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Another tiny difference

Reader comment on item: It's Not Road Rage, It's Terrorism
in response to reader comment: deportations called for

Submitted by Michel C. Zala (Switzerland), May 16, 2012 at 03:11

When you mentioned Radio shock jocks, it all of a sudden dawned on me that neither in Switzerland, nor in Germany there is such a thing like talk radio, which has for instance in the US such an enormous local and, if the host is good, oftentimes national, syndicated reach and influence.

Now that I am aware of yet another, quite significant difference between the anglo saxon and continental, mostly German Euiropean world ( not so sure about French, latin, Scandinavia, Benelux and former Sovjet regions), I am quite honestly at a loss to explain why talk radio never emerged here.

Pretty much all entertainment trends swapped eventually across the oceans up to and not limited to radio stations with a specific theme or music style. So why not talk radio?

Thinking about it and deriving from my individual habits at the time, I can only come to the conclusion that it may have something to do with the daily commute to and from work, which is where I discovered talk radio in the first place. When you spend a good 2hours every day in your car, News and talk radio will eventually replace music stations or the CD player. When you are really busy with a 10-12 h work day, it becomes somewhat hard to consume news papers, especially, since in the US employers do usually restrict work stations from at times even the internet - something which is unthinkable here, where people are not in the least used to being monitored by video cams or internet traffic.

The liberal environment in Europe most definitely encompasses the labor environment. The work pressure and restrictions in the US up to and not limited to vacation time and holidays is significantly higher than for instance in Switzerland, where people routinely check their private e-mail or browse the web during work hours. Also, while the average American sits in his/her car for an hour each way, the continental European commutes by train, which is why newspapers are still the primary source for News, whereas in the US talk radio, oftentimes a news channel with talk shows during commuting hours, became immensly successful.

Maybe it is a cultural thing or much more sophisticated than that, albeit, my quite simple explanation from a subjective point of view and history would explain nicely, why there is no person like Rush Limbaugh and his incredible political influence to be found anywhere in the continental Europe. If it holds any water, my theory should be applicable in Australia as well, where the distances are great, even though I can't remember encountering any comparable traffic jams in Brisbane, where I spent some time working with Boeing and Quantas. Thus the average commute in Australia may be a touch shorter than mine in California.

Hence my question: do you have (political) talk radio in Sydney, Melbourne or Adelaide? As I did not spend much time driving on the Gold Coast, I can't remember, if I did find such a station in and around Brisbane either.

Either way, in the US talk radio has become a prime outlet for measuring the temperature of the populus. It has an incredible reach and political influence. Oftentimes, stories break there really, when for instance all of a sudden heated debates break out and a topic reaches the level of visibility for the political class. Oftentimes the hosts do breach political correctness ( for cheap entertaiment or scandal reasons) and become the subject of the story themselves. Quite actually, if I was a member of congress in far remote and removed D.C., the enclave of the political class and elites in the US in its purest form, an environment of political opiniopn inbreeding, so often utterly disconnected from their ( also geographically distant)constituency, local Newspapers, TV stations and above all talk radio would be my primary means of staying informed about the mood of my constituents.

Another interesting cultural phenomenon or difference between anglo-saxon and the German world is IMHO the subject of debating (skills). In American schools the skill is taught and there are even inter-scholar competitions in debating. There is no such topic in German or Swiss schools. Debating skills are not routinely honed. Could this be yet another explanation for a way lower level of political engagement and /or the lack of success of talk radio here in Europe? Go to any of the important blogs or forums, heck, check out this forum here, and members originating from German speaking areas are extremely rare, even though literally all Germans or Swiss for that matter do speak fluent English.

In conclusion I think that debating and discussion is a learned, deeply penetrated element of the anglo-saxon culture and all the regions formerly influenced or colonized by the English, which is why I believe that Continental Europe is such a preferred target for Islamist immigration. Yes, the French, Brits or Americans struggle as well, but for different reasons. They have inherited their minorities from their former empires or colonies and now have to deal with naturalized (muslim) citizens. That does not apply to the Benelux, Scandinavia or Germans. Those nations face grave danger from a present, almost unhampered immigration wave. And - see my yesterday's post concerning the Netherlands foremost - they seem to be unable to debate and discuss, fight off and curb Islamist activity.

Yep, IMHO and the more I think about it, the situation in Europe most definitely has a cultural aspect too, aggravating the situation immensely. It takes a distinctively unique perspective of a 50:50 American/German European viewpoint to get even a bit of a grasp of how fundamental those differences are and how far-reaching the consequences.


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