Thursday, February 07, 2019

The Latest Zeitgeist: Tax Warning To Santa Fe From ABQ, Trump In El Paso; His Interior Secretary In Hobbs; Visits Prompt Talk Of GOP Retaking Southern CD, Plus: Radio Days; Latest ABQ Ratings And All Those PM Talk Show Hotshots 

Your Blogger
Here's the Thursday zeitgeist direct from the frontlines of La Politics. . .

--The landslide defeat of a property tax increase for the ABQ Public Schools is putting Santa Fe on notice. Legislative proposals to raise the gas tax and food tax--already hard pressed to win--may be dead money in the aftermath of the APS wreck. Voters are tax tired and if the Dems overreach as APS did they could run into a buzzsaw.

--On the other hand, raising the personal income tax on households making $300,000 a year or more just might be in line with the populist overtones seen in this week's mail in election.

--Crooked Krebs is the big "get" for Attorney General Hector Balderas, his biggest yet because the AG's criminal charges against former UNM Athletic Department Director Paul Krebs might be a momentum maker to finally reform the transparency resistant department. Balderas may need the cushion of goodwill. Insiders report his staffing practices at the AG's office are soon to come under media scrutiny.

--MLG's "goofy" video against the border wall debuted to mixed reviews after she posted the video shot several months ago on her campaign Twitter account as President Trump finished delivering his State of the Union speech. The video showing her crashing through walls has gone viral. It's one of those love it or hate it deals but if the point was to get attention, it worked.

--President Trump is coming to El Paso Monday and that will have NM impact. The El Paso media market spills over to southern NM. His visit will excite border wall supporters in beleaguered Hidalgo County where immigration problems have prompted widespread news coverage. In liberal Las Cruces the Trump visit will reinforce the disdain for the commander in chief's border wall.

--The visit showcases how difficult an issue this is for Dem southern Congresswoman Torres Small.  She has now come out in support of the wall concept for certain areas where she believes it could work. That moderate position may not satisfy either side. Cruces liberals want no wall or physical barriers at all and conservatives want the whole border walled.

--Also, on Wednesday Trump's new Secretary of Interior was visiting oil booming Hobbs to remind everyone of the regulation friendly White House that is taking credit for the immense amount of energy coming out of the ground. It is in the Permian Basin in SE NM that the R's hope to stage their comeback against Torres Small, arguing that many conservatives who did not vote in '18 will vote in 2020.

Claire Chase
--But Yvette Herrell is complicating the GOP's Torres Small challenge. After her embarrassing 2018 defeat many in her party see her as washed up but she is already campaigning for the nomination, hoping to keep others out. But possible alternatives are popping up, including Claire Chase. Watch her.

--Chase was recently elected chairman of the board of the NM Oil and Gas Association as well as chair of the Independent Petroleum Association of NM.  The family oil business is Mack Energy, where she serves as director of government relations and spends a good deal of time in DC. The company founder, Mack Chase, is her husband's grandfather and is listed by Forbes as the wealthiest person in New Mexico with a net worth of at least $700 million.

The company is based in Artesia and has operations in the booming Permian. In other words, self-financing a good deal of her congressional campaign would be on the table if she were to run.

--Chase, 35, is a NM native and graduate of Roswell's NM Military Institute. Here's a bio and short video of her conducted by Oil and Gas Investor. A January poll conducted by Herrell asking voters their preference for the GOP nomination for the southern seat included Chase. The game is not on yet. Will it be soon?


Michael Brasher
A cursory glance at the latest Nielsen radio ratings for the ABQ market quickly reveals why onetime powerhouse 770 KKOB-AM has brought in a well-known shock jock to try to boost their sagging standings. The 50,000 watt station commands only a 4.5 share of the ABQ audience aged 12 and over in the winter ratings released in January. That's less than half their share from the heady days of ten years ago and good for only third place.

KZRR, 94 Rock takes first place, but only barely over public radio station KANW 89.1 FM. 94 Rock scores 5.2 and 89.1 comes in second with 5.1 share. That's exceptionally high for a public radio station but the ABQ market has been growing more Hispanic and KANW's staple of New Mexico ranchera music is highly popular here as is its NPR programming. We've been broadcasting Election Night results on the APS owned station for over 30 years and the station has been managed even longer by Michael Brasher, a former ABQ city councilor and county commissioner.

Another public radio station, KUNM-FM, owned by UNM, also fares well in the ratings, garnering a 3.7 share to make its way into the top ten.

KKOB surprised radio watchers last month when it began the T. J. Trout show from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and combined it with high profile TV ads welcoming Trout back to ABQ. For decades he held forth forth as a star morning personality at 94 Rock. Trout breaks with the station's conservative Rush Limbaugh tradition so it will be interesting to see if in the next ratings period his addition helps KKOB stop the bleeding.

ABQ afternoon talk radio is suddenly filled with competition. Jim Villanucci, who was a ratings heavy-hitter for KKOB, returned to the ABQ market this year to host the afternoon slot at ABQ sports station ESPN 101.7 FM The Team. And Eddy Aragon has made a name for himself as an unapologetic Trump supporter who holds forth weekday afternoons on KIVA-AM-FM. And longtime radio fixture Larry Ahrens says he will return to the radio dial in March, but will stick with his traditional morning slot, hosting ABQ's KDAZ-AM from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m with sidekick Frank Haley. (Hey, where are the women afternoon talk hosts? There's an idea).

Thanks for stopping by. Join us tomorrow for some Friday blogging.

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