February 21, 2005

Fisking Nick: Minute By Minute

I'd like set the stage for you.

I'm going to be fisking the Coleman show on two levels.

On the one hand, I'm going to be going after the content itself - the fallacies in his statements and assumptions. These will appear in black.

I'll also be going after his, and his producer's, errors in basic radio technique, the "Radio 101" stuff that separates real radio people from amateurs who are living out the Peter Principle and indulging their and their management's delusions of grandeur relevance on the public airwaves. Comments related to radio technique will appear in blue.

Click on the link below, and we'll get started.

7:21AM- The stream is coming in very badly - and I can't get the show on the actual radio at all. He's ripping on NASCAR - the race goes to "whoever had to go to the bathroom the least". THe fact that there was an american flag and a bunch of "right wing icons" present seems to be bothering him. "I could drive 500 miles in that kind of time".

07:29: He's at least learned to identify his station. On radio, you're supposed to identify your station, or show, or frequency, or something every time you come into or out of a break; it's the stuff that cues people with ratings diaries what to write down. The times I'd heard him so far, he had not identified himself or the station. So he's graduated from remedial radio to Radio 101. Congrats, Graduate!

07:35 - The stream is driving me nuts. I'm trying to get the show on my radio; it doesn't seem to WANT to bring it in. Maybe it knows something I don't.

07:36 - The stream just died. I'll have to try to bring it dinky signal in on my radio now. Media player is "Buffering". Or maybe "suffering", it's hard to tell.

07:38 - Logged into the stream again. It lasted precisely four seconds before it cut out.

07:44 - I found a radio that picks up AM950 - if I turn it on its side and put it on a shelf.

07:46 - Finally got him. He's complaining about his headphones. Notes that it's day 16 or whatever - "We're getting to the point where he have to admit we're doing the show". Isn't that part of a 12 step program? He's reminiscing about being a paper boy. I've heard the show four times, and I think I've heard paper-boy talk twice.

07:49 - His initial attraction to the newspaper business is was sticking his hand into the bundle of fresh newspapers to warm them up. He's talking about his Schmidt column. "Did you read that?", he asks his producer. "No".

Timing would seem to be everything. When the stream went down, he was yakking about Bush not being "the real leader" (or some such). Now, he's just recapping his column from last week - and an innocuous one at that.

07:51 - A shot at the new minnesota, amid his homily to the old flashing Schmidt letters! "Back then, people didn't get up early to go to their jobs in Eden Prairie". Maybe if we put up a wall at the Mendota Bridge to keep people from leaving...

07:52: Two lessons: "I could stay warm in the newspaper business, and Beer was important.". He's still talking about the sign. Which is fine, but about as innocuous as they come.

07:53 - takes a break. "It's seven-fifty-three on Air America Minnesota". Someone must have had a word with him - but it sounds like he's still not entirely sure what he's saying. Winging it. Write your break lines down, or memorize them, or something; you sound like you have no idea how you're getting out of the segment, Nick.

I'm going to list sponsors - not because I want them boycotted (like I have that kind of clout) but so we can tell what grade of sponsors they have.

  • "Foreign Service" car repair shop
  • Tempurpedic Swedish Mattress - it's a network spot. More later.

07:55 - U2 as a bumper, again. As Bono himself asked, "How long, can this go on...?"

07:56 - Did you know that they have a post office at the airport. "Don't you feel lke you're going to get taken out by an anti-terrorist missile?" Producer: Isn't it at Ronald Reagan International. What have we named after Ronald Reagan? Producer: "A pile of dog poo in my back yard". The "producer" sounds like he's still wrestling with puberty. He must be cheap.

07:57 Noting the price of the USS Jimmy Carter - "That's why Hindrocket has torpedo envy".

07:58 - He's dinging on submariners. "That can play with your mind. You have the hot cot thing going on there". Asks "Why are we building 3.2 billion dollar submarines now? It's like Jimmy Carter could have said you can name it for Hindrocket, or Ronnie Reagan". He says the sub can carry fifty nuclear missiles - he's wrong, of course, it carries 48 torpedoes. "He doesn't deserve the slimy right wing attacks...but what about 3.2 billion dollars in housing..." He's sounding like he thinks Carter has some control of that. They played the "Rocket" sounder - hey, that's the kind of promotions you can't buy!

08:00 - U2 is the "Break Bed" - the song they play as they go to break. Coleman didn't do an ID - which is more or less OK, since they just played a recorded ID in this case, but it's just a tad sloppy.

08:01 - the Air America newscaster notes that Hillary! has been breaking ranks with the rest of the Democrats on Iraq. It seems to confuse the newscaster - or make him expect that it'll confuse Democrats. He refers to taLON news. Bet Nick comments on this.

08:03 Ad

  • Chrysalis - a women's shelter/program clearinghouse. We'll talk about this later.
  • Carpet Network.
  • Animal Ark Sounds like a Public Service announcement (PSA). Running PSAs on morning drive - sales must be going well.

08:06 - Bumper, "Beautiful Day", same as the breakbed. I like U2, too, dude, but it's kinda overkill. Playing gamewith myself, guessing the next U2 song. I pick "Sunday Bloody Sunday".

He's playing too much of the song. Takes too long to establish the rhythm of the show.

08:07 - "What's with the Hillary Clinton thing? She's over in Iraq..she's talking like Rummy!...the insurgency is's her light at the end of the tunnel moment!...she's acted like she's alittle loopy since [she fainted]". Producer notes she sounds like McCain - did I call this above, or not? Woo Hoo!

"Hillary is trying to position herself as a neocon Democrat! This is why I refuse to drink the Democratic koolaid...they're not fighting back...not fighting the enormous resources of the right wing noise machine". "Nobody's going to vote for them". Not that Nick's not trying. Did you know Nick is nobody's monkey?

Hey - I haven't heard "Monkey" yet. I heard it four times in one minute two weeks ago. Did someone have a talk with him, or is he reading all the derision he's getting for it?

Producer notes that Hunter S. Thompson "really messed up my head" as a teenager. Hm.

Coleman: "Did you ever have any worries about your feet?" Ties into JD Salinger's "Nine Stories". It's 8:11, and we're not into a topic.

"If a guy can go around half naked, why can't women?" Hmmm. You wanna take that, Saint Paul?

08:11 - FINALLY into the Gannon/GOOkert. "The more you know about htis, the more disturbing it ". we'll see if they know anything... Talking of connection between Guckert and Karl Rove.

"What were they staying on PowerSTOOGE?".

08:12: They're reading from Powerline, the "PowerStooges". "They got no objection to the fact that he was a gay hooker" I can't actually find the post they're reading. Anyone?

08:14 - Coleman is talking about GOOkert's presence at a leadership institution. "Guess who else went? KARL ROVE!"

That's their big tie!

Guess what, Nick Coleman - I went to the same college as Dick Armey! Thirty-five years later, of course- but I guess that makes me a key player in the Contract For America!

And this comes from where? Name your "source", Nick!

"He's older than Gannon - he could have taught him a lot...", snicker snicker. We've had a few minutes of yuks over the whole gay thing.

His big smoking gun - although they went to this institute at the same time, the conference brags about the connections. He's saying that Guckert's credentials came from Sara McClendon dying hand on her deathbed - proof please? Didn't McClendon have a hard pass?

COLEMAN: "By the way, the fact that he's gay has nothing to do with it!". Coleman says this after five minutes of gay jokes, emphasis mine. This is amazing - they've been tittering about GOOkert's sexuality for ten minutes now, like a couple of guys in a junior high locker room, and now it "has nothing to do" with it? Hm. Ever heard of "Tape", Nick? If these guys were conservatives, the press would be up in arms.

For five straight minutes, Powerline has been as prominent as Guckert. The Powerguys should pay AM950 for the free pluggage.

PRODUCER: The reason the PowerStooges are into this is they're the same thing, minus the prostitution!". Really?

He elaborates: "They're phony journalists on a phony story". Producer sounds like he's shooting spittle onto the mike. He sounds like a chipmunk on a bad day. There's a reference that'll separate the wheat from the chaff, Twin Cities radio trivia-wise.

Bails out to break fast. 08:18 - Break.

  • 1-800 Divorce - a McLaw Firm.
  • Larry King for Ester-C. It's a network spot - they have to play it to pre-empt Marc Maron's network show, the station makes no money from these spots.
  • Oreck Vaccuums - sounds like another network spot..

08:20 - More U2, "Sweetest Thing". Sigh. He's talking about the weather. Fine, but that's right out of two breaks now. Which is fine, if you've got anything to add.

He's commenting on how the National Weather Service wire feed sounds scary. Good that he knows stuff.

Back to GOOkert/Gannon. "The right wing, completely silent". Does nick actually read right-wing blogs? We've been debunking the story all along. "How do you imagine they'd be casting this sotry if he were a Democrat?" I dunno - you think we can rip on gays? If any right-wing blog or talk show spent the time tittering about someone's orientation, there'd be a nastygram from someone faster than you can say "Right Wing Noise Machine".

"He was a pawn, a stool pigeon (?), a stooge, a partisan plant..." OK, Nick - so you have any evidence? You keep talking about this as if it's a known fact...howzabout you favor your audience with the "Facts" you have, but can't quite seem to divulge on the air?

He's noting that GOOkert has a "local echo" - he "worked with" the "Right wing blogs" in South Dakota. He's talking about the local connection. "The right wing blogs did nothign but attack the mainstream media. Then they established themselves a the source of scoops on the campaign. Then after they [tore into] Daschle...guess who was a huge part of all this?...uhhhhhhhhh....Jeff Gannon!" So what's the local connection?

If you listen to (and heaven forfend, believe) Coleman, you think John Lauck was on the GOP payroll. Not quite true - or as we say, a "lie".

"He's the guy from Texas in Washington who was sending dirt and publishing lies about the mainstream media and Tom Daschle...filling the airwaves and blogwaves with filth and fiction (it sounds like Coleman thinks GOOkert had a radio show) against anyone that'd stand up against Daschle in his election campaign".

Did Guckert/Gannon have a radio show? Anyone?

He wants to talk with someone from the Argus/Leader, to get the "Truth"! Hahahaha!

He's tying the SoDak Alliance of Blogs to the NOrthern Alliance - like we're the same thing, reporting to the same boss. He's onto us!

"It's about how do you trust the mainsream media when you have hookers embedding themselves in the news media?" Hm. Good question, Nick- I agree! I don't trust 'em, and it's the likes of Helen Thomas and John Roberts and, yep, Nick Coleman that've done it. By the way - is that quite how you wanted to ask that question?

08:30 - News. Spots at :31

  • PSA for the Corn/Soybean Growers/Minnesota Livestock growers.
  • Another Ester-C spot. It's network.

08:33 - Woo Hoo! The Pogues instead of U2! Although it's one of their "Revolutionary" songs. Yoo hoo, Nick! You're in America! Leave your squalid anscestral squabbles back in the old country. And remember, my anscestors pillaged, looted, terrorized and dominated your anscestors.

"Every day there's a revelation of what's been done in our name that's hideous and horrible. I think a lot of people dont' want to look at it...I don't hink anyone's paying enough atention. Gotta take in the warsh, watch the all star games, watch the Daytona 500..." Yes, we proles are a simple lot...

He's talking about Abu Ghraib, and an AP investigation. Let's see if he ties this abomination to the "Right Wing Noise Machine", or "PowerTool"/"PowerStool"? The producer and engineer are joking. "Did you order the Code Red?" Is this your first job, kid?

"Where is the outrage? Where is the iterest? I think it's the dumbing down of America continues (sic)'s Jimmy Carter...when the Powerstooges call Jimmy Carter a traitor, slime lhim like a commie stool or kissing/whipping boy, some kind of closeted commie, this isnt' just an attack on Jimmy Carter - this is intimidating of a fascistic kind that is meant to make people shut up in this have any voices are ment to seem like crazy people".

Really? I had no idea we bloggers were that powerful. Quoting Maher about the survey that supposedly shows high school kids favor censorship: "Where it's coming form is that you can place a right wing stooge...a right wing prostitute..."he's swerved back into Gannon.

So people are apathetic about Abughraib because Jeff Gannon went to the same leadership institute as Gannon/GOOKert? "And the next thing yo know, this WHORE is sitting in the white house!"

He's quoting the "speculation" that Karl Rove is behind getting GOOkert into the White House. So, Nick - can you get some beef behind the speculation? You being a big journalist and all?

And for the third time since I've had the show tuned in, he says that right wing bloggers "are silent" about Gannon/GOOKert. No, Nick - we've covered the story, and especially the gaping inconsistencies in the left-wing horde's take on the story. And we've noted why it's a story - to draw attention from Eason Jordan.


  • Carpet Network again. Sounds local - I get they're getting paid. Note to self - buy carpet elsewhere.
  • Denorex. Another network spot.

08:44 - Sunday Bloody Sunday! Only one break off!

Reminiscing about shaking hands with the president. "No not going the bathroom", actually meeting JFK at age 10.

Producer was at the Nobel Peace Conference. Proud of having gotten a "Partial Hug" from Jimmuh Carter.

No phone calls so far.

They're talking about the Presidents they've met. Really, really dull.

08:48 - I've noticed that they're averaging about one local , paying spot (I suspect) per break. Four spots that bring in any revenue per hour. How long can they keep this going? Unless you have George Soros backing you, of course. Seriously - I'm seeing one spot per break/four per hour at the most - that can not be a good sign for their bottom line.

08:49 - Napoleon Dynamite. "The dirtiest Mormon movie I've ever seen". And on, and on. He can identify with Mr. Dynamite being "So surly, so angry". Hm.

08:50 - Spots

  • Carpenter's Union. If I'm a carpenter, I'm wondering why my dues are going to this operation. It's an oddly defensive-sounding spot - "There's ntohing wrong with caling myself a craftsman, is there?"
  • Shakopee/Mdwakanton Sioux spot against state gaming. That's two local spots in a break! Party time!
We're almost done with the show, and I don't think I've heard him complete one complete, coherent thought.

Back with more Pogues.

08:53 - He's admitting to have not seeing "Miracle On Ice". Talking about the bad reception he had of the 1980 olympics while in Rochester. Fascinating stuff.

08:55 - an almost human moment, reminiscing about Herb Brooks. First moment of the whole show that doesn't ooze either condescension, hatred or selective half-truth...

vIt seems like they've vamping. And vamping. I mean, is the Miracle On Ice really a timely subject right now Seriously - he's wandering among topics with aimless abandon. If I were going to call (as if), I'd have no idea where or when to call in.

Hasn't given out the phone number, he's been dilatory about IDing the station the whole show - the whole effect is confusing and - I think the word is appropriate - aimless.

Talking about getting knocked over on the ice by an Olympic Gold Medalist...

08:58 - Back to NASCAR. He's ripping on the product placement in the winner's circle. This may be the least graceful vamp I've ever heard. He's trying to do a Jeff Gordon impersonation.

Goes out with a Rebel Yell. "The dumbing down of america, but we're standing up for the truth..."



Beautiful Friggin Day. Again.

Speaking as a radio guy - it sounds like the whole show was very, very badly prepped. It sounds like he had a couple of Gannon/GOOkert talking points and some facile, culturocentric japes at Daytona jotted down, and figured he could vamp on that for the whole time. He meandered from Daytona to submarinest to GOOkert to Powerline to newspapers to the Schmidt sign to Hillary Clinton back to GOOkert to Hockey and back to Daytona, pretty much by whim, not based on any apparent planning or programming motivation.

Here's the deal; a good talk show treats a topic, or an interview, or anything really, like a story. Something that has a beginning, a middle and an end. People - humans - recognize and move to patterns, and feel comfortable when there is a pattern to be found. A topic should have a beginning (explication, some facts, some actual meat for the audience to sink its teeth into), a middle (discussion, calls, some ebb and flow) and an end (a wrap up before you move on. It's not that different from a column, if you think about it (and by all means DO think about it, Air America Twin Cities - that sucking sound is talking to YOU!)

Speaking apolitically, just as a radio guy, the show sounded aimless, drifting on the whims of Nick Coleman's fancy. Which may hold people enthralled in the newsroom, but this is radio. Listen to some real talk show hosts - Limbaugh, Hannity, Hewitt, Medved, even the NARN - there's some structure to the show. Which takes preparation, or at least some discerning thought about how the show is supposed to go.

This is not just noodling; morning drive is a time when the average listener is tuned in for 25 minutes. You have to reset your audience at least that often, but more than that, you have to make someone that tunes in for 25 minutes think that they've spent that time well - or they'll tune over to something that does.

It sounds like the only real prep that went into the show was the names that Coleman and his "producer" called people, and the lame-o "Rocket" sounder. It sounds like the only genuine radio knowledge involved in that station is...gone with the previous management? Seriously - this stuff is Radio 102. Any competent major-market program director would know to tell Nick Coleman this sort of thing - assuming they'd have hired Coleman at all. Are there any radio grownups in the building?

Nick Coleman seems to have learned not one iota about radio since his days on KSTP-AM - a show that was equally a muddled, freestyle ramble. On weekend radio, the effect is merely dull (which is why Coleman is not on KSTP anymore). On morning drive? Gaack. Even if I were a liberal - and at one point in my life I was - I'd be downright upset that liberal money was going into putting this on morning drive, a time where one customarily wants your best, most competent talent.

Stepping out of Radio Guy mode and into Blogger mode - what I heard was 90 minutes of name-calling - OK, I suppose it's fun for Coleman to do - and a recitation of talking points. But only the points; I heard lots of things like "the speculation is that Karl Rove got GOOKert into the White House", but none of the actual "evidence" behind the speculation. How would one make up one's mind based on this program? (not that most of the audience, such as it is, is worried about actual evidence and other such confusing impedimenta). Listen to the NARN sometime, Nick - and I'm told you do. We make a claim - and then we go back to the evidence we all cited on our blogs (or as Coleman pronounces it, "Baaa-LOGs") during the week. Try it sometime.

To wrap it up - the whole effect was...amateurish. This is Air America's big effort in the Twin Cities? Janet Robert is paying him how much?

To paraphrase Coleman's swing at the submarine - it's money that should go into housing.

I can look at this as a blogger and conservative, or as a dispasstionate former radio professional, and either way, the Nick Coleman show is an amateurish, wandering, schizophrenic, sophomoric jumble of half-thoughts and half-executed ideas and half-baked, junior-high insults.

I'm dying to see the next ratings book.

Posted by Mitch at February 21, 2005 07:31 AM | TrackBack

Stream not working for me either, as I sit in a Dunn Bros coffeehouse.

"...sales must be going well." Did you notice on their homepage you can buy a membership? Why can't I buy a membership to The Patriot?

Posted by: Shawn Sarazin at February 21, 2005 08:14 AM

And remember, my anscestors pillaged, looted, terrorized and dominated your anscestors.

Trust me, I haven't forgotten. I'd consider everything west of Fairview beyond the pale if I were you.


Posted by: paddy at February 21, 2005 11:11 AM

Hie thee from the bier-halle, lads, and hail the skraelings! We weigh anchor and sail to Prior Avenue! There are Volvos and Dave Matthews CDs and Yoga Mats for the taking!

Posted by: viking at February 21, 2005 11:16 AM

Mitch, you deserve a lot of credit for sitting through as much of the show as you did. I've never heard more than ten-fifteen minutes on any given day, but my experience has been that the bitter, mindless rambling that you heard today is par for the course.

This was a great inside Twin City radio line:

"Producer sounds like he's shooting spittle onto the mike. He sounds like Peter Thiele on a bad day."

Posted by: the elder at February 21, 2005 12:20 PM

About the advertising (or lack thereof) at Airbag America: I heard a union worker call in to a local talk show earlier this month complaining about his union's request for member donations to Air America. At his union meeting, they were asking for $35,000 to help compete with "conservative media."

Posted by: Protest Warrior Nancy at February 21, 2005 04:20 PM

Thanks for taking one for the team, Mitch. A Valium saltlick is on its way to you.(Or maybeI should send it to Coleman)

Posted by: debbie at February 21, 2005 04:47 PM

I listened to the Nick Coleman show today also. Yes, Gannon did have a radio show, and he posted regularly on Free Republic. He would promote his radio show on Free Republic.

The stream was not working at all. Getting the signal on a regular radio was no problem.

Posted by: Eva Young at February 21, 2005 11:39 PM

Where was his radio show?

I can't say that I've ever read Free Republic other than via links to specific pieces. I'd never have seen anything there.

Posted by: mitch at February 22, 2005 07:59 AM

I used to wonder what your beef with Nick Coleman was. Now, I have a beef with him, actually a couple of them.
First of all, as a submarier (got my dolphins on a 637 (Sturgeon-class) boat,not that Mr. Coleman knows what that means, considering he called "hot-racking" a "hot cot thing") I resent ripping on submarines. Subs are a vital part of our defense strategy and our sea power. Submariners are brave people, so when he moves his sorry self from the sideline to the front line, he can call me. Otherwise, I've got something for him to kiss.
Also, I like NASCAR.
Sorry so angry, Mitch.

Posted by: Just Me at February 22, 2005 08:14 AM

Just: I hear ya. My uncle was on the Snook. And Coleman's complete inability to get facts straight is amazing; he was talking about the Carter like it was a ballistic missile boat.

And the "hot cot" thing was worse then it looked in print; he was getting a giggle out of it, like it implied something about submariners' orientation.

Posted by: mitch at February 22, 2005 08:25 AM

By the way, I used to run a trivia night at a bar. When I knew there was a submariner in the bar, and I had a free drink to give away, I'd ask: "How many watertight compartments ARE there on a 637-class attack sub? COUNTING the washing machine?"

Posted by: mitch at February 22, 2005 09:42 AM

Your uncle was on the Snook ? Man, that's a Skipjack class boat (or a 585 boat, if you will). Those things didn't even have chicken switches !! My utmost respect goes out to your uncle.
It's been alomost 20 years since I was on the Pargo, so my memory is fading a bit. But I believe it's 154, counting the washing machine. Which is good, as the laundry is located just outside the Torpedo Room and the Battery Compartment, and water plus weapons plus battery equals death.

Posted by: Just Me at February 22, 2005 10:42 AM

It was a Skipjack indeed!

And 154 is correct (although I have no drink tickets to give you now).

I need to look into one of those watertight washing machines for my own house...

Posted by: mitch at February 22, 2005 10:56 AM


From Editor and Publisher (do a google news search to find the article):

Although Guckert said he was not paid by, or directed, by Daschle's opponents (in South Dakota or in Washington, D.C.) to write about the Argus Leader, he admitted to sharing information with local blogs, such as and

"We traded information back and forth," he told E&P. "But having some special relationship, I would not characterize it as that. We were pursuing the same story."

Thune also appeared on Gannon's Web-only radio show on Feb. 8, 2004. He eventually beat Daschle in what many considered to be a major upset, given Daschle's standing as Senate minority leader.

After the electlon, it became known that one of Gannon's blog comrades received $27,000 from the Thune campaign, and another took $8,000.

EY: If you search for Jeff Gannon on Free Republic, you should be able to find some of his posts. Americablog and Daily Kos are good sources for all things Gannon/Guckert.

Posted by: Eva Young at February 22, 2005 07:44 PM

BTW - I'm not saying Daily Kos and Americablog are unbiased on the subject - but they have been pushing the story big time.

Posted by: Eva Young at February 22, 2005 07:47 PM

"Although Guckert said he was not paid by, or directed, by Daschle's opponents (in South Dakota or in Washington, D.C.) to write about the Argus Leader, he admitted to sharing information with local blogs, such as and"

I'm not sure I see a problem with that.

"Thune also appeared on Gannon's Web-only radio show on Feb. 8, 2004. He eventually beat Daschle in what many considered to be a major upset, given Daschle's standing as Senate minority leader."

WEB radio? That's not radio. "Web-only" is to "radio" as "Tofu-only" is to "Steak".

I'm not sure why the webcast appearance and the eventual victory are juxtaposed here.

"After the electlon, it became known that one of Gannon's blog comrades received $27,000 from the Thune campaign, and another took $8,000."

Right, Lauck and Van Beek, a story I wrote about at the time. I'd ask - who is trying to connect the two?

"EY: If you search for Jeff Gannon on Free Republic, you should be able to find some of his posts. Americablog and Daily Kos are good sources for all things Gannon/Guckert. "

And, commensurately, lousy sources for Eason Jordan or Rathergate. Funny, that.

Posted by: mitch at February 22, 2005 09:48 PM

We recommend you to visit excellent get right site. qY0ptan0x

Posted by: get right at July 16, 2006 05:30 AM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?