By Tom Becka
KRWK, Fargo/KOIL, Omaha
Talk Show Host
FARGO – I’ve been reading with great interest the comments about the future of talk radio. During my career I spent a number of years on the road as a stand up comic. It was during this time that I developed my love of talk radio. Each night after a show I would talk to members of the audience. I would speak with bankers, construction workers, nurses, and people that make sausage casings for a living. I noticed one thing about these conversations. What the people were talking about was not what the talk radio hosts were talking about. They had more personal concerns on their mind than the inner workings of Congress. We can debate whether that’s good or not some other day. But that is the way it is. The truth is what is important to most talk show hosts is not important to most people on the street.
When I started my career I patterned it after “the gang in the kitchen.” By that I mean, if you are at a house party, the best part of the party is the gang hanging out in the kitchen near the cooler of beer. They are talking about politics, sports, TV shows, sex, current events and more. They are arguing, laughing, fighting, remembering, disagreeing, and then leaving as friends. I believe if talk radio is to survive they have to listen more to that gang in the kitchen.
Too many talk hosts are like that guy at the party that has to be right about everything and tells everyone else how stupid they are. People at the party avoid those know-it-alls like the plague.
Right now the people want solutions. They are tired of fighting. They don’t care who fixes the problems; just fix them.
I believe there can be a big renaissance in talk radio but it’s going to take owners who are willing to look outside the old attitudes and take a chance on some new thinking.
Tom Becka is a talk show host and program director at KRWK, Fargo and is heard on KOIL, Omaha. He can be emailed at Tbecka@hotmail.com.