Thursday, April 21, 2005 | Challenging the cliché of conservatism in San Diego, the city’s progressive voice speaks loudly every morning at 6 a.m. But for those who like politics with their coffee, KLSD’s Stacy Taylor Show won’t substitute for cream and sugar. Stacy and his producer Scot “Scooter” Tempesta pride themselves on presenting the voice of the little man unhappy with a lot of things. Find out what Scot and Stacy have to say about echoes in radio, smoke in the city and pompoms in politics.
Q: What is the world like everyday before dawn?
Stacy: The getting up thing is not bad. The longer you’ve been up, you’ve heard everything, thought about it, mentally masticated it … and sometimes it comes out a little strained. But when you just get up and the stuff has been in front of you for about an hour, you react to it in a more honest way. It’s your gut impression of a news story.
Scot: I love it. I’ll be home by 9:30, 10 o’clock in the morning, and, my God, it stays light for the next 74 hours – now that’s a long day.
Stacy: I’ll be on the record as saying it’s merely OK.
Q: What do you do with all those hours?
Scot: Watch bad TV.
Stacy: I read pulp mystery novels.
Q: What happens when you completely disagree on air?
Scot: It comes out as an uncomfortable argument. Stacy and I have very strong opinions, we are very firm in our convictions that we are almost always right whether indeed we are or not. Having said that, this is the Stacy Taylor Show, not the Stacy and Scooter Show or the Butting Heads Show.
Stacy (to Scot): What a stupid shirt you’re wearing today.
Q: What is it like being a liberal voice in a largely conservative town?
Stacy: It’s like being the only person with a brain on the radio. If you listen to this other stuff coming out of people, not only is it dumb, but it’s not even creative. They call it the “echo machine” for a reason. There’s not a hill of beans worth of difference between any of these hosts. So simply to be the other, to be not that, is as good as it can possibly get.
Q: What issues concern you the most right now?
Stacy: Social security, the war with Iraq, the shrinking of the middle class.
Scot: Terri Schiavo, overwhelming religiosity and the failure of the Bush administration.
Q: As the area’s local morning show, do you find yourselves constrained to local issues?
Stacy: We try to precipitate the big issues down to the local level. Like the shrinking of the middle class – that’s something that everyone can identify with on a micro level. We talk about the policies as they emanate from Washington, D.C., and bring it down to the everyman perspective.
Q: What do San Diego listeners want to talk about?
Stacy: Well, they are very specific, that’s for sure. The economy, social security, policy issues. A lot of these people are very bright, very informed, very cyber-centric. They are even more educated on some issues than we are. They like specificity, not blow-hardedness. On an issue sense, they want to pick apart the Bush administration and talk about what an abysmal failure it has been on all levels.
Q: The governor is a hot topic lately.
Scot: We went for a long stretch without even talking about him at all, but as soon as we did, the listener response has been huge. I underestimated how much they really care about what this governor is all about.
Stacy: Well, he did it to himself. Once he started calling nurses and public school teachers “special interests,” he put himself on the radar screen. A lot of people were in a swoon over how he was going to be this moderate kind of guy married to Maria Shriver – and then all of a sudden he turns out to be like another tool of special interests in a slightly more comfortable package than Bush. I think that’s when we started seeing all of these demonstrations of union workers, public school teachers, nurses and so forth.
Scot: Plus, at the Republican Convention, when he went there cheerleading “Rah Rah Bush,” people were taken aback, thinking that he might distance himself somewhat, rather than jumping in there. And they sure tell us about it.
Stacy: We are united on the station in our hatred of Bush.
Scot: If we could be deadly serious, we are.
Q: Hypothetically speaking, how might the governor’s reform package change the economic and political landscape in California – and how might San Diegans be affected?
Stacy: You would see a diminution of the power of the unions in San Diego, ergo individual workers whether union or otherwise. Schwarzenegger has sided with corporate mentality that workers are dispensable, they don’t deserve benefits, and if they need more money they should take on a second job. Again, I think on the national level this is linked with the dwindling of the middle class – we are already in a have and have-not society, and it is exacerbated in Southern California and California in general. If he gets his initiatives passed, you’re not only going to see fewer nurses and fewer teachers, you’re going to see fewer middle class people. Nurses are middle class people. Teachers are middle class people. Sewer workers are middle class people. The guy that paves the highway is a middle class guy. This is a big problem we are confronting both locally and nationally.
Q: Do you have any advice to offer San Diego in the midst of its current financial and political struggles?
Stacy: The days of smoke-filled rooms and good-old-boy clubs in San Diego are over, and if politicians want to continue to swindle the taxpayer and screw the union worker, at least they’re going to have to do it out in the open so the public can see what’s going on, and what has gone on for some years now.
And to the folks of San Diego – don’t listen to the myth that the city is some right-wing military town – because it’s not. It’s a diversified city with refugees from other states coming here, and it’s a way more progressive city than people tend to see.
– JESSICA L. HORTON, Voice Contributing Writer