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DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION '96

Change in the Airwaves

August 30, 1996

Listen closely, Jon-Christopher Bua says, and you can hear it--the turning tide of talk radio, the gradual shift away from the staunchly anti-Democrat rhetoric that many analysts believe contributed to the 1994 Republican takeover of Congress. Bua, who calls himself "the secret weapon of the Democratic Party," held several seminars during the convention week to teach Democratic activists how to get on the air and nail the likes of Rush Limbaugh and G. Gordon Liddy. Bua promised that the Democratic National Committee Speakers Bureau will fax Clinton-Gore allies talking points and background in a speedy fashion. In part because of his efforts, Bua says, the president's ratings among regular radio listeners is up to 50%, from 43% a year ago.

Digital Faux Pas

All week, digital texts scrolling out on giant video screens in the United Center's convention hall have been mangling the speeches they are supposed to simultaneously subtitle. "Silence," for example, has appeared as "sigh lens," and "jack-booted thugs" has come out as "Jack Buddhist thugs." But the low point came as Schumer announced the New York delegation's unanimous vote for Clinton. On the screens, the printed text referred to Clinton in a phonetic mutation that sounded either like a nagging cough or a variation on the name of U.N. Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali: "President Bill Khreupb Khreupb."

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