Back before a couple of conglomerates took over nearly all the stations with their vanilla play lists and avatar disc jockeys, radio used to have personalities who had, if you can imagine, PERSONALITIES.
They reflected the taste of their individual communities. Often bad taste, to be sure, but their banter and particularly the music they played reflected the characteristics and peculiarities of their metro areas. And no market was more peculiar than Washington.
It still is of course, and it's a crying shame the locally-based DJ's are not with us these days, what with the emergence of that singing group we hear constantly. You know the one I mean: The SPINNERS.
They're unique in that instead of being a choir, they sing to their choirs. They're always available for party gatherings with their party lines. Their biggest hit, "Message of the Day" is adapted to every situation. Any issue.
Like any other song and dance act they need their composers, and The Spinners have many of them. But none has gotten more prosperous and generated more publicity for himself than that Spinner guru Frank Luntz.
Full disclosure: Frank is a long time friend of mine and might continue to be in spite of what I'm saying here. We go back almost as far as the days when he was designing semantics for the 1994 long shot Republicans ...the ones who rolled over the Democrats and took over Congress.
16 years later, they are salivating at the possibility the Democrats will hand it to them once again and Frank is still writing their march music.
His stock and trade is lyrics. He's a memo machine, making tons of money showering corporate clients with insights into the words they should choose when making their case. For fun and the TV exposure he loves, he still loyally creates material for the Republican Spinners, the amen chorus that gave him his first big break.
They are salivating once again at the possibility the Democrats will hand it to them once again and Frank is still writing their march music.
When you read his stuff, you are struck by how easy it is to push emotional buttons with sinful syntax and how easy it is to cloud the issues. Here is his 2010 list:
TRANSPARENCY & OVERSIGHT
ENFORCEMENT OF CURRENT LAWS
GOVERNMENT FAILURES AND INCOMPETENCE
LET'S HELP SMALL BUSINESSES
BIG BANK BAILOUT BILL
HARD WORKING TAXPAYERS
ANOTHER WASHINGTON AGENCY
UNLIMITED REGULATORY POWERS
DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS
There are 17 pages to this memorandum. He makes big bucks from this kind of stuff.
Obvious you say? If so, why are the Democrats making it so easy to use those expressions against them? Frank Luntz reads the numbers. In fact he and his counterparts drive the polls with these words and phrases. Why can't the Democrats gain traction with their own, like "Republican party of the rich" or "GOP protecting the bankers and insurance companies"?
Why? Because the Democrats' Spinners are tone deaf. There's no harmony. Even with all their squabbling Republicans are able to sing the same tune. The Democrats can't carry one or even perform from the same song book.
And they can't even get their act together on radio. Air America has bitten the dust on the left. Meanwhile, the extreme right has the rantings of Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck and their nutcase clones dutifully reciting the Frank Luntz trashtalk.
Of course, it should be noted that Luntz's stuff, which is mainly performed from DC, is scripted in LA. Even he pulled out the nation's capital and moved to Washington-West, Santa Monica. All of which proves that in today's times Politics is NOT local. Nothing is. And the Spinners are merely lip-synching canned material that plays everywhere. The political hits keep on comin'.