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Y'all listen up, mom and dad

Y'all listen up, mom and dad
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Look out parents: Your kids are facing yet another challenge to their morals and values.

According to a new study of popular music, one genre is chock-full of references to substance use. It's worse than hip-hop and rock.

So rip those headphones off your daughter's ears right now so she won't hear that devil music known as -- country.

You heard me. Researchers looked at the top-selling country songs from 2005 and found that more than one in three referred to drugs or alcohol.

"It's not like country music is as wholesome as mom and apple pie," warned Ralph DiClemente, a professor of public health at Emory University.


By comparison, just 14 percent of rock songs included references to substance use and 20 percent of those in the "R&B/hip-hop" genre did. (Almost nine out of every 10 rap songs, however, did.)

Artists sang about alcohol and marijuana the most. And -- good gracious -- the researchers found that "very often, sexual, social and emotional consequences were positive," said study lead author Dr. Brian Primack, professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh.

In other words, people who drank or did drugs ended up having a good time. (This is a family newspaper, so I'll let you use your imagination here.)

On the other hand, "physical and legal consequences were negative," Primack said. Translation: some artist sang about getting hangovers or heading off to the hoosegow.

Country songs, in particular, often referred to booze, the researchers found, but they don't know what that means for kids who listen.

"We don't know if it really makes a difference," Primack said. "Maybe kids listen to songs with alcohol and it doesn't affect them one way or another. Maybe it affects them a great deal."

I consulted a few country disc jockeys to see what they think about this nefarious threat to our nation's young people. They immediately put down their whiskey bottles and stopped hugging their pickups in order to provide some expert perspective about country music.

"In my opinion it is educational," said U.S. 95.7 morning host Kris Rochester. "All kids need to learn is that when the pressures of life mount, the best way to deal with them is to drink heavily at a bar and then blow off steam with a good ole bar fight."

Solid advice. Children, make a note of it.

KSON's Nick Upton pointed out that country actually comes with good messages about "the importance of family and an honest day's work."

"However," he said, "for me personally, hearing 'Margaritaville' again won't make me reach for the tequila, but instead the 'off' button."

Call it the Case of the Left in the Lurch. Whodunit? Who finally managed to kill off San Diego's only liberal talk station?

KLSD at last gave up the ghost on Monday, flipping to a sports-talk format. Its lineup of liberal talkers vanished from the local airwaves, never to be heard from again (probably).

Here are the suspects behind the demise of "progressive" radio in a county that's reached by a half-dozen right-wing talk stations:

1. Poor signal. The theory: KLSD couldn't get listeners (or ratings) because lots of folks couldn't receive it due to bad reception.

2. Bad bosses. According to critics, Clear Channel, the monolith broadcasting company that dominates San Diego radio, didn't bother to promote the station effectively or woo local advertisers.

Former morning host Stacy Taylor, who's been offered a gig at sister station KOGO, said KLSD somehow failed to make much money off advertising even though its listeners -- on a per-capita level -- were the wealthiest of any station in San Diego.

3. Poor programming. With just one local daily show (Taylor's) and a number of national hosts who engaged in partisan hackery, KLSD never figured out what liberal listeners really wanted to hear.

KLSD could have survived, said former morning host Stacy Taylor, "if I was programming it and somebody else outside the corporate 'box' gave a damn. In other words, somebody with guts."

4. Bad location. Liberals? In San Diego County? Bwa-ha-ha!

There were other problems too, from the Air America network's bumbling incompetence to the failure of San Diego media (outside of the alternative papers) to pay much attention to the fight to save KLSD.

Personally, I think there's a "Murder on the Orient Express"-style solution: Everybody did it.

What's next? There's no sign that liberal talk radio will return to the San Diego airwaves. According to Clear Channel's Cliff Albert, the networks that offer syndicated liberal talk programming aren't willing to let the shows be aired on an HD Radio subchannel. (There was some talk about that as a way to get liberal talk back on the air, even though hardly anyone has any idea what an HD subchannel is.)

If you were one of the few who appreciated KLSD's syndicated programming, you can find it on satellite radio or online.

Randy Dotinga is a little bit country and a little bit rock 'n' roll. E-mail him at NCTimesRadio@aol.com.

Copyright 2011 North County Times - The Californian. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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