KTRH fires drive time duo and Houston radio tracks farther to the right

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KTRH's new news team

By Alex Wukman

I’ll admit it, I’m a news junkie. I’m so much of a news junkie that I watch the BBC while reading the AP on my phone. My love of news has put me at odds with people in the past, I was one of the few people who supported UH buying KTRU because I’m selfish and wanted more NPR. And I especially love news radio, both the format and the brilliant sitcom. Listening to KTRH’s headline recap while riding around with my father during hot Houston summers is one of the few good memories I have of him from my childhood. So it saddened me to read today that a station I grew up listening to and relying on, a station that once promised “give us 30 minutes and we’ll give you the world,” has completed it’s transformation into a right wing mouthpiece. This morning Clear Channel announced that J.P. Pritchard and Lana Hughes, who have anchored KTRH’s drive time newscast for 27 years, have been terminated.

Pritchard and Hughes who kept readers informed of local and national matters in an even handed non sensational manner during the hellish morning commutes will be replaced by former Ohio talk jock and Tea Party darling Matt Patrick. Patrick, who has been in radio since 1979, came to national attention last fall after he claimed that Michigan State head football Mark Dantonio suffered a divinity induced heart attack after using a fake field goal to beat Notre Dame in overtime last fall. Patrick is not shy about his conservative leanings, even stating in his resume that it’s his job to “engage, entertain and discuss local and national events from a conservative viewpoint.”

To their credit Hughes and Pritchard recognize that their termination is not personal and that they are just the latest casualty as old media tries to adapt. Sadly, the case can’t be said for KTRH’s AM operations manager Bryan Erickson who told Fox 26, KRIV, that his station has “serve our listeners by being informative and entertaining.” And to accomplish the task of creating drive time infotainment KTRH’s parent company Clear Channel has decided to embrace the always insightful and informative model of Fox Friends.

According Michael Harrison publisher of Talkers magazine, who was quoted in the Chronicle, this new Steve Doocey-esque morning show will be “a more philosophical, conservative approach to morning conversation.” There are a lot of words I’d use to describe Fox and Friends but “philsophical” isn’t one of them. While it is true that Gretchen Carlson did graduate Stanford with honors, attend Oxford and could be considered a violin virtuoso she sure seems to enjoy playing the role of someone who is recovering from a frontal lobotomy.

This would be too easy to make fun of

The one saving grace out of this asinine decision to take a once good news organization and turn it into a wall-to-wall bastion of right wing talk that’s only interrupted by Astros games is that, for once, we can’t blame Michael Berry for fucking up Houston radio news. Although I’m sure we could if we try hard enough.

  • sam

    i fired ktrh. i want news not a talk show on my drive to work

  • Brian

    Does Alex Wukman write every article on this site? Does Omar secertly have him tied up in a basement somewhere? Is it time to change the name from “Free Press Houston” to “Free Wukman Houston”? C’mon Alex, you can sneak out a message… Show us on the doll where they beat you for more articles…

  • Jonas Velasco

    It’s good to see how your years of listening, watching and possibly reading, objective news have made a positive impact on your presentation of “facts”.

    Give it a rest really. You’re just another whack on the keyboard. If you need to; “Google” UNC path and tell me if the “whacks” in an example of one lean to the right or to the left.

    Philosophical…Really? Tell your readers (all 4 or 5 of ’em - ridicule is such a philosophical equalizer isn’t it. I mean how can you argue with all of its insightful observations…) again, tell your readers on what sense of “JUSTICE” are you basing your voiced complaint that hints at an injustice being performed with the termination of Pritchard and Hughes. What’s “wrong” with the “conservative” leaning of a privately owned radio station? Would you have a problem with a left leaning station? Would you even recognize one that leaned left? You must if you recognize the ones that lean right. So, has an injustice been done? If so, what is your sense of justice based on? Is it the same “sense” that everyone should base theirs on as well? Or is it to each his own? Why would to each his own even be a “wiser” or “better” accepted view? Maybe it’s just as equally right AND wrong as it’s antithesis. Is that a “true” statement?

    In reality, this WAS a substance-less bitch piece. Now it’s not.

    Your fellow Houstonian whack.

    Let’s do lunch.

    J. Velasco

  • Realist

    You can’t hear “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered” on satellite radio, Berg.

    And what gives you the right to call THE MUSIC OF THE MASTERS played by properly trained musicians “satanic?” Sounds more like the punk rock, gangster rap and other weirdo music KTRU played?

    And have you ever heard of proper capitalization and punctuation? Isn’t it wonderful that gov’t school taught you “feelings” and “expression” instead of proper grammar? NOT! Further proof of the dumbing down of America.

  • berg

    if you like NPR so much you should just subscribe to satellite radio rather than advocate the satanish take-over of KTRU by KUHF