Tag Archives: WIBC

Gay Marriage Ban Off The Ballot This Year. Or Is It?

My interview w/Chris Plante of the National Organization for Marriage:


UPDATE #2 (2/21/2014)

If Chris Plante from NOM spoke to “state lawmakers”, my guess is that he did not speak to House Speaker Brian Bosma.  The Speaker said yesterday that there is no way to get any part of HJR-3 on the 2014 ballot.  The story from my colleague, Eric Berman:

House Speaker Brian Bosma is throwing cold water on a conservative group’s bid to force a gay-marriage amendment onto this year’s ballot.

The Washington-based National Organization for Marriage is floating the possibility of a lawsuit arguing that the first sentence of the amendment has passed the required two legislatures, even though the version which passed the House and Senate in 2011 included a second sentence banning civil unions.

Bosma confirms he met briefly with the group this week, but says the notion of a lawsuit didn’t even come up. He joins Senate President Pro Tem David Long in saying he considers the law clear that amendments must pass two separate legislatures in the same form. That would mean a referendum can’t occur until 2016.

And Bosma notes opponents who successfully deleted the civil-union clause also added a preamble explicitly declaring the amendment had to pass the General Assembly a second time to go to the voters.

Long has said he expects the Senate to hold hearings on the amendment next year. Bosma’s not discussing what the House will do — he says he’s focused on the three weeks remaining in this year’s session.


My colleague, Eric Berman, spoke to Megan Robertson, campaign manager for Freedom Indiana, the coalition fighting HJR-3.  She basically said NOM had no clue.  Here is my WIBC story:

The coalition opposed to the proposed gay marriage ban in Indiana doesn’t buy another group’s claim that it’s possible to get the constitutional amendment on this November’s ballot.

The regional director for the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) says it is “exploring all it’s options” in trying to get the amendment known as HJR-3 before voters this year. Under state law, the amendment has to be passed in another legislative session because a sentence that would ban same-sex civil unions was removed from the resolution that passed in 2011. “They talked a lot about how this shouldn’t be in the hands of activist judges and how this should be decided by the people, and frankly it was decided by the people,” said Megan Robertson with Freedom Indiana. “The legislature voted, they decided there were some changes that needed to be made in the language and that it wouldn’t go to the ballot this year.”

Chris Plante with NOM claims there is precedent for the legislature holding referendums on constitutional amendments if the first part – the main idea – of those referendums are passed twice. Robertson isn’t swayed. “They’ve said they’ve talked to the Speaker – I can’t verify that, but my guess is that they haven’t talked to (Senate President Pro Tem David) Long, who has said several times this can’t go to the ballot.”

As of now, the earliest HJR-3 could appear on the ballot is 2016.


The above photo was taken from NOM’s Facebook page, and their regional director, Chris Plante, believes a vote can still happen in 2014.  That’s despite what pretty much everyone else at the Indiana Statehouse believes to be true, that 2016 is the earliest a referendum can take place.  My WIBC story on the matter:

One of the outside groups who pressed the General Assembly to approve a ban on gay marriage will try to find a way to get the proposed constitutional amendment on this year’s ballot, even though that isn’t supposed to be possible.

“The Legislature has affirmed marriage as the union one man and one woman, both in statute and in passing the first sentence of HJR-3 two successive legislative sessions.  We believe that language should go to the ballot this year,” said Chris Plante, regional director for the National Organization for Marriage, based in Washington.

State law says that proposed amendments to the Constitution have to be approved twice with no change in language in order to go before voters.  The marriage amendment approved by the General Assembly this year did not include a sentence that also banned same-sex civil unions, unlike the version passed in 2011.  But Plante says he believes there is a precedent in Indiana “where a proposed amendment was passed by one session and then amended in a second session, yet the first clause of that amendment was put on the ballot that year.”  Plante could not specify when that had taken place in the past.

Plante’s claim runs counter to that from other groups who supported HJR-3 and opposed removing the amendment’s civil unions ban.  “Hoosier voters will not be able to vote to protect marriage this November.  This is indeed a disappointing setback,” read a statement from the Indiana Family Institute after HJR-3 in its new form was approved by the State Senate this week.  Also, the first section of the amendment says that is has been “referred to the next General Assembly for reconsideration and agreement.”

Plante joined others, among them Republican Senator Mike Delph, in denouncing GOP legislative leaders for their handling of the marriage amendment this session.  “The choice of the House leadership and Senate leadership to allow HJR-3 to be amended and therefore potentially delay the question going before the people is a betrayal and a broken promise,” Plante said.  When asked if he worried that some would see his as an outside group trying to influence Indiana events, Plante said he was standing up for what most people in the state believe.  “80-percent of the voters in Indiana think that it should be on the ballot.  60-percent say they would approve an amendment defining marriage as one man and one woman.”  Plante is referring to a poll commissioned by House Republicans last month.  A previous survey from Ball State University showed that 60-percent of respondents opposed the amendment, with 48-percent saying they favored the legalization of same-sex marriage.

No lawsuits have been filed as of yet.  Plante says he has spoken with some state lawmakers about pursuing this year’s ballot and says they are “considering all their options” as of now.


Mike Hicks, Ball State economist – Why is Indiana creating so many jobs?

LISTEN: Dr. Mike Hicks from the Center For Business & Economic Research at Ball St., on the falling unemployment rate:

My time is not spent exclusively with people for whom I mark out, i.e. pro wrestlers, entertainers, composers of “Convoy”, etc.  My regular job is as a news reporter and host of the Saturday morning interview show “Weekend Indiana” on Indy radio station WIBC-FM.  That means I have the privilege of talking to a lot of people about a plethora of subjects, a few of which will be sampled today.

Dr. Hicks, for the longest time, was considered a virtual Dr. No among some in our business.  Example: “The unemployment rate is down, but Ball State economist Mike Hicks says the economy is still stankier than a chicken house”, would be a typical lead sentence for a news story.  That’s an exaggeration, as Hicks simply does a fantastic job of delving into the minutiae of a jobs or any other economic report.  Yes, in case you didn’t know, an unemployment rate means almost nothing in the grand scheme of things, regardless of what politicians tell you.

In two years of talking to him, I don’t recall Hicks ever being so upbeat about a jobs report, though according to the initial numbers, he had good reason to be so.  If the numbers hold up, Indiana will have created 12.5% of all new jobs created in the entire country for the month of November.

Sandi Patty – The ISO’s Yuletide Celebration, and the art of the radio jingle

My chat with Sandi Patty on the Yuletide Celebration, w/bonus jingle:

ISO principal pops conductor Jack Everly & Sandi Patty

Sandi talks about hosting the traditional Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra holiday show for the 6th time – it’s the celebration’s 28th year overall.  The Von Trapps are also part of the show – they are the great grandchildren of Captain and Maria Von Trapp.

But before we were done, Sandi made the decision to tell me that during her days as a student at Anderson University, she did some work singing radio jingles.  Specifically, she sang jingles for my station, WIBC.  Doing some math, I figured out when she might have done that work – my status as a gentleman forbids me from giving a year so as to not give away the age of a lady.  It was the late…..oh, almost slipped up there.

Anyway, let’s see if we can find one of them…

This would have been after our time frame, but jingles got used for several years sometimes.

These are older, maybe too old.  And let’s be honest; they’re kind of cruddy…

Ugh.  No offense to my place of employment, but these jingles are much, much, better…

That’s for you, Jess Smith, wherever you are.

Pro wrestling and helping kids. What more could you want?

I watched this, and I cried.  Now, I get to see it in person…

The Timmy Takedown benefits Timmy Global Health, a foundation run by ex-pro wrestler turned pediatrician Dr. Chuck Dietzen. In a nutshell, Dr. Dietzen becomes his old wrestling persona Dr. Doom and gets in the ring with his special needs patients. They create their own wrestling personalities (The Hug-inator is bad booty daddy!), and they proceed to give Dr. Doom and other wrestlers the “whupin'” of their lives. We might be in Pier Six Brawl or ‘government mule’ territory, who knows?

In reality, Dr. Dietzen has the best gimmick in the world – helping kids. Timmy Takedown is Saturday, November 16 at Park Tudor High School in Indianapolis. I will be there, and I hope you will, too. Please listen to my conversation with Dr. Doom himself below. And yes, that is the theme song for World Championship Wrestling, circa 1983.

Ray Steele w/Dr. Chuck Dietzen on the Timmy Takedown:


The Lone Ranger, on Radio, where he belongs!

How I’d love to go up to young people who is going to see the new Lone Ranger movie (though, judging by some of the early news after it’s release this week, there may not be many of those folks in movie theatres so far). I would ask of those young people, let’s say those 25 and younger, about the origins of the story of the Lone Ranger. The answers I would likely get..

– “It’s like, from Johnny Depp and stuff.”

– “Wasn’t Lone Ranger that band from that movie where they held people hostage at that place? My Mom, like, had a crush on that guy, and stuff.”

– “It was a book or something from the olden days before, like, the internet and stuff.”

– “It was f—in’ like a TV show before they f—in’ invented color and stuff.” Because, as you know, f—in’ is now an everyday adjective and adverb to the next generation.

It’d be even more fun to give those young folks the correct answer,”The Lone Ranger was, originally, a radio show that began 80 years ago,” and watch their reaction.

– “What’s a radio show?”

– “I didn’t think they had radio when George Washington was fighting the Civil War, and stuff.”

– “Um, I don’t listen to radio. That’s for old people who like to call in and complain all the time.” (Note to my radio brothers and sisters – that was an actual response from a college student. Many radio managers haven’t figured out that most young people share that opinion.)

And young folks, I kid about your speech patterns and knowledge. Older people used to say they same things about my generation. Please don’t hurt me when I’m in a nursing home and diapers!

It’s understandably difficult for someone born after a world of three or four television channels to imagine a time where you could only be entertained by something with a screen once or twice a week, depending on whether you had enough money to see a movie. Hard as we try, we can’t actually imagine what life was like before our time, and despite what you may have heard on a late night show, we can’t go back in time and find our first hand.

Suffice it to say that many children (and adults) of the 1930s wasted just as much time in front of the radio as we do playing Facebook games in this era. The Lone Ranger was one of the more popular time sucks after it premiered on Detroit’s WXYZ in January 1933. Unlike some shows that ascended to popularity, then faded as the next fad came along, the Lone Ranger didn’t go away until network radio shows themselves were in the midst of their demise.

Television shows don’t stay on the air for two decades – except for Monday Night Raw, another reason pro wrestling is king! The Lone Ranger on radio not only survived 21 years, including five years after the TV version of Lone Ranger began, an astounding 2,956 original episodes were produced. Repeats continued to air on radio for another two years after original production ceased. Original production of the Lone Ranger TV show stopped after five years and 221 episodes, in case you are keeping score.

The Lone Ranger books? Those came after the radio show. The Lone Ranger movie serials? Post radio, not to mention the worst arrangement of the William Tell Overture of all time. The hokey Tarzan/Lone Ranger/Zorro Adventure Hour that aired when I was 9 years old, the one in which Tonto had mysteriously acquired a TV news anchor’s voice? Radio. (The voice of the Lone Ranger in that cartoon series was William Conrad, one of the most underrated entertainers of all time, but that’s another column.)

So return with me to those thrilling days of yesteryear, with my feature that aired on 93 WIBC. Much thanks to Wally Podrazik, curator of the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago.

Buzz Aldrin. Wow!

Despite our typical tossing of the term around as if it is toilet paper and we are on a Halloween tree binge, there aren’t too many actual heroes in the world, at least relative to the general population. Buzz Aldrin is one of those heroes, and not only because he knocked the dog whacky out of that guy who dared to tell Mr. Aldrin that he kayfabed his trip to the moon.

Mr. Aldrin – who had his first name legally changed to Buzz many years ago – was more than the second man on the moon. He was a fighter pilot during the Korean War, and I’m glad I asked him about his wartime service. He deflected attention from his own service and instead talked about the need to help service members battle post-traumatic stress syndrome, as appropriate topic given the high suicide rate among our fighting men and women.

Mr. Aldrin’s latest book is Mission To Mars. He lays out an ambitious plan for the U.S. to lead the way toward the colonization of Mars by 2035. Impossible? Only to members of Congress and the establishment who lack the testicular fortitude to do anything other than to call talk shows and criticize the opposing political party for whatever the crisis of the day may be.

Former governor Mitch Daniels currently chairs a national commission studying the future of human space travel. I hope Mr. Aldrin gets a few minutes of his time.

Jamie Deen – Home For Dinner

One of the best things about living in Savannah, Georgia was being fortunate to have gotten to know the Deen family. Much could be written about the undercurrent of dislike for the Deens in Savannah, which no one has been able to explain to me.

I take that back. Michael Groover, Paula’s husband, had the perfect explanation the last time I saw him before we moved north to Indy. “Jealousy,” he said. That plus a few harbor-docking pilot-style expletives.

The Deens have been nothing but good people, as far as some of us have seen. I’m pretty certain the SAFE Shelter for domestic violence victims, Savannah’s America’s Second Harvest food bank and more than a few other charities would agree. Any time I have the chance to talk about the good work of the Deen family, I will take it.

Please check out Jamie’s show, as it is excellent. He and I got to talk about it on WIBC recently.