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This issue opened on 4.22.2010 | Previous Issues

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The Memphis Tea Party Tax Protest-Just Say No
Memphis Radio Wars - Ferguson Out, Clarksenior In, Thaddeus Rules
UPDATE! Thaddeus Out, Ferguson In! | "Earth Day?" A Slight Historical Correction
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Conservative radio talk show host Ben Ferguson.
Caption not necessary.
see/buy pics [here]
The Memphis Tea Party--Time for Specifics? Infusion?
posted 4.16.10- With only a few folks showing up at its tax protest on tax day, one question loomed: Where was everybody? It needed something--a polemical infusion that captured the raw movement, a retro country band, a Sarah Palin lookalike, a Jack Daniels booth--something. Even as conservative talk show host Ben Ferguson broadcast live on WREC AM, he and it only drew no more than 200 by our estimate, compared to the 2,000 or more last year.

Aside individuals attending with creative homemade signs and clever street theatre political garb, a staple of the movement since its spontaneous (waiting for a media expose' to reveal the movement as a creation of a Karl Rove type evil Republican genius) beginning protesting the change.

Are rank and file Tea Partiers throwing in the towel, resigning to the fact that big government and big taxes are inevitable? That "American exceptionalism" is on the decline to be more like Europe economically, philosophically and demographically? (cont'd below)
Ben Ferguson in the WREC AM mobile studio at the Tea Party Tax protest.
Former sports reporter Keith Olbermann, Chris Matthews and the late Tim Russert veered MSNBC heavy to the left in their infatuation with the Dems and Obama in 2008. Olbermann virtually coined the public use of "tea bagger," vile even for his smarmy sarcasm. Regardless, the trio won big ratings back then. But now that the hitherto unsuspecting public has gotten a good whiff of Obama's priorities, Olbermann's households, plunging a dizzying 42 percent, numbered a mere 938,000 while the same time slot for CNN came in even lower--638,000. Bill O'Reilly, same year/time slot, trounced all at a comparatively incredible 2,650,000.

By the way, since we are talking numbers that indicate political trends, according to the Huffington Post, here are April 28 stats from tvbythenumbers.com for cable news networks. FNC – 1,124,000 viewers | CNN – 380,000 | MSNBC – 442,000 | CNBC – 212,000 | HLN – 312,000

"Get your facts first, and then you can distort
them as much as you please."
--Mark Twain

Radio Wars in Memphis
by Ben Harrison (Benqq)

Ferguson Out, Clarkesenior in, Thaddy Bear Rules

False history gets made all day, any day,
the truth of the new is never on the news.
-Adrienne Rich
© Ben Harrison article and photos available for licensing.

UPDATE MONDAY MAY 3--Now Ferguson In, Clarksenior In, Thaddeus Out
Oh what a weekend makes. The ground shifted under the feet of avid listeners, nee' followers, of Thaddeus Matthews. When they faithfully tuned into KWAM 990am, 4pm, this afternoon, surely ears twisted, eyes wrinkled, jaws dropped at the voice that played to them. It wasn't the baritone Thaddeus, but none other than the clean and very white, very Republican, Ben Ferguson, Thaddeus former competitor on the air in the same time slot at WREC 600am and about whom he crowed mercilessly at his radio demise. The irony of course is that Thaddeus Matthews, who we termed not a gentle "Thaddy Bear," but a "Grizzly Bear" in Memphis radio because of his aggressive community activism and showmanship, lambasted the younger radioman. What is it they say? "Treachery and age will overcome beauty and youth?" Maybe not this time. We are trying to get more information. Below is the story we posted Friday..ed.

(Posted Friday April 29, 2010)
Having listened for weeks to the two principal "content" players, WREC's Ben Ferguson and KWAM's Thaddeus Matthews, in Memphis talk radio between 4-7 pm in preparation for this comparative piece, I was thrown off when Ben Ferguson was replaced by WREC talker Andrew Clarksenior, on Monday April 19. The God of timing put me in contact with Ferguson at the Tea Party rally April 15 (story above) where I shot a few pics and told him I was doing a story comparing him and Matthews. He answered unusually thoughtfully, "Interesting." He already either had been let go from the 4 to 7 slot or told his numbers were lower than Matthews'. I regret inadvertently bushwhacking him like that. His presentation on stage that day didn't make much sense. Now I know why.

Regardless, the big grizzly in this time slot is now "Thaddy Bear" who talks like he's bounding into a stream where he gets a flailing ill informed politician or shyster preacher, of which he contends there are plenty in Memphis, between his teeth. The latter is but one way he is "unique" in local media. When was the last time you saw a local TV station do an expose' on a crooked preacher?

Ben's Achilles: Ageism
A twist of a wrist to the left on my car radio, Ferguson, next to the tartly seasoned Thaddeus, seemed like a corporate employee who ditched the company's age discrimination seminar to attend the Young Republicans club meeting. Hey, don't accuse me of being ageist. WREC itself until recently ran his taped program intro absurdly extolling his youth as an objective asset to talk radio. Perhaps temporarily, if most of your listeners are under 30 (and so inexperienced and impressionable they could be suckered by a TV candidate like Obama) but Memphis has 200,000+ residents age 40+. I have to question if there was a connect between the middle aged Mike Fleming whom he replaced in the 4-7 time slot. Thoughtless too, considering that older folks consume conservative media more than any group.

When the University of Memphis was looking for a basketball coach to replace John Calipari and the name Don Knight came up, the youngest ever talk show wunderkind bellowed, "He's TOO OLD!" not once but several times building his entire program around Knight's age. How host self-reveals, I thought (particularly given the fact you could discuss so many other charming attributes about "The General," like assaulting players, throwing chairs, winning his 900th game on January 16, 2008 or his famous line: "When my time on Earth is gone, and my activities here are past, I want they bury me upside down, and my critics can kiss my ass.")

Now, that lower extremity affords us a segueway into Memphis own "Thaddy Bear," who likes to use the terms "ass" and "faggot" as his preferred radio expletives because it is the most verbal abuse he can dispense within the limits of the FCC. For hi-vent moments he combines the two: "Come down here to the station and I'll beat your ass you faggot!" or when sending a message to Memphis Police whom he says would seek extralegal retribution of his near daily criticism, "I will shoot your ass!" Point taken LOL.

The FCC has apparently received at least one complaint in his honor, filed, he said tauntingly, by local Criminal Court Clerk candidate and long time civil rights activist (among whom he apparently does not himself include) Minerva Johnican. I don't know if or why Ms. Johnican filed a complaint, but he crosses the line with none too subtle double entendre sexual references and explicit sex talk better suited for late hours than drive time when the after school set can tune in.

What Was WREC Thinking?

Cont'd with pictures

Banner Country Cat Family
Banner Country Cat Family

(Posted Thurs. April 22, 2010, 10:43 am ) Always hate the know it all that rains on everybody else's parade so let me say right now its perfectly OK to have an "Earth Day" celebration when and where you want, but wouldn't it be 'more better' to celebrate it on the "real" first recognized "Earth Day" when there is precisely an equal amount of light and dark on the Earth, creating a miraculously precise cosmological balance across the entire planet?
This happens on the March Equinox, or the first day of spring, and for a microsecond on that day, the Earth has an exact equal amount of light and dark perfectly symbolizing its unity and cohesion. John McConnell, with whom I worked in California and New York with volunteers at the United Nations, created and launched the first Earth Day in San Francisco in 1969.
He has been a single, one man army, meeting and proselytizing for the logic of peace well before then. But it was on the Equinox that the idea hit him that was later picked up in cities around the world. Please visit this
Spring site I created with a link to the first and original noncommercial Earth Day. The link is at the bottom of the paragraph top right.
Like to respond? Write me, Benqq
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