Tony: Chris Stigall And The Local Culture Of Conservatism

Check out what could be the definitive Chris Stigall write-up.

Now that he’s gone, it’s time to take a look at his local legacy.

After his last day on air this week, it has finally sunk in that KCMO 710 Radio talker Chris Stigall is now a part of Kansas City radio history, and not just another local media person whom I like to clown.

They’re calling his departure a success. Even though his ratings stunk when measured accurately AND he was largely disliked by the vast majority of Kansas City media watchers who don’t vote and don’t really want to hear GOP talking points.

Still, I will concede that moving to a bigger media market is a good thing. Conversely, his reactionary fanboys must now realize that easy listening music in the morning ranked higher than Stigall’s show. Also, the GOP niche market is more about paying puppets to push an agenda rather than entertaining the masses.

By and large, most political speech in this nation is really nothing more than sponsored content.

But I digress. I must give Stigall credit for hitching his wagon to a media trend that thankfully carried him out of town.

More than anything Stigall’s style of talk radio put forth a reactionary agenda not as matter of principle but as part of a cultural viewpoint. Reactionary culture isn’t just about fear and hate of immigrants and rabid opposition to better healthcare access for the poor – It’s a lifestyle.

Accordingly, Stigall’s first bit of significant radio history in Kansas City was a massive rally at The Uptown which was subsequently mostly ignored by The Kansas City Star (except for Hearne’s column) and most other mainstream media.

Dave Ramsey was the guest of honor along with that shrew Laura Ingram. What made this night significant is that the local far right wing of the GOP incorporated bad music and practical financial advice into their platform. They even kept it local with controversial Minuteman supporter Frances Semler making an appearance (before she quit in a tantrum directed against the Mayor and so many folks who challenged her reactionary views).

A year later all of this groundwork led to another massive "Tea Party" rally at Liberty Memorial.

I was in the crowd at the event and again I have to give Stigall his due. The guy looked like Hitler or Mussolini leading the crowd in chants and divisive rhetoric. The gathering of nearly ten thousand hung on his every word and was most likely the biggest political event with a keynote radio talker in Kansas City radio history.

And now that moment is gone.

Already the Tea Party looks to fracture a New GOP majority in the House and it will most likely be one of the reasons that the Republicans will lose the Presidential election to Obama. The ongoing Great Recession makes GOP rhetoric seem like nothing more than a sales pitch.

Similarly, I have a sneaking suspicion that Stigall’s bullying tactics on air won’t play well in Philadelphia where harcore Democrat and minority communities are much more motivated than this sleepy cowtown.

It’s not that I don’t want the guy to do well, but it’s important to understand the perils and pitfalls of local media reality. Chris Stigall the person,  I hope is dramatically different from his radio persona. Stigall behind the scenes is probably a really nice guy.

In reality, I’m really only opposed to his narrow-minded and reactionary worldview on air.

Not so long ago, Hearne killed my reference to the dude as a "walking penis impersonator" that i think was apt but really directed at his politics.

In the final analysis, personal or not Stigall represents an interesting chapter in Kansas City radio history wherein a relatively unpopular and disliked figure achieved a bit of success and a ticket out of town.

Again, because I’m sure he’s probably a nice guy to his friends and other folks that share his same demographic profile; I wish Stigall continued success along with the failure that moves him upward.

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