Jason Lawrence Bell
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05-05-19                AUDIO AVAILABLE SOON

‘Over the course of six months this town has seen more changes to its environment than in the previous 100 years. And we are not prepared to adequately respond to any of it. Instead of creating safeguards to prevent disaster, we now can only find ways to best survive the disasters,’ reported the State Emergency official in his annual report of conditions to the rural cities that set in the eastern area of the state. This area occupies expansive farm lands that feed the nation with corn, potatoes and beef. The report gave the residence lists of aid centers and temporary relief organizations. The largest radio station would broadcast hourly weather updates and work as the voice from the government to the locals. The big question was how this mostly rural farm state could be so unprepared, while other states for years have had actively developed programs to combat severe weather changes.

The radio station hired a new program director that was well connected with the Environmental Protection Association and could understand the latest projections and organized responds. Helen Kline was the new director. She realized that the most asked question was how could the state be so blindsided by climate change when climate change warnings have been internationally a major issue for twenty years. The demand for answers was so strong Helen created a daily showed called ‘How’ to address these questions. The radio station had a staff of announcers and radio personalities who could lead the show but Helen choose to do it herself.

For years the most popular radio personalities were Art Kramer and Billy Bob Stevens. They both had talk shows with large followings. They became household names with great powers to lead listeners opinions. When Helen arrived at the station, she took a few months to learn the staff’s talents and the growing problems of the rural areas. Helen knew changes were long overdue. She hired outside staff to help develop the new program ‘How’. And when she felt prepared, she announced the program for 6:00PM nightly broadcast. She described the show as a search for truth at all costs.

The first show basically defined the quest for truth as understanding how was it that they became so unprepared. She showed opinion polls thru out the state over 20 years regarding climate change and compared the poles with national and international poles. Over the years the national and international poles clearly showed more people accepted that climate change was real. From 23% in the early years to 93% in later years. Then she showed the poles of their state. In the beginning it was 3% but never advanced above 17%.

The program was any eye opener to the listeners. And there were many listeners. The people wanted answers and Helen was helping them understand. The next show Helen displayed voting recorders. She showed voting initiatives over years. Twice there were propositions to rebuild the now crumbling and dangerous dam. But it was voted down by huge margins. Then she showed propositions to create emergency relief funds, regulations for fuel efficient trucks and machinery and a program to create renewable engine businesses. All fail miserably at the poles. She showed the politicians bragging about their state being the least regulated of all states. This was not comfortable for the listeners to hear, but they knew it was the truth and they continued listening.

The third show introduced the sources where locals went for their news updates on world and local events. She listed the popular sources. Only 5% listened to national news stations except Fox News which 45% watched. Newspaper and internet were only 8%. The biggest source by far was their radio station. It was so popular 87% of those surveyed said it was their main source for news and information. This program was interesting for the listeners because they felt it was accurate and it reflected their own choices.

The next program surprised them. Helen introduced the concept of ‘Shock Jocks’. These were radio personalities who have become very popular and many have advanced to television personalities. She showed Hannity, Bill Riley, Beck, Limbaugh all began in radio. What distinguishes shock jocks is that the announcers learned that they could create loyal followers by delivering startling news accounts with exaggerated interpretations. This made the audience feel like they had inside information or clandestine secrets that the powerful wanted hidden. The problem is that truth was not a concern. They found a lie or gross distortion was just as effective as the truth. And lies were easier to create for daily shows on radio.

But the delivery was important too. If the shock jock acted angry or discussed, for some reason the audience felt he must really know what he is talking about and trusted him more. Helen was able to show thru interviews with shock jocks admitting to their game. She clearly showed how lies and misinformation had become popular and very lucrative.  The audience was clearly taken back. Some of these personalities were their favorites. But when they listened again to the shows, they heard with different ears and began noticing the distortions and could see the attempts at manipulating their opinions.

Helen had the next program for ‘How’ ready to go. She announced it was a show not to be miss and promised to explain the path to the state’s unpreparedness. Helen began the show by reminding the listeners that their own radio station was poled as the greatest influence on public option. Then Helen continued, ‘for years this radio station has proudly offered two main radio personalities, Art Kramer and Billy Bob Stevens. I would now play selections from their programs.’ First came Kramer. He was yelling about the moronic so-called scientific experts who take liberals money to scare us. She played at least fifteen clips from shows where Kramer insulted environmentalists and scientists as crack pots. Then she started playing Billy Bob. Billy Bob was the religious alarmist. He talked like he knew Gods will and spoke for him. ‘God gave us coal to warm houses and create energy, God gave oil to run our machine, unfortunately he didn’t give environmentalist the brain to understand this is God will. God has always controlled weather.’ She played more Billy Bob shows where he uses God to prove there is no such thing as an ‘Ozone Layer’, the glaciers aren’t melting but expanding, only God can create regulations and there are no regulations in the Bible.

Helen continued, ‘these shock jocks were distorting and lying for popularity and profit, but in reality, they are just two men with questionable morals who found a way to make a buck. The big question is why did we believe them? Why were we so willing to become so gullible?’ With that she closed the show, ‘Billy Bob and Art are no longer apart of the radio station. Their shows have been replacements with Government Programs on disaster preparation.’ Peace