 9/24/2006 11:31:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All media surveys are dumb. So what?

A harmless dumb survey about how I will watch the Saints game on Monday night did not ruin my day.

We all know how bad things are. I don't need another interview with the insurance commisioner or whomever to remind me.

This is a welcome break.

Finally something for the city to get excited about (including the French Quarter Merchants) and you would rather have the same old debate that is so depressing, we are killing ourselves off faster than the a 2 minute drill?

When WWL becomes Karina radio, I will turn it off just as I have channel 6 with 6 live on your side at 10:30pm. Same stuff over and over. I want Leno but Lettermen will have to do until 11pm.

As for Katrina coverage, I want it and I have more than enough to keep me occupied.

Go Saints. DirecTV here.

At 9/24/2006 01:36:00 PM, Blogger Schroeder said...

Jeffrey, Meg Farris is terrifying. I agree.

As for Mark's comment, anyone know any attorneys who'd like to get a community radio station started?

Edie, dental care and road repair? More important than basketball? You must think the American Revolution was fought for the dignity of human beings. Silly, didn't you know that corporate America owns our government, and basketball is another drug for the masses that keeps the dealers in their pimpmobiles?

Duncan, when can we expect you to start blogging out there in Dallas.

BTW, standing in line yesterday at Angelo Brocato's, I heard a couple mention your show on the 'TUL.

You are missed.

David ... where's ... uhhh ... Bob ... uhhh ... Del ... uhhh ... Gi ... orno ...? Who cares? I know you don't miss him. Does WWL recruit all of those old codgers out of Bucktown? Sounds like it with their completely right-wing, brainwashed, uneducated, uninformed, attitudes.

Anonymous: A diversion or an escape. Sports is the new opiate of the masses. Furthermore, I wouldn't have any problem with WWL's Saints saturation coverage if there truly were a "Katrina station". Unfortunately, we don't have an FCC that serves communities. We have an FCC that serves corporate interests.

At 9/24/2006 09:08:00 PM, Anonymous duncan said...

schroeder, hold on a minute, is angelo brocado's on n.carrolton open!? surely not?

when i went to get my building permit last november, the latest generation mr brocado and his wife were there getting theirs. with a lump in my throat i told them that their place was one of the things that is essential to the uniqueness of new orleans and begged them to reopen. which was no bull, i felt honored to speak with them.

aah 'TUL...

anyway, the next worst thing about sports franchises, after the money wasted and the lazy pseudo-celebrity journalism it encourages, is when the owners threaten to leave, if their demands aren't met... pah! what brass-necked nerve. market forces my arse! a way to gouge more taxpayers money from the bureaucrats, more like. why don't they just move the whole NFL to india. plenty of cheap labor there and large markets...bastards. like the good old patriots at mcD's & BK who get all their junk toys from china. what about investing in some manufacturing jobs here in the USA? god forbid we have to pay half-decent wages to create jobs for people here. not that i eat that shit of course...or drink that crap beer either! low priced low quality shit on a level with all that other walmartesque crap. if it doesn't cause cancer it sure makes you stupid.

and don't get me started on cable TV... jeez, it's like going to the store to buy a bottle of wine, snow peas, some salmon and some condoms, but having to buy 250 tins of dog food to get the things you really want... when you don't even have a dog.

now i think about it, i'd rather eat dog than pay to watch the saints...or listen to endless speculation about them on WWL.

but i digress.
keep up the excellent work!

in our time.

At 9/26/2006 09:09:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon back.....

WWL happens to be a news/sports - " commercial for profit" radio station.

If we must have a Katrina 24-7 station, then perhaps a non profit so called "Community radio" WWOZ, WTUL or NPR would be quite suitable for something that would draw few listeners and even less sponsors.

You state "Unfortunately, we don't have an FCC that serves communities. We have an FCC that serves corporate interests".

Huh? Exactly what has those "community stations" such as WTUL, WWOZ and UNO's boring NPR contribute to our community that equals what WWL has contributed especially when talking Katina?

Last night in the dome was much more than an important econmic boost to New Orleans. Don't sell short sell that "opiate".

At 9/26/2006 06:54:00 PM, Anonymous duncan said...

anon: point taken that some people will have been opiated by last night. i hope it's longer lasting than most drugs, the start of something, and not just hype. and if you feel WWL has enough serious news coverage and isn't crammed to the gills with pap then, hey, i disagree, but i'll defend your right to say it. (i don't like talking to "anonymous" tho').

i watched on TV with my son and we rooted for the saints and my wife (who just moved us to fucking dallas, so now you know why i sound bitter) said she was homesick. i thought the TV did an ok job of covering the city beyond the stadium beyond the team beyond the game. i mean, they even had spike lee on!

was it just me who felt it was unfortunate though (ironic even)that for the first number you couldn't hear the guys playing brass? they were either not miked properly at first or just drowned out by the edge et al (that's al, not al "carnival time" johnson, by the way ;-).

as for what wtul and wwoz give to the local community, that's partly subjective (you turns on your dial and you takes yr choice) but sorry, to me, it's like rumpole said: "it's the quality of life, hilda".

At 9/27/2006 06:46:00 AM, Blogger Schroeder said...

Opiates are great when you want to escape from reality. The reality is that the even if the Saints win the Superbowl, it won't get 200,000 homes rebuilt, it won't get the levees built to a higher standard, it won't get coastal restoration on the national agenda, it won't draw attention to crooked politicians, on and on ...

There are so many vital issues that need attention, my mind often spins to know what to focus on.

As for "community" radio, WWNO, WWOZ, and WTUL don't fit the model I envision. WWNO is run by an uptight, over-the-hill board of directors (same goes for NPR), WWOZ is run like a dictatorship that serves a very specific niche (and does it very well ... sometimes), and WTUL is run by Tulane students (which lends itself to serving their friends, not the community).

I'm talking about a station run by you and I (yes, you), and Duncan, and bloggers, and anyone else who shows up with talent and something to contribute.

We've got an election coming up on Saturday, and the offshore revenue bill is about to go down the sewer, but WWL is still talking about the Saints.

Like Sean Payton said to the team, Monday night was great, but there's another game coming up, and they have to turn their attention to winning the next one.

WWL is still gloating over Monday night football, while the city it claims to serve is in the gutter.

At 9/27/2006 11:27:00 AM, Blogger dillyberto said...

I just don't understand who runs WWL radio?

How can we have a talk station of entirely white men?

I am a white man. I bore myself senseless. We need the gumbo or the shrimp creole on the rice.

Now, your points about the programming are valid. I cannot agree enough. But if there is no diversity in who has the mike the story will frequently be from the same vantage point.

I only listen for Deke.

Garland won't shut up for his guests to speak let alone the callers.

Rush - an embarrassment to education in America.

Bob Del (I'm diverse because I have Monica Pierre) Giorno won't shut up either. Monica speaks as much as Vanna on Wheel of Fortune. I like Monica. I like Vanna. But, please give them some airtime.

Spud entertains my wife and mother-in-law. Mother-in-law thought he was black for months.


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