Category: Blog

Most Important News Item Since 9/11

This is a clip from last night’s (11/6/14) ABC nightly news.  Read the accompanying article and sit through the exasperating ad that precedes the clip; it’s required watching.  And for me, not much is.  The same item was the lead story on the 11pm EST ABC Radio News broadcast.  I heard it.

Yet there is little related to it in today’s mainstream OR alternative media.  I now see that the Washington Times has picked up on it as well.

When I did radio in 2011-2012 I did a number of shows with segments based on my belief that the next major war would be conducted on an internet platform. 

At best, hopefully we can perform the same tricks as our adversaries seem to have done, and we’re back to MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction). 

The Berlin Wall fell, but the War thermostat is once again set to where it used to be: Cold.



Malaysian Jet Down-Who Ordered the Trigger Pulled?

Was it:

An overeager, small-minded and shortsighted separatist commander?
A never to be discovered order that came from Putin to serve as a shot across the bow in response to yesterday’s increased U.S. sanctions, which the Europeans are paying no more than lip service to, which is the way Putin wants it to remain?

The fog of war has already presented conflicting reports, more from the U.S. media than the BBC.

Ideally, the U.S. and the Russians should go in together to piece the puzzle together ASAP. “Ideally” is me losing sight of what’s possible.

Robbie Student’s Bite The Hand Podcast: 04.20.14

Listen to Robbie’s Bite The Hand radio show from April 20, 2014.

Robbie goes from sci-fi to hi-fi to how we aren’t as civilized as we tell ourselves we are.

Click to hear the podcast.

And listen live every Sunday from 6 to 7 p.m. ET on on

Robbie Student’s Bite The Hand Podcast: 04.13.14

Listen to Robbie’s Bite The Hand radio show from April 13, 2014.

Robbie has no patience for glib entertainment. It’s what’s put our nation and its citizens in the deteriorating state we’re in.

Click to hear the podcast.

And listen live every Sunday from 6 to 7 p.m. ET on on

Robbie Student’s Bite The Hand Podcast: 04.06.14

Listen to Robbie’s Bite The Hand radio show from April 06, 2014.

Robbie manages to opine on both the current and deserved popularity of country music AND a global loss of ethics and empathy. Some brains just can’t stay put. And shouldn’t.

Click to hear the podcast.

And listen live every Sunday from 6 to 7 p.m. ET on on

The Butler

The Butler raised, for me, the biggest issues there are.  Forget, for a moment, how you feel about the Obama presidency if you want to delve into the bigger picture:
a.  how do we as individuals and societies deal with the reality that at least 50% and perhaps as much as 95% of our lives are predetermined by where we’re born and who we’re born to?
b.  how unenlightened we must be considering what passes for enlightened. 
c.  how uncivilized we must be considering what passes for civilized. 
d.  on a more domestic, here and now front, how the civil rights progress that’s been made over the last 50 years is being eaten away at, due, in large part, to the economic downturn. 

3 Reasons I’ll Be Audited

1.  I played “19th Nervous Breakdown” as bumper music prior to speculating on the possibility that Obama was having a nervous breakdown, or at best, blitzed on anti-depressants to keep him going between Crowd Adulation Therapy.

2.  2 years ago I called out Obamacare for the unwieldy, irresponsible, unimplementable waste of political capital that is was.  Then I took the gloves off, while retaining accuracy and precision.

3.  I marveled at both Eric Holder’s hubris and acute cynicism when he lied about Fast and Furious and didn’t pay for it.



Intro To Nation/Station

Following is the intro Talkers Magazine was nice enough to write to my piece, which was included in their daily, industry wide email on January 2 of the new year:

He is considered by industry observers and programmers in the Big Apple as a unique up-and-coming talk show host whose iconoclastic “street-savvy” work has already been heard on such outlets as WNYM (“The Answer”) and most recently the innovative WOR alternative online channel. Robbie Student, a member of TALKERS magazine’s Frontier Fifty, enjoyed one of the largest talk radio audiences on the internet and is clearly a rising star in the genre. In his other life, he is well-known in music industry circles as a record producer currently riding a streak of nine number one dance songs in a row. In an exclusive TALKERS commentary, Student captures the scene and mood at WOR on the afternoon of December 20, 2012 – which he describes as “the day the major overhaul at WOR began in earnest.” Student writes, “I walked into the station at 4:30 pm. I was there to prep for my M-F 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm internet stream show. The show’s existence was an anomaly, as the rule of thumb is to carry the entirety of one’s terrestrial programming on one’s primary stream. I was grateful for the anomaly. I was greeted by a cacophony of sights, sounds, and most importantly, feelings that were close to overwhelming.” To read Robbie Student’s complete article, click here.

As Goes the Nation, So Goes the Station

The following piece was published on 1/2/13 on the Talkers Magazine website.  Talkers is “The Bible of Talk Radio and the New Talk Media”:

Here’s some context: I’m a small businessman. In addition to being a talk show host, I run a small, modestly successful music and entertainment production company. Because of the Cliff, the Ceiling, and Obamacare’s paralyzing lack of clarity, I’m not spending one dollar more than I have to on salaried staff, independent contractors, and infrastructure/equipment.

This stingy posture isn’t because I’m a greedy bastard. It’s because neither I (the producer of goods and services), nor the consumers I sell them to, know where our next batch of greenbacks is coming from, or going to. And clients, those a rung above me on the ladder, are behaving in kind. We’re like kidnap victims who’ve had black hoods pulled over our heads, while the van we’re in careens through a sketchy neighborhood of miserably thought out economic policies.

 Which brings me to the afternoon of December 20, 2012, the day the major overhaul at WOR in New York City began in earnest. I walked into the station at 4:30 pm. I was there to prep for my M-F 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm internet stream show. The show’s existence was an anomaly, as the rule of thumb is to carry the entirety of one’s terrestrial programming on one’s primary stream. I was grateful for the anomaly.

I was greeted by a cacophony of sights, sounds, and most importantly, feelings that were close to overwhelming. The day has been described in the trades as everything from a house-cleaning to a bloodbath. Those are surface descriptions that make the point, but don’t paint the deeper human picture. And a bloodbath it wasn’t. We all saw one of those recently, and for the time being, at least, that particular figurative and hyperbolic word play doesn’t ring right, at least to me.

The sight of 10-plus radio engineers, some union, some not (we’ll get to that later), dressed in what they thought was appropriate attire to meet with management, was, um, unique. Brilliant, eccentric fellows, including my guy, who, having been there for 30 years, was like a radio big brother to me. (Full disclosure: having engineered albums for Grammy winning recording artists, I’m not unfamiliar with the offbeat mental terrain, or the less than up-to-date sartorial choices of folks on that side of the glass. I’ve been one.)

Clear Channel, which acquired WOR, was until relatively recently a publicly traded company with a fiduciary duty to shareholders to keep their share price stable at worst, and rising at best. The company’s present position of being burdened by debt and even greater debt looming still puts its top management in an excruciating pressure cooker. Their employees keep their jobs and their executives are compensated when they adapt and excel not just within their industry, but within the larger opaque economic climate described above.

So most of the union engineers, who drew larger paychecks than their non-union brethren, were out. Sounds a lot like the state by state “right to work” issue we’ve been talking about on a regular basis. There’s a fine line between cutthroat capitalism and survival during changing times.

The station mimics the nation. And it continues:

Some of the award-winning, high-profile talent was let go, as the station began to sculpt its new sound. Consolidation breeds efficiency, but by definition, it also breeds a lack of variety, a lack of choice. This may be an unintended consequence, but it’s not a surprising one. Our personal options, whether they’re in areas as disparate as radio programming or job opportunities, are becoming fewer in number as productivity rules the roost. One host broadcasts on 300 stations rather than many more hosts on fewer stations each, just as one employee at an insurance company does the work that two or three used to do.

The frayed nerves of all employed parties concerned had been in evidence since the eventual transfer of ownership was made known, and created the working equivalent of a “sleeping with one eye open” mentality, as there was an amorphous foreboding in the air. It’s not unlike the workplaces of today, where those with a job fear losing it, while those without one, on the outside looking in, fear not being able to get another one that involves their skill set and a pay level that had, up until now, been assumed.

There wasn’t anger, there was sadness. Certainly not because of change itself, but because of the human toll it currently extracts. In the early 1900’s the workers in a buggy whip shop went on to work in automobile plants; such innovation and expansion is not currently in evidence. So unemployment will rise a bit more (if you swear by the Labor Department numbers, perhaps you’d like to join my Friday night poker game), and the government coffers will be further depleted as new claims are filed, checks are written, and deficits grow.

Most importantly, there’s now yet another group of good, talented, skilled folks who have, for the time being at least, nowhere to employ those skills, and may well be feeling an emptiness and facing an unknown future that serves none of us well. The national skittishness increases. Even the corporations that abide by their corporate charters and mission statements end up losing, as the pool of consumers continues leaking, which then takes its toll on advertising dollars. Which then, in a Catch-22 fashion, leads to further consolidation in order to contain costs.

And understanding and being prepared for where and how and when it stops is the challenge at hand.


Rock Respect From “Lamb of God”

Crack The Sky, the band that I’m the writer and lead singer of, is scheduled to play a concert in a few days. Last night in bed, I considered asking for a moment of silence from the crowd to honor the children of Newtown. This, like all coins, has two sides. Starting a rock concert with silence can kill the buzz, while starting a concert in reverence can bring awareness. Then, I read this. “Lamb Of God’s Randy Blythe Disgusted By Disrespectful Oregon Audience. While the majority of the crowd quietly paid their respects, a disturbing number of concertgoers made noise, talked and generally disrupted the otherwise peaceful moment.

After the concert, a shaken Blythe took to Instagram to express his disgust for those that couldn’t “shut up for sixty lousy seconds.”

“We, Lamb of God, asked for sixty seconds of silence during our 1st set break to honor the dead children & teachers in CT. It seemed appropriate- it’s a national TRAGEDY. Most of the crowd complied, but several didn’t, some cursing & even laughing. I wanted to walk off stage. I am so disgusted right now- if you were one of those who wouldn’t shut up for SIXTY LOUSY SECONDS to honor twenty MURDERED CHILDREN- go look in the mirror. You are looking at a piece of —-. Your parents are obviously pieces of —- too, because they raised you to behave with no dignity. To the fans who were respectful, I thank you. I am also sorry you have so many goddamned a-holes in your community.

Grow up. Your parents should have beaten some manners into you, you savage little beasts. With that I will go to bed, say a prayer for those suffering, & hope for a better day tomorrow, because tonight SUCKED.”

I have only this to add to Mr. Blythe’s rant. I will walk off stage if we get a similar response when I now, will absolutely ask for a moment of silence, before the show, not after a set break, when the crowd is already fired up. Randy, our actions make us who we are. Your words, I think, are filled with emotion and are genuine, but walking – action – would have made your point much more effective.

This is Dr. John Palumbo for The Robbie Student Show.