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Name: Heritage Broadcasting
Occupation: owners of northern Michigan CBS-TV affiliate WWTV 9&10 and operator of Fox station WFQX 32
Last Seen: Cadillac, MI
Bee-otched For: still airing crap
I know, I know. I live in Grand Rapids and I'm STILL bitching about the TV stations I grew up watching in northern Michigan.
Many years ago, 9&10 aired Howard Stern's Saturday night TV show, but canned it due to the lack of ad sales and content. After all, they pulled the episode where Baba Booey licked a diet drink off a 19-year-old lesbian (and to date, I STILL haven't seen that show).
Of course, this is the same 9&10 that also yanked a 9/11 documentary that aired on CBS because it did contain a few F-bombs. Instead, they aired a forgettable Robin Williams movie about football and aired some spots as well (the 9/11 special was ad-less). But that's what happens when your stations also air an ungodly amount of infomercials and even a few seedy religious shows as well. Not to mention the fact that they're not afraid to air fake news as well for money.
For an example: their "MiFavoriteThings" segment. Recently, they claimed that their viewers chose WGFM Rock 105 morning man Cartman as their #1 morning show host. They even aired a happy, feel-good segment about the morbidly-obese morning man, who replaced the popular Free Beer and Hot Wings show at the station. Weird, since 1) the station's ratings suck and 2) I recently compiled a list of Facebook likes amongst northern Michigan radio stations and Rock 105 only came in 10th place (#1 was KHQ; I'll publish the full list in the future). Even when Cartman was morning man at a Rock 105 ancestor, The Zone, his ratings are left to be desired. When the station dumped FB&HW, their Facebook page exploded with complaints regarding the morning show change and the fact that the station dumped a lot of their metal tracks.
And 9&10 (and their "sister" station Fox 32) calls Cartman the #1 morning host in northern Michigan. Yeah, and Mancow is the top syndicated morning man in America.
When 9&10 took control of Fox 32 a few years ago, they made drastic changes in their programming. Some of the changes were good - like adding more local news instead of having Fox 2 out of Detroit being beamed in - but a lot of bad changes were made as well. For starters, Maury was demoted to 3 a.m. and eventually dropped a few years later, probably because it was too trashy for Heritage Broadcasting's image. Yet, they added The 700 Club when long-time home WGTU ABC 29&8 dropped it after that station was "sold" to NBC affiliate WPBN 7&4. 29&8 was owned by Max Media, which was run by 700 Club host Pat Robertson's son, Tim. However, when 9&10 and 32 "merged" in 2007, 7&4 and 29&8 followed suit.
(And yes, the reason why I used quotation marks is because in a mid-sized market like northern Michigan, one company cannot own more than one TV station per the FCC. However, shared services agreements (SSA) are allowed.)
Well, the 2013-2014 schedules have been released, and there's good news and bad news. The good news is that after a two-year absence, Maury is back. He begins a week from Monday at 9 a.m. on 29&8. Another new show The Test follows at 10 a.m., which is basically like Maury: a show of lie detector tests. However, that show is produced by Jay McGraw, the son of Dr. Phil. This is a decent contrast to the awful "the ladies of 29&8" schedule they had last year with the now-canceled Ricki Lake and that abortion of a 6:30 p.m. newscast aimed for women. Of course, Katie is still on the schedule, but personally, I think that show *actually* isn't that bad.
Sadly, I don't see Jerry Springer on any northern Michigan TV schedule. True, he's a good fit on The CW or MyNetworkTV, but 1) The CW in northern Michigan is cable only and is programmed on a national basis and 2) the local MyNetworkTV station up north, WLLZ channel 12 is too reliant on the classic TV network RetroTV during the off hours. Yes, there's WMNN channel 26, but I doubt if they're even interested.
Even worse, yes, both 9&10 and Fox 32 are once again heavy on the infomercials and preaching. Even worser, Fox 32 is still airing the hate-filled lies of Pat Robertson, plus The Believer's Voice of Victory, which is under fire for the recent measles outbreak in Texas. That show's host, Kenneth Copeland told his viewers to never seek a doctor because it's against God's plan for life. Oh, please....
Fox 32 is adding a new talk show, but I know it will crash and burn: Bethenny starring wealthy housewife Bethenny Frankel. Just by watching the previews of the show, I'm shocked that I haven't puked my guts out. It has all the makings of all the Oprah wannabes that croaked after one or two seasons last year. The show replaces the ill-fated Anderson Live.
Interesting: Fox 32 airs gay-bashing televangelists in the morning, but airs gay-friendly talkers in the afternoon (Anderson Cooper is gay and Frankel's show is produced by Ellen DeGeneres).
What's more interesting: Bethenny Frankel was born to a wealthy family and had everything handed to her in her entire life and her show's cleared in northern Michigan. Jerry Springer lost most of his family in the Holocaust, born in a British subway to poor parents, moved to America with virtually nothing but worked his ass off so he could go to college and become a lawyer and politician. Yet, because his show contains fights galore and lesbians, it's not cleared up north (save for Alpena).
Ya know, I feel bad for northern Michigan. I love the fact that people move up north "to get away from Detroit". Yet, there's failing schools (Forest Area and Mancelona for example), crumbling downtowns and people living in disgust and filth. My father was a bus driver for Elk Rapids Schools for 23 years and his bus was a melting pot of wealth. There were three kids whose parents never really worked because their maternal grandparents paid for everything. They lived in a huge mcmansion that had a giant living room with two grand pianos, plus a kitchen complete with a soda fountain. But, there were also kids who lived in virtual junkyards of rotting cars and would come on the bus smelling like piss only because their homes had no running water. Hell, I heard that one family was reliant on clothes purchased by the elementary school's principal.
Maybe that's because there's no real higher learning up north. You graduate high school and you see the hardship that your parents went through while you're growing up. Since all Traverse City has is tiny Northwestern Michigan College, you end up going downstate to either GVSU, MSU, UofM or any other university and you end up staying down there because there's no jobs up north. It's one reason why northern Michigan has a low population amongst 20 and 30-somethings; no post-high school education and no jobs. Those who live up north and are between 18-40 probably do so because they barely graduated high school (or didn't at all) and are making $8 per hour at a grimy tool and die run by old drunks.
But that's how the media is up north. All the talk stations are aimed at teabaggers and conservatives and one of the only newer rock bands the local major rock station, WKLT plays is Madison Rising, a band whose lyrics echo that of Johnny Rebel sans the overuse of the n-word. Heritage Broadcasting knows that a lot of their viewers are stupid and poor, so they allow the Pat Robertsons and Kenneth Copelands of the world to take their viewer's money and build bigger mansions with it. Yes, I applaud Mario Iacobelli for being one of a tiny handful of network TV owners who are local, but he shouldn't have to do it by bowing to fakes. Yeah, it's nice the 9&10 is the first station up north to go HD with their news (and it's helpful to see how many chins John McGowan has), but bear in mind where a lot of the money came from.
True, I should love 7&4 and 29&8 better than 9&10/32, but let's not forget that they're being sold to Sinclair Broadcasting. You know, the idiots who air anti-Democratic bullshit to scare people into becoming Republicans? The idiots who ordered all their ABC stations to ban an episode of Nightline just because it featured a list and faces of those killed in Bush's fake war in Iraq? Yeah, those guys. With Sinclair coming to town and 9&10/32 bowing to the Religious Reich, it'll be tougher to get decent news up north.
At least the Record-Eagle is still in business.
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