Friday, October 06, 2006

"The Next Progressive Talk Radio Star"

SAN ANTONIO, WASHINGTON DC, and CENTENNIAL Colo. – October 6, 2006 - Clear Channel Radio, The Center for American Progress Action Fund, Jones Radio Networks, and MSS, Inc, announced today a collaboration to launch a nationwide search for the next Progressive Talk Radio Star. The groups announced the contest will begin on Monday, October 9 with local promotions at participating stations and culminate in a final broadcast in front of a live studio audience in Washington, DC on Thursday, November 16. Entries will be judged by an expert panel including one of the highest-rated progressive talk hosts on the airwaves, Ed Schultz.

A national at-large contest will be held at the same time as the local promotions at, a website designed by Nakea LLC. “ will combine the topical heat of top blogs like Think Progress with the cool media richness of YouTube. TalkProgress promises to be one of the most dynamic interactive communities for the online user,” said Chris Nakea, President and CEO of Nakea, LLC. In addition to holding the At Large contest, the site will follow contestants’ progress and provide behind-the-scenes interviews, candid moments, and other elements of a contest that’s sure to enhance the experience of the audience.

The Progressive Talk Format was born in March 2004 in Portland, OR, when Clear Channel Radio’s 50,000 watt AM radio station changed its call letters to KPOJ and became the first major market talk radio station to program all Progressive Talk. To demonstrate the popularity and scope of the Progressive talk format, KPOJ skyrocketed up the charts from #23 to #1 (Adults 25-54) based on the first full ratings evaluation period, according to Arbitron. Since that time, nearly 100 radio stations nationwide (including 8 out of the top 10 markets) have programmed Ed Schultz and other progressive talkers.

Center for American Progress Action Fund President John Podesta said, “Talk radio has emerged as a potent force for driving the national debate. We’re working towards a return to a balance in the airwaves by supporting this initiative to bring more progressive voices to the microphone.” “

Progressive Talk has grown so big, so fast, that all of us in the industry are searching high and low for more great Progressive Talk radio talent,” observed MSS president and radio entrepreneur Paul “Woody” Woodhull. “Great talkers like Ed Schultz, Bill Press, and Al Franken are hard to find.”

“Clear Channel has championed Progressive Talk by committing 23 great radio stations to the format,” commented Clear Channel VP of AM programming Gabe Hobbs. “We need to follow that commitment with finding and training the next generation of great talkers.”

Amy Bolton, 2005 and 2006 Talk Radio Industry Executive of the Year and Vice President/General Manager of the Talk Radio division of Jones Radio Networks, predicted, “This national talent search will be the ideal training ground for many local talkers to break into the national arena,” and added, “From the beginning, Jones Radio Networks has pioneered the discovery and syndication of new Progressive Talk talent and we’ve only just begun!”

The local winners and an at-large winner, who will each receive a $1,000 cash prize, will proceed to the next phase of the competition when a panel of judges announces the final eight participants on Saturday, November 4 during the inaugural broadcast of the network program, Progressive Talk Radio Star. The contestants will be narrowed down through quarterfinal and semifinal broadcasts, with two finalists winning an all-expense paid trip to Washington, DC to participate in the final broadcast on Thursday, November 16. These final two contestants, competing for a nationally syndicated radio show, will perform live before the judges, the media, and a studio audience at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.


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