Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Of Tea Parties and Radio Wars

Jai Blevins, the primary organizer of the Tea Party movement in Tulsa, has an interesting blog posting. Seems he's getting a bit of an introduction into politics of radio, as well as the politics of politics.

Plans are for there to be three Tax Day Tea Parties in our fair city on April, 15. Two of the events, the rally on the Civic Center Mall from 11 AM to 1PM and the Veterans Park event from 5 to 7 PM will have a decidedly KFAQ feel, with Pat Campbell emceeing the morning event and Elvis Polo broadcasting his show from the evening event. Word is that Fox Radio personality John Gibson will be on hand for the morning event, too. Blevins has also asked me to speak at both of the events that he is planning and I have accepted.

But apparently, KRMG, who supplied the PA system for the first event in February, doesn't want to play with KFAQ, so Joe Kelly will be hosting the South Tulsa Tea Party at LaFortune Stadium from Noon to 2 PM. Blevin's reports that KRMG doesn't, "want to work with KFAQ on this. Why should we let KFAQ talk to our audience?"

Please understand, I no longer have a dog in this hunt. I don't work for either station. But I will say that having attended the first Tea Party at Veteran's Park, that at least two-thirds of the crowd were KFAQ listeners, so it seems that turn-abouts would be fair play.

Obviously both stations want to own the issue and the event. The opportunity to get face to face time with listeners in a positive event that goes right to the heart of conservative talk radio is too delicious to pass up. The fact that KFAQ (the upstart) continues to survive and chip away audience from KRMG (the Big Dog) has to be a continued irritant to the folks over at Cox Radio. If I were to define the differences between the two stations, given my two years in tulsa talk radio, I would say KRMG is the "status quo, chamber of commerce" station, while KFAQ has been the voice of the 'grassroots, no new taxes" activists. How many of KRMG's employees and on-airs do you think voted against the River Tax? Compare that to how many of KFAQ's you think voted for the river tax.

Obviously, KRMG wants to improve its gravitas with the grassroots. If it can do it using a national issue that is unlikely to bother its friends at the Tulsa Chamber, then all the better. The National Tea Party movement is a perfect opportunity to do just that.

So what are you to do if you're Jai Blevins or Cris Kurtz (the organizer of the South Tulsa Tea Party)? Obviously, you grab for any publicity and audience that you can get, hold your respective tea parties and then hold your respective noses when each of the stations rush to claim the movement as their own. In fact, having two competing radio stations in competition to out Tea Party the other guy should be viewed as a blessing in disguise.

How's that you ask? Well, by bringing in one of their national hosts for a Tulsa event, KFAQ is obviously raising the bar on KRMG. Will we soon be seeing an announcement that Neal Boortz or Clark Howard, who have shows that emanate from Cox Radio's Atlanta affiliate WSB, will be showing up at LaFortune Stadium?

Obviously, it would be best for the movement to have the two stations covering a single, mammoth event. You would get all the coverage you wanted, and have all the citizens in a single location at a single time. But let's remember part of what it is we're fighting for. We want a free market system based on capitalism and free of oppressive taxes. The free market is based on open and fair competition, and that's exactly what you're getting between Tulsa's two talk radio stations.

Ain't America grand?


Michelle said...

I heard a commercial KRMG is running basically taking credit for the last tea party. I was wondering how this was all going to work out with the several different tea parties. I really wish that we just had one big one where radio stations and tv stations covered them, but really it was about the people, not about radio personalities.

Tyson Wynn said...

I doubt Boortz will ever attend one. He has been fairly vociferous that he believes they are a waste of time.


His post mainly deals with mailing tea bags, but I have heard him discuss the tea parties on the air, and he's no supporter. He prefers directing the anger to action, especially support of the Fair Tax.

I'm not opposed to the tea parties...as a start. But if we protest and don't translate it to action, we'll miss the mark. And I, too, favor the Fair Tax.

Anonymous said...


Mike Mansur said...

You make a good point about having the two stations competing to "out tea party" one another being a good thing. The goal is to get as many people active and involved and to KEEP as many active and involved as possible and the publicity can't hurt.

Ultra Okie said...

Of course Neil Boortz is in favor of the fair tax. Afterall, he wrote a book about it. I agree we need simplification in the tax code and a tax system that is fair to all. would be a good way for Boortz to get the message out if we would attend events like the Tea Party and generate some discussion on the tax code, fair tax, flat tax, national sales tax, etc.

Seems odd to me that KFAQ, that is no proponent of downtown Tulsa, would have their Tea Party at lunch time in downtown Tulsa. I am sure they are banking on lots of folks that work down there showing up for a while at the Tea Party. For the rest of us, navigating downtown, then finding a place to park will be challenging.

Jeff Shaw said...

I question the motives of the radio stations. I would venture to say if they could get tons and tons of listeners doing a Karl Marx Party, they would do it. Radio stations shouldn't "own" a political point of view or listener-ship purposes, they should report.

Todd Autry said...

If that's the way KRMG wants to be, then I know which one I will be at! Can't wait for this and to see Chris speak!

Anonymous said...

Michelle, I heard the commercial KRMG is airing and you're right, they are taking credit for the tea party in February; however, they didn't organize it. Jai Blevins did. What they're doing is silly and it will come back to bite them.

Ultra Okie, There is plenty of parking at the courthouse, especially since City Hall has moved. There are plenty of metered spaces in the garage below the plaza and the big civic center garage only costs $5 for daily parking.

As for me, I'm sticking with the ORIGINAL Tulsa Tea Party and I am no longer a listener of KRMG. I plan to go to the courthouse at lunch and Veteran's after work. Mr. Blevins did an excellent job last time and I can hardly wait to see what he's got planned this time. Not to mention John Gibson will be there!

Joe Kelley said...

I attempted to post this reply to Jai Blevin's blog, but was denied as a non "team member."

Jai -

You have a very strong sense of entitlement and a decidedly anti-free market stance on the Tea Party. If your ‘competitor’ makes a better offer than you, we’re supposed to reject it why?

Not only have you cherry-picked which parts of our discussions you share here, I'm not entirely sure you actually believe in the movement.

Whining is so unbecoming of a professional of your reputation.

Man-up, Jai. Competition is good for the free market.

Joe Kelley

Jai Blevins said...

in response to joe kelly, i did not cherry pick our conversation, i copied and pasted directly from our twitter conversation. Also, the S. Tulsa Teaparty was NEVER our competition, in FACT, I was promoting them on my website before you even knew they existed, and i continue to do so. I have NOT called the downtown teaparty THE tulsa teaparty, as you are doing with your ads. I have encouraged as many events as possible, and you actually were against the idea of multiple events, because you were afraid it would "water down" the crowd size. I am much more interested in getting the word out about the TeaParty movement. Look at the www.tulsateaparty.org webste, and you will see info on 5 or 6 other teaparties in Oklahoma. Instead of trying to bill MY teaparty (it's not mine btw, it belongs to the people) as THE Tulsa TeaParty, I am directing people to the event that they can get to, no matter where it is. Your refusal to "man up" and deal with a direct head to head with KFAQ at all events, and KRMG's dishonesty in telling me they would mention ALL events is disappointing, to say the least.

Jai Blevins
former KRMG listener

Anonymous said...

It's truly sad to see Mr Kelly trying to ruin the Tulsa Tea Parties for his own personal reasons.

Please work together with all the other Tea Parties Mr Kelly and quit trying to draw attention to yourself at the cost of We The People.

Unknown said...

Did KRMG replace one pompous ass with another? Or is it just that after you are there for a certain amount of time it turns you into one of the Tulsa elite? I am sorry to the guy organizing the one KRMG will attend, but there is no way I will be attending that.

All they did at the one they are claiming credit for is show up with a PA system, correct?

Also, the KRMG morning show (the last time I heard any of it) is terrible. I can't even stand to listen for more than a minute. In fact, I haven't even heard any of it in a very long time because except from 12-3 on weekdays (and occasionally 8:30-12), my radio is on 1170.

Anonymous said...

This really makes me sad. It appears to me that Joe Kelly and/or KRMG is trying to divide this group for their own selfish reasons. The tea party's goal is the same no matter how many groups we have in Tulsa and we will continue to be united, not in competition with each other. The more of these groups we have the more successful we will be in achieving our goal. So what if there are more people at one than the other? So what if one station covers one and another covers the other? Why does KRMG have to turn this into a competition? My guess is that Mr. Kelly was a schoolyard bully and hasn't overcome that childish mentality yet. Must be feeling insecure and/or threatened for some reason.

Ultra Okie said...

You know, we are seeing here on a smaller scale the problem facing this great country of ours. Someone wants credit for this or for that, or something is someone elses fault but not theirs. Lets put this crap aside and come together for the good of this country. who gives a crap about who organized what and when. I bet the listeners of KRMG and KFAQ don't!! Put the egos aside, work for the greater good folks. while you all are bickering about who is to blame or get credit for specific events, the rest of us are going to work toward a better Amercia! God Bless America!

Jason said...

For those interested in continuing the effort after the tea party, please visit www.AfterTheTeaParty.com.

See you all there!

The Archivist said...

I think conservatives in general are resistant to grouping, and that probably plays into this a bit. When my job migrated me out from the Tulsa downtown, I celebrated. On Tax Day, for the first time in a LONG time, I'll be excited to get back Downtown.


Michelle said...

What some people consider bickering, others might consider standing up for what's right, to borrow a phrase. It is wrong for a radio station to take credit for what someone else did. Nobody is bickering with an individual anyway except Joe Kelley apparently, who works for what? A radio station taking credit for someone else's work.

Anonymous said...

Neil Boortz is now supporting the Tax Tea Parties. He originally stated that he thought they were a "waste of time" but has since reconsidered and changed his opinion. Boortz now thinks that any protest against taxes, including the Tax Tea Parties, are a good thing.

DavidS said...

I think many should expand their ability to learn facts by not listening to one source. Misunderstandings are easy to start when one doesn't hear it all on their own.

Tyson Wynn said...

Just wanted to come back and update my original comment. Imagine my shock last night when driving home from Tulsa listening to KRMG and hearing Neal Boortz doing a promo for the Tea Party and saying even he'd come around. So, though my original comment was true when I posted it, Neal has had a genuine (or Cox-is-your-employer) change of heart on the issue. Just wanted to set the record straight.

Anonymous said...

KRMG and KFAQ should be working together on this. I just posted a comment on their website about it. Chris, I miss you.