⬆︎ "The Marc Steiner Show"
"The Marc Steiner Show," which has been on the air in some form for 24 years and is a friend to City Paper, will be going off the air at the end of July, according to Steiner and WEAA. The end of the Steiner Show is a bomb to Baltimore radio: Steiner has undoubtedly informed the political worldview of many Baltimoreans and local radio will be a lot more moderate—and boring—without the show. A press release put out by Steiner's Center For Emerging Media (CEM) notes the many new projects that Steiner and CEM are working on, including a podcast project with PBS' Tavis Smiley and a documentary about Martin Luther King's barber, Nelson Malden, so in some ways this is just a new beginning for the progressive radio veteran.
In order to balance the Baltimore City Public Schools' $1.31 billion budget for next year, city schools CEO Sonja Santelises submitted a proposal to the school board last Friday that includes up to 300 layoffs of administrators, support staff, central office workers, and teachers. Thanks in part to the work of teachers, parents, and activists demanding that city and state legislators close the gap and pledge more money for schools, the number of layoffs is significantly lower than the initially projected 1,000. But those are still 300 real people with real jobs, and their absence in classrooms, school offices, and district offices next year will certainly impact an already struggling school system.
⬇︎ Local Radio
WYPR has been mostly tedious to entirely snooze-worthy local programming since Marc Steiner was fired in 2008 and moved over to WEAA. Now that Steiner's leaving WEAA, local radio is at a real low point. The decision for WEAA to move towards more student-run programming is a great way to add voices to local radio but WEAA is about the only place that offers compelling local news—Sean Yoes is still around at least—and the format change could be iffy. Local talk radio on non-WYPR stations is a clusterfuck of bad opinions, while WYPR continues to foist Sheilah Kast on us in the mornings and Tom Hall, who isn't bigging up the Choral Arts Society as much these days, instead offers a gee-golly semi-woke midday show—which might be worse.
⬇︎ Sinclair Broadcast Group
Hunt Valley-based conservative media behemoths just got a little more behemoth-y after purchasing Tribune Media (giving Sinclair 42 more stations to the 173 they have already). As many reported following the acquisition, Sinclair has been making its stations air pieces with a conservative agenda that have included overtly anti-Democrat stories and scare-mongering pieces on terrorism. Sinclair owns, among many others, local Fox 45, who has been known to play this game locally—such as when they edited footage to make it seem like activist Tawanda Jones said "kill a cop" when she did not, or when they a ridiculous story suggesting protesters harassed a reporter. This is not good, especially for those who prefer their news not be delivered via right-wing nut jobs.
⬇︎ Rod Rosenstein
Maryland's long-time, well-respected U.S. attorney, "Hot Rod" Rosenstein, stepped in it bigly in his first widely-publicized act as the deputy attorney general to Jeff Sessions. Asked by President Trump to cook up reasons to fire FBI Director James Comey, whose investigation into Trump's ties to Russia have enraged the president, Rosenstein penned a two-page memo using cobbled-together quotes from various interviews and columns criticizing Comey's handling of Hillary Clinton's email investigation. Trump being Trump, he then fired Comey by surprise and issued Rosenstein's memo as a press release, along with a bizarre letter of his own. Rosenstein reportedly threatened to resign over the fallout. But why only then? Had he not been told who he was dealing with? Had he not figured it out yet?