Wednesday, November 30, 2016

11.30.16 Hero of the Day: Darren Gibson

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Name: Darren Gibson
Age: 48
Occupation: programming director, WPRR Public Reality Radio
Last Seen: Grand Rapids, MI
Awarded For: keeping it lit

I'll admit, this is a tough time to be a liberal.

With Donald Trump's unpopular victory two weeks ago, it's caused a lot of people to ponder and ask why. Then again, a lot of it was the DNC's constant pimping of Hillary Clinton over Bernie. Because of everything falling apart, we're now stuck with three Republican branches and a cabinet filled with billionaires.

This morning, I was listening to one of my favorite radio shows, Southpaws on WPRR - Public Reality Radio, which airs on AM 1680 and 95.3 here in Grand Rapids. Its host, Darren Gibson started the show in tears, telling his listeners that it was probably his final show because he was fed up with people telling him what to do. Needless to say, his fans called in, begging him to stay because he was one of a small handful of progressive voices left not just in Grand Rapids, but America. Darren seemed to recover decently and went on to do a story about Trump choosing Betsy Devos has his education secretary. He and partner Jack Prince dissected how the Devoses' power has ruined schools around Grand Rapids and other areas.

You see, this is why I love Public Reality Radio. This station - owned by wealthy movie theater magnate Robert Goodrich - doesn't air ads and doesn't accept bullshit from corporate America. Its hosts - local and syndicated, mainly from Pacifica - aren't afraid to speak their minds. If people are offended, that's their problem. WPRR is one of the very few media outlets in Grand Rapids that's not afraid to hold the Devoses and other righties accountable.

I've known Darren for years. I even have the first email he sent me in 2008 when he was a manager at Parkway Tropics, the now-former strip club in Grand Rapids. He wanted me to add the owner of a party store down the street from his club because he felt that strip clubs were a nuisance to his community, yet his store sold adult magazines. Not long afterward, we became friends on Facebook and often had great conversations about the strip club scene among other things. He even turned me off of Rosalynn Bliss because of the fact that when the city was threatening to enforce the strip club laws, she was invited to Parkway Tropics and declined the offer. She went ahead and signed the law, causing those who love looking at boobies to drive all the way to Muskegon and elsewhere to enjoy them.

Gibson started hosting Southpaws with several co-hosts over the years a few years ago and the response has been positive. Because of his program, he was even promoted to programming director and helped develop other radio shows for the station, such as Women Libs Radio and even brought Tyrone Bynum back on the air.

Losing Darren would be another death blow to the world of liberal talk radio. Already, terrestrial radio has lost Ed Schultz, Randi Rhodes and Mike Malloy to the internet. Here in Michigan, there's no commercial liberal talker and WPRR is Thom Hartmann's sole affiliate in this state (bear in mind that he's a GR native). Even worse, on the day after Trump was elected president, longtime Madison, WI lib-talker WXXM 92.1 The Mic signed off and flipped to oldies.

In a world where Rush and Hannity still rule the airwaves, the small guy needs to have a voice, too and that's Darren Gibson. I know that he's been candid about his depression for years and it is heartbreaking. Needless to say, my life hasn't been perfect, either, dealing with a lack of a love live and a workplace that treated me like scum for years. But, nobody's perfect.

Please don't go, Big D.

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