|Interview with Lynn...
||[Aug. 20th, 2002|05:25 pm]
|||||Ani DiFranco - Freakshow||]|
August 20, 2002
Lynn Samuels, Radio Talk Show Host
A BUZZFLASH INTERVIEW
On Saturday, August 17, 2002, Lynn Samuels, a liberal talk show personality, should have been preparing for her New York based show on WABC talk radio.
But instead, she was still trying to figure out why her 4:00 to 9:00 PM show was canceled. According to her web site, Lynn was "fired" from her gig. The reason she was given: "Budget Cuts." Have progressive liberal radio hosts become a "victim" of the economy or of bias?
BuzzFlash.com had an opportunity to interview Lynn Samuels about why another liberal radio host got the heave-ho.
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BUZZFLASH: Lynn, thank you for this interview with BuzzFlash.com. I first want to say that there has been such an outpouring of support for you. I've noticed several posts on Internet web sites -- we've posted several on BuzzFlash.com -- that seem very supportive of you and your show. Your website states that you have been receiving a lot of e-mail and, as a result that you may become "way too egotistical after reading it." Egotistical? You? Tell us about the reaction to your show being canceled?
LYNN SAMUELS: Overwhelming. There is a fantasy some people have about being able to attend their own funeral and hear all the wonderful things people say about them. That is what all the e-mail has been like. I think there have been about 500 or 600 so far and everyone loves me -- well, except for about 10. I am going to get a swelled head.
BUZZFLASH: Describe your program on WABC to BuzzFlash readers. How large was your listening area?
LYNN SAMUELS: My show is (was) really just whatever was on my mind. Whether it was George Bush stealing the election or who is going to be the new American idol. I got to talk about important things like war with Iraq or trivial things like Swiffers. WABC's listening area, when the sun goes down, is 38 states. Of course with Internet streaming it is infinite.
BUZZFLASH: Tell us exactly what happened. When and how you were informed that your show would be canceled.
LYNN SAMUELS: I got a message from Phil Boyce on Thursday morning to call him. The minute I saw the e-mail I knew. And I called him and he fired me. He knows that since I have moved to Queens, I don't want to get on the subway if I don't have to, or I am sure he would have asked me to come in and do it face to face.
BUZZFLASH: Why was your show canceled?
LYNN SAMUELS: He just said it was "budget cuts." Anyone who looks at Disney stock prices could see where they might be cutting back, but it seems to me they could save money some other ways than firing talk show hosts. Believe me, being on one day a week, I don't make a lot of money.
BUZZFLASH: What was your very first reaction when you received the news?
LYNN SAMUELS: My first reaction was really that I expected it, but it made me sick to my stomach.
BUZZFLASH: Were your surprised? Were there any hints, production meetings, "Mickey Mouse" grams delivered?
LYNN SAMUELS: There were no hints, but it is kind of obvious that I am very different than the other hosts on WABC. During the Clinton years there seemed to be no limit to the vile things people could say about the President. I always felt that I'd better not go too far or I would cross some invisible line. Though, of course, they say it was about money and never mentioned content. Frankly, ever since they cut me to just one day, I felt as if every show could be my last.
BUZZFLASH: Tell me about the show's ratings?
LYNN SAMUELS: My ratings are just fine -- not the highest, but certainly not the
lowest. People with lower ratings than mine still have jobs. And actually, in the last rating book, my show was the #1 AM show in NY for 2 of my 5 hours.
BUZZFLASH: Your radio audience also knows you as the "call screener" for the Matt Drudge Radio Show. Will you still continue in that position?
LYNN SAMUELS: I'm going to keep screening for Drudge.
BUZZFLASH: What have been your experiences with Drudge? How did a left wing radio host, popular in her own right, become the screener for Drudge's radio program?
LYNN SAMUELS: One night Drudge's screener called in sick and I stuck around after my show and did it. Then a while later he needed a new screener, and I said "why not me." Frankly, I think every talk show host should do some call screening. It sure gives you a different perspective.
BUZZFLASH: Do you feel there is an audience for progressive liberal radio hosts?
LYNN SAMUELS: I am sure there is a huge audience for liberal progressive and entertaining radio. Remember, more than half the country voted for Al Gore or Ralph Nader. I think what happened is that when Rush became so successful, all the unimaginative suits decided that every talk show host had to be male and conservative. So by now you have 10th-rate Rush clones all over the place.
Some of the liberals they have tried out, like Mario Cuomo or Alan Dershowitz, were such failures (and rightly so, neither one of them had the least talent to be on the radio) that it just made the bosses even more sure that a liberal could not get an audience. There are plenty of good liberal hosts out there, Alan Colmes being one. But there needs to be a daring program director who will do something a little bit different. It seems so strange, especially in New York City that they imagine there are no liberals in the radio audience.
BUZZFLASH: You have appeared as a guest on MSNBC. Have you been contacted by anyone in the industry regarding a job?
LYNN SAMUELS: No one at MSNBC has offered me a job. If you look, all those new hosts seem to be men. And when you look at how few people even watch cable it seems like such a waste of time.
BUZZFLASH: What are your plans at the moment? Would you go back to WABC?
LYNN SAMUELS: I would go back to WABC in a Disney minute. I've been there since 1987, except for now and the two other times they fired me. I've loved it.
BUZZFLASH: Will you continue to keep your web site going (http://www.lynnsamuels.com)?
LYNN SAMUELS: Oh, of course I'm going to keep doing lynnsamuels.com. It's the only way I can communicate right now. And l love doing it. It's a great excuse to never go out and be sociable. The Internet was made for us loners.
BUZZFLASH: Finally, what can your fans do at this point to protest? Who can we contact?
LYNN SAMUELS: People can keep e-mailing Phil.Boyce@abc.com. Don't leave out that period between the Phil and the Boyce. Try to get local columnists to write about how media conglomeration has turned radio into an endless commercial for one point of view. It is the media conglomeration that has led to the one-sidedness of so much media. More owners would mean more voices.