Wednesday, December 31, 2008

McEnroe RIP

Colin McEnroe – radio talk show host, columnist, former religious reporter for the Hartford Courant, and a member of the illuminati – is now off the air, and there are grumblings right and left.

A fan writes in the Courant:

"I am inexpressibly SHATTERED by the unforeseen and unforgivable loss of Colin. What is wrong with those MORONS at WTIC? Can they not recognize the sublime genius and JOY that is Colin? Please, oh please, BARRAGE them with "Bring Back Colin" missives to: 10 Executive Drive, Farmington, CT 06032.
Talent of his caliber does NOT come along very often in one lifetime, and I deplore and despair loosing this tremendously precious human being.
Say it ain't so...SCREAM it ain't so…God Help Us...And GOOD RIDDANCE to STUPID, BORING, and TRAGICALLY MYOPIC WTIC."

The contras were legion, brief, brutal and short.

But Colin’s talents cannot be denied. He has flair with the language and a ready wit. And then, of course, there is his saving friendship with Bill Curry, Connecticut’s version of Adlai Stevenson.

The Colin McEnroe show was better than most liberal offerings and lasted longer than most. Why people make the decisions they do in talk radio and television are often inscrutable, but McEnroe’s leave-taking probably had something to do with ratings, the bane of artists everywhere.

The grand-daddy of talk show hosts is, of course, Rush Limbaugh, who established the talk show template decades ago. Everyone on the left who has attempted to follow that template has suffered the fate of McEnroe, who was best when he was not talking directly about religion of politics, all of which suggests that liberals, to be successful in talk-show land, should create their own templates. The Limbaugh template succeeded, in part, because it was a refreshing change from the same old, same old liberal commentary one finds in the now much despised Main Stream Media.

What a successful liberal radio talk show template would look like is anybody’s guess. It could not be an echo chamber of the incoming liberal Obama administration. The president elect has his own abundant cheering section, and talk show banter is most effective when it is not upholding the current regime.

When he was not sitting across the phone with a conservative or libertarian, McEnroe was a fine interviewer. He was not able to handle his opposite numbers with the flair of, say, a Bill Buckley, perhaps the best interviewer since Socrates. In the age of angry bloggers and half mad radio talk show hosts, perhaps the Buckley template is something of an artifact.

In any case, it is to be hoped that McEnroe does not deflate altogether. There is a place for such, somewhere, in Media Land.
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