I was – and continue to be – a huge Michael Jackson fan. When we lived in Kansas City I would find an excuse to be in the car from 3 to 5 when his show was on. Those were the days of gentle talk radio: Michael Jackson and (for those who could stomach her) Sally Jesse Raphael in the afternoon and Larry King on the overnight. They all entertained by allowing authors to shill their books, politicians to shill their latest ponzi scheme, and scientists to shill their latest discovery.
Jackson was a political liberal, but that fact never occurred to me until much later when I heard him interviewed on t.v. He was so fair and even-handed that his own political bias never became an issue.
Besides, his British accent made it seem like you were listening to intelligent radio.
Rush Limbaugh is the guy that did Michael Jackson in. Some media commentators contend that Rush’s success was a result of America’s movement to the right. In other words, Rush was conservative and Michael was liberal, and this was the reason that Rush prevailed while Michael faded.
This is strictly a hunch, but my hunch is that it had little to do with politics. Michael (and Sally and Larry, for that matter) were gentle and thoughtful. Rush was brash to the point of meanness. Rush reflected the meaner and more in-your-face America that we know today. Erudite Michael Jackson reflected a disappearing nice, polite, and thoughtful America. That style was simply not as entertaining as the intelligent but mean-spirited, sound-bite style radio of Rush Limbaugh and those that have come along since.
I mourn the loss of Michael Jackson.
… although he is alive and well. I was reminded of him when a number people mourning the recent death of a pop singer mistakenly placed flowers on Michael-Jackson-the-Radio-Host’s star on the walk of fame last week.
Not only is the original Michael Jackson still around, he only recently left radio – he was unceremoniously fired from Los Angeles station KGIL in late 2008. But of course that is the way of radio talk show hosts; they rarely leave with grace and are more often than not dismissed with little explanation from the station manager.
Of course it has been years since he’s had a national venue. But I am glad that this week’s tragic death provided the opportunity to remember Michael Jackson, one of the greatest radio commentators in my lifetime.