Monday, June 1, 2009

Alan Colmes wonder how "Real is your Favorite Radio Personality?" after a Talker shoots his wife and dog

shannon burke, conservative, talk radio
Troubled Radio Talker Shannon Burke
With the aid of the 'wrestling analogy' I often talk about the personas Radio Talkers adopt to win over audiences, whether it be as the people's champion or the cheeky villain. The persona a talker ends up with is partly informed by their real interests but also market concerns, like what the regional audience demands and what will entertain and captivate the masses. A talker may emphasise their hometown roots, their blue collar upbringing or project a heightened tough guy image in order to create points of separation from their talk radio competitors.

The preservation of the illusion that wrestling is real is known as "Kayfabe". An example of this is when a wrestler maintains his persona' or character outside the wrestling universe. For Hollywood Actors, its comparable to 'method acting'. However kayfabe in wrestling is rare these days as today's fans are well aware that wrestling is prearranged, keeping in character is seen as a quaint tradition. 'Method acting' for Hollywood is still an accepted part of the actor's process though some speculate it can lead to troubling obsession. In the sometimes isolated world of Radio, one wonders how much one's persona truly does seep into the mind of a RadioTalker.

Alan Colmes, former liberal counterweight to Sean Hannity on Fox News wonders the same. Commenting on the bizarre story of a liberal-turned-conservative Radio Talker, Shannon Burke shooting his wife and dog.
What went wrong with radio personality Shannon Burke?
It's hard to pinpoint exactly when Shannon Burke's life changed.

Maybe when he agreed to switch from a liberal Texas talk-show host to a conservative Central Florida mouthpiece.

Maybe when he changed to a more-aggressive style for a new role on an Orlando FM station...

Burke, 43, sits behind bars in the Seminole County Jail, held without bail, accused of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and animal cruelty in an April 30 shooting that injured his wife and her dog.
Alan Colmes ponders how authentic the on-air personas of his peers are and how fragile it can be to the sanity of a talker.
How Real Is Your Favorite Radio Personality?
We all have our on-air personas; our job is to entertain to the best of our abilities and attract audiences on behalf of our radio stations and our sponsors. You hear rumors about this host or that one, and whether he or she truly believes the things that are put out over the air. You hear whispers that one host or other isn’t really liberal as portrayed, or isn’t really such a staunch conservative but the act works, and it’s good for ratings. I just can’t imagine how someone can flip from left to right, from right to left, from decent, law-abiding citizen to crazed shooter of wives and animals...

How much of what we hear on radio is really an act? Does Rush really want Obama to fail, and isn’t he really laughing all the way to the bank at the Republicans who take him so seriously? Is the hate spewed by some hosts a way to appease the far reaches of the personalities of those attracted to talk radio? And when does one trade a good buck and a great gig for one’s soul?

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