Friday, August 16, 2013

Dan Barreiro is a Windbag

(A Radio Review)
In my auto, I often enjoy listening to a little sports-radio, to see how Vikings training camp is going or to just be entertained by the bagpipes.
by Charlie Leck

windbag (wind-bag) from
1. informal. an empty, voluble, pretentious talker
2. the bag of a bagpipe
related word (from the World English Dictionary):
1.       slang   a voluble person who has little of interest to communicate
2.       the bag in a set of bagpipes, which provides a continuous flow of air to the pipes

I keep reminding myself to take Dan Barreiro with a grain of salt – to remember he is probably talking (most of the time) with a tongue planted firmly in his cheek. He’s a long-winded fellow who has the afternoon drive-time show on KFAN radio here in the Twin Cities. This is a sports-talk radio station with a bunch of fellows who blister the English language and bluff and bluster their way through their daily two or three hours on the air. I get a laugh or two out of listening to these guys on occasion, but I often wonder how anyone can tune them in on a constant and continuous basis.

The two gasiest talkers on the station, who can take a simple question they want to ask someone they’re interviewing and turn it into a full-blow Shakespearean-like soliloquy are Dan Barreiro and Paul Allen. Allen is also known, as he reminds us time and time again during each of his shows, as the "radio voice of the Vikings."

I’m often stunned by the length of some of Dan Barreiro’s questions (most times including two or three suggested answers that the person he’s interrogating might use in reply). They go on and on and on and the listener can almost imagine the poor fellow who is expected to answer the question forgetting just where it all began (anyhow). Before turning to radio, Barreiro was a first-class sports columnist here in our metropolitan region. I think he produced excellent stuff, however, and it must have been because he had an editor. He could often use an editor on the air too.

so-lil-0-quy [suh-lil-uh-kwee] from
1. An utterance or discourse by a person who is talking to himself or herself or is disregardful of or oblivious to any hearers present (often used as a device in drama to disclose a character’s innermost thoughts)…
2. the act of talking while or as if alone
usage: soliloquy (from the World English Dictionary):
Soliloguy is sometimes wrongly used where monologue is meant. Both words refer to a long speech by one person, but a monologue can be addressed to other people, whereas in a soliloquy the speaker is always talking to himself…

I definitely mean to use the word soliloquy when referring to these two chowder-heads; for they often seem to be trying to entertain themselves rather than their listeners or the individuals they are interrogating …

And how they blister personal pronouns and get away with it…
It’s constant, how they rupture the language so many of us cherish – most especially personal pronouns!

“Well, David, you certainly know better than us!” (When it should be: “…better than we (do).”
“Doug, it was me who asked you that question the other day.” (When it should be: “…it was I who asked you…”)

It’s guys like Allen, so disruptive of usual grammar practices, who are responsible for making this kind of talk almost acceptable language in all circles – at least in American-English circles. To me it sounds terribly cheesy, easy and cheap coming from a guy who seems to pride himself on his grammar.

I know one thing about this Paul Allen fellow… and that is that I’m often embarrassed by the way he interviews women. My goodness, he’s nothing but an oaf and goofball. I’m shocked that he hasn’t been slapped again and again on the air for some of the things he says. It’s the kind of stuff that’s become common in very early morning radio, but Allen is allowing it to float into the heart of the day.

Mr. Allen is one of those guys (you can tell) who enjoys immensely the sound of his own voice. I don’t know how many times I’ve tried to shout at him, through my automobile’s radio: “You pompous ass!” Right now he’s on this “honey” binge. He loves to call people (guys and gals) “honey.” I don’t get it and it sounds cheap silly. Allen thinks it’s cute, however, and that’s all it takes.

Now don’t get me wrong. Both of these guys are bright and smarter than hell. They know what their jobs are and they do them in such a way that their listeners will come back again and again. You know, it isn’t as if KFAN is Minnesota Public Radio. They know what the difference is and they know just who it is who butters their pumpernickel. I guess that is of the essence in commercial radio. The “rubes” (as they, themselves, call their listeners) will keep coming on back for more of the constantly repetitive tripe they put out over the airwaves. And, the final coup belongs to them in all ways because their ratings are exceedingly high and positive; and the advertisers love to spend their money on these two guys.

If they’re so bad, why do you keep listening?
I know that’s the question of the day. I even ask it of myself. Well, there are two very different explanations…

In the case of Paul Allen, it’s because he really does have a wonderful grasp on the news and events surrounding the Minnesota Vikings (and I am a Vikings rube). I get as excited as a young boy when the National Football League season rolls around. So, I tune into Allen’s show whenever I can – to get every last piece of information on the developments of the season at hand. (I’m listening to it now, as I write this blog!) Though it comes with his cheesy voice and a disruption of common English expression practices, I just grin and bear it.

In the case of Dan Barreiro, it’s just to catch one of his dramatic and simplistic rants every now and again. This week, Barreiro made a federal case out of the simple and cute little nomen or gognomen that Minnesotans like to use about themselves – Minnesota Nice. Barreiro’s performed rage at the use of the term was wildly extreme – even for him. He raged and raged (and ragged and ragged) about it for nearly an hour. All the while I wanted someone to calm him and assure him that most of us use the expression with our tongues firmly planted in our cheeks (as was the case in my blog a couple of days ago – Minnesota Nice meets Jersey Boys). I did, however, want to call Mr. Barreiro and tell him that his comments – about New Jersey types and Minnesota types not really being different – were wildly off the mark. I, as I’ve said here a number of times, was born in Jersey and grew up there and know of what I speak. Minnesota is abundantly different than Jersey (I didn’t say better, mind you; I said different!). A couple of weeks ago, I was back in Jersey for a few days. Once again I found it splendid, but, I assure you, extremely different than Minnesota in almost every way of which I can think.

Barreiro berated so many of his listeners for making broad assumptions about the character of Jersey people. His anger flared about such prejudices; yet he felt very free to say again and again that we all know (don’t we?) why billionaires are billionaires and they “all” play loose and free with the rules and the law to get there. How offended would be Bill Gates and Mayor Bloomberg!

Are Minnesotans better than Jersey guys? Of course not! Different – totally different – but not better or worse! Do we have as many thugs and bad guys (per capita) as they have in NJ? I haven’t the slightest idea but I think it would make an interesting case study. My bet would be that our bad guys are nicer than their bad guys?... Tongue in cheek! Tongue in cheek! See! See! Look! Tongue in cheek!

Here’s something I’d love to hear (see) Dan Barreiro do some day: Ask Glen Mason a question in no more than ten words and then immediately shut-up and let him answer? Sometimes I can hear the old coach laughing to himself as Barreiro puts a five minute long question together for him, proposing, at the same time, the variety of answers that might be available – as if the coach can’t make that decision for himself.

It’s Barreiro’s wonderful line-up of regular guests that makes his show succeed at such a high level. I find myself eager to listen to their participation in the show because I know it will be engaging, humorous and interesting -- from former Gopher football coach Glen Mason, hockey legend Lou Nanne, baseball writer Lavelle E. Neal, outspoken lawyer Ron Rosenbaum and political newsman Pat Kessler. These guys are all outstanding and their repartee with Barreiro is wonderful. And, Barreiro’s conversations with CNN correspondent Randy Kay are also interesting and entertaining. The star of the show is at his very best when these guests are doing the talking.

Many times, while growing aggravated as I listen to these two stars of KFAN Sports Radio, I just have to hit the old pre-set button on my dashboard so I can get myself back over to the civilized tone of Minnesota Public Radio.

Reviewing KFAN
There’s plenty of good and bad that could be reviewed at KFAN. Dan Cole (the Common Man) is another mysterious case who has gotten by with the same silly and stale stick for decades. Then take Meat Sauce – another character who grew up out of the ranks of intern – and you realize that sports-radio sometimes sinks to the lowest possible denominator to get its stars.

If you’re a sports nut, such as I, you’re going to find yourself turning KFAN on from time to time. I cringe my way through the absurd stuff just to get some decent updates on what’s happening with the Vikings. The one thing I won’t ever, ever, ever do, however, is listen to the station’s early morning show (6 to 9) because it’s total trash and inane silliness from beginning to end. I occasionally hear it when riding in a friend’s car and I wonder why he even lowers himself to listen to such trash.

Now that FOX is debuting its major TV sports show (Saturday morning… tomorrow) to compete with ESPN, you wonder if the increase in television sports will have an impact on this local radio show. Probably not!

Why not become a follower?
If you read my blog regularly, why not become a follower? All you have to do is click in the upper right hand corner and establish a simple means of communication. Then you'll be informed every time a new blog is posted here. If all that's confusing, here's Google's explanation of how to do it! If you don’t want to post comments on the blog, but would like to communicate with me about it, send me an email if you’d like.

1 comment:

  1. WOW! This is the rant of all rants. The guys you raked over the coals have counterparts in Cleveland.