Sunday, November 13, 2005

Walt Bodine Must Go

I know that Walt Bodine is something of an institution here in Kansas City, and that a shitstorm erupted when Patty Cahill tried to get him off the airwaves a few years ago when he still had a little dignity. But, seriously, it's time. If you listen to Walt's show lately (and, because ratings aren't done for public radio, I have no idea how few of you there are), you are subjected to a rambling, inattentive, unfocused, unpleasant old man. They've promoted the smooth-voiced and charming Martha Lally (scroll down) to the cohost position, and now's the time to move her into the sole-host role. It was a good ride, Walt, but you've slid out of the saddle.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was really surprised when I moved here from KWMU land in St. Louis, where I was accustomed to listening to the Diane Rehm Show from Washington, D.C. She covers a wide variety of issues and has a wide variety of guests. KWMU's motto is "Intelligent Talk." Diane fits the bill.

Instead, I hear Walt. He's supposed to be a legend in KC media, but I couldn't figure how why he couldn't conduct a proper interview or why he seemed that he hadn't prepared for it. I finally got on the Internet and learned that he is blind. I hate to be cruel, but I agree with the original post.

1/09/2006 7:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

PLEASE let/force this poor man retire. I went to Sirius Satalite, just so I didn't have to listen to him and his ocassional "yea"..."oh"..."ha ha". Really KCUR, could you take a look at a transcript of what he contributes. I love the format, though since Kelly Wisse(sp), took over as Host, the amount of geriatrical subject matter is fairly boring. As for the above comment about Diane Rehm, I now get her program and although she is more mentally capable than Walt Bodine, she sounds like she is 25 years past her prime as well.

4/09/2007 10:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous from 4/9/2007, 10:29 am:
Clue in. Diane Rehm sounds that way because she suffers from spasmodic dysphonia, not because she is too old to do a radio show. If you listen as you say, you must not pay much attention.

7/03/2007 10:56 AM  
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8/18/2007 1:26 PM  
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8/18/2007 7:12 PM  
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9/10/2007 10:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Walt is an icon, legend and institution. The "shitstorm" happened due to this town's love for the man. He's earned our respect. Two choices...move back to St. Louis or change the station.

7/02/2008 8:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To some of us Walt Bodine is like a respected "Uncle" whose knowledge of local history will be lost when he leaves us.

Considering his health problems, I am amazed that he continues to soldier on. Each day he is not on the the air, I worry that we may be at the end of an era.

When an issue is dicussed that arouses his passion, we still hear flashs insight and mature decency seldom encountered in today's media.

I, for one, will miss "Uncle Walt" when he is no longer with us.

7/11/2008 9:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My co-workers and I listen to his show at lunch many days. I feel really sorry for his co-host who carries the show. Its sad when they talk about movies and books, Walt has no clue what they are talking about anymore it is really sad.

10/13/2008 1:11 PM  
Blogger kingg said...

agreed, I listened to the show just jazz, was a nice show but it got all so weird after awhile, seems they kept the two old ladies until they were just ripe for dementia care, i know this cause one of the ladies become my patient after the very last show, sorry no names,

2/06/2009 10:19 AM  
Anonymous Curtis said...

I just moved here from Fairbanks Alaska about three months ago. I love almost all the shows on NPR, but I have a question. Why is this Walt Bodine guy still around, and why does he get top billing for a show he says about 12 word in?
The charming and informative woman who is his co-host is a delight and asks some very informative question. I would love to pledge a donation for the year, but will not till this crackpot retires.

4/13/2009 11:05 AM  
Blogger Elspode said...

Walt is a radio host emeritus, a man who does what he does because he has done it for over sixty years.

Yes, he does nothing substantive anymore on his eponymous KCUR show. He is indeed clueless about anything that is current or topical. But Walt Bodine is the last bastion of a radio world that has long past, a radio world that, for my money, was a lot better than it is today. If KCUR chooses to allow Walt to sit like a geriatric garden gnome in the studio every day and mumble "uh huh" and "yeah" for an hour, then it is a tribute to the respect that KCUR and most of KC has for the man, and I admire such respect. Most people could stand to learn to show a little respect these days, anyway.

Those of you who are recent immigrants to KC would do well to show a little respect for the history of your chosen community - or, if this isn't your chosen community, you would do well to keep your uninformed and whiny opinions to yourselves until such time as your career moves you on to whatever more erudite and oh-so-sophisticated urban shithole to which you aspire. I suspect that most of you couldn't put together a paragraph of news with a gun pointed to your snobbish heads anyway.

No one has been present at more of KC history than Walt Bodine. Not one of you posting here, including me, have interviewed more historic personages, more pop culture icons or more newsmakers than Walt Bodine.

Come back and post your negative opinions when you've gained some of his experience, but until're a waste of space.

4/14/2009 10:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dan - Elspode is right - we should allow Bodine to waste our time and humilate himself on air as long as he lives, because we owe it to him, because he's old. Just like Len Dawson still should be quarterbacking in the NFL, and Phelps should have given his spot in the Olympics to Mark Spitz.

Elspode, rather than telling everyone to shut up and calling them a waste of space (WTF?), why don't you accept the fact that Dan had the guts to tell the truth?

4/14/2009 2:08 PM  
Anonymous KCURfan said...

Why has this thread been running since '05 and only a handfull of people posted their embarassment of Walt? I LOVE KCUR - LOVE it. There have been many days that I listen for 10 or 12 hours non-stop. An endless stream of great shows and smart news.

Except for Walt. He drives me absolutely crazy. His show is a complete waste of time because most of the show is spent explaining things to Walt or him trying to remember the area code to the phone number for people to call in.

When I was a kid, we had a dog that got so old it would walk in circles, eat its own poo and vomit. We humanely put him down. I know Walt is pushin' 90 and has multiple health issues. But that's exactly why he should not be broadcasted. We should allow him to live out the rest of his days in bliss. Keep him on the staff, sit him in front of the mic, talk about the good ole days, just don't send any of it live into the airwaves.

Curtis from AK: I too vowed not to donate any money to KCUR until Walt was gone. I held out for 8 years then finally caved into the guilt and made a pledge of 150 last month. The old man shockingly held out longer than I could stomach.

Yes, I admire his contribution to KC. He is a cornerstone of this community and has a wealth of knowledge regarding days past. But the truth remains: he is by far the weakest link in the otherwise stellar KCUR lineup. Please treat Walt humanely.

4/17/2009 9:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I recently took a job where I have the good fortune to listen to the radio (KCUR of course) all day. It's been a while since I have listened to Walt - I knew he was blind and heard of the furor over trying to get rid of him a few years ago. But I was genuinely shocked to hear what has become of this once incisive wit.

His mind may still be sharp and full of humor, but when he talks, I feel nothing but embarrassment for him. He can't even remember Gina Kauffman's name! She is great, they should just let her take over the show.

Really, Walt contributes very little. I'd like to remember him as he was a few years ago, not watch him slide into dementia. It is pitiful.

5/14/2009 7:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know, I understand that Walt is a legend, and that he's a reservoir of KC knowledge, but in the end it is highly unprofessional and disrespectful for the powers that be at KCUR (a station I love) to continue to allow this man to hold them over a barrel. We all know it should be Gina Kauffman's name on that show, and not making it so disregards the contributions of what may be the hardest working woman in KC radio.

7/06/2009 10:41 AM  
Blogger Elspode said...

You know, radio has this little knob that I can turn when I don't like what I'm hearing. I'll bet yours does too.

If people tune out in droves, the message will come through. Cash is king. If keeping Walt on the air costs KCUR money, he will be gone faster than you can say "Membership Drive".

7/20/2009 12:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When KCUR tried to remove Walt a few years ago, he was still capable of conducting a decent interview, as long as the subject was within his sphere of knowledge. Now, because of the backlash from this decision, the station is stuck with Walt until the day he can no longer be carried into the studio. Nobody likes it, but that's just the way it is.

What I don't understand is the general incompetence of KCUR's on-air staff. There are some fine exceptions, but by and large, the station's announcers can barely get through a station break with making a major stumble. It seems as though they don't bother to read through announcements beforehand or to learn how to pronounce the names of major newsmakers.

Turn the dial to KANU in Lawrence, KS and you get a higher level of professionalism all around. Announcers are clear-speaking and on the ball. What accounts for the difference? I don't know, but it's just one of the reasons my support dollars go to KANU.

7/29/2009 12:53 PM  
Blogger fannin269 said...

I'll always have Walt's back. He mentored me at WHB. I remember Walt relentlessly crusaded to save 12th Street as a den of lust and drag shows. Every major city, he argued, had to have a dark recess. God love ya', man. You were the one progressive voice in the heartland for boomers.

9/10/2009 10:11 PM  
Anonymous mark said...

Why is it people can show no mercy for anyone these days? The venom they spew forth seems to include all people,no matter who they are or were. I find that Walt is there in only a very small capacity and doesn't take anything away from the varied discussions on the program. It probably only bothers those who look for the worst in everything. KCUR should be applauded for giving honor and respect to Walt and elderly people in general. A little compassion and kindness is never a bad thing.

11/18/2009 6:28 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Mark -

Good comment. I wouldn't write this post today - at least not the way I wrote it. It IS more venomous and nasty than it had to be.

I remain convinced that he should not be allowed on the air, for his dignity and for the professionalism of KCUR. But we could all be a little kinder about it.

11/18/2009 8:18 PM  
Anonymous Marie said...


You must be the world's most compassionate man . . .how can I hook up and speak with you. Few people I find these days with compassion for the elderly. They are valuable, loving, people. I need to meet people more like us!

12/06/2009 6:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you have thoughts about programming, you might share them with the KCUR staff:

2/22/2010 2:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

March 9, 2010

Dear KCUR Listeners,

In a couple of months, and I say this with his permission, Walt Bodine will be turning 90 years old. “It’s an enormous number of years to have lived and I’m lucky to be in a great place”, Walt told me while enjoying one of his guilty pleasures, a scrumptious cinnamon roll.

Walt is on vacation right now but is already preparing himself for the upcoming membership drive.

Walt is also positioning himself to take on a different and still significant role at KCUR. He plans to cut back to a one-day-a-week on the Walt Bodine Show. And you can look forward to hearing Walt on Morning Edition as he collaborates with KCUR News Director Frank Morris on a series of features reports.

3/09/2010 3:16 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

That's good news, and good for Walt. In the 4+ years since I wrote this post, I've wished I had been more kind. While he has not been up to the high standards he initially set for many years, he IS an institution and deserves our respect. I'm glad he's going to cut back on his schedule, and those who continue to appreciate him can have a more focused Walt.

3/09/2010 3:23 PM  

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