Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Sacramento Loses Again

Last night, I received the following e-mail from Bruce Maiman, now former host of an excellent weeknight talk radio program on KBFK, AM 1530. First, KSAC changed its format from liberal talk radio to gospel. Now Sacramento has lost its last even-handed talk radio program with a local as well as national focus, and it has lost an outstanding host. I'm saddened and frustrated by the news.

Is there anything we can do to stop this kind of thing from happening, or is it the inevitable way of things?

Please accept my apologies in advance for this mass e-mail. I hate them, but there many of you and sending something to each of you individually is a bit cumbersome, so I hope you don't mind.

Our parent company, Clear Channel, conducted extensive layoffs nationwide today, Tuesday, dispatching nine percent of its total workforce. I was one of those let go and will no longer be broadcasting on KFBK each weeknight.

Radio for me has never been about any ego stroke --I have no delusions of grandeur; it's only radio. And it has never been about ratings success, which we have enjoyed here and which I have enjoyed elsewhere.

What I enjoy most, and what I will miss most, is the daily interaction with compelling listeners who have things to say, whether they agree or disagree. If you are on this list, it is likely because we have engaged in conversation either on the air or via the web that I have found stimulating, compelling, perhaps infuriating and frustrating, and always enjoyable. For that, I thank you. Talk radio isn't talk radio with people talking to each other, so each of you has, in some way, been a part of that dynamic and helped make the program what it eventually became.

It's an odd thing, radio being the intimate medium that it is, and yet I have no idea how some of you even came to be listeners. The program started nearly three years ago with a completely different take than the previous host and, as a consequence, had to be built from scratch. It is no small task to build a program on a conservative radio station with a host who isn't an ideologue conservative table pounding the desk while bashing Democrats and liberals for all that ails society. Not that ideologue on the left are any more productive. Considering today's events, one wonders if this kind of behavior won't finally, finally fade away and the country can resume on a more reasoned discourse.

Because the larger corporate interests that operate the Clear Channel properties nationwide have little interest in local radio, let alone California or Sacramento, the corporate mandate today was to replace local radio hosts with some kind of syndicated programming. Who that is and when exactly that will happen, I do not know, but as I understand it, that's what's in the cards, and that's the real misfortune: With the exception of a single midday hour each on two other stations, there will be no place for Sacramento listeners to go to talk about their city, their state, their community. Somewhere, an apology for that is in order, but those who should give it most, care the least.

Again, deep thanks for your time and your thoughts. It was a pleasure to have your company.

Bruce Maiman

1 comment:

AwwPhooey said...

Thank you for sharing this heartfelt letter. I was recently on swing shift for a period of 5 weeks, and as a result, was not listening in the evening during that time. Imagine my surprise to come back on a regular schedule, and not hear the accustomed voice of Mr. Maiman. Armstrong and Getty? Re-hashed Armstrong and Getty, to say the least? Oh, my stomach doth hurt. I am very discouraged.

Nagarjuna, thanks again for sharing this. If by chance you have access to email communication with Maiman, please pass on how his departure...well, sucks.