Which man for these times?

Paul GleiserWhich man for these times?

The radio station where I worked for six years in Dallas was the first in the market to abandon music and take up a pioneering format that we now call news and talk. There was no template and we were mostly making things up on the fly. Early results were not great.

The job of program director became a revolving door. They came. They went.

Then one day along came a guy I’m going to call Bill (because most of the parties to this story are still alive).

The company in this story was pure button down establishment. We were all careful to wear the “right” suits and to conduct ourselves in the “right” way. Appearances mattered greatly.

Into that environment the radio gods dropped Bill. Bill was personally off-putting. His demeanor was borderline toxic. He swore way too much. His wardrobe decisions were positively catastrophic. The simple fact was that Bill just didn’t fit.

But here’s the thing. Bill actually had a clue. He was among the first in the radio industry to grasp the gestalt of news/talk radio. To the great initial discomfort of nearly all of us, Bill started making changes. Soon thereafter, things started working. The station started to sound good. Audience reaction was positive. Ratings improved. Revenue improved. Optimism began to blossom. Some of us dared to think we were actually on a roll.

But, sad to say, Bill’s personality loomed larger than his work. The company suits (a company that netted more in a month from television than it grossed in a year from radio) just couldn’t hack Bill.

So, Bill was run off. His replacement “looked the part” to the suits but was otherwise as clueless as all who had come before. All the ground that Bill had helped us gain was lost within six months. Eventually, the company got out of the radio business altogether.

I’m sure you’re way ahead of me in realizing that this story almost exactly parallels that of Donald Trump vis á vis Joe Biden. The difference is that the stakes are much higher. An entire nation is on the line.

The United States has real problems. Two million poor uneducated peasants pouring across the border is a problem. The weakness signaled to our enemies by the Afghanistan withdrawal fiasco is a problem. The highest inflation in 40 years is a problem. The now undeniable befuddlement and confusion over COVID is a problem.

But by far the biggest problem is that the wealth and hegemony that the United States has enjoyed since World War II is rapidly dissipating. For nearly 80 years our national wealth and strategic power have covered a lot of sins. We could afford to grade presidents disproportionately on style. But our national wealth is getting smaller while our sins are getting bigger – both at a frightening pace.

Which raises the proposition that Donald Trump was less the aberration that his opponents would have you believe and more a man of his time than has yet been appreciated.

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Paul Gleiser

Paul L. Gleiser is president of ATW Media, LLC, licensee of radio stations KTBB 97.5 FM/AM600, 92.1 The TEAM FM in Tyler-Longview, Texas.

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5 Responses

  1. Dan Bullard says:

    Very nice story. I miss him too.

  2. Karen T. says:

    I believe that DJT arrived at the perfect time. We conservatives were tired of scripted or apparently so, politicians.
    Trump spoke spontaneously just as we share with each other. Love or hate him, nothing plastic about him. He speaks his mind unlike even some of the best of the others, as they are guardedly open when they speak. DJT was a breath of fresh air. What a gift to have a president that was not a life-long politician!

  3. Brendan says:

    Isn’t it possible that we could vote for someone who isn’t a lesser aberration than the other? Why do we constantly vote for the same parties with the same messages, and expect different results?

    • Matthew says:

      Well I’m thinking because we’re not really living in a ” Free ” country ,besides the fact we’re living in a country of laws,whether good or bad ( opinion ) influences degree of freedom. When others talk of freedom in America so proudly i think their overlooking a lot ,but i guess it helps them to feel better ,maybe.So democracy, republic whatever description works for a person it’s designed that way , it’s all just an illusion to make people think they can really have some control over matters that can actually affect their lives in a profound way. Unfortunately it will never change, when they say ” We the People ” it only means a very small percentage.

  4. Michael Reagan says:

    Who watched the President’s news conference yesterday (January 19, 2022)? After listening to that debacle, is there any question who IS more qualified to be the President of the United States of America? We all know President Biden is not calling the shots. Guy was having so much trouble thumbing through his cheat notes, wanting to scratch his head and face, squinting to see the words on the teleprompter, and attempting to show he can stand up for more than an hour and face softball questions. Ah, anyone care to ask about Crime and Homelessness? No mention of the Border crisis at all. As far as I could tell, very little truth, if any at all, came out in that waste of time.

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