Issues, Etc. Journal - February, 1996 - Vol. 1 No. 4
The Lighter Side of Issues, Etc.
by Don Matzat
Five days a week, for the past four years, Ive been doing two hours of live, call-in, talk radio. This is a fascinating job, and I love it.
Normally we do a serious program dealing with issues of theology, but there are those moments, those spontaneous, "lighter side," moments, that only live talk radio can produce. Let me share a few of those moments with you.
Going to the Dogs!
This past Christmas I bought my wife a dog. For thirty years, we have always had dogs, but over the past few years we have been "dogless." I love big dogs. I have always wanted a German Shepherd. My wife loves little lap-dogs. Regardless, I wanted a dog. So, I bought her a white, fluffy little dog. Well, when I brought it home, my son suggested that I take it back. Why? Because my wife was going to surprise me with a German Shepherd for Christmas. She had already bought it. I didn't have the heart to take the little dog back. So, my wife and I each got a dog. I think we've been married too long.
Well, I told the story on an open-line edition (the callers set the agenda) of Issues, Etc., and asked the listeners to suggest a name for the little, white dog. We received a record 17 phone calls in one hour. The most original name was "little white dog." One caller commented, "Isn't it interesting how few people call-in when you discuss theology and how many want to name your dog." Is this indicative of the state of the Church?
After the program ended, the station manager received an angry call from a lady who said that she would never again financially support KFUO. Why? Because as she put it, "I hate dogs!" Meow!
One afternoon I made light of a book that came across my desk. It was titled, "Will I See Fido in Heaven?" We received many phone calls from people defending "puppy paradise. " Of course, only "good dogs " will go to heaven. But . . ., do "bad dogs II go to hell?
My producer Jeff Schwarz formerly produced sports programs for Bob Costas, Dan Dierdorf, and John Madden. He has full Rolodex of phone numbers for sports personalities.
In an edition of Life magazine a couple years ago they did an article on celebrities who pray. A hockey player for the St. Louis Blues was one of the "prayers." I thought this was strange. The particular player was known as a brawler or, as they say in hockey parlance, "a goon." Here was a "goon" who prayed. Great spin! Jeff got him for a phone interview. In the course of the interview I asked him, "You are thought of as a 'goon.' I find it interesting that you pray." He became angry. "I don't like it when people call me a goon,"' he replied. "Don't you call me a 'goon'." I was glad it was a phone interview and not face-to-face. Not every "good spin" is good wisdom.
The football coach at the University of Alabama was a former NFL coach. He is also a Christian. In an interview he spoke highly of the positive character development caused by the game of football. I raised the point, "But what about the low-lifes and shady characters who are a part of pro football." He angrily responded, "There are no low-lifes and shady characters in pro football." Hmmm! Really?
The former quarterback at Alabama, was a guest. He is a committed Christian. Every time I asked a question about football, he responded by talking about Jesus. It sounded like he was the preacher, and I was the jock. Hey, I used to be able to throw a pretty good football.
I interviewed a guest who was an expert on the occult. He defined water-witching as the occult technique of "divination." The phone lines lit-up. Lutheran farmers in Missouri, Nebraska, and Kansas were angry. One farmer's wife was particularly incensed. "How do you expect us to dig a well without using a water-witch?" she angrily asked. Another caller suggested asking the Holy Spirit to reveal where the water is. I was stumped. I think this is a matter for the CTCR.*
* For those who are not members of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, the CTCR is our Commission on theology and Church Relations. They deal with theological concerns.
A book came across my desk that asked the question, "Do children need religion?" Obviously, I assumed that the author's answer would be "yes," and she would encourage us to teach our children. So. we booked the interview for an entire hour.
After ten minutes, it was obvious that we had a problem. I didn't know that she was an atheist who firmly believed that children do not need religion. She didn't know that I was a Christian and that KFUO was Christian radio. She was as shocked as I was. Needless to say, the next 45 minutes provided a fascinating discussion. The only problem was, I could not recommend her book which she was attempting to promote. Anyway, it was not a very good book.
I interviewed another author who was dedicated to selling her book. Every ten minutes she gave the "800" number for ordering a copy. She really got me ticked-off. I got rid of her with ten minutes left in the hour and spent the remainder of the time telling my listeners that they should not, under any circumstances, buy this book. I suggested on the basis of the interview that her only purpose in writing it was to make money.
Little did I know that she had ordered a copy of the tape. Boy, did I get a nasty letter..
What's That Again?
We did a program on pornography. A listener called in and said, "I am getting sick and tired of the sexual innuendoes that are in the hymns we sing in church."
"Huh," I replied. "What are you talking about?"
"This past Sunday," he complained. "We sang about the angels' prostrates falling."
I started to laugh.
"I think you are confusing "prostrate" with "prostate," I tried to explain after becoming semi-composed. "Prostrate means to fall on your face."
"Oh, never mind," he said and hung-up.
Honestly folks, I am not making this up, and he was serious!
Radio is Color-Blind!
I interviewed an author from southern California who wrote a book about "race wars." From his picture on the back cover, he appeared as a white man with a California tan. We talked about racial conflicts for about 45 minutes.
At the end of the program I asked him, "Do you, as a white man, have enough sensitivity to write a book about racial conflicts?"
"I am not white," he responded. "I'm an Afro-American."
We both had a good laugh! I wonder if he knew I was white?