November 18, 2007 in City

Show departure no conspiracy – just business

Doug Clark The Spokesman-Review
 

A wave of suspicious callers overloaded my voice mail the other day.

They all wanted the same thing: Tell us THE REAL REASON why Mark Fuhrman’s talk radio show had been abruptly yanked off the airwaves.

Fuhrman, the former L.A. detective of O.J. Simpson trial infamy, and his sidekick (and my longtime friend) Rebecca Mack were missing in action from their Thursday morning time slot on KGA-1510 AM.

Word soon filtered out. The show had been unceremoniously and abruptly axed.

“… I figure you’re the only hope to sort out the conspiracy or whatever the heck is going on,” said one caller.

Ah, yes. It’s the “Mark Fuhrman Show.”

There’s always a conspiracy.

The program was no ratings killer. But it enjoyed a rabid following that shared the host’s hardboiled distrust of, well, you name it.

On the “Fuhrman Show,” police investigations were invariably inept, politicians were mostly shady (unless given hero status via the Fuhrman seal of approval), religion was for suckers, business deals were underhanded until proven otherwise. …

See my problem?

How do I talk about the show’s demise and satisfy the grassy knoll, tinfoil in the hat, conspiratorial X-Files element?

Let’s see. The “Mark Fuhrman Show” was pulled because …

A. With O.J. headed back to a courtroom, the Juice’s new Dream Team can’t afford to have Fuhrman on the air trying to even the score.

B. The secret cabal behind Spokane’s River Park Square parking garage (who also own this newspaper and control every word I write through a microchip implanted in my head) pulled Fuhrman’s plug because that’s the kind of thing secret cabals do.

C. After spending so many hours railing against the Catholic pedophile scandal, Fuhrman decided to set an example. He quit his show to become the new director of the Morning Star Boys’ Ranch.

I dunno. None of these scenarios sound quite crazy enough.

That’s the trouble with the Truth. It’s usually pretty boring.

So you want to know what really happened to the “Mark Fuhrman Show”?

It’s radio.

Radio is the most precarious vocation on the planet. Firings are more common than commercial breaks.

Fuhrman’s show bucked the odds by staying on the air as long as it did.

In this case, a giant California radio conglomerate is buying KGA. It didn’t want the “Fuhrman Show.”

And that’s a shame.

Most local radio programs are either sports oriented or thinly veiled shills for sponsors.

Fuhrman was a rarity because – adore him or loathe him – he kicked ass.

Fuhrman went after issues with passion. He didn’t mince words. He didn’t back down. He said what he thought.

Much of it was over the top, but it sure was fun.

His daily drubbings helped bring down Spokane’s scandal-plagued Mayor Jim West.

One of my all-time favorite Fuhrman shows came back when Spokane City Councilman Brad Stark ran for Spokane County assessor.

Stark foolishly accepted an invitation to be on the show.

Fuhrman didn’t like Stark. He worked him over, picking away at the candidate’s youthful lack of experience, his attempt to sell Albi stadium for peanuts to developers. …

It was like listening to a cop interrogating a suspect with a wet phone book.

Thump. Thump. Thump.

I’ll miss the “Fuhrman Show.” I’ll miss my semi-irregular appearances as a guest yakker.

On Friday I called Rebecca Mack to express my condolences.

She sounded sad as she told me about their Wednesday meeting with the general manager of six Citadel stations.

The execution didn’t take long. Fuhrman and Mack were told the basics: New owners coming in. Show wasn’t making money. Yadda-yadda-yadda. …

The two accepted their severance checks. Then, following company policy, they had to hand over their keys and clear out whatever personal belongings they had.

Fuhrman took the bad news with his trademark sarcastic wit, said Mack. “He yelled ‘road trip’ and then high-fives me.”

Mack is taking what happened a bit harder. She’s trying to cope and deal with the sudden loss of her very public identity.

“It’s just show biz,” she said. “And in radio if at some level you don’t expect it at any moment, you’re delusional.”

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