Thursday, April 27, 2017

4.27.17 Bee-otch of the Day: WPRR

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Name: WPRR "Public Reality Radio"
Age: 19
Occupation: talk radio station
Last Seen: Grand Rapids, MI
Bee-otched For: hitting rock bottom


Two weeks ago tomorrow, dozens of people came to an Irish pub here in Grand Rapids to support two radio shows that disappeared from terrestrial radio.

The party was hosted by the hosts of Southpaws and Women Libs Radio, two programs that had been canceled by local liberal talker WPRR 1680/95.3 Public Reality Radio. They gave the popular station some of its highest ratings, yet, the locally-hosted shows were seen the door amidst controversy. However, they moved to the internet and they also became syndicated by Pacifica Radio. Now, several stations carry at least one or both shows.

I had the pleasure of going to Quinn and Tuite's Pub and meeting Darren Gibson and Jack Prince from Southpaws and Mary Harrington and Lucy Diamond from WLR. They were extremely nice people and because of the high turnout, they plan on doing another listener appreciation party soon. While I was there, people were saying that they no longer listen to WPRR because of what they did to Darren - Southpaws and WLR's ringleader - and the other hosts.

As we reported back in December, WPRR has been in a downward spiral because Gibson was fired as station programming director. According to Gibson, he claims that station owner Bob Goodrich (seen above) let him go because of ratings, though he claimed that it was all because of his health issues and a rumor he heard that several of the station's hosts - including Tyrone Bynum - wanted him gone over his comments regarding Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and the whole Democratic party in general.

When the Democratic National Committee pushed the superdelegates into voting for Clinton, Gibson told his listeners that he would not support her, but rather Green party candidate Jill Stein instead. While some die-hard Democrats were pissed at Gibson, he had the right to attack them for bullying Bernie Sanders.

Today, WPRR is now programmed by Bynum, whose show Drive For the Dream airs daily on WPRR. This is the same Bynum who had a hostile takeover of the now-defunct WMFN 640 over a decade ago. While running 640, the station had an urban AC format and had a contract to carry Detroit Tiger games in the market. However, he was criticized for not airing Sunday games because he wanted those days to be committed to gospel music. After CBS Detroit, which produces the games threatened legal action against Bynum, he reluctantly started carrying the games until they moved to WBBL the next year.

Bynum controlled 640 until 2008 when financial problems caused him not to renew his lease with station owner Birach Broadcasting. Since then, 640 has moved to the Chicago area. However, he weaseled his way back to radio at WPRR, which he probably paid his way back on the air.

Now, he's even given his wife, Portia her own Saturday show, Keep It Movin'. Sadly, I remember Portia on 640 back in the day and her show was HORRID. She even spent her time talking to a bank officer on how to set up a checking account. REALLY?!?! How fucking lame can you get? Even Tyrone's show sucked with the same three callers daily.

I hate the fact that radio loves to hire assholes while good, honest people like Darren are thrown to the street. But the thing is, I think there were more people at the party than those who listen to WPRR and the Bynum's crap on a daily basis.

Of course, I wonder how in the hell Goodrich runs WPRR. Is it supposed to be a non-profit, or not? They act like one, yet Goodrich is the owner of the 11th largest movie theatre chain in America and has a ton of money. Hell, his station in Pontiac, IL is left of the dial. Aren't all FM stations to the left of 92.1 supposed to be 501(c)3s? I smell something fishy here.

The truth is, Darren did a damn good job with WPRR. Sadly, he just didn't have the same politics as his co-workers, especially Tyrone, who uses his money to broker his way through life. Hell, Darren even told me that he uttered the word "horseshit" on the air and it wasn't censored. I'll betcha that if it were up to him, Tyrone could scream the word "fuck" for an hour and Goodrich would let him.

Because hey, WPRR doesn't have a lot of listeners anymore.


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