Before I post this, it's worth noting that KFAB afternoon drive host Tom Becka is a friend of mine. He couldn't be a more jovial and thoughtful person, one of the reasons he's succeeded in a big way in the rather tough medium that is terrestrial radio. I hope Becka loans me money one day. I hope he loans me money tomorrow.
I had no idea that he put together this rather brilliant spoof of a "Discover North Omaha" campaign that was begging to be spoofed. I still haven't talked to Tom about it, and wouldn't even know it existed if not for the uproar it's caused mostly with the Omaha City Council and Mayor's Office (Sorry Tom, I don't listen to terrestrial radio that much since this new little invention called something like a upod or epod or something like that). I simply do not understand how anyone can interpret this spoof as racist. Steve Lyons probably is just a dumbass, but from stories from people who've worked with him in the past are saying today (I'm looking your way, Mr. Olbermann), he was probably somewhat of a racist fool too. Tom Becka is one of the most fair and NON racist people you're ever going to meet. He's got an opinioninated talk show where his opinions drive ratings. DEAL with it!
What a lot of Omaha has failed to understand (and something that Becka clearly gets) is the simple notion that there are people in LINCOLN, Nebraska (you know, that college town just down the interstate that has a football program that a few people in the state and the country seem to give a big shit about) who won't even think of driving into Omaha -- a city a mere 45 minutes away -- because they fear for "gang violence and shootings". Lincoln residents literally look at Omaha as "the hood". When we left Lincoln for Omaha less than six years ago, I cannot tell you how many Lincolnites looked at us like we were moving to someplace like the Gulf of Mexico or some third world country. Now yes, this probably says more about the small mindedness of a lot of Lincoln-ites, but it also speaks more to a perception that the smaller towns of Nebraska have towards Omaha. They hear of a horrific crime that takes place in North Omaha, and all of a sudden they're afraid to make the trip out to Oakview Mall. It's a silly perception that some people have. Hell, before my family made the move from Lincoln to Omaha, it was such a foolish and misconstrued perception that even WE studied all facets of the city before figuring out which part of the community to live in.
Omaha is becoming a very great place not only to live but even to ADMIT you live in. Tremendous growth throughout the entire city. New landmarks like the Qwest Center which has brought bands that skipped Kansas City just to play here. Hell, they saw that most of the population was moving west but knew that the major jobs were still downtown, and what happened -- an east and west bound expressway to cut down on commute time and give Omaha the much needed big city feel. But Tom Becka is smart enough to know that there are still big problems in North Omaha. Problems that a lot of people in and out of the city still focus on. And with this being an election year, aren't we all lucky enough to have somebody point this out in a satirical way and shake the bigwigs up to remind them that there's a helluva lot more work that needs to be done.
If you want to see racist, go out to some of the small towns in Western Nebraska.
By the way, the entire North Omaha Parody was up on this page on the KFAB website, but with KFAB being a Clear Channel radio station, I'm sure that had something to do with the fact that it's no longer up there. I stil standby Becka's stance and his statement on that page.