Chances are you know the Duggars — those folks who live up in Northwest Arkansas and have 17 kids (and, as of this writing, another on the way). In recent years, their knack for procreation has landed them on cable TV almost as often as the maternity ward. Now, after a series of successful mini-documentaries about their growing brood, they've got their own reality TV show, “17 Kids and Counting.” with two new episodes appearing Monday nights at 9 p.m. all October.
On the advice of my better angels, I'm going to hold my forked little tongue here about the new show lest I end up getting a call from nice-to-a-fault star Michelle Duggar – A.K.A. Our Lady of the Repetitive Conception — asking me in her kindergarten-teacher voice why Beelzebub moved my heart to say her husband Jim Bob looks like Howdy Doody's gay uncle from Florida. Suffice it to say, however, that the Duggars – with their Happy Days haircuts, loud praying in restaurants before meals and edict against kissing before marriage – are a goldmine of opportu-nity for snark. What with that, I fully encourage readers to invite friends over and play “Duggars: The Home Game” (main rule: take a drink every time Michelle gets pregnant) in the privacy of your own home. I'll be playing along at Casa del Koon.
Catch two new episodes on TLC at 9 p.m. Monday, October 20.
*Though the daily talk show of venerable radio veteran Pat Lynch isn't heard on Little Rock airwaves these days, he's still plugging away, doing a daily show that can be heard on Crain Media station KSMD in Searcy, and morning news broadcasts that appear on Little Rock's Spirit 93 and 106.7. Back in September, Pat marked his 25th year in Arkansas radio and this year marks his 40th anniversary on the air. Given those milestones, we had to touch base with him for a chat.
Lynch, the descendant of an old Mobile, Ala. family that settled there before the Civil War (this is the part where we start playing “the theme mu-sic from ‘Gettysburg' in the background,” Lynch said, “or maybe the theme from ‘Roots' ”) said that he wanted to be in radio since he was a in high school.
“Radio looked easy,” he said. “I was tired of going to Catholic school, and so I decided to join the circus, for better or for worse.”
After jobs at several stations around the country, Lynch wound up working at a radio station in Spokane, Wash. When that station closed, he heard about an opening on the air at a Little Rock station. He moved to Arkansas, and has been an adopted Arkie ever since. He said he hadn't intended to stay, but found real friends and an interesting place. Lynch, who leans noticeably to the left when it comes to his politics, admits he wasn't exactly welcomed with open arms by the audience when he first hit the Arkansas air.
“My politics doesn't exactly fit the mold of what many people in Arkansas would feel comfortable with, but I think Arkansans have gotten a little more comfortable with me,” he said. “The interesting thing is that I'm not a real liberal. Most other places, people would think of me as conservative to moderate.”
Over the years, Lynch has seen radio shift, from mostly small, privately owned stations, to corporate giants who own hundreds of transmit-ters. His experiences with Big Radio over the years seem to have left a bad taste in his mouth. Radio, he said, can break your heart, but especially these days. “When I started in 1968, radio was not a dependable business,” he said. “Now that corporations run radio, it's worse, because they justify the same ridiculousness with supposed business rationale.”
Lynch said he recently became interested in theology, which has given him new insight on day-to-day topics and more to talk about on his show. Too, Little Rock fans take heart: Lynch said he's not bound by any kind of contract or non-compete clause, so a return by his talk show to the central Arkansas airwaves is a possibility. Asked how much more radio he's got in him, Lynch said he feels like he can continue at least another 20 years.
“Make that the headline on the Arkansas Times Blog: ‘Lynch Threatens Arkansas,'” Lynch said, laughing. “ ‘Having already unleashed a re-lentless 25 years of torment, radio legend and icon Pat Lynch today threatened innocent God-fearing Arkansans with more of the same.' ”
An interesting element of the ongoing story of budget problems in the University of Arkansas Advancement Division has been a divide in outlook in the pages of the state's dominant news medium, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.