Wednesday, May 04, 2011
Sometimes I can pick up KMJ on my car radio. That's the 50,000-watt station broadcasting out of Fresno on 580 kHz on the AM dial. In my youth, it was simply the powerful local NBC affiliate, part of the McClatchy media empire, which also included the Fresno Bee and Channel 24 (the NBC television station). These days KMJ is a bastion of right-wing talk radio, a Peak Broadcasting affiliate with Rush Limbaugh serving as the jewel in the protuberant belly button.
I was randomly scanning the radio band when I hit something slightly interesting. The announcer was talking about a new program from the Franchise Tax Board, the official tax-collection agency for the state of California. The FTB has apparently set up a website where taxpayers can check the status of their income-tax refunds. KMJ's morning newscaster was explaining that those who filed electronically could expect their refunds in a matter of days via direct deposit, while those who filed paper returns might have to wait six to eight weeks to get their checks. Just visit the FTB website to find out how much longer before you're in the money.
Fine. Not exactly a newsflash. I reached for the radio buttons when the KMJ announcer continued: “You can find this at the Franchise Tax Board's website, which is ftb.ca.gov.”
A “long” one? Heck, it's about the shortest URL a guy could ask for! As for KMJ, its website is kmj580.com. That's every bit as long as the Franchise Tax Board's URL. Some shortcut!
Then I realized that my scorn was misplaced. KMJ is smack in the middle of Free Republic territory. The radio station is undoubtedly at pains to serve its primary audience as best it can. Therefore its announcers must always direct the listeners to the station's own website. By constant repetition, it might succeed in getting them to remember one 10-character URL, but two would be beyond the pale. (Beyond the Palin?) It all made sense.
Later I checked in at KMJ's website, but the Franchise Tax Board information was nowhere to be found. I presume it had already scrolled off since that morning's broadcast. Short attention span, too.