Sunday, January 16, 2005

Jerry Springer's Newest Gig

Before he was the king of Garbage TV, Jerry Springer was a news anchor and analyst here in Cincinnati, a respected citizen.

Before that, he was a local pol and as the biggest vote-getter in City Council elections, served in the then-ceremonial role of mayor of Cincinnati.

In spite of some very bad personal decisions, through serious work in both of the aforementioned careers, Springer had refurbished his somewhat tarnished local reputation before being offered the chance to do a syndicated daily TV talk show, for which he later became internationally famous...or perhaps, infamous.

Springer wants to plunge back into politics in Ohio and last year, was named the state Democratic Party's volunteer of the year for his fund-raising accomplishments.

But today, virtually an entire generation of voting age people in this state know him only as the P.T. Barnum of People Behaving Badly.

So, what's a 60-year old multimillionnaire with a reputation for presenting sleeze to the masses, but who wants to be governor, do?

Springer is going back on the airwaves in the Cincinnati area with a radio talk show. He intends to become a liberal Rush Limbaugh. It's a bid to re-establish his credentials as a political thinker and serious person.

There may be a market for Jerry Springer on the local radio dial. Cincinnati is sated with conservative talk radio. Springer's show will be the local production of a station that plans to present Air America talk. (There are plans also to syndicate the new Springer show.)

In fairness to Jerry Springer, he's a bright man. Anyone who's heard him interviewed by Chris Matthews or listened to the straight commentaries he once did on WLW in Cincy knows that.

But he's always wanted to be governor or senator. (Because, like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Springer is foreign-born, he can't be president.) Back in 1982, he made a bid for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in Ohio. He lost the primary to the man who eventually became governor, Dick Celeste.

It'll be interesting to see how this all plays out and if Springer is able to use the radio show as a springboard to the political career he's always wanted.

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