There’s an opportunity for a new generation of News/Talkers who can change the tone of what we hear, how we think, and most importantly, how we interact. Gone, or at least on their last legs, is a group of radio windbags who promote rage, eliminate discourse, and fan the flames of ignorance.
Brett Winterble is one of the hosts that can help us heal and promulgate dialogue instead of name calling.
Winterble’s show is heard Monday through Friday from 3-6 pm on News/Talk 1110 & 99.3 WBT. He spent nearly ten years as a Rush Limbaugh producer and began his show in 2008. He was extensively involved in rhetoric in high school and at Emerson College.
There, he was seduced by the Mrs. Robinson of his career choice– radio.
“I learned early how to win an argument,” Winterble said. “We’ve gotten into a culture now where populations have confused arguments with fighting. It’s occasionally a challenge to rewire conversations on my show.”
“I have strong beliefs, but I don’t identify as my political belief- alone. I am not my argument. If one starts to identify as their political belief, you cannot have a conversation and consider new information or evidence.”
“Emerson College has certainly upgraded in general during the past 25 years,” Emerson explained. “It was founded by Charles Wesley Emerson, originally an oratory school. The early enrollment was predominantly women.”
Winterble said in Hollywood; folks call it the ‘Emerson Mafia’ in Los Angeles, an alumni group on Facebook with nearly 17,000 members.
That’s got to be the most prominent non-violent organized family in the history of non-crime.
Emerson alums include Henry Winkler, Norman Lear, Jay Leno, Bill Burr, Dennis Leary, and Steven Wright. Get the sense that a lot of funny people went there?
Winterble studied political communication, which he said is a study in crafting messaging and argument. So in that curriculum, they start the students with classic stuff like structure, debate, and rhetoric.
“You could come out of that program and work for a political consulting firm. I went to that school to become a better debater, and I did. I still go back to this day. I’m invited to speak at various events. These are young, smart, people who can understand nuance.”
“There are different styles of talk radio; some talkers will say things because they’re trying to be shocking and well paid. Between the overuse of cellphones, shouting in the media, Twitter, the thought lines are deteriorating. This is harmful, especially for the future generations of communicators.”
If you turn back the clock a couple of decades, the big discussions on News/Talk were issues like taxation and charter schools. Today that seems quaint. Now, it’s an us against them mentality, a zero-sum.
Winterble said we risk raising a generation of feeble-minded kids unless we can teach them to persuade, create an argument and defend their positions.
“Without that, we are sunk. We need to teach them to communicate. I remember when Trump was running in 2020, and we had this hodgepodge of flags and hats. People would yell out slogans. They weren’t even assertions, and they yelled out a lot of stupid things. They didn’t mean anything.”
Angry people sometimes call Winterble’s show, livid about something, pure and angry. So he makes it a point to at least hear them out.
“I never hang up on them unless they’re throwing a racist comment or advocating violence. I won’t dump them. We’re going to have a conversation. It’s about owning up to who you are. I’ve done this for years. I try to explain to them how they could make a stronger argument. I tell them how I’d craft their thoughts, tell them ‘this is what I would do.’”
Oftentimes, the angry callers get quiet.
“We’ve got to take every one of them on. There are too many people shouting something, and then they run away.”
Winterble said there are a bunch of stylistic engagements with audiences.
“Hannity is an incredible talk show host. He engages differently than I do. Everybody has their own style. Ultimately, I always remember that have control of the dump button. I’m the host. If this thing goes sideways, I will jettison the caller. I don’t want to be a coward and hang up, telling myself, ‘they got to me.’ I’m on the radio. If I dump them, I’m not the one who’s running.”
When you’re trying to make a point on the air, Winterble said, you can push ideas to the point of absurdity. You are able to turn it up to 11 for entertainment purposes.
“I’m careful about how I talk to my listeners. In my daypart, I figure there’s the likelihood of kids being in the car with them. Some of my stuff will go over the kid’s head; some will go over the parent’s heads too. I like to have a healthy dose of sarcasm, and I do a lot of self-deprecating stuff.”
His mother was a legal secretary by profession. Winterble credits his mom with helping him choose a career path. At one point, he thought about going to law school. She asked why.
“My mother told me nobody is ever happy being a lawyer; people are always going to ask you for free advice. Become a talk show host on the radio. I thought, holy crap. She’s telling me to be a talk show host. She would listen to my show and call with her critiques. She told me what was strong, what was weak. It was good to get feedback from someone I could completely trust.
Turning to some news of the day, Winterble questions the offered excuse of the Biden administration for gas prices, both up and down.
“They said Putin was responsible,” Winterble said. “Now the prices have come down for 50 straight days; I have to ask, ‘why did Putin cut the price of gas?’”
We’re all well aware of the wild notions strewn about. There are a lot of assertions, such as January 6th, stolen elections.
“Where do we get the seal of approval that things didn’t happen as people say they did?” Winterble asks. “When we’re wrong, we have to at least be willing to say we’re going to exonerate people we accused.”
In Arizona, gubernatorial candidates have routinely said if they lose the election, it was rigged. That doesn’t sit well with Winterble.
“You have to ask why you are planning on losing?” Winterble said. “Why are you in the race? You can’t just take the offramp without driving up the onramp.”
On the flip side, he explained there are some real problems.
“I can take a picture of what I have in front of me and text it to you. I lived in San Diego, and I’m getting ballots from when I lived there. I live in North Carolina now. They’re getting these voter rolls from the California DMV and sending ballots to me in North Carolina. I haven’t lived in California in almost three years. There are problems with our voter integrity, but that’s not the same as claiming an election is rigged if you don’t win.”
In his personal life, Winterble spends time with his kids, cats, and three birds. The fish died. There is a noticeable absence of the best pet of all–dogs.
“To be honest, it’s hard to go on road trips with dogs. I grew up with German Shepherds, Huskies and I love dogs. They can also tear up the place when you’re gone. Cats don’t need me around. They’re self-sufficient.”
The man is funny, like a lot of his Emerson alum. Winterble studied at the workshops at The Groundlings & School in Los Angeles.
Winterble has written comedy bits and had the guts to do standup comedy.
“I wrote a bunch of parodies when I worked with Rush Limbaugh. That was more in my early days.”
He said writing comedy years ago was easier when considering today’s sensitivities.
“You’ve got to be more aware of what you’re saying. You must write with more double entendre. You can’t come out and give an audience a Richard Pryor type set from 1975. You have to go over the heads of the critics and some of your audience members. You have to be more surgical with your strikes. Think about it to get into it.”
Winterble was doing comedy in the early 2000s. He was in New York during 9-11, a time he said it was hard to be funny.
“There is a process to comedy,” he said. “It’s like a musician learning a song. You can try to improvise and make it your own. There is a formulaic way to do it. I tend to lean toward longer-form comedy stories. I don’t do one-liners.”
Got it. No Milton Berle, Carrot Top, or Henny Youngman stuff.
He said WABC held a comedy night at Caroline’s in 2002. He recalls a couple of comics that went on before him. One of them was the late Patrice O’Neal.
“He was a hilarious comic,” Winterble said. “He was what you might refer to as an ‘adult comic.’ He comes onstage in front of an older crowd in at Caroline’s. He was such an imposing, big man, and he started yelling at the audience, ‘laugh. Laugh right now, m********. Here he’s stomping around on stage, scaring these people. Heads were bouncing as he stomped around. It was amazing. He was just messing with them. I had to go on next, and that wasn’t easy.”
Winterble said he didn’t deal with a lot of hecklers. However, when someone was being obnoxious, he handled it well.
“I just kept going with my act. For the most part, that’s what I do. If I feel there is tension in the room, I continue with my act and figure they will eventually realize they are the idiot and shut up.”
Aside from talk, Winterble knows sports. Especially the NBA. He describes how the game has changed since the days of post-up players like Jabbar, Ewing, and Barkley.
“It has been reduced to a 3-point game,” Winterble said. “I want to see some physicality in the paint, but all we’re seeing are snipers hitting threes. Either the 3-point shooters are ice cold and boring, or they’re tearing it up. I understand things change, but they are destroying the game.”
Maybe a four-point line? Raise the rim?
Winterble was a host on KFWB in LA when they flipped to sports, and operated as The Beast 980, the flagship for the Clippers. He added that he thinks sports talk is the much harder end of talk radio. “You have to keep track of all the stats and injuries.”
We talked about how Florida is filling vacant spots with former military personnel with no teaching experience. They will be allowed to teach kindergarten through high school.
Thanks, Florida. This is going to be fun to watch. The circumstances caused Winterble to recall a joke.
“There’s a retired Marine who decided to become a teacher of history at a high school,” he began. “His class was comprised of students in their junior year. Like most kids that age, they were messing around. Talking and basically being a pain. When the teacher/ex-Marine sat down, an open window caused his tie to go up and over his shoulder. The kids went crazy, laughing, making fun of the man. The ex-Marine calmly brought the tie to his chest, grabbed a stapler off the desk, and stapled the tie to his chest. The room fell deadly silent, and he never had a problem with discipline again.”
Jim Cryns writes features for Barrett News Media. He has spent time in radio as a reporter for WTMJ, and has also served as an author and former writer for the Milwaukee Brewers. To touch base or pick up a copy of his book: On Story Parkway: Remembering Milwaukee County Stadium, available on Amazon, email email@example.com.
WWJ’s Jim Matthews Reportedly Murdered By House Guest
Authorities are reportedly investigating the case as a “domestic situation” involving a murder and attempted suicide.
WWJ 950 news anchor Jim Matthews was reportedly murdered Friday afternoon. According to TMZ, Matthews’ girlfriend and his two children were also injured in the attack.
Authorities are reportedly investigating the case as a “domestic situation” involving a murder and attempted suicide. Police said they had to force their way into the home where they found Matthews’ 10-year-old son tied up and beaten inside of a closet.
While details are still emerging, authorities said Matthews invited a man who lives nearby, into his condominium. Matthews lived in Chesterfield Township, about 34 miles outside of Detroit.
The alleged attacker was discovered in the basement overdosing on heroin and suffering from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Police said they administered Narcan to reverse the effects of the overdose. Police are still investigating the relationship between Matthews and his attacker.
Matthews’ girlfriend reportedly escaped from their home along with his five-year-old daughter. She was able to flag down a neighbor who called the police. The girlfriend was reportedly suffering from stab wounds, the child was injured as well.
TMZ said both the girlfriend and his son are in critical condition while his daughter is listed as stable.
“Our investigation has determined this is an isolated tragedy that does not present a danger to our community at this time,” Chesterfield Township Police Chief Brian Bassett said.
WWJ issued a statement expressing extreme shock and sorrow.
“There have been many tears shed in our newsroom today and Jim will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Jim’s family and friends during this difficult time.”
Ryan Hedrick serves as the Assistant Program Director and Co-Host of the Morning News Express at WFMD. Prior to WFMD, he hosted an afternoon program at News Talk 103.7 FM in Chambersburg, PA. He has worked at Sirius XM in Washington D.C., WBEN in Buffalo, NY, and for stations in Baltimore, MD. He has also worked at WIBW-AM in Topeka KS, earning the Kansas Association of Broadcasters (KAB) award for Major Market enterprise reporting in 2016. To connect with Ryan, find him on Twitter @SureToCover.
Jay Weber: Media ‘Covering’ For Biden, Democrats On Border Crisis
“Biden and the Democrats are allowing it to happen. Allowing it! And the news media covers for them.”
Many conservative commentators have maligned the interview President Joe Biden conducted with Scott Pelley of 60 Minutes last Sunday, and have claimed he got a “pass” on the nation’s southern border. 1130 WISN host Jay Weber can be added to that list.
“Trust me, if a Republican was president, dozens of terrorists roaming America because of the president — intentionally — reopened the borders, it would be a huge deal and a relentless obsession by the news media,” Weber said. “Biden and the Democrats are allowing it to happen. Allowing it! And the news media covers for them.”
Weber pointed out a perceived hypocrisy in liberal circles, as many have claimed Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) is guilty of kidnapping after sending illegal immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard, MA, but are ok allowing the southern border to remain open.
He continued by pointing out the southern border’s role in national security, saying it took only 13 people to attack America on 9/11.
Dan Mandis: There’s A Reason Greg Gutfeld Is Winning Late-Night Competition
“There are consequences for doing that. It is now well known that Greg Gutfeld, over there on Fox News, is beating the snot out of Stephen Colbert.”
After playing a recent clip from The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Mandis said it was the chief reason why network shows are losing to Gutfeld. In the clip, Colbert’s audience cheers when the host brings up a Texas sheriff opening an investigation into the actions of Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) for shipping illegal immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard, MA. Colbert called DeSantis “a body builder who skips head day” in his monologue, and Mandis found the comments offensive. He claimed shows on ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX should be a place for all viewers, not just members of the “progressive left”.
“To me, Colbert’s show should be on CNN or MSNBC to cater to the left,” Mandis said. “But again, he’s on the network where he should be welcoming for all. There are consequences for doing that. It is now well known that Greg Gutfeld, over there on Fox News, is beating the snot out of Stephen Colbert. I know what you’re thinking. ‘Isn’t Gutfeld blowing off half of America?’ Perhaps, but he’s on Fox News, where people know what they’re going to get.”
Mandis then pointed out the difference in Gutfeld’s approach compared to Colbert’s, saying Gutfeld’s panel approach is easier to digest than Colbert’s solo monologue followed by celebrity interviews.