Free Ebooks by Randolph Lalonde

Free Ebooks by Randolph Lalonde
Free Ebooks by Randolph Lalonde

Friday, July 24, 2009

Somacow: I review it.

The guys at Somacow (Geoff, J, Mickey and arguably Ross), have improved their show. I'm not talking about production quality, extra webcams, or other bells and whistles that most of the audience doesn't really care about. I'm talking about talk.

Their segments are more interesting, the conversation is a little more wall to wall, and the rants are more pointed. Don't like rants? Don't knock it until you've heard Geoff go off on stupid parents, bad politics, fast food restaurants, customer retention or any of a variety of people who had it coming. Sometimes Geoff goes off in another direction (at his co-hosts), but I can't hold him speaking his mind -if a little harshly- without reservation. I'm not always on his side, but there's nothing wrong with that either. Besides, it's live baby, and it wouldn't be real, live, unscripted radio without a little fecal flinging in the studio.

The audience is listening. They're getting more calls, and most of them are unplanned. Feedback isn't ignored. Geoff and the guys pay attention to the chat room and bring up highlights during the show. They read their audience mail and the comments. When the Heard (their affectionate nickname for the listeners), likes something they look into getting more, such as guest hosts. The Heard responded very well to a couple of the hosts they've had to mix things up on the show and as I understand it they'll be keeping their eyes and ears open for someone worthy of inviting to the studio. Ross, the producer, is responsible for most of the guests and many other aspects of the show. He does a great job despite the comical abuse he's constantly subjected to.

Now, as someone who loved odd comedy radio growing up (Radio Free Vestibule being my all time favourite), and a Canadian, I'm no expert on talk radio. CBC Radio was the main venue for talk Radio and my memories of those long winded, sedate announcers would read like a flatline on an EKG.

The Somacow guys are experts on talk radio, however. They've been around the talk radio, local entertainment and trivia scene in Florida for a long time and learned from the mistakes of others just as much as their own. They were around at the scene's height in the 80's and 90's and have watched its steady decline and normalization thanks to heavy corporate influence. It shows. They maintain their independence and don't censor themselves so they can get noticed and moved into a big, tightly controlled studio setting. Whether that's on purpose or thanks to the announcer's general celebration of the freedom of speech is uncertain, but it's a very good thing. What they do may look or sound easy at times but trust me, it isn't. Every week they put a three hour show on and they've been steadily improving since I started listening about a year ago. They have an extensive back catalog and haven't missed a day.

Somacow also doesn't dumb their conversations down nor do they step out of the human experience. For a media culture that seems obsessed with being politically correct and pandering to the sub-70 IQ portion of their audience, or to "Joe Yokel" as I like to call him, (hi Joe, hope you finally learned to program your alarm clock and make cereal), it's good to find a place where they're not afraid to criticise the Kings of the day then turn around and toss some fecal humour in for good measure. People take themselves too seriously and Somacow isn't afraid to point that out with a good jab while not patronizing their audience.

Their shows are loosely organized around a few segments. The News Bomb, by J is a fan favourite where he pokes fun at the news of the day with short comments or general fabrication. Life Coaching with Mickey is a platform for disseminating practical advice that's shined with some a little humour. That sounds sort of dry in description, but it isn't, esepecially since Mickey will sometimes break into a short but entertaining rant using examples to reinforce his point.
Geoff's segment, the Book Review, is generally kept short and to the point, where he offers his opinion on recent reads often chosen from outside the top 100 list. He's very well read and isn't afraid to point out high and low points or to diversify ouside conventional literature. I particularly enjoy his unique ranking system.
The newest segment is the Man segment, where Geoff, Mickey, J and Ross celebrate manly acts with additional examples provided by the Heard. Women aren't excluded from the conversation either and some of the examples provided by the female following can be difficult to top, bringing another level of comedy to the segment. The rest of the show is loosely planned, focusing on talking points that allow for some latitude so Geoff, J and Mickey can be free to take the conversation elsewhere if it feels right.

It's hard to make low and medium brow humour fit in the same hour but they do it and their audience reaps the rewards. If you've ever enjoyed a talk television show (The Tonight Show, David Letterman, or even the View), and want to hear some talk radio that doesn't take itself too seriously, limit itself or adhere to a code of practices created by a bunch of stuffed suits, then you'll benefit from giving Somacow a listen.

If you'd like to listen and watch live you can check them out on UStream on Fridays between 7-10pm. If you miss it on Friday they release episodes throughout the week at Somacow.com

I'll be there, in the chatroom, moo'ing with the Heard.

RL

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