This week, there’s only one question that should be asked: Why do we allow talk show radio hosts to spout the ugliest language around?
It seems the radio waves – along with some television talk shows – have taken to denigrate, ridicule, belittle, insult and vilify those who do not agree with their brand of politics, or, most disturbingly, those who do not look like them.
This is not about being politically correct. This is about human decency, tolerance, acceptance.
It appears the demographic tidal wave that has been sweeping the San Joaquín Valley was too much for Bakersfield talk show host Jaz McKay last month when he conducted an “experiment” on how many “English” stations he could find on his car radio.
A quick recap:
On a Thursday evening, the KNZR host, while on Facebook Live, scanned the radio stations and was dismayed at the number of Spanish-language radio stations on the dial.
“More Mexican sh*t. More Mexican sh*t ... OK, more spic, excuse me, more Mexican music,” he says.
He continues his rant, “You know we’re in Bakersfield, California. We’re in the USA, right? Where the f*ck is American rock ‘n’ roll music?”
McKay then suggests his listeners tune in only to English-language radio stations.
“As long as it speaks English. English! English! English!”
End of recap.
McKay, who spent a little more than a year at Fresno’s KMJ 580 AM, was dumped by KNZR 1560 AM, his home for almost 13 years.
Thus ended the Bakersfield radio career of the so-called Uncommon Voice of the Common Man. Thank God there are many more common men and women who dare not put up with such garbage.
One of those common persons who quickly responded to McKay’s rant was Chad García, who once worked as a producer on McKay’s radio show.
“DEAR BAKERSFIELD,” he posted. “I give you the REAL Jaz McKay from KNZR referring to Mexican radio as ‘spic’ radio. This is a clip recorded from his Facebook Live video, which, no doubt will be deleted soon.
“He is the self proclaimed ‘King’ of local talk radio. Bakersfield can do better than this.”
Today, McKay’s voice – which has been described, according to Wikipedia, as sounding like it was soaked in a vat of battery acid, left hanging in the smoky Texas roadhouse for a few months and then taken outside to a gravel road and crushed under the wheels of a pick up truck with a Lone Star beer sticker in the back window – has been silenced.
Such vitriol misses the real story about Bakersfield and other cities that span the San Joaquín County.
Christopher Morland hit the mark on his Facebook regarding the McKay episode.
“Let's see, TV and Radio make their money from advertisers. They want you to buy their product. Let that sink in for a moment,” he wrote. “Obviously this is a positive for our local economy. Whether they are English- or Spanish-language broadcasters, they are helping to boost our economy.
“There are also a quite a few religious broadcasters, with advertising, also contributing to our local economy. It’s all about the dollar folks. Who the hell cares? If you don't like what you hear on the radio, change the channel, start your own radio station and play what you want. Wait that’s is how it works anyway.”
Bullseye, Mr. Morland.
Data from Radio-locator.com shows there are 71 radio stations within reach of the Bakersfield audience. Nineteen are Spanish-language format, and 12 are religious. There are two Spanish-language radio stations ranked among the top 10 in Nielsen fall 2017 ratings, and five among the top 16.
In Fresno, there are 83 radio stations within reach of the city’s population, with 18 Spanish-language stations and 14 religious. Some can be heard in Bakersfield. Two of the Spanish-language format stations are in the top 10. The top-rated talk show station, KMJ 580 AM is eighth.
What that should tell you is that businesses, which provides the revenue that keeps radio station alive, understand the market has changed. Bakersfield’s population is now 45 percent Latino (Fresno’s is 46 percent).
Three generations ago, you could count the number of Spanish-language radio and television stations in the Valley on one mano.
Sadly, Mr. McKay – and his followers and his ilk – are not comfortable with the changing demographics that enrich the Valley.
Juan Esparza Loera has been editor of Vida en el Valle since it was first published in August 1990. Send comments, suggestions, questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org