By Aaron M. Rodriguez
Mark Belling is good, but he’s not that good. He’s intelligent, incisive, and quick on his feet, but he’s not by any means unstoppable. In the past few years, Belling has managed to get himself into trouble. In one instance, “Belling called moms who breastfed in public sows”, and in another instance, he called “illegals that vote in general elections wetbacks". The latter won him a suspension from 1130 WISN Radio, which by definition makes Belling stoppable.
Some may argue that Belling’s snarky and rude entertainment style is part of the reason why he’s so popular in Milwaukee. I disagree. Here is a bit of advice for Belling, being rude to your fans isn’t the best way of marketing yourself. Keep doing it, and watch your listeners go to 620 WTMJ Radio. I think even implicitly you understand this, and I will explain why.
Have you ever noticed that when Belling fills in for Rush Limbaugh that he’s polite to the callers? And yet when he takes WISN callers, Belling rude – especially to those who can’t verbally wrangle with him on the air? Belling implicitly understands that if he’s rude to Limbaugh’s fans, either A. they will not invite him back on the show, or B. some of Limbaugh’s fans will complain, which will cause A. anyway. If a rude and demeaning style doesn’t work nationally on public radio, then why does Belling suppose that it works locally on public radio? So why does WISN allow Mark Belling to be rude to his own callers?
Belling is successful because he is politically shrewd, very intelligent, and just really damn good at his job. He has a keen insight for breaking news, an analytical mind for dissecting political events and parsing through media reports, and he’s not afraid to go after anybody regardless of ideological predisposition. In other words, Mark Belling is a force to be reckoned with. And yet, his talents do not go unnoticed. Belling has received the Marconi Award for "personality of the year" and Talkers Magazine ranked Belling among their “heavy hundred”. He’s very talented, and I think Milwaukee and WISN radio are better for having him.
On the flipside, Belling is rude to his callers, talks to his producer too much on the air, and tends to go on rants concerning the most frivolous and immaterial of things. Is there a reason why he is always criticizing his producer? Is there a reason why Belling frequently interrupts his weather man during a forecast? Bottom line, Belling is good, but he could be a lot better. I think WISN radio needs to instruct him about to become a better radio personality. As the saying goes, you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.