PBR = Pretty Bizarre Radio
"America to me should be shouting all the time, a bunch of shouting voices, most of them wrong, some of them nuts, but, please, not just one droning glamorous reasonable voice."-- George Saunders, My Flamboyant Grandson
By night, WPBR broadcasts Creole-language programming for Palm Beach County's Haitian community. Most of the time is held in a block by Radio Galaxie International, with news and music from the island; the rest is taken up by the impassioned oratory of the Creole Catholic clergy.
WPBR's daytime lineup, on the other hand, is for the most part English-speaking, white, and damn proud of it. Following Dick Farrel's morning show, these hosts shout loudest.
Reality News Radio: Tuesday, 9-10 a.m.
Host Wil Van Natta openly advocates everything the station's conservative callers accuse liberals of secretly supporting -- like socialism. A 46-year-old, New Jersey-born, Washington State-raised professional lifeguard, Van Natta keeps RNN to a rigid format, a single guest in a one-on-one interview, with call-in questions at show's end. The guest list -- well-credentialed activists and academics -- has been impressive, but Van Natta's often-frenzied temperament can turn interviews to mush.
A recent discussion with Florida Grandmothers for Peace leader Willa Elam starts with the guest's feminist theory of war but quickly passes through Mumia Abu-Jamal, the commercialization of sports, genetically engineered food, and gated communities. "Palm Beach County's main road is called Military Trail," Van Natta, dismayed, tells the antiwar activist. "Everything is so bad," Elam responds, swept away in the sociopolitical tirade. In all the excitement, listeners learn little about the guest's life and work. Elam departs, the show's theme music rises, and Van Natta, pressed for time, signs off. "Save the planet!" he cries.
Let's Talk: Monday-Friday, 10-11 a.m.
With regular host Dan Gregory recovering from a stroke, the Gregory chair is currently held by Jane Thomas, who for many years, on a variety of South Florida AM stations, produced a health and fitness show. Gregory is a fitness buff himself, but such topics were rarely the focus of his shows. Thomas, accordingly, focuses on "whatever's in the news," mainly reproductive issues.
A fervent critic of abortion rights, Thomas calls "right to life a scientific issue, not a religious one." The linchpin of her argument? "That an unborn child's DNA is different from the mother's." On embryonic stem-cell research, Thomas says she'd rather die than benefit from "the sacrifice of an unborn life." After all, she says, "There's a better place to go to." Thomas is unfailingly pleasant with her callers, going to mind-bending lengths to find common ground. Pressed to the limit by one God squad caller's recent "God is real" rant, Thomas finesses him with "Reality is the only truth." Who can argue with that?
Palm Beach Confidential: Monday-Friday, 1-3 p.m.
Host Andy Martin made an unusual debut at WPBR last spring, phoning in communiqués to Dick Farrel's morning show from quarters at the Palm Beach County Jail, where Martin was serving a sentence for contempt of court ("orchestrated by Jeb Bush," he says). He claims a career as a "public interest lawyer" but has no law license. Still, he's filed so many suits through the years that he's been sanctioned by courts in two states for his "vexatious and vindictive" abuse of "his imagined enemies." His vocabulary is that of a well-educated person, but his self-importance is such that he lectures listeners like Castro at a party congress.
Martin is eminently rational for the most part, however (especially compared to some of his callers), and is not without a sense of humor. When Talmud-toting Mark from Boca calls in to proclaim Israel's biblically sanctioned origins -- after linking the oil companies, 1950s U.S. government radiation experiments, "PC multiculturalists," and the "Bush crime family" -- Martin points out that Israel's West Bank occupation violates international law. But when Martin's "U.N. Resolution 242" is countered by Mark from Boca's "Ezekiel 17," Martin, gracefully, laughs.
The Constitution Hour: Monday-Thursday, 4-5 p.m.
Host Mann Killian's show grew from his role as president of the Second Amendment Coalition of Florida. He plays the gun-toting redneck, whooping and hollering along to "Lawyers, Guns, and Money" to open the show, closing the hour with the tag line, "It's time to feed the hawgs!" His callers are highly focused, enthusiast-hobbyists for firearms, besieged by feminists, environmentalists, multiculturalists, and globalists.
The intricacies of gun regulation, legal theory, and constitutional history are the show's bread and butter. A typical recent hour includes a long series of calls on the question of private gun sales to felons. Careful not to dispense legal advice, Killian is concerned for "nonviolent felons" and their gun rights. "After all," he says, "everybody violates an average of 28 laws a day."
"Your readers are going to say I'm a right-wing radical gun nut," Killian told New Times. But the way he sees it, he's simply devoted to the sanctity of the United States Constitution. Isn't that document subject to interpretation? "It means what it says," Killian proclaims.
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