Scanning the walls in Dori Monson’s home office, you probably wouldn’t know he was a Seattle radio talk show host with an Edward R. Murrow Award. The wall is all about family and a passion for coaching.
Squeezed between photos of his wife of 35 years, their three daughters, and rescue dogs they consider family, Monson’s walls are vivid reminders of his other career: coaching girls basketball.
“There’s barely one wall in my office,” the noon-3 p.m. KIRO News radio 97.3 host says from the town, not far from the Scandinavian neighborhood where he was born and raised, “but it’s more like a scrapbook of my basketball coaching life than a showcase to my `day job.’”
And yet, there is a lot of cross-over between the two for Monson, 60. Both reflect a level of competition that keeps him at the top of both games. After 35 years in the industry and a 2-A Washington state girls championship hoops coach, Monson still has a fire in his belly for both passions.
His path was wildly unpredictable.
As a 10-year-old, Monson wanted to start creating a life vastly different from the one he’d experienced up to that point: rough and tumble.
“I wanted to have a happy home,” the youngest-of-three kids said. “My father wasn’t around. Our phone was cut off. I bathed in cold water. All these things happen, and the only reference point you have is your own life.”
But Monson was determined to break the proverbial cycle.
“In retrospect, it doesn’t seem that terrible,” he said. “I thought I could change things going forward.”
One of his favorite games as a kid was the Sports Illustrated Superstar Baseball game. An obscure game, to be sure, a bit nerdy and wonky. But Monson was all over it.
“It was this dice game,” Monson said. “You could manage players like Brooks Robinson.”
At the time, the game retailed at $9.95, not a small chunk of change for a kid in the early ‘70s.
“I talked my mom into matching my $5 when I could raise it,” Monson said.
“That was a fortune. She agreed to match the money.”
Undaunted, Monson cut grass, swept driveways, anything he had to do to raise his balance of the money for the game. After finally earning his half, his mother was true to her word and coughed up her $5 match.
“I spent the next five years buried in that game,” Monson recalled. After several housing moves, he remembers losing “my original game but found another years later, and had to pay a fortune.”
Board games, he said, were easier on emotions. Real games broke his heart when he was seven years old.
“The Seattle Pilots left town,” Monson said. “The trucks were headed north from spring training, and they were diverted to Milwaukee after the sale.”
Some of those nightmares still haunt his sleep.
“I had a real love for the game in the summer of 1969,” Monson said. “I had a tree fort and strung an extension cord to the house so I could listen to games. I bought a baseball scorebook. Learned to keep score for as many games as I could.”
A self-described nerd, Monson recalls going to his local library to bolster his baseball skills. His goal: to carve a plan that would out-manage Earl Weaver of the Baltimore Orioles – his favorite team.
After graduating from high school early at 15, Monson went to the University of Washington. “I worked 70 hours a week at two jobs just to pay the tuition,” he said. “At 17, my life’s goal was to manage a warehouse.”
Then he met someone that would change his career trajectory and his life.
“I was working in a warehouse one day, and I heard a commercial for the Ron Bailey School of Broadcasting,” Monson said. “Tuition was close to $3,500 – an impossible amount of money for me at that time.”
But when the guest speaker and then KING-TV sportscaster Bill O’Mara met Monson through the school, the legendary hydroplane race caller made Monson a deal: “He told me he’d let me be his intern if I went to school and finished my degree,” Monson said. “It was a gentleman’s agreement. But he also said I had to graduate from college to make good on the deal.”
Monson went to UW Seattle for a semester but had to drop out because he couldn’t afford tuition. Two days later, Monson – who was living at home – heard a car coming up the drive.
“I don’t know how he knew where I lived, but Bill O’Mara came up to the porch and knocked,” Monson explained. “I knew he didn’t have a pot to piss in, but he peeled off six $100 bills and reminded me of our deal.
“This man had fallen on some tough times and was sleeping at his own radio station,” Monson recalled. “I went back and re-enrolled the next day.”
The Seattle radio talk show veteran credits the start of his radio career to O’Mara. O’Mara was still doing high school play-by-play into his 90s, and Monson recalls that “Sports Illustrated did a piece on him.”
In college, Monson majored in communications and did play-by-play work for the Huskies on the campus station. He knew he could do it because he’d been practicing in his room as a kid.
“I’d been doing my own play-by-play calls with the Orioles games when I was seven years old in the summer of 1972,” he recalls.
Monson later got a job in sports at KING-TV to watch ball games and write timecodes. “I dug in and started knocking on station doors until I made something happen. I started doing high school recaps on Saturday morning. Then they gave me a shot doing morning sports.”
Those segments were taped as Monson was finishing up his night work.
“Then the new television news director told me I had to quit radio. When I asked why he said he didn’t have to tell me. I assume it was because he had something against the radio side and wanted to stick it to them.”
That’s when Monson had to choose. Would it be radio or television?
“I went in and met our radio news director Steve Wexler and told him I was thinking of choosing radio over television. He kind of grimaced and said he wouldn’t do that if he were me,” Monson said. Wexler told him even though he’d only been with the station for a week, he already knew he was going to make some changes and might go a different direction. In other words, Monson figured he was going to get canned.
Monson called his wife and let her know about his dilemma. She assured him he’d make the right decision. “I went to the television news director and told him I quit,” Monson said. “I had no backup plan.”
The next day he went back to Wexler’s office and said he’d quit the television job. “Wexler started laughing,” Monson said. “I told him if he still fired me, that’s his call. But he was fair with me. I asked him to just give me 30 days more to see if I got better in his eyes. See if I grew on him. Get some coaching. I think he liked my gumption because he agreed.”
Since he no longer had to work nights at the television station, he could devote all his time to his radio gig.
“I came in even earlier and did some fill-in for the lead host. I wanted to make myself indispensable.”
His wishes came true.
He’s been in his current position for 27 years and is known by everyone within listening distance. “The last couple of years have been great,” Monson said. “I have a couple of friends that dissect ratings, and they tell me we are the highest local news and talk station in the country for the past two years. That isn’t a formal study, but these guys know what they’re talking about.”
From 2010 to 2017, Monson balanced his radio work with his role as head coach of the Shorecrest High School girls basketball team in Shoreline, Washington. “I stepped aside three years ago,” Monson explained.
In 2016, his team won the Washington state 2-A girls basketball championship, and Monson was recognized as the state Coach of the Year.
Coaching has long been something close to Monson’s heart. He found it gratifying because he was able to impart life lessons to student-athletes.
“Coaches were so important to me when I was a kid. My wife and I have been blessed with three daughters. Only my youngest played basketball throughout high school, but the others were active in tennis. My wife too.”
While he didn’t say he was all about destiny, Monson thinks there is some deliberate force in the universe.
“I don’t think some things that happen in life are by accident,” Monson said. “I had only one class in my entire college career with assigned seating. It was a children’s literary class, and my future wife and I were assigned to sit next to each other.”
Today, Monson hosts The Dori Monson Show on KIRO Newsradio, weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. It’s a life he loves. Monson’s daily show is topical. It allows him to share his thoughts, humor, and just be himself.
“Seattle is a very liberal place,” he said. “I think people view me here as someone who can help balance the rest of the media. I have things to discuss that aren’t political. I want to be a companion for people stuck in traffic. Make them laugh. I take a great deal of pride in that.”
He said he and his staff break lots of news as they have a connection with listeners. “We get a ton of tips from listeners,” Monson said. “They turn out to be good stories for us as listeners have become fine-tuned to our show and what we talk about.”
Several years ago, it earned him an Edward R. Murrow award.
Monson said he took advantage of the challenges Covid presented. “It was a game-changer for me. I started doing my show at home and still do. I can still interact with my anchor at the studio and my producer.”
In the evening, he spends four to five hours preparing for the next day’s show. Monson’s show is the only one in prime time listening that doesn’t have a co-host.
Monson said he’ll continue with this gig as long as he has a functioning voice and brain.
“I love what I’m doing. I’ve worked 40 years to get to this point. I want people to hear what I have to say for as long as they want me to.”
Jim Cryns writes features for Barrett News Media. He has spent time in radio as a reporter for WTMJ, and has served as an author and former writer for the Milwaukee Brewers. To touch base or pick up a copy of his new book: Talk To Me – Profiles on News Talkers and Media Leaders From Top 50 Markets, log on to Amazon or shoot Jim an email at [email protected].
Why I’m Jumping Back Into Local TV
I want to join the fight for light that disinfects from the front lines. And there is no more advanced position than local news.
Yesterday, I started what I believe will be the final phase of my nearly 50-year career in broadcasting, spanning both radio and TV.
I have roamed the streets of San Francisco looking for breaking news as the late news reporter at KPIX-TV. I picked garlic in the fields of Gilroy to expose the terrible working conditions of California farmworkers for KCBS Radio.
In Chicago, I helped topple the democratic machine by exposing the dead voters registered in the Mayor’s race that tried to prevent Harold Washington — the city’s first black mayor — from winning an election.
Next stop? Los Angeles, where I covered the O.J. Simpson trial for KNBC, coverage that earned the station an Emmy and Golden Mic awards. It also earned me a ticket to NBC network news where I became a national correspondent for Tom Brokaw’s Nightly News. Our team picked up an Emmy for the flood and fire that destroyed Grand Forks, North Dakota, and led to assignments in New York for 9/11 and then off to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Next up were 18 intense years at ABC, where I served as 20/20 correspondent, Primetime correspondent, Senior Law and Justice correspondent, Senior National correspondent, and finally White House correspondent.
In 2020, after health issues, I retired and was offered the opportunity by Barrett News Media to write about the only true profession I have ever known. No longer bound by the rules of just the facts, I was invited to give my opinion on the junction of news and politics. I have enjoyed it and thank Jason Barrett — and you, the readers — for taking the time to follow my thoughts on the great institution of the news media.
But now it is time to return to actual journalism. I have been offered the privilege of reporting again. I have started a new adventure at KGTV ABC10 in San Diego. The location is ideal and the job as Senior Investigative Reporter will be a welcome challenge and a break from the retired life.
It also comes at a time when journalism is under attack by those who feel their opinions trump facts. (Pun intended).
So I want to join the fight for light that disinfects from the front lines. And there is no more advanced position than local news. I will be holding authorities and politicians to account. Keeping big business honest by protecting the little guy. I take pride in my career in journalism and I want young reporters to be proud as well. A free press unintimidated by would-be dictators is what is needed now more than ever.
So thanks, and once again, I will see you on TV.
Jim Avila serves as a weekly columnist for Barrett News Media. An Award-winning journalist with four decades of reporting and anchoring experience, Jim has served as Senior National Correspondent, 20/20 Correspondent, and White House Correspondent for ABC News. Prior to his time with ABC, he spent a decade with NBC News, and worked locally in Los Angeles and Chicago for KNBC, and WBBM. He can be found on Twitter @JimAvilaABC.
Is Oliver Stone the Michael Moore of 2024?
“They went too far in hating and in dumping on Trump. And people don’t like that in America. People don’t like dumping on. They did it too much.”
In mid-2016, Americans felt the tide turning — with the country rallying around a Donald Trump electoral victory — when liberal filmmaker Michael Moore predicted Trump would win Michigan and the election. Could Oliver Stone be on a similar path in 2024?
Moore was prescient. He heard the people and could sense their overwhelming sentiment. More than anything, he was sounding the alarm bells for his fellow Democrats for what he felt was about to happen.
Last week a media member may have unknowingly let free the 2024 canary in the coal mine, and interestingly, this canary may have been another controversial filmmaker.
Oliver Stone appeared on Bill Maher’s podcast, Club Random, last week and seemed to echo many of the same sentiments from Moore’s premonition eight years earlier.
“Well, I mean, he doesn’t concede elections,” Maher said, bringing up President Trump in the far-ranging, free-flowing conversation. “You know, ‘The elections only count if we win’ theory of government. Okay. Well, come on. You know, Trump, he still has not conceded the election. He has not conceded. He does not honor them.”
“I mean, do you know for a fact that he lost? I’m just curious,” Stone responded. “I just don’t know all of the facts.”
Maher seemed astounded.
“Well, I do. Is there a conspiracy theory that you don’t believe?” Maher asked Stone.
Perhaps Stone was referring to the piles of historical incongruencies and facts, all of which indicated a Trump 2020 win.
No sitting president in the modern era has received more votes for re-election than in his initial election and lost.
Of the 18 most dependable “swing counties” that normally indicate an electoral winner, Trump won 18 of 19. Yet, he lost the election.
No Republican had ever won Florida, Ohio, and Iowa – considered to be a broad cross-section of the American electorate – and lost. Until Trump.
It is difficult to put Oliver Stone in a political box. He has mostly seemed to favor the libertarian philosophy of less government intrusion. On occasion, he has been critical of Trump, while also acknowledging the former President’s ability to tap into populist sentiment that the two seem to share. Less war. Fewer government shackles. More individual and economic freedom.
“I’m just asking you. I’m not an expert on the election,” Stone told Maher. “I’m not a political junkie. You are. And you follow it very closely.”
“Alright then, I’ll give you the thumbnail sketch,” an agitated Maher said. “They tried it in like 60 courts. It was laughed out of every court, including by Republican judges. The people who saved this democracy were Republicans. Good Republicans. In states where Trump pressured them. Like the guy, the one he’s on trial for in Georgia. ‘Find me 11,000 votes.’ It’s on tape. A guy like that saying to him, ‘Sir, we just don’t do that here. I voted for you. I’m a Republican, but we just don’t do that.’ That’s what saved us. And they were Republicans.”
One of the most accurate political pollsters of the modern age, Richard Baris of Big Data Poll, posted on X that “Not even Oliver Stone buys it. Notice when (Bill Maher) tried to dismiss and refute his election concerns, he used a demonstrably false claim to ‘disprove’ it. Oliver, Bill is full of shit. It was not ‘tried’ in 70 courts. Judges used standing to dodge.”
Baris continued in another post, saying, “Also, (Bill Maher) grossly mischaracterized the phone call, using the common fake news talking points that Trump asked the (Georgia Secretary of State) to ‘find 11k votes’. Don’t be lazy, Bill. Read the transcript yourself. He was talking about signature verification and votes not properly scrutinized.”
In the podcast with Maher, Stone went on to say that he had major problems with the outcome of the 2000 election, which resulted in the victory of President George W. Bush. He similarly indicated that he didn’t think 2020 passed the smell test.
“I don’t know. I mean, you went through the 2000 election. That was horrifying to me, what happened when the Supreme Court closed that down.” Stone said.
“What should we do?” Maher asked. “Do we just keep counting votes forever? Or should we still be counting them now?”
“No. Count them correctly,” Stone responded. “Let’s just get rid of the electoral college. Let’s do a popular vote.”
Oliver Stone continued, calling out the media for their biased reporting in the era of Trump.
“I don’t know the facts,” Stone said. “And I think I would trust the accountants more than the politicians. And I’d like to know what the accountants, the guys who vote, who know the most about votes, who do the Electoral Commissions. I can’t take Biden’s word for it on anything.”
“Well, I mean, if there’s nothing that can be said or argued that would convince you,” Maher offered.
“I think what shocked people is that Trump got so many votes. You know, that was what was shocking. That he did so well compared to what he was expected to do,” Stone said. “Because we believed all the East Coast media.”
“Then why do you believe he could have lost?” Maher asked his guest about Biden.
“We believed all the East Coast media elite that he was going to fail and boom, they were wrong. We would love to see them being wrong, don’t we? The media elite,” Stone said. “They went too far in hating and in dumping on Trump. And people don’t like that in America. People don’t like dumping on. They did it too much.”
Bill Maher even agreed with Stone, admitting that the media no longer attempts to give a balanced, truthful reporting of the day’s events. In addition, neither mentioned the years-long, Democrat-led coup attempt that was designed to trick the public into thinking Trump was a Russian agent. Most of the mainstream media parroted the hoax.
“I was actually having this discussion about the CNN network recently. And, you know, I want there to be a CNN in the world. You know, something that I used to be able to count on. And I still do, some of it. Give it to me straight, Doc. Just give me the news,” Maher said.
“And, you know, they had this town hall with Trump about six months ago. And it was, they took a lot of flack for it. But he was adored by the audience who were Republicans, I guess, and independents. I think they said both. But whoever it was, they fucking loved him. And then the panel comes on after and they do nothing but shit on Trump and what a liar he is.”
Like Michael Moore eight years prior, Oliver Stone seemed to be sounding the alarm bell about what’s over the horizon, a mere 11 months from now. He concluded by drawing the analogy of Trump to a legendary baseball player who was famously banished from the game over gambling allegations a few decades ago.
“I think a lot of people liked him because he got dumped on so, so much. It’s like Pete Rose. You know, when he quit. Yeah. A lot of people started to resent the media for the dumping on Pete Rose.”
Oliver Stone is sounding the alarm. And the chirping canary very well may crescendo in 2024.
Rick Schultz is a former Sports Director for WFUV Radio at Fordham University. He has coached and mentored hundreds of Sports Broadcasting students at the Connecticut School of Broadcasting, Marist College and privately. His media career experiences include working for the Hudson Valley Renegades, Army Sports at West Point, The Norwich Navigators, 1340/1390 ESPN Radio in Poughkeepsie, NY, Time Warner Cable TV, Scorephone NY, Metro Networks, NBC Sports, ABC Sports, Cumulus Media, Pamal Broadcasting and WATR. He has also authored a number of books including “A Renegade Championship Summer” and “Untold Tales From The Bush Leagues”. To get in touch, find him on Twitter @RickSchultzNY.
How Did Trust in Media Reach All-Time Lows?
Somewhere along the line, Americans must agree on the facts, or we will continue to be a divided nation.
In my previous column, I wrote about Americans losing trust in the media.
Both conservatives and liberals can find ample examples to demonstrate why specific media sources are no longer trustworthy.
We have become a nation of two tribes. Each side has sources of news that it believes and considers the other side fake news or even propaganda.
The Economist and YouGov published a poll earlier this spring measuring how much trust Americans place in 56 media outlets, including social media.
Respondents were asked whether they “trust, distrust, or neither trust nor distrust” each media organization. The percentage of trust minus mistrust scores was calculated to create a “net trust score” for each.
Overall, The Weather Channel, arguably the only non-political entity measured, is the most trusted news source. It is ironic, considering how often we all complain about the “weather people” getting it wrong. Democrats (+64) and Republicans (+47) trust The Weather Channel.
The top four most trusted organizations were the same as the 2022 YouGov survey.
Here are the overall rankings of the 45 organizations published in the Economist-YouGov Poll.
- The Weather Channel +53
- Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) +30
- The BBC +29
- The Wall Street Journal +24
- Forbes +23
- The Associated Press +22
- ABC +21
- USA Today +21
- CBS +20
- Reuters +20
- NBC +19
- TIME Magazine +18
- The Washington Post +18
- National Public Radio (NPR) +16
- The Economist +16
- Business Insider +16
- The Guardian +15
- C-SPAN +14
- The New York Times +12
- Newsweek +12
- The New Yorker +10
- Bloomberg +10
- The Atlantic +10
- The National Review +8
- CNN +7
- New York Post +7
- The Hill +7
- Yahoo News +7
- Newsmax +6
- Axios +6
- Politico +6
- MSNBC +5
- One America News (OAN) +4
- The Washington Examiner +4
- Fox News +3
- The Federalist +3
- Slate +3
- Al Jazeera +1
- The Daily Beast +1
- HuffPost +1
- BuzzFeed News ±0
- Daily Kos −1
- Breitbart News −3
- The Daily Caller −4
- Infowars −16
Note: People who say the media organization is neither trustworthy nor untrustworthy, or that they don’t know, are not included in the calculation.
The differences between Democrats and Republicans are remarkable. In general, Republicans have less trust in the media overall.
Republicans have the most trust in Fox News and positive trust only in Fox News, the New York Post, and The Wall Street Journal.
Independents have a slight degree of trust in most news organizations, while Democrats have a significant degree of confidence in most of the media groups measured, except for Fox News.
|Organization||Democrat Net Trust||Independent Net Trust||Republican Net Trust|
|New York Post||+18||-1||+3|
|New York Times||+53||+8||-30|
|Wall Street Journal||+42||+19||+9|
Republicans and Democrats see information through completely different filters. The results for the entire survey, including crosstabs, can be found here.
Somewhere along the line, Americans must agree on the facts, or we will continue to be a divided nation. The media needs to do its part to bridge the divide.
Andy Bloom is president of Andy Bloom Communications. He specializes in media training and political communications. He has programmed legendary stations including WIP, WPHT and WYSP/Philadelphia, KLSX, Los Angeles and WCCO Minneapolis. He was Vice President Programming for Emmis International, Greater Media Inc. and Coleman Research. Andy also served as communications director for Rep. Michael R. Turner, R-Ohio. He can be reached by email at an[email protected] or you can follow him on Twitter @AndyBloomCom.