It wouldn’t be radio without the knobs

Infidel on zinfandel: If stupidity was an adult beverage, right-wing TV and talk-radio blabbermouth Sean Hannity would be an alcoholic. The mildly retarded FOX News fear monger puts the “numb” in “numbnuts,” most recently evinced by his declaration that Lodi is ground zero in the battle pitting “smalltown U.S.A. versus Islamic indoctrination.”

That’s funny. Ever since the federal prosecution of Lodi Muslims Ulmer and Hamid Hyatt on totally bogus terrorism charges, Bites thought the tiny burg south of Sacramento was at the heart of the struggle between innocent citizens and paid government informants. Entrapment is the MO of all post 9/11 terrorism prosecutions.

Hannity could care less, combining Hamid’s wrongful conviction (and neglecting the fact that his father, Ulmer, was acquitted) with the complaints of an obnoxious Lodi couple who found the local high-school history text a little too inclusive when it comes to Muhammad’s minions, in that the book apparently has “Islam” in its index.

About the only positive thing that can be said for Hannity is that when it comes to fomenting hatred, he’s no Michael “Savage” Weiner, who was undergoing an emergency liver transplant as this issue went to press. Savage could have imbibed some of that sweet zinfandel Lodi’s become known for, but large doses of ignorance are more to his taste, cirrhosis be damned.

Deadly spawn: Bites has no truck with conservatives per se. William F. Buckley or Pat Buchanan’s views may seem reprehensible to many liberals, but no objective observer would declare Buckley or Buchanan to be stupid.

Talk radio is different. Since 1987, when the Ronald Reagan-appointed FCC abolished the Fairness Doctrine, the format has been dominated by conservative hosts who share one thing in common: an IQ level hovering around the age Britney Spears lost her virginity. The Fairness Doctrine required radio stations to provide “fair and balanced” coverage of controversial societal issues, and we all know what’s happened to “fair and balanced” in the two decades since the doctrine was abolished.

True, liberal stalwarts such as Bernie Ward and Ray Taliafero, who broadcast Monday through Friday nights on KGO AM 810 out of San Francisco, have helped hold down the progressive fort, at least here on the Left Coast. But as dynamic as this duo continues to be—Ward occupies the 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. timeslot, Taliafero 1 a.m. to 5 p.m.—in terms of sheer audience numbers, they’re simply no match for Limbaugh and his ignominious spawn, from Savage to Hannity to Glen Beck.

Left turn: Nevertheless, change is in the air. MSNBC is rumored to be canceling conservative TV host Tucker Carlson due to bad ratings. Carlson, formerly the bow-tied moderate Republican smarty on CNN’s Crossfire, really dumbed it up for his solo act and, finally, someone’s paid the price. Hillbilly heroin junkie Limbaugh has seen his audience slip from a high of 20 million to a paltry 13 million. Conservatives, if not exactly in retreat, appear to be slipping somewhat.

That’s fine with Ed Schultz, the progressive talk host who broadcasts out of Fargo, N.D., and recently caught the loathsome Bill O’Reilly in the talk-radio rankings. With 3.25 million listeners, Schultz, who can be heard locally on KSAC AM 1250 from 9 a.m. to noon, has a ways to go before catching the Limbaugh clones. But he’s gaining, and quickly.

To the uninitiated, Schultz’s shtick sounds not unlike Limbaugh’s, in both style and substance. It’s that straight-from-the- heartland spiel radio audiences eat up, and Schultz has parlayed it into the No. 1 progressive talk show in the nation.

As the country turns, so will radio knobs, and Schultz could become the next big thing. Catch a rising star when Schultz broadcasts live on KSAC Thursday-Friday, November 29-30. Better yet, drink and dine with Big Eddie on Friday night, November 30, at the Blue Gecko, 1379 Garden Highway, from 5 to 8 p.m. It’s the left thing to do.