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Web radio for certified kooks

Plus: a critical eye on Clinton coverage.


Lee Marcum is a guy with a lot of interesting ideas. REALLY interesting ideas. A time-traveler named Teacher has spoken to him telepathically since he was an infant, instructing him in the math and language of “ET Beings.” Before you bray like a donkey, you ought to know that at age 16 — using plans he says he got from Teacher — Marcum built a working, ion-powered hovercraft model for his school science fair, a device government investigators later said was based on classified technology. (He’s got newspaper clippings and a certificate presented to him by astronaut John Glenn and signed by early rocket genius Wernher von Braun to back him up on the science fair project.) After retiring from the Air Force a couple years back, Marcum settled in Hot Springs. Now, with partners Ron Davis and Carl Steplock, Marcum is webcasting a 24-hour radio network: From studios in the old Ramble Street Elementary School — which President Clinton once attended — Marcum, Davis and other hosts webcast a slate of programs heavy on the paranormal, metaphysical and conspiratorial. (They webcast live every Sunday from 6 p.m. to midnight.) Marcum, Davis and Steplock hope to start syndicating their programs on broadcast radio. With titles like “The What If? Show” and “Ghostly Encounters” — and topics like “Electrical Pollution” and “Color Healing with Rainbow Rays” — the shows are only for the open-minded. Still, Marcum says he approaches every topic from a scientific viewpoint. “All three of us are very science-, fact-oriented,” Marcum said. “I know that sounds weird for a bunch of UFO guys. It’s like I say, there’s a lot of kooks out there that give us certified kooks a bad name.” Energy on all four local TV stations was high during their coverage of the Clinton library opening, with great segments on the Clinton presidency and pre-game interviews with the players (sorry for the sports metaphors, but with Monday Night Football-style headsets setting the fashion tone for the day, that’s what popped into my head). When it came time for the actual ceremony, however, KARK, Channel 4, managed to the crank out the best coverage. While other stations stuck primarily to their own looonnng angle shots from the nosebleed seats, KARK used the on-the-stage feed to their advantage, making viewers feel like we were actually rubbing elbows with the former presidents. Particularly good was the shot KARK fielded of the four presidents coming out of the library, the camera dollying only a few feet in front of them as they came onto the stage. KTHV, Channel 11, live coverage stood out on the subject of Clinton scandals, which the other locals avoided like the plague. Anchor Andy Pearson brought up Clinton’s bad old days (and the criticism that the library whitewashes them) live from the riser, always prefacing his remarks with something on the order of: “I know that some of you might feel this is the wrong thing to bring up at a time like this …” He didn’t do it often, but when he did, you could just feel the angry FOBs reaching for the phone. Though some are sure to criticize KTHV for going this route, I felt it was a gutsy move deserving of some measure of respect. Though the argument could be made that the opening ceremony was not the place to bring up such things, the other stations came across sounding a little too eager to please — something you never want from your watchdogs, even if they are feeling festive. Woof! Woof!

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