Keith Olbermann’s sudden departure from MSNBC a week or so ago at the top of his game and ratings for the rating starved cable outlet reminds me of a quite similar set of facts that happened to Jerry Williams in the fall of 1976.
Jerry Williams was at the top of his game and ratings for the then Westinghouse owned and operated WBZ Radio. Jerry had been the night-in and night- out voice of protest to the Vietnam War and the Nixon administration on the clear channel powerhouse broadcasting across 38 states. Williams had even made the de facto if not the actual Nixon’s Enemy List in the early ’70’s.
Now, in the more passive Gerry Ford era Westinghouse, a major defense contractor as well as broadcasting giant, pulled the microphone plug on Jerry Williams their top ratings superstar as now did MSNBC in the post George W.Bush/Dick Cheney era.
As the then WBZ sales manager and later to become WBZ Radio general manager stated a few years later Westinghouse dumped “The Dean” because they could not control him and they could still make a bundle of money without him.
The same flawed philosophy appears to hold true at MSNBC. That now late WBZ General Manager predicted that Williams new homeowners at WRKO would soon do the same. They did not, until many years later when Howie Carr undercut his mentor if not creator and became his successor, but that’s another story.
All in all, the departure of Olbermann confirms the maxim oft preached by Jerry Williams to broadcasting students that they were not entering the broadcasting industry but the commercial advertising industry where careers can pass and be forgotten as quickly as a thirty second commercial.
Commercial television and cable – The word “commercial” says all you need to know about the departure of Keith Olbermann. As to the voice of dissent – see the ad reps on the way out; they can give you some attractive rates right next to the Bud Lite and Toyota ads.
You have to hand it to the crazed Austrailian owner of Fox Rupert Mur Dick and his pudgy bald little me Roger that they have stayed with fellow extremist on the Right the certifiable Glenn Beck and the twin Hibernian Hot Heads Reilly and Hannity in spite of external pressures to remove them.
Why do the alleged progressive have no balls.
Maybe they were never progressive to begin with.
Certainly, MSNBC castrated itself when it dumped Olbermann. Guess they don’t believe making a profit is good.
The more voices we have the better for a free, open if not chaotic discussion of the issues of the day.
Think the suits at MSNBC have more in common with Mubarak than they would like to admit. All they are missing are the camels and the whips.