Monday, October 30, 2006

Nashville radio has been "Liberated(!)"

From Nashville City Paper:

It’s one thing to be on the air. It’s another thing entirely to be profitable.

The founders of Great Minds Productions have quit their day jobs, and are now banking on their ability to do both.

Established Oct. 1, the company is now parent to Liberadio(!) , a liberal talk radio show. Liberadio(!) currently airs on Vanderbilt University’s WRVU (91.1FM) and distributes free podcasts daily. Liberadio(!) also publishes a blog and email newsletter.

“This is a niche,” said Mary Mancini, a local businessperson and political activist who co-founded the company with Freddie O’Connell. “In Nashville and in Middle Tennessee, you are swamped by conservative voices. But conservatives are not the only people who buy things.”

Anecdotal evidence indicates the talk show already has a respectable base of listeners – the show was ranked third most popular in the Nashville Scene Reader’s Poll, and both Mancini and O’Connell have been recognized by strangers who heard their voices and names. Their podcasts have 85 subscribers, in addition to listeners who download podcasts individually.

O’Connell and Mancini left their full-time jobs in September. Their plan is to accumulate sufficient funds to purchase three to six months of broadcast time prepaid at a commercial FM station, then hopefully grow from that point. Liberadio(!) is just one product the company hopes to market. The business partners have their sights set on books and documentaries in coming years.

“We’re at the point where we believe Liberadio(!) is a brand,” O’Connell said. “There are naturally ways to monetize all these content streams. It’s been lucky for us to be on that front edge of where technology is going.”

Currently, O’Connell and Mancini know of no other liberal talk radio show in the Nashville area, with the exception of shows on the low-wattage Radio Free Nashville. The market, they believe, is saturated with conservative voices. More than half of Nashville’s population voted for John Kerry in 2004’s presidential election, indicating an untapped audience.

(read more at City Paper)


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