Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Mailbag produces insight

It took learning it first-hand, but it seems to me that reports of radio’s death were premature.

Thank goodness.

Really, I was under the impression that I-pods were be taking over the world. (As for me, I use my 12-year-old’s I-pod. I would never buy one, because I’m too cheap. Anybody who knows me knows that.) But didn’t I hear on CNN and Fox News and WALB and even on the elementary school TV station that I-pods and mp3s and satellite radio and even Rush Limbaugh being on television meant that radio was dead and buried?

My, how I hope those same pundits are calling for Willie Adams’ re-election this fall.

Listeners to “our little radio show” -– as host Matt “Batman” Patrick calls it -- are popping up from every direction. Just today, much to my delight and certainly to my surprise, I learned that our family physician listens to the show. Now, that’s validating. I mean, how valuable is the doc’s time? And he spends some of every single weekday listening to Matt and I? Holy smoke.In addition to the number of and quality of our listeners, another surprise to me – the radio newbie – is that it’s OK that we’re not getting tons of calls on Wake Up Albany. After all, Albany is Squawksville, where citizen input is nearly always anonymous (which delights Albany city officials, by the way).

Still, we are getting amazing feedback –- and some of it even is on the record by real, live people who aren’t afraid to associate their first and last names with their perspectives. Imagine that. Some of the feedback challenges us – well, me – because I’m the one on the show who stirs stuff up. I’ve got to tell you, though: I CRAVE feedback like that of Evan Chelini, who takes issue with some of my stance against ultimate fighting.

I respect countering perspectives, and – more often than not – I become more enlightened when I hear it. Thanks, Evan, for listening, for being respectful, for inviting dialogue, and for not insisting that we settle things in the ring.

I’ll be talking to you in the morning – and seeing you on Sept. 5, which you join us in the studio for a discussion.

Meanwhile, here’s some of what’s in my Wake Up Albany e-mailbag.

“I listen to your show every morning on my way to work at a downtown senior center. Would love to hear someone talk about the problems that our local (seniors) are experiencing at this time. Funds for transportation (both meals on wheels, and congregate) were cut severely for the ’08 fiscal year. Our local politicians seem to just bury their heads in the sand about this problem. Our district alone has lost between $200,000 and $300,000 in funding and we are in desperate need for some help. I’m hoping that maybe if you could address this problem on your show, people would be more aware of what is going on." -- Angelika Smith (

“First of all, I can only guess what convinced you to refer as any combat between two people as 'cockfighting'. Those kinds of statements tend to display a certain level of either blatant ignorance or an ill-researched topic, for someone in the employment of a news delivery agency, I can only hope it is the latter. However, do not take this message as a personal attack from any angle. This is just something to make you aware of the number of differences between what you see in bars and what the influx in Albany that is actually happening. For years, the International Sport Combat Federation has been hosting events in the Georgia/Florida area. They have maintained a steadfast policy on rules and regulations that always keep in mind the safety of the fighters given the circumstances of the sport itself. The rules ( and the disqualifications policy should in their own right distinguish between the events that have been ‘stewing in your heart and mind.’ In closing, I do agree with you that the average Albany (nightspot) lacks the capability to hold anything close to a sanctioned mixed martial arts event. However, a little understanding should be given to the sport that I, myself, and many others have come to know and love. I welcome a reply and discussion."Evan Chelini (

"I am so glad that someone has finally taken this station in hand to do something with it. There has been so much potential and so little done. I really like your program in the mornings, but I have one HUGE beef. The signal is so weak that I can even pick it up until I almost get to the Cooper Tires factory. I love talk radio and I never listen to music. If you had a stronger signal, I’d listen to you at home (I live in worth County and can’t pick you up there.) I’d also buy advertising for my little business. (I scan slides and photos and put them on DVDs, create/public books for people, and make PowerPoint presentations for businesses. But your signal is WAY too weal. We REALLY need a strong talk radio station for ALL of Dougherty County and the surrounding counties. Hope you all can get that signal stronger! Oh, and are you going to fix your Website so that we can listen to you online. That would be helpful as well. Thanks for what you do."
– Jeanine Gibbs (