Straight Talk: Another shooting tragedy



It was painful to listen and watch as details of another horrible multiple shooting were reported in the nation. The latest at a high school in Parkland, Fla., cost 17 lives and more than 14 injured. After the 19-year old alleged killer was apprehended, the crawl on the television screen said, “No motive has been determined.” I submit the motive was hate. It was hate that killed in Las Vegas. It was hate that killed people worshiping at a church. It was hate that killed at an army base in Texas.

And how did some respond after every one of those tragic events? With more hate! Entertainers like Jimmy Kimmel and Joy Behar uttered hateful remarks, as did too many politicians. They were personal and despicable. The hatred has become so pervasive that it’s present in virtually every area of our lives: on television, in our newspapers, on the Internet, in movies, on electronic games and cell phones, and on talk radio coast to coast. In sports, athletes have suddenly become dispensers of wisdom when all they can do is dunk a basketball or catch a football. I want to watch a game, not have to listen to jocks talk about how much they hate our country and others with differing views.

We need a new attitude; a new national campaign. Instead of “Just say no” or “No child left behind” or “You can keep your doctor,” how about, “Let’s work together!

George Shadid. A great man

I’ll bet George Shadid would agree with me as would Bob Michel and Ray LaHood. As a matter of fact, Ray wrote a wonderful book about the need to work together, “Seeking Bipartisanship: My Life in Politics.”

I want to join with others in praising George following his death. He was a friend and a frequent guest on our radio show which began in 2002. Heck, I’m so old I remember when George was a city policeman. He told a story one morning on our radio show about how he did a somersault over his three-wheeled motorcycle. George had a wonderful sense of humor and was at his best sparring with Pete Vonachen and Jim Maloof. Younger people were unaware of George’s skills as a fast pitch softball player. Mardell Bucklin remembers those nights when games were played at Proctor Center. She said, “George played center and right field and was very fast. He was a good player.” As I recall, he played in the days of Gipps Junior All Stars and Al’s Radio.

George was fond of Royce Elliott, my friend and radio partner. As sheriff, George started a law enforcement workshop. Officers from throughout the state attended. It would end with a luncheon at the jail. The featured speaker one year was a model prisoner who wanted to share his redemptive experience while serving time in the Peoria County Jail. Sheriff Shadid introduced the unnamed prisoner who walked to the microphone in a bright orange prisoner’s jumpsuit. He began by thanking the sheriff who, he said, “had such a big nose he was breathing yesterday’s air.” The out of town police officials were stunned, while the locals roared. The prisoner was Royce Elliott. Of course, George loved it and so did we.

What happened to radio news?

The other day I was having coffee with some friends when I decided to ask them if they could remember the names of local radio newscasters from the past. From the older guys came the name Phil Gibson on WMBD. Other names included Ira Bittner, Beth McCloth, Ralph Smith, Gene Holmes, Bob Larson and Rapid Robert Moore who was on WPEO. It was fun talking about those who reported news.

The conversation ended and there was silence when I asked, “Give me a name of a radio newscaster today in Peoria.” Finally, one of them said, “Roger Monroe.” While true, everyone agreed news isn’t that important for today’s local radio stations. It interferes with station program formats and commercial time. That’s why so many people in the morning will turn on television first to learn what happened overnight and then grab the morning newspaper. Radio becomes a part of their lives when they get into their cars.

Obviously, I’m speaking in general terms and owners of the 22 plus local stations will argue that their position in the market place hasn’t changed over the years, but it has. Too bad because I love radio. Speaking of local stations, WOAM 1350 has been around for years with a variety of owners with a fascinating history. At one time it was ranked #1 in the market. Today, it’s in the basement and often off the air. It not only has no local news, it has no local anything. A lot of people who went on to bigger and better opportunities worked at WOAM early in their careers.

Quote of the Month

“In a world full of people who couldn’t care less, be someone who couldn’t care more.” -Author Unknown

Roger Monroe

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