Sandy Beach: Race Relations Ekspurt

Yesterday, I switched on WBEN to hear the traffic report on my way home. I was greeted by white septuagenarian Don Pesola (a.k.a. “Sandy Beach”) lecturing black people about what they should and should not think, and how they should and should not behave. Because there is no better person, and no better venue to discuss race relations and the state of being a black person in America than an aging Italian radio talk show host. 

This is one of Beach’s favorite topics; how easy it is for black people in this country. 

Beach, doing his best Bill O’Reilly interpretation, was outraged by a Rod Watson column published in yesterday’s Buffalo News. Now, to my knowledge, Mr. Beach has never been black. He has never been a racial minority in American – a minority that is judged and has been systematically oppressed and challenged within a culture that is – and always has – been dominated by white, Anglo-Saxon Protestants. Chances are Mr. Beach was never passed over for a job, told how to behave, thought of as criminal or subhuman, disenfranchised, or otherwise discriminated against because of the color of his skin. Chances are that when his family moved into their neighborhood, the rest of the neighborhood didn’t flee in terror. But at least the part of his show that I heard yesterday was a litany of old white guy complaints about just how easy black people have it in this country, and how hard it is for an old white guy to get a fair shake. 

In other words, WBEN was the bizarro world yesterday evening. 

The first thing I heard? Romney went to the NAACP and got booed. But Obama didn’t go at all – he takes the NAACP for granted! That’s the real racism!

The part of the show that was particularly offensive was the facile analysis – shared by many dumb commentators on the right – that this new demography whereby white people were outvoted by women, immigrants, and minorities is evidence that “redistributive socialism” won, that America is now dead, and that people voted for “stuff”. 

What an insult that is. What a startling display of sour grapes. Rod Watson suggested that much of the overreaction to Obama’s re-election shows that the Republican Party doesn’t really want black voters. He’s absolutely right. Beach’s response was to complain about how uppity these blacks were to complain about racism. Don’t they know there’s no such thing?! Meanwhile, Don Pesola has been eligible for Medicare and Social Security for several years. Moocher. Taker. Leech. 

One caller, with whom Beach had no quarrel, said that black people vote Democratic because they want freebies, and they refuse to vote Republican because it stands for “hard work”. No one challenged that, but it quite starkly proved Watson’s point. All done radio yakking, you lost the argument without Watson uttering a word. As if I had to explain it, the sentiment assumes that blacks are lazy and shiftless, want nothing but handouts, and that they’re allergic to “hard work,” and the party that stands for “hard work”. I can’t think of anything much more racist than that. As if “Obama cellphone” was the reason why people wanted to implement continue on the decidedly centrist path that President Obama had carved out for himself in the face of an ultra right-wing based on intransigence and childish freak-outs. Also, Benghazi where Obama “murdered 4 people”.

Watson made the point, which was completely backed up by the election results and earlier surveys, that the Republican Party has completely abandoned mainstream black voters. One caller – “Alex” identified himself as a black man and stated that the Republicans always talk about how black people don’t give them a shot, but that they never bother to go into the black community to see the problems, discuss solutions, and ask for votes. Beach sailed right over that observation and instead changed the subject,  complaining about how the community sometimes treats successful blacks like Clarence Thomas as “sell-outs” and “Uncle Toms”. Alex agreed that some black people who reject their own culture are indeed treated that way, but others (Condoleeza Rice, Colin Powell) are not. How any of that is Sandy Beach’s problem is anyone’s guess. Beach’s solution was that blacks should just snap out of it, I guess. It certainly was far removed from any topic that Rod Watson raised in his column. 

Watson wasn’t complaining about sell-outs in his column – that never came up. He was complaining about the very real fact that the Republican Party assumed that it could win this national race, even if it completely ignored black voters. And the working class. And the poor. And immigrants. And non-Cuban Latinos. (By the way, Florida Cubans went for Obama). And Muslims. And the rest of what Romney derisively dismissed as the “47%” of “takers” and “victims”. We have a Republican Party that, instead of seeking votes from traditional Democratic supporters, simply instead tries to suppress their vote. The Republican Party keeps just expecting these groups to simply waltz over to the party of Reince Priebus and offer their support because what – trickle-down economics will help lift them up? No, the Republican Party has to go to these groups, and first and foremost listen. If they just instantaneously dismiss complaints that they don’t want to hear, then their failure is their own. 

In the meantime, an old white guy on the radio named Don knows better than anyone what it means to be a black man in America. Do I think Beach is racist? No. But he sure did his best impression of one last night. 


  • WBEN is an embarassment to WNY, their talk shows are filled with hate, veiled racism, and misinformation. They tell angry old white people what they want to hear playing to their base instincts and cynicism. It is too bad this station has become little more than a second rate right wing propaganda machine.


    Long ago I became outraged that WBEN radio – (“the old
    people’s station” in the words of Bauerle) became the media instrument of the
    GOP/T party and  insulted democrats,
    daily.   I got sick of it, so  I tune-in a few times a year just to listen
    for a bit, then I write down the names of some advertisers. I phone them up and
    speak to the general manager. I ask him why his company is paying to insult
    democrats in a democratic town, and don’t you think it’s a foolish policy to insult
    your potential customers?  I repeat to
    him some insults that I picked up that day/week.  Invariably, they claim ignorance and apologize.
    They say they don’t listen.  Apology or
    not,  I tell them that neither me nor my
    family will every do business with their company. After all, why would I do
    business with ANY company that advertises on a station that insults me and my
    fellow democrats and perpetrates lies about democrats and our policies?  My answer to insults is a boycott.

  • Yesterday, Bauerle  went over the top. He refereed to rich white  people (the products) as the new Jews  and this was Germany 1933 and he was not going to let “them” put a bullet in his brain without taking some of “them” with him. Violent hate speech?  This insanity went on 11:12-11:19am.

    Remember Congress woman Gabrielle Giffords.  
    Pima County Sheriff Clarence W. Dupnik in a news conference , Dupnik condemned the “atmosphere
    of hatred and bigotry” that he said has gripped the nation and suggested
    that the 22-year-old suspect being held in the shooting was mentally
    ill and therefore more susceptible to overheated messages in the media. He was directly referring to Jon Justice a right-wing talk show host at Tucson’s KQTH FM 104.1.

    joe schmidbauer

    • The person whom you reference is a cretin. To describe what he does as violent hate speech is to demean violent hate speech.

      •  Alan: I WANTED to say something particularly nasty about Beavis…sorry, Bauerle…but since I don’t want to expose this website to any legal action, I decided not to.

        You, dear readers, are free to make up your own bon mots.

  • This crap provides more evidence…as if we really NEEDED any….that Buffalo needs some talk competition. And I DON”T mean the one that Entercorpse….ERRRR, Entercom does with sister station WWKB; ‘BEN has all the 55 to death listeners who get that tingly feeling when Bauerle and Beach and the rest of their ilk do stuff like Alan described, and ‘KB gets the somewhat saner talkers.

    Do you mean to tell me Cumulus and Townsquare haven’t got the gumption to turn one of their under-performing stations into a talker that can actually get ratings and not go into the gutter?

    •  Been there, and done it- with 1270am.
      AM radio is a dying medium and it is capital intensive especially  if you paid a staff.
      The radio advertising market even in business conservative Buffalo is declining.
      but syndicated talk and robot stations both AM and FM are still marginally profitable. That is why Cumulus and Townsquare are not very interested in local anything unless you got cash. The prices to buy in the local radio market are way over priced and inflated. Until the radio market bubble bursts- little chance for interesting local talk radio left or right.

  • I disagree if anyone is implying there shouldn’t be a strongly right-leaning radio station here, but I agree Beach and Bauerle are low quality, usually unlistenable.  They’re as low quality as most Rod Watson columns I’ve read.  If he wrote that R’s or Romney “completely ignored black voters”, that’s ridiculous.  On every issue position difference between Romney and Obama, R’s and D’s, there’s black voters who aren’t on the D/Obama side.   Just because R’s or Romney don’t share the political outlook of a vast majority of black voters isn’t the same as ignoring.  They offer arguments to the nation as a whole, then each voter of any race is free to decide.  

    Back to WBEN – Ron Dobson was much better than any local host they have now. David Bellavia showed good potential there on election night. 

    If I ran the place, I’d replace Bauerle with Bellavia, Beach with Dobson, and do a whole dismantling of the morning news.

    For more D-leaning views, there’s 1520, 88.7, and most of the Buffalo News.  If 1230 is for sale that could be another possibility.

  • P-l-e-a-s-e  ….let the good professor explain “TRICKLE-DOWN-ECONOMICS” to you

    …since I know that it is a complex, difficult and often misunderstood term.

    After all, it’s things like this that keep Economics Professors like me in business, no? 

    I AM sorry that I left my graphs at home, but here goes, anyway:

    Well, basically ,there are two parts to this beautiful , time-tested theory. 

    The FIRST part is the “TRICK”le part. 

    You MUST realize, you must understand, and you must emphasize that this is ALL a trick. 

    The rich are the “tricksters, and you my poor friends, are the “trick-ees”.

    Do I make myself clear? Good, then we’ll go on to the second part.

    The SECOND part, dear students of the world, is the crucial “Trickle-DOWN” part. 

    That, my friend, simply means that the super-rich URINATE all over the rest of us

    …and then laugh all the way to their off-shore banks and tax-shelters.

    I hope that I have been helpful. Until next time -ask me anything-!

    – Professor America

    P.S. Bottom lone: the only acceptable looters are the super-rich.

    Anybody else is subject to arrest.

  • Beach’s banal meanderings – I give you credit for tuning in; I couldn’t stomach it – recalls the post-election angst ridden hand wringing by GOP operatives who in their anguished disbelief, claim that Obama has to “humble himself” during the 2nd term to get anything done which is shorthand for getting on “the back of the bus.”

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