A history of radio in Southern Maryland published in The County Times in 2020 overlooked the five years the WMDM-WPTX stations and the local TV Channel 10 were owned by the firm led by Ron Walton. Walton also began the Baynet which he gave to Josh Davis when he sold the radio stations to the present owners.
Odds & Ends
By Ron Walton
President & General Manager
Bay Media Network
OPINION & COMMENTARY
ON WEASELS & POLITICIANS
July 1999 – I do not really have much to say this week. Just some odds and ends, and some house cleaning notes. Oh, I had some good ideas but the anxiety attacks started coming too frequently and I gave up. So, some short thoughts for the week.
For those of you who called and wrote regarding last week’s article
“Why I like St. Mary’s Today and Ken Rossignol”, rest assured that I am perfectly sober and that my recent stay in the hospital was in fact, pneumonia and nothing else. I do like Ken and yes, I do read the St. Mary’s Today every Tuesday and catch it “online” about every other day. I read it for a lot of reasons, he makes me laugh…he makes me mad as hell, but the biggest reason of all?
So I don’t have to read the views of the good ole boys as told through the ever-changing views of the vicious one over at Honest Al’s Big Machine. Was Wednesday’s edition pathetic or what? Did I miss something….did the Enterprise sell to new owners that have different views than they had on certain issues just months ago? Or, is Honest Al just shoring up that big money contract with the county to get those legal notices for the next few years? Hey, we’ll never have any way of knowing on the record, but enough people seem to know the deal.
Relax though big boy, that thing is written so nobody would ever have a chance at them but you.
So, I hear Brugman is on the conspiracy trail again.
Still thinks that there is something to the Julie Randall campaign finances and how it is tied to the people getting appointments.
Maybe, but doubtful. I don’t think she owes anybody anything,
I just think she is not very interested in anyone’s opinion other than the ones who got her where she is. She’s not a crook and maybe will turn out to be a great leader one day, as soon as she remembers who she is and cuts her ties to the “good ole boys”.
There are two “truths” to the Julie Randall saga. One, the “good ole boys” hated the former board, because Brugman and the gang did a poor job of “cowering”, so badly that they would have done most anything to get them out.
And of course, the old board did them a few favors along the way.
They made Julie a winner and now they expect her to “toe the line”.
It ain’t all her fault that campaign promises have been broken.
The second truth is that right now the county is in dire need of some honest, responsible, and strong leadership and not the “good ole boys”.
I’d bet my life that Julie has the “honest” part down and the mistakes she has made have been the bumbling of the “good ole boys”, not her. I’d also bet my life that she, in her heart and mind, sees the big picture of “what can be” and will tell the “good ole boys” to “take a hike” which will bring her respect among a large majority of Democrats and Republicans.
She has to know that many of her moves have not narrowed the gap, but in fact, widened it to an all-time high. These are not the actions of neither a responsible person nor a strong leader, but in fact, the greed and jealousy of a couple of “good ole boys”.
If she cannot get them off her back and let her do what she knows is right and will bring people together in the county, then she should do the right thing and hand the Presidents title to one of the other commissioners. My bet’s on her to do tell ’em to “take a hike”.
But, Brugman, I did hear that Julie was attempting to sell the notes you left in your office to the Chinese. Is that a conspiracy or what?
I hear a “hats off” is due to the Parks and Recreation Department and more specifically, the people at Wicomico Golf Course. Reports tell me the course is in fabulous shape, the best in years and the staff there has done wonders for the facility. Check it out real soon! I hope to be doing so at the Marcy House Golf Tournament this coming Friday. And while I am on the subject, a special word of congratulations to Mike Laigle and Crystal Bowie over at Western Shore Cable. Their involvement and commitment to the tournament have brought the tournament to an all-time new high this year. I thank you, Mike, for bringing our company into this worthy cause.
Other scorecards and notable causes.
Thanks to Judy Pedersen, Alisa Riley and the entire gang at The Bay Media Network!
Your efforts and the loyalty of our advertisers has enabled us to put back over $15,000.00 in cash dollars to various worthy and charitable causes in the areas we serve this year so far.
I don’t want to blow our horn, but when will folks like ole Honest Al and Ralph give something back into the community other than those “free ads”? Let’s be honest here, Honest Al……you had to put something in the space anyway so how “free” is “free”?
How about some of that cash the county gives you every year?
I mean, we are talking the big old Enterprise and the big bucks, aren’t we? Send a little money back to the county that you send up north, it’s only right. Perhaps County Government should require something like this in their bid for those legal notices?
Nah, the “good ole boys” have another mission in mind for you, should you choose to accept it.
Odds and Ends
By Ron Walton
President & General Manager
Bay Media Network
June 1999 – As many know, former County Commissioner Larry Jarboe writes a column for the St. Mary’s Today Newspaper.
Most every week I try and make sure that I dial into his column on the Internet version of the newspaper because I genuinely like what Larry writes. To me, Larry is a true champion of the “little guy.”
– The average person out there who has little say about what goes on in government. A few weeks ago Larry wrote about the recent “stroke of genius” the local Board of Bozo’s had in handing over $100,000.00 of our tax dollars to a TV station in Washington to promote tourism in St. Mary’s County. It was obvious to me, and obvious to Larry that this bunch of clowns could not spell “marketing” if you spotted the “market” and “in”.
This $100,000.00 of our hard-earned tax dollars is now in the hands of “Mickey Mouse” and company at ABC a huge spotlight has become lit on these Commissioners. And they know, as with any business, they will be accountable for the results of this monster stupidity. However, this person has learned, through a dream that came to me just the other night, of what has taken place since $100,000 of our tax dollars went to Mickey, Goofy and the rest of the gang.
The vision was clear.
I saw Ken Rossignol, the mild-mannered editor of the St. Mary’s Today sitting at his desk, feet propped up, eating bon-bon’s and waiting for the phone to ring from an unnamed source of information.
The phone rang, but to his surprise, it wasn’t his source.
It was a conference call from that trailer, excuse me, manufactured home, just right up the street. The call went something like this:
: Ken, we are in big trouble. We got Randall elected and gave here some clear instructions about how to run this county and now she has gone off and spent $100,000 in advertising on some TV station in Washington to promote tourism. There’s no way this will ever work, but we have got to get something going to fill up the hotels around here so everybody thinks it’s working.
Ken: Well, I don’t know…………
Caller: Listen, Ken, if you are still mad about us giving all of that money to the Enterprise, you have got to understand that we have them still on double-secret probation and if they screw up one more ad and don’t continue to write favorable about us, you get the money.
: Well, I don’t know………..
Caller: Ken, if you won’t do it for us, do it for the citizens of this county. How can they afford to have this $100,000 wasted away by some person who is already bored with just the local spotlight and has grand aspirations in mind? Do it for your county.
Help us out and make this work, we beg you!
Reluctantly, in my dream, Ken went forth and assisted this bunch of good ole boys that hoped that this latest expenditure of stupidity would not backfire on them. He immediately got St. Mary’s instant recognition in the Washington Post. What was it? Three or four full pages? Channel 9 in Washington was not far behind. And now, a slot on ABC’s Good Morning America this coming Wednesday
(Kick hell out of Goofy for me) with ABC’s 20/20 not far behind.
From all accounts, his ideas have worked and the tourism business in St. Mary’s is booming.
The area hotels are booked with reporters and film crews from many of the major networks and newspapers. You cannot get a lunchtime seat at Linda’s Café because these reporters and film crews always know the best lunchtime spot anywhere they go. And if the reporters and producers are not enough, there are the FBI guys that need places to sleep and food to eat.
But, “wait a minute,” the good ole boys and other citizens of the county say. “We only want to hear about the ‘good news’ in St. Mary’s County. That’s what we want the rest of the world to see. We want them to see Julie’s pretty smile (the one that obviously makes everyone go deaf), the thorns and briars of Myrtle Point (let the TV audience imagine there is a boat ramp there) and the pictures of the pretty barns that adorn our Enterprise newspaper (the owners on Wall Street haven’t seen many barns and to them, that is as exciting as aliens coming to earth).”
In my dream, Ken is astounded by the reaction of the good ole boys and other citizens. “Do it for the citizens of this county” is what he heard and that’s what he thought he did. His spin to the rest of the world on St. Mary’s County is the admittance that there are some problems here, but there are some good and decent folks in the county who want change and see little of it every four years.
Our Board of County Commissioners wants the rest of the world to see St. Mary’s County for all of its beauty and splendor. They want to show to outside world the high-tech center developing in Lexington Park. But, what this board is not, is marketing people. In fact, this board has made the gravest of mistakes.
They should know that a $50 million dollar “new” Coke campaign could not bring people to try it twice. No doubt $100,000 will bring people to the county. But what are they coming to? They are coming to a county where they first encounter a “death trap” in Hughesville because of the road conditions, then to all of those orange cones on 235 saying “work in progress.” They are coming to the county where the State’s Attorney was sentenced to 18 months for……wait a minute…….let me check his story………consensual sex?
There are coming to a county where if an elected official does not like a news story, it is removed from the shelves or threatened.
They are coming to a county……well, we could go on for days, but you get the picture, and everyone knows the truth. Sure, the beautiful advertising will bring them here……….once. I Am reminded of a scene in the movie “Dave” where he asks his Secretary of Commerce if he wants to put homeless kids out on the streets in favor of spending money to make people feel good about a car they already own.
The moral here is to take care of business at home first, then lavish in the extravagances. The county has tremendous tourism possibilities, but when these tourists return home talking about the problems of the county, this will be wasted money.
The first day I arrived in St. Mary’s County, I too noticed certain negatives that turned me off. I noticed St. Mary’s Today and other publications that were filled with the negativity we all know about.
Some of our elected officials seem to have the same thoughts and have taken the matter into their own hands by removing papers from newsstands and suggesting, even to a threatening point that certain things or people should not be allowed on our airwaves. For example, everyone blames Ken Rossignol for all of this publicity the county is getting, but it wasn’t Ken who was sentenced to 18 months for….wait a minute….let me get Fritz’s story straight…..consensual sex? Do you really want to clean up the newsstands and the newscasts? Then clean up the people that give us the stuff to report on!
Now before all of the Rick Fritz supporters out there think I am on that bandwagon, let me assure you that this is not confined to one elected official. You have a whole group of people now who can’t seem to stand it when a radio personality like Chris Brugman catches them not living up to their campaign promises or when news reporters such as Christine MacKinnon, Tiffany Msonthi, Dick Myers and others report the facts as they are.
As for the Fritz allegations, I nor any of the other news media know what happened that day thirty-something years ago. Whatever happened was unfortunate, obviously and I am sure that all parties would like to forget, if not forgive. But that can never happen if there continue to be two very, very different stories to the matter.
Somebody is lying, and neither the news media nor you will ever know the truth. But, what we do know as the truth is that somebody purposely violated your constitutional rights by attempting to censor what you read, and now with what you hear. And next week, we’ll attempt to address that.
The news media in St. Mary’s County has nothing to apologize for.
But many elected officials here have a lot to apologize for – for being in it for personal gain, for not fulfilling their campaign promises, for lying about the past, for damaging people’s lives and for trying to “sugarcoat” their transgressions and backroom deals with your tax dollars on some advertising campaign, which ultimately makes this look like a “Mickey Mouse” operation.
But for those of you who want to continue to “buy-in” to your elected officials, even when many of the facts are clear and precise, please understand that the news media here is trying to work with you in this “sugarcoating” of “good news”. I have it on good authority that Ken Rossignol plans to give away stuffed hams to the 4th, 6th and 10th phone callers to Good Morning America this coming Wednesday morning as he tries to explain that there are some good and decent people in this county ready to say “no more” to the politics and “dark secrets” of the past.
(Editor’s Note: the following is the favorite CHEAP SHOTS column of Ron Walton, who died on a lucky day 7-11 in Panama City Beach, Florida at the age of 59)
Cheap Shots Aug. 29, 2004
McKay’s Tag Team
In one of the most bizarre presentations on television since Janet Jackson exposed her breast during the Super Bowl and now wants to blame it all on President Bush, a local public access TV show operated by David Triantos, who is Dr. Jack Kevorkian’s lookalike, aired on the channel 10 a week ago. Triantos, who gives commercial breaks by peering from underneath a toilet seat and squeaking out a plug for the commission on aging, interviewed former commissioner president James Manning McKay for about 3 hours. Triantos, a member of the local Green Party, is best known in the area for calling all local tobacco farmers drug dealers and is an extreme radical environmentalist who basically supports removing all homes from along the water, closing down all farming operations, and eliminating all construction of new homes or any new building. McKay held court on just about every world issue and historical benchmark possible, perhaps to provide a historical tape for those he leaves behind after he goes on to the great grocery store in the sky. The following is a transcript of that interview:
McKay: “Okay, ya got that camera aimed at my good side, don’t ya, Sonny?”
“Triantos: Can you tell me about your plans to run for the Senate again?”
McKay: “Yes, I am glad you asked. There was a report in that scurrilous Rag that I was going to run for the Senate against Roy Dyson, as usual, the report was only half true. Actually, both Tommy and I are going to run in a tag team match. Dyson can have anyone he wants on his team, but my son and I are both going to run, that way, he can also run for Governor at the same time. We are going to teach that Dyson a lesson once and for all for blocking us from getting our traffic light for so many years. When Tommy and I win the Senate seat, and if he isn’t able to prevail in his quest to be Governor, then he will take over the Senate seat, and I will go back to bagging groceries, which I do have considerable experience, in case you aren’t familiar, by the way, Mr. Triantos, I have never seen you in our stores, does that mean you shop at Giant?”
Triantos “I only drink my own urine, I have done a public access show on the benefits of drinking your own urine and that scoundrel Ron Walton, when he ran Channel 10, wouldn’t let me air the show, he was such controlling person. For food, I dig around in the woods for roots, and once in a while I eat at the soup kitchen, but mostly I go to Giant, where the rest of the newcomer’s shop. However, I am waiting for Wal-Mart to expand. I am against the expansion, of course, but I will take advantage of the lower prices.”
McKay: “But the Super Wal-Mart may put us out of business, and I would have to retire on my meager pension. How can you support a billionaire-owned conglomerate over a locally-owned store?”
Triantos: “Were you responsible for defeating the oil refinery in 1974?”
McKay: “I feel like we are fighting the Viet Nam War all over again. I was on that Swift Boat before John Kerry got on the damn thing, I threw him off, ran over four Cong who were washing their clothes in the river, and when the body parts came out from behind the prop, we got out the fishing rods and went chumming. The next thing I knew, John Kerry was before the Senate claiming there were atrocities committed. It wasn’t an atrocity, and I resent John Kerry from demeaning the service of all of us who were fishing that day and for which we were awarded the fishing merit badge. Kerry got his fishing merit badge, and he never baited a hook.”
Triantos: “What about the refinery? Were you instrumental in helping to get the bill passed or which side were you on?”
McKay: “Now don’t be silly, I know that Israel must get out of the West Bank, this country has been on the wrong side for decades, I mean, exactly who is it that has the oil? The Arabs have it, so we should be on the side of people with the black gold and to hell with the Jews. They have bagels and cream cheese. Well, so what, I have bagels and cream cheese, so if American foreign policy is based on bagels and cream cheese then the United States Government can let Israel go straight to hell and order bagels and cream cheese from McKay’s Food and Drug, do you want our address?”
Triantos: “What about the Refinery Battle of 1974?”
McKay: “You know, I wanted to talk about that traffic light, so I am glad you asked me the question so I don’t have to use my 3 x 5 cards here in my pocket. For ten years, Roy Dyson has blocked my traffic light, well I got my son Tommy elected to my old job in Leonardtown, and we helped Bobby get elected Governor. Now we are able to get anything we want for our family business. I’m getting a new light in front of our Hollywood store and also at Charlotte Hall. I know we already have one at Charlotte Hall, but if we had two, one at the exit of the parking lot, it would slow down even more traffic on the highway and give the motorists a chance to gaze over at our store and think to themselves, gee, why don’t I take a break out of commuting to my job in DC and go in and buy some perishables. That is the reason Tommy and I are opposed to the commuter railroad. It’s not simply because Dyson is in favor, it is because people can’t pick up their groceries and take them with them on the train. But if they have a good old car or truck they can jam that back seat full of bags and take off. “
Triantos: “Isn’t it true Jack Witten had nothing to do with defeating the oil refinery and he is just going around in his old age taking all the credit the way he does for Myrtle Point?”
McKay: “I think NATO is the way to go in Iraq, the President made a very big mistake there in going it alone. America should have gotten NATO to reopen the brothels, let the Jews set up the sandwich shops let the Arabs have all the oil. Then there would be peace. In the meantime, it is time that the old Soviet Union be reunited back together so they can become better organized the way they were. As Governor, I will propose a 5-Year Plan to send an Ambassador from Maryland to the New Old Soviet Union and I will visit the Premier of the Soviet Union myself and hold a summit. We will discuss issues of mutual importance, such as the price of caviar. Do you realize what I have to pay for caviar to sell in my stores? I have tried the imitation stuff, but people caught on when those little black beads started to grow tails. I thought those tadpoles would work out okay, but sometimes you just have to go on with life and put some things behind you, that’s what I have always told Tommy.”
Triantos: “But aren’t you the hero of the Refinery battle?”
McKay: “I am glad you finally asked me the question I gave you yesterday. Don’t forget to use your Gold Card for savings in every store when you shop McKay’s. Do you have a Gold Card? At any rate, I saved the county from having a refinery. I got the bill out of committee, and that was it. Even though we had an election that July, the outcome was predetermined by the number of wooly caterpillars in the woods. Instead of counting the ballots, we simply went out into the woods and started looking for those yellow and black critters, we found them and fed them to this silly-looking toad family down on Indian Bridge Road. Then we took the tally to Leonardtown and made the announcement that the refinery was turned down. Jack Witten was running around with a loudspeaker on top of his car, but that had nothing to do with the refinery, I think he was selling insurance and Popsicle’s.”
Ronald D. Walton, 59, of Panama City Beach, FL passed away Monday, July 11, 2016, of complications from congestive heart failure.
He was born in Kosciusko, Mississippi on November 20, 1956, to the late Joseph Douglas Walton and Helen Saufley Walton. A longtime broadcast executive, Ron’s career began as a young teen working at a small radio station in Meridian, Mississippi. During his lifetime, Ron held a variety of roles, including as an on-air personality, programming consultant, sales manager, general manager, and station owner, throughout the entire continental United States. While Ron was successful in his own career, he took the greatest joy in helping those around him succeed and many were proud to call him a mentor and friend.
A larger-than-life personality, Ron was known for his deep radio voice and his passion for history, politics, and Alabama football.
In addition to his wife Brooks Walton, of Panama City Beach, he is survived by his daughter, Helen Joy Deitrich, of California, Maryland; his stepchildren Megan Underwood (Geoffrey) of Atlanta, Georgia, and James Beavers Jr. (Jennifer) of Lexington Park, Maryland; his stepmother, Hilda Walton of Kosciusko, Mississippi; two sisters, Karen Walton Logan of Samson, Alabama, and Jo Ann Boutwell of Samson, Alabama, and numerous nieces, nephews, and friends.
A memorial service to celebrate his life will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, July 16, 2016, at the Southerland Family Funeral Home in Panama City, FL. The family will receive friends following the service.