The recent confrontation between WLS-AM host Bruce Wolf and African-American traffic reporter Kelli Walker just goes to show you what a complete embarrassment Chicago radio is, and the media industry is in general.
In case you haven’t heard (and that’s most of you), Walker “threw some shade” at Wolf on the morning of November 18 over the issue of racism on the air with Dan Proft. This came around 7 a.m. when Wolf, about to talk about the Ferguson, Mo. shooting case, ripped into the African-American community with Walker taking umbrage, calling Wolf “ignorant” and “uneducated”. The conversation basically had the feel of one of those Tribal Councils on Survivor.
Robert Feder had a transcript of the entire exchange on his website, which you can read by clicking here (subscription may be required.)
Yours truly read the transcript and here’s my take…
To start, yours truly has never been a fan of Wolf, though it had a lot to do with his similarities to annoying sitcom characters (like Urkel or Kimmy Gibbler from Full House) than for his political views. Knowing him basically from his sportscasting work, reading the transcript did come of as quite a shock, given yours truly doesn’t listen to WLS, like ever (not at least since the Musicradio era.) T Dog Media has left Wolf alone, and instead used Jim Belushi, Jenny McCarthy, Rover, Mancow, and most recently, Wil Wheaton and Kenya Moore as personal celebrity punching bags.
But please spare me how “intelligent” and “smart” and “funny” he is. Wolf is closer to Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory than he is to George Carlin or Richard Pryor.
As for Walker, she also came off as an ass during the exchange. Basically, she should heeded former WWE wrestler The Rock’s advice: “Know your role and shut your mouth!” Note she interrupted Wolf on numerous occasions when he tried to get is point across. What’s the matter, Kelli? Got rejected for auditioning for The Real Housewives Of Atlanta too many times? Maybe Dwayne Johnson should’ve delivered The People’s Elbow to your mouth.
Too bad Survivor host Jeff Probst wasn’t around. Some idiots need to be voted off this island.
This sorry episode actually reminds me what happened on Survivor: One World in early 2012. The contestants were split into two tribes, one male, one female. The male tribe was filled with a lot of racial tension: two contestants – Colton Cumbie, a successful white gay person from Alabama and Bill Posley, a struggling black stand-up comic. In one episode, Cumbie bragged about his black housekeeper like it was still the 1930’s, called Posley “ghetto trash”, and called him out on his choice of careers. In a shocking move in one episode, the male tribe gave up immunity they won and voted Posley out (Colton was later “medically evacuated” from the game.)
Yours truly wrote about the incident and the lack of diversity overall in the media business in this Think Tank back in March 2012.
So has anything improved since? Well, what the hell did you think? Cumbie returned to Survivor’s Blood and Water last year only to quit, and the show casted former Atlanta Braves pitcher John Rocker in this fall’s edition, who has a history of making racial comments. New York Times’ TV critic Alessandra Stanley recently slammed African-American TV producer Shonda Rhimes in Jay Mariotti-like fashion, called her “an angry black woman” with little proof. Efforts to diversify the business has been minimal and racial stereotypes still abound in media – look no further than RHOA, Love and Hip-Hop, and Basketball Wives and CNN’s Chicagoland mini-series.
Look, anyone who thought the exchange between Walker and Wolf would start a dialogue on race relations is a god-forsaken idiot. The “conversation” between these two is nothing more intended to bring attention to a low-rated morning show nobody listens to on a radio station now best known for carrying a pill-popping racist in the middle of the day and recently signing a has-been in afternoon drive. The “conversation” did nothing to address the lack of diversity in Chicago media, in Hollywood, and the media business in general – not to mention the racial segregation that still persists in the Chicago area. What you heard two weeks ago was a heaping pile of bullshit from two bullshitters, looking to profit off bullshit. It’s more proof Chicago media is nothing but a freak show, and another reason why Chicago radio is a national laughingstock (Want more proof? Watch this.)
It seems neither of them knows anything about the subject of race – especially Wolf, who seems to get his ideas about the African-American community from the media, known for twisting and manipulating everything. Maybe I can ask his black housekeeper, if he has one. Wolf is no different from Colton, a whiny, arrogant know-it-all who knows nothing. Maybe Wolf would be more comfortable producing reality shit-shows like Real Housewives of Atlanta and Love and Hip-Hop since he revels in black stereotypes so much.
And of course, the rest of the business is no different. Why else would Survivor bring Colton back? Crassness sells, and the level of despicable seems to rise with each passing day. Why do you think this stupid exchange took place to begin with?
I have an idea – why don’t we put Walker and Wolf – a.k.a. Nene Leakes and Screech – on the next edition of Survivor and let them go at it at Tribal Council. Throw in Jimmy “The Joke” DeCastro. Have the tribe vote to send all three to Exile Island forever. Chicago radio would be a lot better off.