Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Former pro wrestler tries talk radio

One of the greatest and most entertaining pro wrestlers of the past few decades, Mick Foley (aka Mankind, Cactus Jack, Dude Love), will be guest host Tuesday and Wednesday morning on the Air America radio network. He will co-host the 6AM to 9AM (ET) morning program with Marc Maron.

Morning Sedition airs on many Air America stations, as well as on XM, Sirius and streaming from a variety of sources. Perhaps Foley is exploring an entry into radio, as he has been very entertaining in many radio interviews and guest spots. And his politics vary wildly from many other wrestlers (WWE seems to be an infomercial for the Bush Administration at times) as his views lean much more to the left.

In the past few years, Foley has been involved in many projects, most notably as an author. He has retired from wrestling quite a few times after taking a shocking amount of physical abuse in his better known profession.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

How 'Progressive Talk' came to San Diego

Radio in San Diego changed radically and historically this year, thanks largely to the efforts of Cliff Albert, program director of Clear Channel Communications' KOGO/AM 600 and KLSD/AM 1360.

In August, KLSD came into existence as "Air America Radio," a liberal talk-radio alternative to such conservative outlets here as KFMB/AM 760, KCBQ/AM 1170, KPRZ/AM 1210, KSDO/AM 1130 and KOGO.

The idea of bringing Air America here occurred to Albert when Air America started up in April with just a handful of outlets across the country. (It now has some 40 stations coast-to-coast.) With the ratings of Clear Channel's KPOP/AM 1360 tumbling, and ad revenues dropping, a format change was taken under consideration to make the outlet more profitable.

Ratings data and audience reaction to a liberal talk station in Portland convinced Albert to lobby his superiors for a similar station here. Albert is no radio novice. From 1979 to 1995, he was news director, on-air news anchor and afternoon personality on KFMB radio and then program director at KSDO for a year before he was hired by Clear Channel.


Friday, December 24, 2004

Ratings Roundup

Just thought I'd catch up with some of the more recent Arbitron trend reports.

* In Denver, KKZN looks to be another success for the format. The station leaps from 0.5 in it's previous stint with a sports format in the Spring book, to 0.9 in the Summer, to 1.2 in last month's trend report to an impressive 1.7 overall for the newest trend, covering September, October and November. KKZN flipped to 'progressive talk' on August 30. KKZN also shows in the Colorado Springs market, showing up for the first time ever with a 0.5, which is not bad considering the signal only covers the northern end of the market.

* KPTK in Seattle has only been doing the format since late October, so it's rating of 0.8 (unchanged from it's previous classic country stint) is still unclear. Stay tuned.

* In Columbus, WTPG rises slightly, from a 0.9 in it's previous format in the Summer book, to 1.0 last month to the current 1.2.

* Miami's WINZ registered at 0.7 in the Summer, rose to 1.0 last month, and jumps up to 1.3 for the current period.

* KXXT in Phoenix, fighting a tough battle in an overcrowded talk market, first showed in the ratings last month with a 0.6. It rises slightly to a 0.7.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Sheldon Drobny predicts profitablility for Air America

Nine months after Air America Radio's birth, venture capitalist Sheldon Drobny remains bullish on the liberal talk network he helped launch.

"I would not have invested in it unless I believed that it was a good business model," Drobny tells Inside TV & Radio, predicting it will start turning a profit in a year.

Is there irony that Clear Channel has been picking up the format for quite a few of their stations?

"I don't find it to be ironic," says Drobny, who has written a book, "Road to Air America" (Select Books, $19.95). "I find it to be a testimonial to our product. The profit system is the greatest enhancement to anything successful."


Monday, December 20, 2004

(More) liberal talk comes to Springfield, MA

As of a few days ago, WMAS (1450) has switched to a mostly liberal talk format (though they air Neal Boortz' show). They add Ed Schultz, Stephanie Miller and Randi Rhodes.

Why the strange schedule? Why no Franken? How did they get away with airing just Randi Rhodes from the Air Ameica lineup? Well, part of this has to do with the local WHMP trimulcast, which airs several AAR shows including Franken's. Therefore, WMAS picked up some programs that were previously unheard or aired in the market.

The schedule looks something like this:

George Murphy 6am-9pm
Stephanie Miller – 9am-12noon
Neal Boortz – 12noon-3pm
Ed Shultz – 3pm-6pm
Randi Rhodes - 6pm-10pm.
The Phil Hendri Show– 10pm-1am ET

Here's the site:


Thursday, December 16, 2004

Ed Schultz drops local ND show to focus nationally

Syndicated liberal talker Ed Schultz is stepping down from his local morning talk show, "News And Views," on Clear Channel KFGO-AM Fargo, N.D., to focus on his national show. His syndicated show is now carried by KFGO-AM from 2-5 p.m. locally, where it replaces "The Jack and Sandy Show," which has been discontinued, according to the Associated Press.

Schultz’ s show is a frequent addition to the Air America line-up at CC stations nationwide.

KFGO-AM is searching for Schultz's replacement on the local morning show.

Talk Tidbits

* KLSD/San Diego keeps rising in the ratings. The new station has leaped even more in the latest Arbitrend midterm report, moving from 2.7 to 3.1 in overall listeners. That's enough to make it the 10th most listened-to station in the San Diego market. And who said liberal talk wouldn't fly in a conservative market? As for other markets, not a lot of movement. WLIB in New York is relatively unchanged. WXKS in Boston is still pretty young, so doesn't really make a splash in the ratings, particularly with it's simulcast partner WKOX. And KQKE in San Francisco is just under a 1.0 share in it's first trend report, but in the San Jose book, it's former format is shown in the ratings survey, which is odd since KABL switched to a suburban FM station that can't be picked up in the market. This is a relatively complicated situation that will take a month or so at the very least to sort out.

* When WSAI signs on with their new 'progressive talk' format soon, they will pick up their former call letters WCKY, which are currently on Clear Channel's sister sports station (1360) in town.

* Clear Channel Launches Progressive Talk In Charleston, SC: Progressive 730 is on the air, and with new call letters - WSSP-AM. Hosts on the new station include Jones Radio Networks' Ed Schultz and Stephanie Miller, Air America Radio's Al Franken and Randi Rhodes and WOR Radio Network's Lionel.

* Listeners in Austin, TX will have to wait a little longer for liberal talk. Local Clear Channel chief Dusty Black admitted that he considered the format for their 102.3 frequency earlier in the fall before settling on 'World Class Rock'. It was determined that the 'triple A' format would work better for the station, and currently, there really isn't a place for liberal talk in Clear Channel's Austin strategy. Clear Channel does not own any news/talk stations in the market.

* And finally, Bill O'Reilly of FOX 'News' chimes in with his take on Air America. According to Media Matters For America, O'Reilly claimed that the progressive activist group MoveOn.org is getting "stealth money" from "shadowy, stealth money men." He also claimed that "they got around the McCain-Feingold [Campaign Finance Reform Act] where, at least you know who was buyin' the [political] ads." In fact, the law requires MoveOn Voter Fund and MoveOn PAC to disclose all their donors. O'Reilly also claimed that unlike FOX News' parent company, News Corporation, Air America Radio has "been bought by crazy fanatics on the left" and told listeners, "they just got $13 million, and we're gonna tell ya who we think it came from 'cause they never will." But in fact, neither Air America Radio nor News Corporation -- nor, for that matter, the company that syndicates O'Reilly's radio show, Westwood One -- disclose its investors to the public.

An exec from the crazy leftie fanatic corporation called Real Networks (makers of the subversive RealPlayer) recently took the reigns of AAR and made an investment in the upstart company. Interesting words coming from a guy who works for FOX, which is owned by 'crazy fanatics on the right'. So much for 'fair and balanced', huh? Bill, go play with your falafel.

Thursday, December 09, 2004


TV talk show host Jerry Springer will debut a three-hour weekday radio talk show here in January.

The former Cincinnati mayor and TV anchor will launch a 9 a.m.-noon call-in show on WSAI-AM (1530) when the Clear Channel station switches from oldies music to liberal talk. He wants to syndicate the show nationally from Cincinnati, he said.

"There is clearly an opportunity for new voices to be heard today around the country," Springer, 60, said today. "There is so much going on in the world today, and to be part of that dialogue will be fun."

Darryl Parks, operations director for Clear Channel's four AM stations here, said the station had been negotiating with the former politician for months.


A few other notes from the article:

- Springer will do the radio show Monday-Wednesday from Chicago, where he tapes his TV show. Likely, this will be from Clear Channel's studios there. He will do his show from Cincinnati on Thursday and Friday.

- This is a one-year deal so far, and he will continue with his TV gig until he gets tired of it.

- No word on who will syndicate his show, but Clear Channel owns Premiere Networks, which syndicates Rush Limbaugh, Dr. Laura, Glen Beck, Jim Rome and Bob and Tom, among others. If he goes with Premiere, this will mark Clear Channel's entry into the liberal talk syndication fray, and he could turn up on other Clear Channel liberal talkers. For now, it's a local show.

- And, as many know, Springer has deep Cincinnati roots, and was even the mayor of the city at one time. He was also a TV news anchor before launching his TV show.

- No word on whether Steve the bouncer will join him, or if there will be fighting spouses on his show.

Talk tidbits

Lots of things going on in liberal talk radio, so I thought I'd catch up with some of the small stuff.

1. First off, Air America has received a $13 million cash infusion to help them as they are starting to expand at a strong rate. According to the Chicago Tribune, the network also announced Wednesday that Rob Glaser, the chairman and CEO of RealNetworks, will take over as chairman of the board of Air America, and that Doug Kreeger, who has served as acting chief executive since May, is stepping down. His replacement has not been named.
Glaser, New York investment banker Eugene Keilin and other investors have recently committed $13 million in new financing, Sinton added. He also said the network has signed on Geico and American Express as advertisers.

2. AAR has signed two of it's highest profile hosts to new contracts. Al Franken was signed to a new two year contract, with an option for a third. Randi Rhodes signed a three year contract as well. Financial terms were not disclosed.

3. KABQ-AM in Albuquerque is making some noise in the ratings. The station, which flipped from a Spanish-language format on August 30, makes a stronger showing in the latest Arbitron ratings trend report, showing an increase from 0.4 in the Summer ratings period in it's previous format to 1.1 in the August/September/October overall (ages 12+) ratings. No information on demographic breakdowns, as I understand is not done for trend reports. But it is a nice jump, and brings KABQ up from obscurity. Congratulations, and look for the full book sometime in January or February.

4. KPOJ-AM in Portland, OR has finally completed it's much-ballyhooed power increase, upping the signal to a strong 25,000 watts. The signal now goes all the way up to the Olympia/Seattle area in the north, and covers much of the state.

5. And finally, thanks to all who sent me the many positive and informative emails. I regret that my time to respond has been lacking, as I have been pre-occupied with my job outside of this site (advertising on this site has earned barely enough to buy a can of soda from a vending machine, so I must pay the bills somehow). And of course, the job carries with it some pretty long hours. Fret not, as this site will not go away anytime soon, and I try to update it daily, provided there's anything to report. As always, stay tuned!

It's official: Air America coming to Washington, D.C.

Air America, the liberal radio network that had a rocky takeoff last spring, has struck a deal to land in Washington.

The arrangement with WRC-AM comes as the fledgling network is gaining altitude, announcing yesterday that it has re-signed star personality Al Franken to a multiyear contract, raised $13 million in new financing and named Rob Glaser, chief executive of RealNetworks, as its chairman.

WRC (1260) plans to drop its syndicated sports talk programming in favor of Franken and some of the rest of Air America's left-leaning lineup while adding other liberal commentators, say people familiar with the matter. This would give WRC's owner, Clear Channel Communications, a "blue state" station to balance its "red state" programs on WTNT (570), which includes conservative hosts Laura Ingraham, G. Gordon Liddy and Michael Savage.

Don Imus, the acid-tongued morning host heard on WTNT, will be simulcast on WRC. Neither station has been a powerhouse in the Arbitron ratings, with WTNT ranked 17th in the market last summer, with an average of 74,500 listeners. WRC, which has a weaker signal, was last at No. 40, averaging 29,800 listeners.

Air America makes it's D.C. debut on Inauguration Day, January 20.

The article also says that AAR has been drawing good ratings. Claims that AAR has been in the top five among listeners ages 25-54 in San Diego, Miami and Portland, OR.

Click the headline for the original article.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

"Progressive 730" comes to Charleston, SC

This one completely slid in under the radar. Looks like Clear Channel's WSCC-AM (730) will split from it's more conservative sister (WSCC-FM 94.3) and become an Air America affiliate.

The flip is slated for December 16.

The FM will stay put with Limbaugh and company.

730AM broadcasts with a directional 5200 watt signal during the day, but powers down to 103 watts at night (many stations farther down the AM dial do this, since they are much more powerful than the ones higher up the dial). The daytime signal covers much of the South Carolina coast, while the nighttime signal is pretty much local only.

You can find out more about the signal here.

Liberal Air America is alive and well, to the surprise of naysayers, founder

Neal Boortz was ragging on the rookie of talk radio. His crystal ball foresaw a smoggy future for Air America, the start-up national network that had appeared out of left field to inject a distinct tone into the chorus of chatmeisters with conservative and libertarian accents.

"This is not something I would invest in," the decidedly unliberal Boortz of Atlanta's WSB-AM (750) said dismissively on his nationally syndicated show earlier this year.

In the coming days, Jon Sinton, the Atlanta radio consultant who midwifed Air America, expects to announce:

• The 8 1/2-month-old network, already in 40 markets including Atlanta, will expand to at least four more, covering about half of the country;

• Al Franken and Janeane Garofalo, its most recognized on-air hosts, will re-up, dousing speculation that they would bolt when one-year commitments expire;

• Investors have sunk enough new money in Air America to see it through to profitability.

"What an incredible accomplishment ... in opening the industry's eyes," says Michael Harrison, editor of the trade magazine Talkers.

"It's clear that the public is aware there is an Air America."

Less clear is whether listeners will set their car radio buttons on the network. Initial ratings are inconclusive but encouraging.

"I didn't think it was going to succeed. I'm pleased that it [might]," Boortz says now, delighted to welcome a new foil. "I'm rooting for them."


NOTE: Free signup may be required. You can go here for login names, if you're concerned about privacy.

Monday, December 06, 2004

The cat's out of the bag: Liberal talk coming to WSAI/Cincinnati

By John KiesewetterEnquirer staff writer

Air America coming to WSAI

Dusty Rhodes says he'll soon be dumped for Al Franken and Janeane Garofalo.
The Hamilton County auditor, who moonlights as morning DJ on WSAI-AM (1530), says Clear Channel will drop the oldies music to put on the liberal Air America talk lineup by year's end.

Rhodes, who helped bring the Beatles to Cincinnati Gardens as a WSAI disc jockey in 1964, anchors the '50s and '60s format that replaced Nick Clooney and big band music two years ago. The "Real Oldies" lineup has included local rock veterans Jack Stahl, Marty Thompson and Dan Allen.

Forty stations carry the Air America shows with Franken, Garofalo, rapper Chuck D., Lizz Winstead, Katherine Lanpher and Mike Malloy. Adding 50,000-watt WSAI-AM pains Rhodes. "As a Democrat elected in this county, I don't want my party to be seen as the Al Franken party," says Rhodes, who turns 65 Monday.

LTR Note: In addition to Cincinnati, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. are heavily rumored to be picking up Air America before the end of the year. This will bring the total number of affiliates for the network to 43, unless other stations in other markets follow suit.

Also, AAR will be on a pretty powerful frequency. WSAI booms out 50,000 watts on 1530 AM, a signal that on good nights can cover almost the whole midwest and into the south. Perhaps this is an experiment for Clear Channel, as a way of gauging interest in other markets. WSAI gets into neighboring markets such as Dayton, Indianapolis, Louisville and others.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Mo' Rumors: This time, it's Washington, DC

Lots of buzz yet again concerning liberal talk in the nation's capitol. As mentioned here back in October, Washington was mentioned as a destination for Air America. And most rumors pointed to Clear Channel's WWRC-AM (1260), which is currently a FOX Sports affiliate that barely (if at all) shows up in the local ratings.

The Washington rumor was mentioned again on AAR today. They claim that AAR will land in DC after the holidays. Los Angeles was mentioned this week as well, and even online radio trade site All Access is taking this seriously. Add to this some vague rumors about WSAI in Cincinnati, and you've got three intriguing situations going on concerning new affiliates for Air America.

Again, stay tuned!

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Roll your own radio (Podcasting becoming a big hit)

...Just when the mainstream media had finally managed to figure out what blogging was all about, Adam Curry had to go ahead and invent podcasting. A podcast is a radio show that listeners subscribe to online. Every time a new program is posted, it automatically feeds into the subscriber’s computer. From there, the listener zaps it onto a digital music player and hits the road: Think of it as TiVo for your MP3 player. “There’s a lot of great radio out there that I would love to listen to when I am ready for it,” says Curry (Remember him from MTV? The guy who changed hairstyles whenever Jon Bon Jovi changed his?). “Anyone can come and party on my MP3 player.”


And podcasting, unlike blogging, has been instantly, if cautiously, recognized by Big Media for its potential. Since its inception just a few months ago, Minnesota Public Radio, Air America, Boston public-radio station WGBH, Public Radio International’s popular “This American Life” and BBC radio, to name a few, have all started their own podcasts. Jon Gordon, host of Minnesota Public Radio's nationally syndicated program “Future Tense,” says his Web traffic doubled in October when he began podcasting. “Listening online, you’re tied to a single location, that’s the big difference,” he says. “This is very portable and you can dump a whole bunch of programs on your iPod and take it with you.” For the moment he says his podcasts include no original content, but he has plans to begin podcasting exclusive tidbits and segments of interviews he couldn’t cram into his five-minute radio spots.

Ooops! Sorry. That's not Adam Curry. This is:

You can check out Curry's audio blog here:

Daily Source Code

And you can do your own thing with lots of great liberal talk shows here:

White Rose Society

And here:

Air America Place

Michael Smerconish is a dumbshit

Rush Limbaugh wannabe Michal Smerconish of Philadelphia wrote a column in the Philadelphia Daily News entitled Defund The People's Republic Of NPR.


Gee, how original and cute. Yet another wingnut mouthbreather claiming NPR is 'liberal' (probably because they're not as obsessed with the Clintons as the hacks on the AM dial are), and therefore, 'Communist'. Gee, party like it's 1949, huh? Anyways, Smirky rambles on about an employee of Philadelphia's NPR affiliate who left a nasty message on the voice mail of a conservative web site. The webmaster did a little search of the domain she posted from, and found out where she worked. As a result of the flap, the woman resigned.

Smirky then goes off on an idiotic rant about what he calls "Radio Pravda", and bemoaning the fact that it's 'taxpayer supported'. First off, the woman, Rachel Buchman was not employed by NPR. She was employed by WHYY, an NPR affiliate. Second, NPR is not 'government supported'. According to Wikipedia and NPR, very little money actually comes from the government. NPR states this figure to be 0.2%. Most of their money comes from affiliate fees, pledge drives, underwriting announcements and donations from individuals, organizations and corporations. In other words, it's likely that NPR benefits from government tax breaks (as a non-profit organization) about as much as, say, people like Jerry Falwell, who uses his position with his 'church' to bash gays, liberals, Catholics, and others he doesn't like. We pay people like Tom DeLay, Rick Santorum and others more money to spew hateful rhetoric and circumvent the democratic process than we pay NPR to present a relatively even-handed account of the news from around the world and the ability to hear subversive fare like 'Car Talk' on the weekends. Wonder what Smirky has to say about that?

Furthermore, NPR isn't all that liberal. Many of their shows tend to take a centrist slant, though some shows veer off to each end of the political spectrum. All liberal, it isn't. But wait: Why do I feature NPR and it's affiliates so prominently in my site's links? Well, because it's a non-conservative network that aims toward a heavily left-leaning audience. In short, many liberals make NPR and public radio in general their preferred choice for news and information content on the radio, so I provide the links to it. NPR is communist like conservative radio is facist, meaning they aren't really, but it's a cheap and easy way to attack the other side. Smirky is a lazy idiot who's dumbing down for his audience. He's taking the easy way out, and I'm shocked that a major daily newspaper gives this moron an outlet for spewing utter stupidity. Wonder what his opinion of the Dan Rather/documents controversy is, especially since he himself is playing fast and loose with the facts, intentionally deceiving his readership. All five of them. And, according to his bio, he's a Phi Beta Kappa graduate in government and journalism. Some journalist, huh?

Gotta hand it to Smirky, though. In one newspaper column, he bashed liberals, NPR, Air America, people who don't like conservatives, and communists. And, rather than actually presenting the facts (which took me mere minutes to find), prefers to pull it all out of his ass for his lemming fans to easily digest. Rush would be so proud of his clone. I think he's a complete idiot, and if he really had even a dash of talent, he'd be syndicated like a zillion other fools riding Limbaugh's coattails and popping Oxy pills. I think he'd have a better radio career as a Morning Zoo stuntboy running naked in downtown traffic and making an ass out of himself. Well, he's got the second part right.

A rumor that won't die: Liberal talk coming to L.A.

This one has been bandied about for awhile, and I posted about this a few months ago. Seems Clear Channel has been planning to shift some formats around in Los Angeles and San Diego. This would involve the simulcast of XTRA Sports (XETRA-AM 690 and KXTA 1150) being broken up (perhaps even dropping it's licencing of the Tijuana, Mexico-based 690). Sports talk and Lakers games will move to 570 in L.A., displacing it's adult standards format. An 1150 will be L.A.'s home of... Air America.

Confused? Yeah, so am I. But it is likely to happen, especially given the success of KLSD in San Diego. Hosts on San Diego sports talk rival XEPRS (1090) have been feeding the rumors, obviously to get in one last jab at it's rival. And FOX Sports' Jim Rome is moving from his homebase of 690 to 1190.

Now, adding more fuel to the fire, Janeane Garofalo said on her Air America show tonight that Air America is indeed coming to Los Angeles. And, while she didn't mention any station in particular, it looks to be KXTA (1150).

Stay tuned, as I'll keep you all updated.

In the meantime, you can check out these sites for rumors and the like:

Radio Info

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Rumor: Liberal talk coming to Cincinnati?

Rumors are flying on the Radio-Info boards about Clear Channel's possible flip of a station in that liberal hotbed of Cincinnati (just kidding about the 'liberal hotbed' part). The rumor centers mostly around WSAI (1530), which has a powerful signal that blasts much of the midwest after dark. The station is currently programming Clear Channel's "Real Oldies" format, which consists of the usual 50's-60's fare, mixed with standards from the likes of Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett.

Another possibility involves sister station WCKY (1360), a 5000 watt station currently airing a sports format as "The Homer". In this scenario, The Homer moves with their sports format to 1530, and 1360 picks up Air America.

The flip supposedly will happen around January 1, 2005.

You can follow the banter here:

Radio-Info Cincinnati Board

Again, these are rumors, so take with proverbial truckload of salt.

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