There’s an opportunity for a new generation of News/Talkers who can change the tone of what we hear, how we think, and most importantly, how we interact. Gone, or at least on their last legs, is a group of radio windbags who promote rage, eliminate discourse, and fan the flames of ignorance.
Brett Winterble is one of the hosts that can help us heal and promulgate dialogue instead of name calling.
Winterble’s show is heard Monday through Friday from 3-6 pm on News/Talk 1110 & 99.3 WBT. He spent nearly ten years as a Rush Limbaugh producer and began his show in 2008. He was extensively involved in rhetoric in high school and at Emerson College.
There, he was seduced by the Mrs. Robinson of his career choice– radio.
“I learned early how to win an argument,” Winterble said. “We’ve gotten into a culture now where populations have confused arguments with fighting. It’s occasionally a challenge to rewire conversations on my show.”
“I have strong beliefs, but I don’t identify as my political belief- alone. I am not my argument. If one starts to identify as their political belief, you cannot have a conversation and consider new information or evidence.”
“Emerson College has certainly upgraded in general during the past 25 years,” Emerson explained. “It was founded by Charles Wesley Emerson, originally an oratory school. The early enrollment was predominantly women.”
Winterble said in Hollywood; folks call it the ‘Emerson Mafia’ in Los Angeles, an alumni group on Facebook with nearly 17,000 members.
That’s got to be the most prominent non-violent organized family in the history of non-crime.
Emerson alums include Henry Winkler, Norman Lear, Jay Leno, Bill Burr, Dennis Leary, and Steven Wright. Get the sense that a lot of funny people went there?
Winterble studied political communication, which he said is a study in crafting messaging and argument. So in that curriculum, they start the students with classic stuff like structure, debate, and rhetoric.
“You could come out of that program and work for a political consulting firm. I went to that school to become a better debater, and I did. I still go back to this day. I’m invited to speak at various events. These are young, smart, people who can understand nuance.”
“There are different styles of talk radio; some talkers will say things because they’re trying to be shocking and well paid. Between the overuse of cellphones, shouting in the media, Twitter, the thought lines are deteriorating. This is harmful, especially for the future generations of communicators.”
If you turn back the clock a couple of decades, the big discussions on News/Talk were issues like taxation and charter schools. Today that seems quaint. Now, it’s an us against them mentality, a zero-sum.
Winterble said we risk raising a generation of feeble-minded kids unless we can teach them to persuade, create an argument and defend their positions.
“Without that, we are sunk. We need to teach them to communicate. I remember when Trump was running in 2020, and we had this hodgepodge of flags and hats. People would yell out slogans. They weren’t even assertions, and they yelled out a lot of stupid things. They didn’t mean anything.”
Angry people sometimes call Winterble’s show, livid about something, pure and angry. So he makes it a point to at least hear them out.
“I never hang up on them unless they’re throwing a racist comment or advocating violence. I won’t dump them. We’re going to have a conversation. It’s about owning up to who you are. I’ve done this for years. I try to explain to them how they could make a stronger argument. I tell them how I’d craft their thoughts, tell them ‘this is what I would do.’”
Oftentimes, the angry callers get quiet.
“We’ve got to take every one of them on. There are too many people shouting something, and then they run away.”
Winterble said there are a bunch of stylistic engagements with audiences.
“Hannity is an incredible talk show host. He engages differently than I do. Everybody has their own style. Ultimately, I always remember that have control of the dump button. I’m the host. If this thing goes sideways, I will jettison the caller. I don’t want to be a coward and hang up, telling myself, ‘they got to me.’ I’m on the radio. If I dump them, I’m not the one who’s running.”
When you’re trying to make a point on the air, Winterble said, you can push ideas to the point of absurdity. You are able to turn it up to 11 for entertainment purposes.
“I’m careful about how I talk to my listeners. In my daypart, I figure there’s the likelihood of kids being in the car with them. Some of my stuff will go over the kid’s head; some will go over the parent’s heads too. I like to have a healthy dose of sarcasm, and I do a lot of self-deprecating stuff.”
His mother was a legal secretary by profession. Winterble credits his mom with helping him choose a career path. At one point, he thought about going to law school. She asked why.
“My mother told me nobody is ever happy being a lawyer; people are always going to ask you for free advice. Become a talk show host on the radio. I thought, holy crap. She’s telling me to be a talk show host. She would listen to my show and call with her critiques. She told me what was strong, what was weak. It was good to get feedback from someone I could completely trust.
Turning to some news of the day, Winterble questions the offered excuse of the Biden administration for gas prices, both up and down.
“They said Putin was responsible,” Winterble said. “Now the prices have come down for 50 straight days; I have to ask, ‘why did Putin cut the price of gas?’”
We’re all well aware of the wild notions strewn about. There are a lot of assertions, such as January 6th, stolen elections.
“Where do we get the seal of approval that things didn’t happen as people say they did?” Winterble asks. “When we’re wrong, we have to at least be willing to say we’re going to exonerate people we accused.”
In Arizona, gubernatorial candidates have routinely said if they lose the election, it was rigged. That doesn’t sit well with Winterble.
“You have to ask why you are planning on losing?” Winterble said. “Why are you in the race? You can’t just take the offramp without driving up the onramp.”
On the flip side, he explained there are some real problems.
“I can take a picture of what I have in front of me and text it to you. I lived in San Diego, and I’m getting ballots from when I lived there. I live in North Carolina now. They’re getting these voter rolls from the California DMV and sending ballots to me in North Carolina. I haven’t lived in California in almost three years. There are problems with our voter integrity, but that’s not the same as claiming an election is rigged if you don’t win.”
In his personal life, Winterble spends time with his kids, cats, and three birds. The fish died. There is a noticeable absence of the best pet of all–dogs.
“To be honest, it’s hard to go on road trips with dogs. I grew up with German Shepherds, Huskies and I love dogs. They can also tear up the place when you’re gone. Cats don’t need me around. They’re self-sufficient.”
The man is funny, like a lot of his Emerson alum. Winterble studied at the workshops at The Groundlings & School in Los Angeles.
Winterble has written comedy bits and had the guts to do standup comedy.
“I wrote a bunch of parodies when I worked with Rush Limbaugh. That was more in my early days.”
He said writing comedy years ago was easier when considering today’s sensitivities.
“You’ve got to be more aware of what you’re saying. You must write with more double entendre. You can’t come out and give an audience a Richard Pryor type set from 1975. You have to go over the heads of the critics and some of your audience members. You have to be more surgical with your strikes. Think about it to get into it.”
Winterble was doing comedy in the early 2000s. He was in New York during 9-11, a time he said it was hard to be funny.
“There is a process to comedy,” he said. “It’s like a musician learning a song. You can try to improvise and make it your own. There is a formulaic way to do it. I tend to lean toward longer-form comedy stories. I don’t do one-liners.”
Got it. No Milton Berle, Carrot Top, or Henny Youngman stuff.
He said WABC held a comedy night at Caroline’s in 2002. He recalls a couple of comics that went on before him. One of them was the late Patrice O’Neal.
“He was a hilarious comic,” Winterble said. “He was what you might refer to as an ‘adult comic.’ He comes onstage in front of an older crowd in at Caroline’s. He was such an imposing, big man, and he started yelling at the audience, ‘laugh. Laugh right now, m********. Here he’s stomping around on stage, scaring these people. Heads were bouncing as he stomped around. It was amazing. He was just messing with them. I had to go on next, and that wasn’t easy.”
Winterble said he didn’t deal with a lot of hecklers. However, when someone was being obnoxious, he handled it well.
“I just kept going with my act. For the most part, that’s what I do. If I feel there is tension in the room, I continue with my act and figure they will eventually realize they are the idiot and shut up.”
Aside from talk, Winterble knows sports. Especially the NBA. He describes how the game has changed since the days of post-up players like Jabbar, Ewing, and Barkley.
“It has been reduced to a 3-point game,” Winterble said. “I want to see some physicality in the paint, but all we’re seeing are snipers hitting threes. Either the 3-point shooters are ice cold and boring, or they’re tearing it up. I understand things change, but they are destroying the game.”
Maybe a four-point line? Raise the rim?
Winterble was a host on KFWB in LA when they flipped to sports, and operated as The Beast 980, the flagship for the Clippers. He added that he thinks sports talk is the much harder end of talk radio. “You have to keep track of all the stats and injuries.”
We talked about how Florida is filling vacant spots with former military personnel with no teaching experience. They will be allowed to teach kindergarten through high school.
Thanks, Florida. This is going to be fun to watch. The circumstances caused Winterble to recall a joke.
“There’s a retired Marine who decided to become a teacher of history at a high school,” he began. “His class was comprised of students in their junior year. Like most kids that age, they were messing around. Talking and basically being a pain. When the teacher/ex-Marine sat down, an open window caused his tie to go up and over his shoulder. The kids went crazy, laughing, making fun of the man. The ex-Marine calmly brought the tie to his chest, grabbed a stapler off the desk, and stapled the tie to his chest. The room fell deadly silent, and he never had a problem with discipline again.”
Jim Cryns writes features for Barrett News Media. He has spent time in radio as a reporter for WTMJ, and has also served as an author and former writer for the Milwaukee Brewers. To touch base or pick up a copy of his book: On Story Parkway: Remembering Milwaukee County Stadium, available on Amazon, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
SiriusXM, Law&Crime Network Expand Partnership
SiriusXM and the Law&Crime Network are expanding their partnership as it will now be available on the satellite broadcaster’s streaming platform.
SiriusXM and the Law&Crime Network are expanding their partnership. The network which was created by host Dan Abrams will now be available on the satellite broadcaster’s streaming platform.
According to Radio Insight, the network’s programming will be heard on channel 793 carrying simulcasts of the TV network’s daily trial coverage and true-crime programming.
“We have been talking with SiriusXM for years about a Law&Crime channel that would bring compelling trial coverage and crime content to the platform, so it’s really exciting to see this come to fruition,” said Abrams.
Law&Crime is dedicated to exploring the always intriguing world of the law while offering original crime stories and legal programs to a broad, multi-platform audience.
“I’ve loved being part of the SiriusXM family and am thrilled to be expanding our collaboration,” Abrams added.
Law&Crime broadcasts live trials along with expert legal commentary and analysis delving into the intricacies of the judicial system.
Law&Crime (channel 793) is available to subscribers nationwide in their cars and on the SXM App. Abrams is also the host of The Dan Abrams Show from 2-3 pm ET on SiriusXM P.O.T.U.S. channel 124 as well as the host of Dan Abrams Live on NewsNation.
Ryan Hedrick serves as the Assistant Program Director and Co-Host of the Morning News Express at WFMD. Prior to WFMD, he hosted an afternoon program at News Talk 103.7 FM in Chambersburg, PA. He has worked at Sirius XM in Washington D.C., WBEN in Buffalo, NY, and for stations in Baltimore, MD. He has also worked at WIBW-AM in Topeka KS, earning the Kansas Association of Broadcasters (KAB) award for Major Market enterprise reporting in 2016. To connect with Ryan, find him on Twitter @SureToCover.
Ron Roberts Joining AmericaOne Radio
“The talk radio format is saturated with conservative voices, with the industry having little to no room for a reasoned response from a liberal/progressive perspective,” says Roberts.
Ron Roberts is joining AmericaOne Radio in Atlanta.
The Ron Show will air weeknights at 5:00 PM on the city’s progressive outlet. Roberts says he’s happy to offer a counter to the conservative domination of talk radio.
“The talk radio format is saturated with conservative voices, with the industry having little to no room for a reasoned response from a liberal/progressive perspective,” says Roberts. “My aim is to bring some balance to the dialogue by adding my voice to the fray. I’m a lifelong southern liberal, and know, from my travels throughout the southeast, that there are a lot more of us out there being drowned out by all the shouting from the other side. My goal is to provide a platform for them, and to rationally spell out how our nation’s problems are solvable with substantive ideas and conversation, instead of demonization and division. Make no mistake, though; I’m not holding back punches and I’ll call out bullshit when I see it, too. The future of this country, democracy in general, and the world on the whole, are all on the line.”
Roberts, a 25-year radio veteran, will make his first entry into talk when his show premieres today.
Launched in 2020, AmericaOne in Atlanta airs several left-leaning shows. The station bills itself as bringing “a Progressive voice to the overly crowded radio landscape.
Joe Salzone is a news media writer for Barrett News Media. He’s a native of Long Island and has been involved in the radio industry since he was 16 years old. Currently, he serves as the News Director for the Cayuga Radio Group and hosts Ithaca’s Morning News on WHCU. His radio career has included stops at SiriusXM, Galaxy Communications, WGBB, WNYG, and the Finger Lakes Radio Group. He can be found on Twitter @JoeSalzone.
Mike Gallagher Raising Funds For Hurricane Ian Relief
“This is what radio does best: opening the hearts and wallets of listeners to help fellow Americans they will likely never meet,” Gallagher said.
Mike Gallagher spent his Monday radio show broadcasting from various locations around southwest Florida after Hurricane Ian ravaged areas of the region last week.
Gallagher has partnered with Food For The Poor, a non-profit relief organization, to bring flood relief and hurricane emergency kits to areas affected by the Category 4 storm.
“This is what radio does best: opening the hearts and wallets of listeners to help fellow Americans they will likely never meet,” Gallagher said. He spent a portion of his show broadcasting from a car dealership in Venice, Florida, which saw several automobiles damaged by falling trees, power lines, and debris.
A Tampa resident, Gallagher was forced to relocate his show to New York last week to remain on the air as Hurricane Ian barreled down on the Florida coast.