For the Record: Why I Voted for Cruz

It’s easy to trash Trump and his supporters. It feels pretty good, too. Unfortunately, it doesn’t do any good.

I’m going on record to say why I voted for Ted Cruz in the Nevada Caucus.

The most important issue for me is integrity. I know that Trump has a “Lyin’ Ted Cruz” narrative going, but I just don’t see anything to base that on. It started when some Cruz people said that Carson dropped out of the race after seeing a story about it on CNN. Ben Carson’s actions were odd, so he shares some blame for getting this fire started. The move for Carson to leave the campaign trail at such a critical time seemed odd, so when CNN kept saying it was “unusual” it was easy to make an incorrect assumption. Still, Cruz apologized for the misunderstanding even though he had done nothing wrong. Cruz took personal responsibility for something that was out of his control, which speaks for his integrity. Instead of accepting the undeserved apology and moving on, Carson and Trump used it as a political wedge to further their own campaigns.

Another thing Trump likes to bring up about “Lyin’ Ted” is the misreporting of campaign finances. Trump likes to paint this as a donation from Goldman Sachs that Cruz was trying to hide. This is not true. It was a loan from Cruz’s own investment account, which was included in one filing and omitted (accidentally) in another. I believe that Cruz’s explanation best fits the facts. Trump is clearly being dishonest in order to convince people that Cruz is bought and paid for by Wall Street while he is personally “self-funded”. Cruz gets money from Goldman Sachs, but this is not why Trump is attacking him. It’s about “Lyin’ Ted’s” misreporting. Trump is clearly in the wrong on this. (** More on this at the end.)

Division and enmity are some of the greatest challenges that our country faces. Democrats and Republicans. Trump and NeverTrump. Black Lives Matter and All Lives Matter. 99% and 1%. Everything about our culture is meant to pit people against each other. Often overlooked in this campaign is the relationship between Ted Cruz and Glenn Beck. Evangelicals like Cruz are supposed to hate Mormons like Beck. Yet Beck has been campaigning with Cruz for several weeks. The message they share together is this: the Constitution was inspired by God and our country can only be repaired by returning to the founding principles. That should be a unifying message for almost everyone. Even if you don’t believe in God, you likely believe that the Constitution is special and worth preserving. While Trump is driving wedges, Cruz is sharing a unifying message through both his words and actions. It doesn’t seem like much because Cruz and Beck make it seem natural, but when you consider that Romney was hated by evangelicals in 2012 you can begin to appreciate the Cruz/Beck relationship. (Google these four names for a reminder of the 2012 mess: Romney, Perry, Huckabee and Jeffress.)

As someone who loves the Constitution, Cruz is the best one to help save it. Trump only mentions the Constitution to talk about how he’s going to change it. I believe strongly that Cruz can be trusted to pick good nominees for the Supreme Court. He’s never done anything that makes me think he will weaken the already fragile life left in the Constitution. It doesn’t mean I agree with everything Cruz says or does, but I believe he recognizes that there is a Higher Standard that we our all beholden to. The Constitution is the best representation we have of that Higher Standard.

Finally, Cruz has shown that he will do what he promises even if it’s unpopular. Trump likes to say that Cruz is the most hated man in Washington. Good. I want the man who is willing to stand up by himself to do what’s right. I’m tired of people sacrificing their personal values for money and/or power.

Cruz’s opponents look like a bunch of confused octopi reaching for anything they can find to hurt Cruz. There are basically three types of attacks Cruz gets. First, ad hominem attacks like “everyone hates Ted” or “Ted is really unlikable”. Second, attacks based on lies. Third, attacks on Cruz SuperPACs. Personally, I’m not voting for a personality. I want someone who is honest and will treat the Office of President with dignity and respect. If someone hates the President because he won’t compromise his values then good. If people have to make stuff up when attacking Cruz then his core character must be pretty good. Finally, I don’t like some of the SuperPAC ads, but Cruz has nothing to do with those ads. There are legal restrictions about what involvement a candidate can have with a SuperPAC. If you have proof that Ted Cruz is violating campaign law then please make said proof available.

In a nutshell, that’s why I like Cruz. I can vote for a good man with whom I disagree sooner than I can vote for a dishonest man who says what I want to hear. Fortunately, I don’t have to make that choice with Cruz. He’s a good man with whom I agree on many – if not most – things.

** The Goldman Sachs issue tends to be the one that Trump supporters have latched on to. Even Ron Paul made disparaging remarks about Ted Cruz by saying that “[Cruz is] owned by Goldman Sachs.” I’m not aware of Cruz sacrificing his principles in order to help Goldman Sachs. If you have examples please let me know. Most importantly, why should this matter to the beacon of pure libertarianism, Ron Paul? Shouldn’t a private business be able to donate what they want to whomever they want? If Cruz votes to use taxpayer money to prop-up a failing business (TARP) then we can talk. As it stands, I see nothing improprietous in Cruz’s actions.

107.3 KNEWS Officially Launched – Glenn Beck Returns to Reno!

As reported several weeks ago, there is indeed a new news talk station in the Reno market. Shamrock Communications launched 107.3 KNEWS last week and the lineup looks pretty good.

Here’s the official lineup (courtesy of our friend “Ben”): Glenn Beck, Mike Huckabee, Michael Smerconish, Sean Patrick, Rusty Humphries, Clark Howard, Neal Boortz and Overnight America.

So, I’m excited out of my gourd over the return of Glenn Beck. People who have emailed me wondering about the whereabouts of Sean Patrick will love to see his return opposite Bill Manders and Dan Mason.

I don’t see a web page or anything on Facebook yet, so make sure you listen to the station and tell your friends. If you have a business, make sure you throw some advertising dollars their way. It will be interesting to have three right-leaning stations in Reno. Best of luck to the new station!

Glenn Beck, Sean Patrick to Return to Reno Radio? Oh, Sweetness…

So, as I abandon local talk radio that’s when things start to become interesting. KOH, the previously uncontested champion, has been slowly slipping away. The acquisition by Cumulus did little to stanch the bleeding. In fact, Cumulus may be exacerbating the situation. Or they might even have caused the situation.

99.1 FM Talk was doing well, but after a while they started to look like someone in the dark waving their arms around looking for a light switch. The vision for the station seemed to dim. Then again, I’m still bitter that they stopped playing Glenn Beck.

Speaking of… rumor has it that Glenn Beck will be making a comeback to Reno radio as soon as next week! Details are slim, but he will be appearing on a new station located at 107.3 on the dial. For those who have inquired about Sean Patrick’s whereabouts, I understand he may also be part of the lineup. An official annoucement is said to be forthcoming.

So, how does this affect the ailing KKOH? Or the station that you want to love but you’re never sure you’re being loved back? I’m all for competition, but in this market it’s clear that all the stations need to step up their game. This is definitely something that I can get excited about…

Free Prose – Nothing to Read Here

As the messages and comments continue to come in, it’s clear that Bill Manders continues to be a hot topic. Admittedly, I didn’t listen to Manders much when he was on KOH. Then again, I didn’t listen to KOH much at all. I’ve listened to Manders more since he came over to 99.1 FM Talk and I’m a little curious about where the vitriol toward him comes from. He has a wide range of topics and he discusses the topics intelligently. Whatever he may have been when I wasn’t listening, he doesn’t seem to fit the bill now. I think Manders provides a unique program and will be benefit to the station.

Now that I’ve said that, let me backtrack a bit. I’ve been a big fan and advocate of 99.1 for many years. I fell in love about seven years ago when they were KPTL-AM 1300. Sadly, I think I’ve fallen out of love with 99.1. If I had to identify the turning point, I would definitely say that dropping Glenn Beck was it.

I have a limited amount of time that I can listen to the radio on any given day. Work and family commitments dictate what I can listen to and when. When I listen I’m not listening to simply fill time or have background noise. I want to hear programming that I enjoy listening to. I think that the concept of DVR has changed the way we look for information and entertainment. Instead of surfing for something to watch, we record our favorite shows and tune everything else out. Although a bit behind the curve, radio is starting to offer a similar choice.

The spring radio ratings will be available in a little more than a month; the review period ends in a few days. Although the battle of the talks is very interesting, I wonder how many people are like me. There’s too much programming I don’t like and the programming I like is not on when I can listen to it. So, I turn off the radio and plug in to exactly what I want.

If you’re a Beck addict like me, send me a message. I’m curious to know if I’m the only one that essentially dumped 99.1 when they dumped Beck.

Also, I think that 99.1 is full of Ron Paul supporters.

Burned by The Blaze

I’ve always been a big fan of Glenn Beck and the wares that he peddles. TheBlaze.com is one of the products that I’ve loved since it was first launched.

Several weeks ago the site introduced annoying pop-up ads that jump out when you click anything on the page. They aren’t even good ads. They are generally those terrible ads with the dancing silhouette that loops over and over. I think it’s for insurance or something. (You know it’s good when you don’t even know what the ad is for.) The problem was solved easily enough by using Adblock Plus. But seriously, who still uses pop-up ads?! It’s a sure sign that you run a seedy site.

On Saturday I brought up the site and received a message that Windows Antivirus 2012 was trying to install. For those who have been hibernating for the past several years, this product is much closer to a virus that an antivirus. I contacted the support team at TheBlaze.com and received a message that included an apology and the following message:

We understand how serious this issue is. We have confirmed this is not coming from our site, but a third party site.

I’m not sure they realize that their site is responsible for all the content, including that of advertisers. The people over at The Blaze need to take a look in the mirror and do some soul-searching. I understand that this is a for-profit venture, but the product is being lost. A good idea is about to go up in smoke because of poor decisions.

Return of the Ratings

After a two-year hiatus from talking about the ratings in the talk radio market, it’s time to jump back in. Without me here to express my witless insight it seems like the stations are falling apart. So, here we go…

As of this week Bill Manders is back and new life is breathed into talk radio craziness. It’s not surprising that KOH has continued it’s downward slide; however, KKFT plummeted to it’s lowest point in over four years. All “talkers” stayed the same or dropped. This seems to be the case for other formats as well – the exception being adult contemporary. You wouldn’t be here if you cared about adult contemporary music, so on to the talk.

The graph below shows how each of the four talkers (KBZZ, KJFK, KKFT and KKOH) compare in the years since I’ve been watching the ratings. Up until the Fall 2011 ratings, KKFT had a fairly steady (albeit bumpy) climb while KOH steadily dropped. The last report shows a severe drop for KKFT. I’ve been criticized for calling the latest KKFT drop an anomaly, but the picture speaks for itself.

KBZZ (1270 AM) – KBZZ peaked during the SP08 review period with a share of 2.4. They had some fairly wild swings before leveling off at 1.2, which is slightly below their average of 1.46 between SP07 and FA11. The station dropped to .8 share for the period following the addition of Savage. In my opinion, the station is sort of a mutt. They aren’t all entertainment and they aren’t all politics. With such a weird mix, who is their target audience? Who cares?

KJFK (1230 AM) – Nothing new to report here. They have pretty much the same line-up they’ve always had. Their share is currently 1.6, which is just a smidgen above their average of 1.55. The station has found it’s niche and is clearly happy to maintain altitude.

KKOH (780AM) – KOH has gone from hurting to flailing. The station always seems to enjoy a bump in the fall ratings period; however, this time they dropped by almost a full point. For as long as I can remember, KOH has been top dog with a double-digit share. We are approaching a point where one of the music stations could overtake KOH, most likely KRNO or KWYL. It seems that KOH should have been a cash cow for Cumulus, but they’re certainly not taking advantage of it. Cumulus doesn’t even list KOH (or Reno, for that matter) on their list of stations. This is odd considering Cumulus now owns roughly one quarter of Reno’s market, including the number one station. The station has always had exceptional programming. Now, it seems that good programming is the exception. Although I’ve taken issue with some of the things Dan Mason has done, he does well as a show host.

KKFT (99.1 FM) – KKFT has me stumped. The station’s ups and downs painted a picture of a long and steady rise. Their share went up as KOH went steadily down. This last period they went from a 3.3 share to a measly 1.2, which is their lowest point in more than four years. The only thing that seems to correspond with this change is the addition of Sean Patrick; however, I cannot believe that Sean Patrick single-handedly drove two-thirds of the stations listeners away. The decrease could also be partially attributed to the general decrease in the number of people listening to talk stations.

Unfortunately, I think KKFT may be putting itself into a KOH-style tailspin. Dropping Glenn Beck will likely be disastrous, but we won’t know until SP12 comes out. On the other hand, I think the addition of Bill Manders is sheer genius. There are still a lot of people who don’t know about 99.1. These people now know there is another talk station besides KOH thanks to Manders. The downside is that Lars Larson has been pushed back and cut down to two hours. I consider Lars to be the station’s flagship program and this could affect the station negatively. The addition of Manders should be a net benefit, though.

With all the chaos between KOH and KKFT it will be interesting to see how they choose to fix the problem…

Intrigue and Change in Reno Radio: Part II

KOH is not the only station that appears to be looking for the right rhythm. 99.1 FM Talk has also been making a lot of changes. In April, the station upgraded to 50,000 watts and also added Sean Patrick to the lineup. Recently, the station dropped Glenn Beck and put Laura Ingraham on in his place. Time will tell whether these changes will help or hurt the station.

Regardless of what you think about the programs on 99.1 FM Talk, there is an overarching problem that I believe plagues the station: No one is really surprised when things change anymore. You just never know what programs will be on from day to day. And you never know whether the change is permanent or temporary. For example, the station was apparently flirting with Laura Ingraham when Glenn Beck was still on. It would be Glenn Beck one day, Laura Ingraham the next and then back to Beck again. And then it’s Laura Ingraham and it never goes back.

It’s too early for me to know what to think about Sean Patrick. It generally takes 3 to 6 months of listening before you can fairly judge a host. I rode my bike to work almost every day from April through September, so my exposure to The Sean Patrick Show is minimal. I will say that his show has improved since it started. He is definitely becoming more comfortable.

So, why does any of this matter? KOH seems to be struggling and the other talkers have an opportunity to grab listeners who are looking for an alternative. People who are disenchanted regarding the firing of Bill Manders will find the change to 99.1 quite comfortable. Probably more comfortable than listening to someone they perceive as being responsible for Manders’ departure, regardless of whether or not that is a fair perception.

While KKFT seems poised to win in the afternoon slot, I’m not sure why they dropped Beck. Laura Ingraham is good, but Glenn Beck is HUGE right now. He dominates the media in a way few others can. This was driven home a few days ago when I heard my mom complain that Glenn Beck was no longer on the air. She isn’t big on radio or politics, but she was discussing the change with her friends. My mom was talking about Glenn Beck.

I enjoy reading comments and blogs that mock KKFT. They always use current ratings to discount the station – they never look at the change over an extended period. Bob Hastings over at BATTLE BORN POLITICS made the following comment: “The closest News/Talk station in the Reno ratings is KKFT with paltry 3.3 rating.” Keep in mind that KOH has scored below their average in 7 of the last 9 ratings periods. KKFT is almost double their own average. And that’s even if you include the spectacular current rating in the average.

KKFT has a chance to kick KOH while they’re down. Consider that when I started tracking the stations KOH had more than 10 times the share that KKFT had. In the current period KOH has less than 3 times the share. You can call me clueless and mock KKFT’s “paltry” ratings, but the Reno radio landscape is changing.

From Bad to Worse

As the country prepares for a brutal assault waged by the enemies of freedom, tragic news strikes a little closer to home.

I feel as though I’ve been cheated on. As though I walked in the room to find the one I love with another man. I’m speaking, of course, about the additon of Michael Savage to 99.1 FM Talk‘s lineup. This change is particularly damaging because it seems that the scales are beginning to tip back to KOH. KOH will now feature Mark Levin from 6p to 8p, the same time slot that Michael Savage will be on 99.1.

I’ve been wrong about some hosts in the past. For example, at one point I referred to Lars Larson in a way that was not entirely flattering. He is now one of my favorite hosts, even though I struggle with his opinion on the Compean/Ramos situation. (I don’t disagree with him, I just have a difficult time forming a solid opinion because his arguments are good but they go against what everyone else says. Thinking for myself is hard.) I find that you often have to listen to someone for quite a while before you really get a feel for what they’re about. Another good example of that would be Glenn Beck. I’ve been listening to him for years and it’s only within the last several months that I’ve begun to get a feel for his depth. He likes to act goofy, but he’s extremely intelligent and dead-serious about the topics he cares about.

Michael Savage is the opposite. When you first listen to him you you enjoy hearing someone speak so bluntly about topics that matter. But then it’s gets old. He starts to sound like a bitter person who no one wants to be around because he brings everyone down. I think I gave him a pretty fair shot. I listened regularly for  quite a while when he first came to KOH (as long as I could take it) and I read his first book. His ideas are actually very good. I think most people would agree with most of his opinions. Unfortunately, he is just plain unpleasant to listen to.

So, KOH owns me from 6p to 8p. Mark Levin is the bomb. I’m sorry FM Talk. We can’t keep seeing each if this is how you’re going to treat me.