Radio in a Podcast World

Starting July 29th, right-wing radio in Buffalo will see a massive shift. Septuagenerian soprano “Sandy Beach” will be moving to the 9am – 12pm timeslot now occupied by a very strange person. That person, Tom Bauerle, will be moving to afternoon drive, and occupy an extra hour; 3pm – 7pm.

It makes perfect sense for WBEN to do this. The 9am shift begins just as most people are arriving at work, and in most cases that hinders employed people’s ability to listen to, or participate in, hate talk. Moving a moralizing elderly curmudgeon into a time slot where moralizing elderly curmudgeons and shut-ins can listen and share their boundless outrage makes sense. Likewise, it makes sense to put Bauerle in a timeslot where people who work for a living can actually listen to him in their cars, where most people listen to the radio.

This presents a conundrum – because Bauerle doesn’t so much run a talk show as much as he runs a low-rent Infowars clone where dissent is Teutonically strengstens verboten. How is he going to manage the fact that actual employed people are going to be able to listen to his schtick, and may call in to disagree with him? Just screen them out, or will he show people what hot shit he really is and try to defend his positions? Echo chambers are boring if you maintain an iota of critical thinking skills.

As always, I recommend that people with any such critical thinking skills listen to WBFO at 88.7FM, and that people who want to be entertained listen to Shredd & Ragan during morning drive, or spring for a SiriusXM subscription and choose from any one of a number of entertaining shows (I prefer Howard Stern). Barring that, there’s a wide variety of podcasts available, including everything Trending Buffalo is doing. Other than that, local radio is a swamp of mediocrity.


  • I have a further radio recommendation: Classical 94.5 FM. They have good and varied programming. Listen for 20 minutes, and you’ll probably hear both something you recognize and something that is new to you. They do BBC News updates so you know what’s going on in the world. Their DJs are pleasant and unobtrusive. Although everyone will claim that they play “the most music,” 94.5 FM actually does. There’s enough classical music out there that they could literally do a “no-repeat year,” at least, so unlike other stations, it won’t be the same shit over and over. I’ve been listening to them for years — and I swear I don’t work for them, I just like the station a lot, and want to encourage others to try it out.

  • The public airwaves are just that. As long as advertisers pay for time on either show, they’ll be on the air. Just like the TV, Radios have more than one station. If you disagree with what they say, nobody will force you to listen. I think both of them are kind of weird, and I rarely listen though I can get both shows streaming on the net in NC.
    I would highly doubt that Alan would be pro-censorship, So I guess he won’t be listening. And if the switch doesn’t work, WBEN will change again. There is a monthly paper available in my area printed by the White Knights of the North Carolina KKK. I think the content is repulsive, having looked at it once. So I don’t read it. But they have the right to print it, just as Beach and Bauerle have the right to voice their opinions. Non-Sequitur—just move to another station.

    • And I have a right to call it what it is and to criticize it. Especially since they are publicly owned airwaves and very highly rated.

      • Alan I wouldn’t suggest anything less. Just as they have the right to broadcast what they want, any member of the public can criticize it and call it whatever they choose. What surprises me as you say they are very highly rated. If they suck that much, how can this be? Or is yours a minority opinion?

        • Hank: VERY simple reason…force of habit. People have been turning to WBEN for decades for news and information. Not what they have now.
          Me, I took WBEN off my car presets and put Toronto’s 680 News on instead. Yeah, it’s a Toronto station, but I can get my news fix from them or WBFO.

          On a side note: I’d REALLY like to see some other ownership group come in and give WBEN some true news-talk competition, not the half-assed one we have now where Entercorpse….sorry, Entercom…controls the whole news/talk arena where one side of bloviators(WBEN)is canceled out by the OTHER side of bloviators(WWKB).

          • This is so true. It’s like your favorite restaurant’s food starts to suck. Sure you can never go there again but hell, it’s your favorite restaurant. So you bitch and cajole, sometimes it works, sometimes you finally have to move on.

          • True, although it looks like some people are taking a very long time to move on. According to wikipedia, it was around the year 2000 that B&B both started at that station. So it’s been over well over a decade.

  • For podcasts I recommend Trending Buffalo as well as: Marc Maron’s WFT; Greg Fitzsimmons; Bill Burr’s Monday Morning Podcast and Jeff Garland’s By The Way. Joe Rogan often has great guests (see episode with Victor Conte [Balco] and any of the Shane Smith [Vice] episodes). But Rogan isn’t for everyone. If you like comedy add Comedy Bang Bang to you subscription list. Paul F. Thompkins does a great Cake Boss, Andrew Loyd Webber and Gary Marshall.

  • The trouble with “public airwaves” is they are rigged. Corporations have gobbled up stations so one or two control an entire region. I used to bitch to WBEN about the crap they spew but in the end it doesn’t matter.
    Good news though for those of us that find WBEN offensive, I heard from someone who would know that they all had to take pay cuts. Maybe it is a sign of better things to come.

    • It looks to me that your analysis disregards that some WNY residents do like Beach and/or Bauerle even though you think it’s crap. I tend to agree with your taste about them, but preferences of people who like them should matter as much as yours or mine.

      Here’s why I don’t think it’s at all “rigged”:

      The system of corporate owners does provide some competition and alternatives.

      For many years now (almost two decades, a very long time in radio) the Shredd & Ragan show on 103.3 is local talk 4 hours per day Mon-Fri. S&R aren’t at all similar to Beach or Bauerle, yet the corporate owners of 103.3 have been providing their show as competition with Entercom. Yeah S&R isn’t on during the same hours as Beach & Bauerle. Doesn’t matter.

      Also, WECK/1230 not long ago attempted competition with a set of local talk hosts who were also very different from Beach/Bauerle. WECK’s local owner decided it wasn’t attracting enough advertisers or listeners so he ended that format, but it was given an opportunity.

      Local radio doesn’t seem any more rigged than the Buffalo News having low quality left-leaning editorial writers and local columnists like Watson. If I bitched to BN management the same way you did to WBEN, I’d expect the BN to ignore me too. Some people might like BN writers who I don’t like or feel offended by.

      The BN has also had some salary cuts (buyouts of higher paid writers), by the way, so that happening might be just a general trend in mainstream media rather than indicating anything about any radio station.

      • Starr: Regarding S & R….yeah, but neither of them traffic in the type of talk that Beach and Bauerle do(ironically, Ragan used to work at WGR for a time when it was a news/talker). As for WECK: also correct, but some national talkers were also in the mix.

        • @ck
          True, WECK for national shows had Ingraham and Dennis Miller, but as I recall they also had even more local shows than WBEN – Riter, Mendola, O’Loughlin, and their morning drive team with Donahoe, plus local sports talk some evenings.

          It was a serious effort to offer a very local format that wasn’t at all Beachish-Bauerleish.

          As for S&R, I’m not seeing how what you wrote is a “but” about the type of talk? It looks in agreement with what I’d said (and Alan has said) that it’s an alternative. Maybe by “type” you meant they don’t have the same local topics on opposite sides as B&B? I don’t know what B&B focus on these days locally. But S&R do talk about local stuff quite a bit it seems to me – probably just a different mix of it than B&B usually do. If any of them tried talking about things they don’t have interest in, that would probably hurt quality.

          • Starr: An explanation…when I said “the type of talk that Beach and Bauerle do”, by that I meant that they don’t seem to traffic in the somewhat wild theories that Beach and ESPECIALLY Bauerle do(just look at the stuff Alan has in the past written about Bauerle for proof of that). And whereas where WBEN can’t fun fast enough to kiss Carl Paladino’s ring, S & R are willing to tweak him(a recent edition of Shredd and Ragan Theater is devoted to him).

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.