Thursday, July 12, 2007

It's the Chip Franklin Show

There’s a dearth of good daytime radio shows in Baltimore. A big city? Hah. Like I said before, Baltimore likes to think it’s a big city. No hon, we’re small potatoes. And dangerous. Ooooo. Pigtown's got a little bad boy edge go’n on.

When Chip Franklin took over Alan Prell’s morning radio spot, I was saddened. Alan had become part of my morning routine. He was Uncle Al the kiddies’ pal, a good compliment to Ron Smith in the afternoon. In my mind, no one could replace little Ally. Chip had a long road to hoe.

It's Chip FranklinTwo parts stand up comic, one part political manifesto, let’s just say, Chip Franklin took a lot of getting used to. After a number of years, I’m finally comfortable. His sidekicks are a hoot. Sherry, Mickey, C4, Schmuck, oh yeah, he’s for real. Debates with flags, movie ratings, celebrity posers, the show is an exercise in good fun. There are days when the topics are compelling and days when I switch channels, but overall, not too shabby.

I rarely have time to call in or send e-mail. I just comment out loud as I'm driving to wherever. I probably should stop doing that, although with the advent of hands free it's no longer weird. Today’s program included a segment about whether violence in America is any worse than when people Chip’s age (me) were growing up. Chip said it wasn’t and Sherry disagreed.

I’m with Sherry on this one. Violence in America is much worse than when I was a kid. I'm not talking about street fights and gangs, that's always been bad. I'm talking about meaningless hordes of innocent victims violence. Terrorist violence. Violence for the sake of violence.

IMHO the media bares part of the blame. When is the media going to develop a policy requiring cold blooded killers to be referred to as “the sick twisted vermin murderer?” Why does the media give sickos the notoriety they crave? Just look at Virginia Tech. Did the networks have to replay the video or report the killer's name? What about that nut in the Amish schoolhouse? Cover of People and countless others. Then there's the “I want to be famous” tube. Thousands of hits and still going strong. At first I thought it was funny and then I wanted to hurl. Someone memorialized John Lennon’s killer in a movie. Sickening. I can't understand where the oodles of this sick stuff comes from. American Psycho, the new Elisha Cuthbert flick, I could go on and on. Did we ever see or read stuff like this in the 60s?

I think the real turning point for gratuitous violence was Deliverance. In its day, the movie was shocking. Today, it’s kiddy fare. A true example of how debased and desensitized we Americans have become.

Update: 10/23/07. About a week after I wrote this piece, WBAL announced Chip Franklin's imminent departure. Chip seemingly vanished into thin air less than two weeks later. I heard he took a gig in el Lay, although the shock of his departure -- occurring so close to the time I finally became comfortable listening to his show -- threw me for a loop. What are the odds of something like that? I didn't bother researching his transition out west. Just licked my wounds and moved on. Today, more than two months later, I am finally ready to close the book on this odd turn of events. On 8/15/07, Chip sent me the following "Dear Jane" e-mail:

I had been saving it in my que, knowing it was the follow-up to this article, but too numb to care. It goes without saying what effect Chip's departure has had on the Baltimore talk radio scene. But I don't much care. Now that my car has Sirius radio, I listen to vinyl gold and 70s oldies. It's a better bet they won't be leaving town any time soon.