Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Democracy Radio spins off Ed Schultz Show

WASHINGTON, June 8 /PRNewswire/ -- After demonstrating the commercialviability of progressive talk by launching and producing the most successfulprogram in the country, Democracy Radio has spun off The Ed Schultz Show inorder to return to its core mission of incubating radio talent. DemocracyRadio -- the pioneer of the Progressive Talk format -- created and producedthe show, which grew to 95 stations and 8 of the top 10 markets in only 17months of national syndication.

Founded in 2002 by Tom Athans and Paul Fiddick to combat the right-wingdominance of talk radio by launching progressive voices on America's airwaves,Democracy Radio recruited Ed Schultz to host its first nationally-syndicatedprogram. Ed hosts the 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily show from his hometown ofFargo, North Dakota, where he had been a highly-rated local talent. DemocracyRadio retained Jones Radio Networks, the nation's leading independent radiodistributor, to handle affiliate relations and advertising sales.

The Ed Schultz Show was launched January 4, 2004 to widespread skepticism."The idea is a noble one, but is doomed to fail," a leading radio programmingexecutive told the Dallas Morning News that same day. But the show grew likea prairie fire, posting stellar ratings and adding dozens of affiliates acrossthe country.

Democracy Radio, which has been called, "a successful blend of expertisein politics and the radio business," sold its stake in the show to veteranradio executive Randy Michaels, the former CEO of Clear Channel Radio, whoplayed a featured role in Rush Limbaugh's syndication.

"We are proud to have pioneered the new Progressive Talk format and tohave changed the radio industry by proving this format can succeed," saidDemocracy Radio CEO, Tom Athans. "Democracy Radio has accomplished its firstmission, now we will return to our core mission, to incubate and launch newprogressive voices on America's airwaves. Ed is a remarkable talent. With Randy Michaels taking the helm, we have no doubt that Ed will continue to bethe standard by which other progressive hosts are measured," Athans continued."Seventeen months ago, Democracy Radio was looking for the next Rush Limbaugh.Now we are going to find the next Ed Schultz."

"My hat is off to Democracy Radio for not only helping to grow The EdSchultz Show to a position of national prominence, but also for helping toestablish the dynamic new category of Progressive Talk," said Randy Michaels."Ed will continue to build on the foundation that Democracy Radio helpedestablish, and we will continue to recruit even more stations to broadcast hisshow." Michaels is the former CEO of Clear Channel Radio, and is nowPresident of Radioactive LLC.

"Democracy Radio has been a wonderful partner for the first fifteen monthsof our national syndication," said Ed Schultz. "I will always be grateful foropportunity they gave me to launch a nationally syndicated program. I'mespecially grateful to Tom Athans for having the vision and the determinationto create the Progressive Talk format."

Democracy Radio launched its second national show in September 2004,hosted by comedienne and L.A. radio host, Stephanie Miller. A former co-hostof CNBC's Equal Time, The Stephanie Miller Show has won large and loyalaudiences, especially among men, aged 25-54. In January 2005, it launched itsfirst local program, the Nancy Skinner Show, on Detroit's WDTW. Democracy Radio is planning a major expansion in 2005. CEO Tom Athanswould not elaborate, other than to proclaim, "stay tuned!"

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