The Dick Summer Connection – August 12, 2007

DISCLAIMER – This is not a political comment. It’s about TALK RADIO. I love radio. I hate politics. If I were offered anything short of a seven figure salary to return to radio and do political talk, I’d turn it down. If offered a seven figure salary… I’d sell out immediately.

But remember… Big Louie, his own bad self, likes to say, “By screaming at idiots, you run the risk of becoming an idiot yourself.” And anybody who listens to talk radio these days would understand that. When I stumble across some Limbaugh-Hannity on the air… it is hard for me to believe that out of millions of sperm…they were the fastest. Let me be clear about one thing…my feeling about politicians of both parties is that in the unlikely event that one of them might want to shake my hand, I would insist that he/she boil him/herself first. What an awful way that must be to make a living.

But I made a living in radio for a very long time. And I really loved it. I especially loved the laughs and the huddle. We had lots of laughs… and when it was time for the huddle… I pulled the people listening very close around me…and we protected each other…and we planned what we needed to do next to make it through the night…together. And it is because of the love I had for radio that I need to make a few points about today’s talk radio:

1- There are reasons why conservative talk radio works and liberal talk radio doesn’t. And recent attempts to pass laws that would require that radio stations give both sides equal time are self serving, stupid, partisan political crap. The radio business is an excellent example of successful capitalism… at its sleaziest. And both political parties have histories of consistently proving that they very well understand the value of capitalistic sleaze.

2- Radio doesn’t really exist for the benefit of “the public.” Radio really exists to make money for the people who own the stations/networks. Capitalism…remember? Ratings show that only conservative talk radio is successful. Ratings are statistics. Radio uses ratings to sell commercial time. (Of course, statistics also prove that people who eat food…die.)

3- From my perspective, conservatives believe in “Standing Firm,” regardless of whether what they’re doing is working or not. That works well for radio because it’s simple, and it plays to our fears and our “macho” self image. Keeping things simple is far from stupid on the radio. “Simple” is effective…it gets a point across quickly. People are in a hurry. Quick works. So simple works. STAND FIRM is something any fighter will say we must do. However, Mohamed Ali said his secret of success was to “FLOAT LIKE A BUTTERFLY, AND STING LIKE A BEE.” I think the lesson is that if a fighter wants to become a champ, he’ll have to be ready to float as well as sting. We’ve got to have the guts to drop the nuke, but we also have to be smart enough to beat a rapid retreat to avoid a quick disaster. Frequent and rapid retreats were an important strategy that George Washington used to get his face on the dollar bill.

4- Unfortunately…fear has become more important to Americans than hope. I don’t think it was always that way…but it is now. Today’s successful talk radio is based on two big fears: a- “Leftist Leaning Liberals” are going to steal the stuff we’ve worked so hard to earn; and b- “They” won’t keep you safe from the bad guys…only “we” are strong enough to protect you.

4a- My day job involves buying commercial time on radio and tv. I know that talk radio is an effective sales medium. Talk radio has very effectively sold Americans on fear. “The only way you’ll get to keep your stuff and stay safe…is by listening to what we say. We’ll say a bit more after this commercial break.” It’s a bit like religion. “We’ll tell you what’s a sin. If you sin you will go to hell. Only we can save you. And don’t forget to drop a contribution in the plate. At least 10% of gross would be good.” Fear powers today’s talk radio. Fear lives in the gut and logic lives in the mind. And gut always overpowers logic on the radio.

5- From my same perspective: the liberal agenda, on the other hand, is hard to explain for two basic reasons: A- It’s not simple; and B- It’s based on taking a chance. Liberals think the important thing is to move the country forward… make things better. Sounds very American to me. But one problem with explaining that on the radio is that it implies that what we already have isn’t perfect…which opens liberals to an attack that says they don’t appreciate what we have. That’s where we get the “America…love it or leave it” kind of nonsense. Also… in order to move things forward to make things better, people must be willing to make changes. That also makes sense to me. But of course…making changes means taking chances. Progress is seldom a sure thing. It’s often two steps forward and one step back…or maybe three to one side. (Probably the left.) It’s a lot less threatening to just “stand firm.” Fear rules.

6- Fear breeds fanaticism. And fanaticism feeds more fear…on both sides of the fence. And it’s impossible to think when you’re screaming your head off.

7- So talk radio plainly and profitably…and effectively…focuses on fear… because it’s not a public trust…it’s a simple, money making industry… which brings us back to where we were at point #3.

I’m really not interested in changing anybody’s politics. Big Louie, his own bad self, always says, “The only time you can really change a guy is when he’s wearing diapers.” I hated to see Air America Radio go down…because it was a different perspective. However, it got what it deserved. Please see points #1 and #2. But I am very much interested in radio…I loved it…I’d like to protect what’s left of it…and I’m wearing boxer shorts, so watch out, because I know how to use them.


So what would I do if I sold out for a million or so a year, and went back to talk radio?

1- Focus completely on United We Stand…Divided We Fall. And no way are we going to fall.

2- Hard sell the fact that fanaticism and focus are two very different things…and fear is what makes the difference.

3- Make it clear that in order to regain the respect of the rest of the world, we must first respect ourselves again. That means not only treating each other with respect…but also respecting each other’s different opinions and perspectives. No more calling each other idiots…or worse.

4- My guests would have to stick to a couple of rules: a- no more three people talking at once…one person talks…the others LISTEN first…I’ll tell you when it’s your turn to reply. It’s my show. So, b- Answer the question I ask…then add to it if you like. But give me an ANSWER TO MY QUESTION FIRST.

5- You bet we stand firm when necessary, but we also move ahead as quickly as possible. We can do that by finding ways to agree on ACTIONS, even when we disagree on PRINCIPLES … because the one principle on which we all completely agree is that…WE WILL STAND TOGETHER. It’s hard, but we’re worth it.

6- Radio done as i’ve outlined it here never…NEVER needs to be defensive…as long as complete attention is paid to number 7.



Dick’s Details Quiz – All answers are available in the current PodCast at  .

1- Why did my Lady Wonder Wench pay for a new girlfriend for me?

2- What did Brad Pitt’s wife say when he came home after a hard week of shooting an R rated movie with Catherine Zeta Jones?

3- What did testosterone make Bill Clinton, Kenny Rodgers, and John Kennedy do?


3 right – The George Washington Award.

2-right – The Thomas Jefferson Award.

1-right – The Herbert Hoover Award.

0-right – The Limbaugh-Hannity Award.

“To my Islamic Brothers and Sisters…It was a guy by the name of Mohamed who taught us to float like a butterfly and sting like a bee. He is an American. We’re smart. We learn. We got to the moon first. We will treat you with more respect than you seem to be able to show each other. But don’t mess with us.”

 Any comments…my Email is 


One Response to “The Dick Summer Connection – August 12, 2007”

  1. Steve Greene says:


    Great commentary on the state of talk radio. I have always been a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat, but one that could see, understand and accept centrist ideas and compromise. Back before the war in Iraq and the 2004 election, I was spending a good deal of time in my car and moved from my very comfortable FM stations back to AM radio. Though I never got close to “Huff-n-puff,” I did start listening to “O’Holier-than Thou” and “Ham-it-upity.”
    At that time, I was somewhat impressed that they proffered a similar thinking to mine, “Perhaps the government does indeed know more about that was going on in Iraq.” Then to reel me in like a bass sucking down a humongous earthworm, “O’Holier-than Thou” said that if WMD were not found there, even he would demand answers from the commander-in-chief. Like that was ever going to happen!

    Then, along came what I hoped to be a refreshing breath of fresh air, Air America. However, short of one show, Ed Shultz, AA left me as thirsty for real, profound progressive talk radio as another AA would leave its members thirsting for an amber liquid. Sure enough, most of these shows engaged in the same blowhard exercises as their 180o counterparts. Only black-and-white and leaving gray to be a color in crayon box.

    As you said, radio is not, nor has it even been in recent history, out to serve the public. It’s there to read the Arbitron book and sell time, to line its own coffers and wave pink slips over either the salesperson of syndication, or their own house staff, if they step out-of-line, say a word for the left or right, or, G-d forbid, state their own opinion on a matter; any matter. Locally, a popular FM DJ on country radio was disciplined a few years ago, when he opined about a popular country radio artist who was snubbed at an awards ceremony.

    Recently CBS Entertainment President Nina Tasler told CBS viewers that she knew that a program that debuted last fall, “Jericho,” didn’t have a strong enough base to return for the 2007-2008 season. Hundreds of thousands of emails and 44,000 pounds of peanuts later, Tasler relented and admitted that the fans “may have been right.”

    When was the last time we saw anyone but members of the worldwide entertainment communities, come together for the sake of unity, without there being a natural disaster, catastrophe, or attack? When have the moguls of the world put aside the copper, nickel, silver, and specialized linen papers to realize that, as we learned in basic math, each and every time we “divide” the result is always smaller. Only the processes of addition and multiplication bring us together; unite us and make us stronger. We’ve been spoon-fed a pabulum that has made us “color-blind” and only allows us to see black and white. One slip, one mistake and a person is castigated for life.

    We need to make a change. We can no longer allow the colloquialism of, “One sh*t kills 10 ‘attaboys.”

    Steve Greene
    Coral Springs FL