13 March 2006

Afternoon trench coat radio

As I sit here working this afternoon, I have been growing increasingly uncomfortable as Bill Rowe, host of VOCM's afternoon call-in show Back Talk, displays an inexplicable level of interest in the motivations for men and women to have various parts of their anatomy pierced.

He spent an inordinate amount of time asking one woman about her labia and clitoral piercings - as in where they were and who did them for her - as if that had anything to do with the issue of health and safety related to piercings. When Rowe got to asking about any impact the piercings had on her sex life, I started to wonder if I had stumbled across Trench Coat Radio, with producer Paul Reubens.

This topic is related to the sudden death last week of a young woman in St. John's that was linked in initial reports to an infected body piercing. Subsequent reports highlighted the underground piercing business in St. John's in which people with no particular qualifications or professional standards poke holes in willing clients for discount prices.

The idea of unregulated piercing is a serious public health and public policy issue but Rowe's digressions, including linking the popularity of piercings to CBC's George Stroumboulopoulos are nothing short of whacked, even by Rowe's standards.

By my count, this is the second odd tangent for Rowe, although this one is nowhere near as serious as his comments about an ongoing police investigation some weeks ago. Still, Rowe's outlandish comments, including the ones about some psycho boyfriend forcing his girlfriend to get her bits pierced, suggest that maybe it's time for VOCM management to find a new host for the afternoon show.

Sure Crap Talk is an entertainment show, but surely Steele communications can find someone - like a local George S - who can both entertain and inform.

Rowe seems to be increasingly more than a little out of touch.