“No Hope For Ray?”


Ray Applesauce is going down.

For years Fresno’s reigning radio king on KMJ-AM, Ray Appleton has hit the skids.

The most recent ratings (7/21/14) from Nielsen Audio (formerly Arbitron) show that KMJ-AM, once a proud, unchallenged #1 broadcast facility and one of the nation’s leading News/Talk stations, has tumbled from what were double digit listenership figures just a short time ago to a soft 3.7% Total Audience Share, ranking them 9th in the market. That’s still better than KMJ’s little FM sister, KMJ-FM, displaying an anemic 0.5% overall measurement – good for a 20th place finish and pretty close to broadcasting in complete confidence.

Although it’s clearly unfitting to take pleasure in the misfortune of others, I can’t help but find substantial comfort in watching Ray take the plunge. While his professional presentation skills are major market quality — among the best I’ve ever heard — Appleton’s mindless, fawning, self-serving, client pleasing embrace of ultra-right wing Conservative ideology has been horribly disappointing and thoroughly disgusting. Here’s a guy who should really know better.

Having been removed from important morning programming and relegated to a three hour block from 11 AM to 2 PM, Appleton’s Obama-hating, liberal-baiting, nerve-grating diatribes have become dreary, weary and worn – but so has the rest of “Conservative Talk” across the nation.

KMJ AM & FM’s prime format competitor, Clear Channel’s KALZ-FM, inherited the once powerful Rush Limbaugh/Sean Hannity/Mark Levin/Glenn Beck “Power Talk” package in January of 2013. The new numbers place them only 10th in Fresno, right behind KMJ-AM with a 3.2% share, more than thirty percent down from last summer’s 4.7%.

Although no time for wild optimism, there seems to be a pronounced, provable swing toward radio sanity long overdue and warmly welcomed. What we see happening in Fresno is being echoed across the country with Rush, Sean, Mark and Glenn exhibiting free fall in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and elsewhere. The writing is on the wall, driven by stridently constant, thoroughly unsubstantiated, Henny Penny hysteria over The IRS, Benghazi, Fast & Furious, invading alien hordes, anything with the name Obama preceding or following it and the ever more mysteriously mesmerizing Agenda 21 – a Pandora’s Box of perplexing paranoia.

Fear mongering can generate a societal response clinically referenced as the “Chicken Little Syndrome”, a phenomenon inferring catastrophic conclusions that subsequently bring about political paralysis — a sense of despair or passivity ultimately limiting or abandoning meaningful action. The term dates back to the ‘50’s and has been universally recognized in various social contexts.

One needs only to reflect on the woefully inadequate achievements of our current Congress, particularly the Tea Party pounded House of Representatives, to witness systemic strangulation. If this bunch deserves their current five-week vacation, Rocket Raccoon should be Miss America. There’s Ted Cruz — the man who closed Yosemite with Tom McClintock — at it again last week in attempting to terminate meaningful handling of what everyone knows is a critical, life-threatening crisis on our southern border — in the process in tripping up both House Speaker John Boehner and a clear majority of thoughtful Republicans. Obstinacy is virtuous only to the obnoxious.

Yet cable viewing remains dominated by opinion confirming, politically soothing FOX News, expert at providing devotees with exactly what they want in offering a perfect, reassuring, continually non-threatening comfort zone. But Ray Appleton’s Nielsen-demonstrated demise just might prove to be a happy harbinger for American TV.

For what is television — but radio resorting to pictures?

2 Responses to ““No Hope For Ray?””

  1. JC Says:

    I agree that Ray Appleton and KMJ in general have lost touch with their audience. I am a conservative who grew up in the valley. I listen to KMJ because it covers topics relevant to the agricultural industry in the valley. Unfortunately, viewers who call in with a balanced perspective are quickly cut off. I actually called in today to discuss the current debate over vaccine requirements in public schools. Instead of being able to have a balance discussion of the various stakeholders in the matter, as well as some of the facts surrounding the issue, I was repeatedly asked to answer a leading question, the answer to which would have perpetuated the misinformation that Appleton was offering to viewers. I wish there was a station in the valley that provided balanced coverage of both fiscal and social issues, openly soliciting feedback from persons of both conservative and liberal backgrounds, as well as feedback from persons of varying socioeconomic backgrounds. Eventually enough advertisers whose decision makers themselves take a balanced view on politics will be turned off by the lack of intelligent, collaborative discussion, and KMJ will be reprogrammed with a better educated, more informative, thought-provoking programming lineup.

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