Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Mic's Lee Rayburn comments on station's demise

Here's an email from Lee Rayburn, former morning show host of WXXM-FM in Madison:

I'm not quite sure how to respond to the overwhelming reaction at the loss of progressive talk radio in Madison. First and foremost thank you, thank you, thank you for listening to the Mic 92.1. In just two quick years, we created an intelligent and entertaining listening post for the galvanized left not just in Madison, but throughout Wisconsin. Our listener ratings were released the day before Jodie and I found out that the Pro Show was cancelled and the Mic 92.1 was being turned off. Simply said, our ratings walloped the other talk radio stations in town in the key advertising demographics. The Mic 92.1 continued to grow until the decision was made to turn it off.

I, honestly, don't know why Clear Channel has decided to turn off the Mic 92.1. I was never offered an explanation. Personally, the loss of the station has been a bit devastating. I want to publicly thank my co-workers who have become my family. I started at the Mic 92.1 the day it began broadcasting in 2004. Brian Turany, the former Program Director of the Mic 92.1, has been the patron saint of progressive talk radio in Madison. His tireless work created the quality you heard on the radio everyday. Brian was the one committed to creating a community radio station using corporate resources. With his passion and kindness, working for Brian everyday was never work. Not once. Jodie Shawback, my former co-host on the Pro Show, made great local radio out of my best intentions. She is a consummate radio pro that completed our local programming. The Pro Show on the Mic 92.1 was my baby, and that baby didn't start to sing, dance, and laugh until Jodie arrived. Right now, it's impossible to consider radio again without her. She's also been kind enough to help me find the unemployment office. Chris Bowman did all of my dirty work at the Mic 92.1 and he deserves nothing but future success in radio. I also want to thank Clear Channel Madison's FM Operations Manager, Mike Ferris, who truly believed in progressive talk radio in Madison while not always agreeing with the politics.

One of the greatest pleasures of my job at the Mic 92.1 was meeting all the people in our community working tirelessly to make this world a little better place. Most of them had never been on the radio before and I was always proud to provide a forum for them. Our community forum was made possible by our local advertisers. Another of the great joys of the job was meeting the many local business owners who use their business to benefit the community. I want to sincerely thank all of our local advertisers. Without you, there would be no debate right now as to why the Mic 92.1 is being turned off. You are too numerous to mention here by name without forgetting some, but your suport was never lost on our listeners. I know we delivered results to our advertisers. So did management.

Many of you asked me how we save progressive talk radio in Madison and I honestly just don't know. I don't have much more information than you. I do know that the airwaves, in theory, belong to the people. I also know that I would love nothing more than to be back together with you, Jodie and Brian. You have every right to express your support of progressive talk radio in Madison. There are only three major radio groups in the Madison market: Clear Channel, Entercom, and Mid-West Family. If you're asking me, I'm guessing the most likely radio group to pick-up progressive talk radio in Madison is... Clear Channel. After all, I hear they have a new Fox Sports radio station at a perfect place on the FM dial. If I have to give any advice, here it is: Don't Stop! Whatever you are doing to keep progressive commercial talk radio on the air in Madison, don't stop! I signed the petition to keep the station on the air. This is our community. These are our airwaves. The Mic 92.1 was a great and growing radio station that shared it's communities values and aspirations. If you think that it deserves a place in Madison, say so.

I may not know your name or your face but, if you ever listened to the Pro Show, I know you. You were my friend and my confidante. You were quite literally the closest person to me. Brian and Jodie will attest to that. Everyday, you and I talked about all those things we never mention in mixed company: politics, sex, religion, drugs. I was never any good at small-talk anyway. I will forever be proud of the work we did at the Mic 92.1. Thank you for listening...

If you need to sign the petition here's the link.



mark schnepper said...


I miss the pro show. Hope you end up doing progressive talk in Madison sometime soon!

Good Luck!


Anonymous said...

Good morning Lee and Jodie

Surly miss you two in the morning! I’ve signed the petition, written letters and have heard that a demonstration is in the works.

My lifetimes experiences are that when something is working well, like the PRO SHOW, corporate AH have always got to mess it up, never fails. I believe it comes from petty protectiveness!

Good luck to you both, it sure was grand while it lasted.

Best Regards

Beloit, WI

Steve Severson said...


I do and will always dearly miss your show. You gave voice to me and my various projects so many times, and helped me reach others who otherwise would not know how they could help. You helped me raise thousands of dollars for Enviornmental Action, as well as getting thousands of voter turnout calls into WI-08 through MoveOn.org.

I appreciate you wish to thank folks like me and your listeners alike, but don't sell your contribution short. You are a talent in your field. A true talent indeed.

You say that you will miss us, your listeners. But you can't miss ALL of us, as so many of we are anonymous. What is certain is that we will ALL miss you.

Anonymous said...

Mornings are really drab without the Pro Show. I was an addict! I tried listening to The Young Turks but they pale in comparison to what Lee & Jodie put out onto our airwaves. "Public" radio has become so stuffy & corporatized that is barely tolerable anymore. The Pro Show was the proverbial breath of fresh air and its demise is a great loss to the Madison radio market.

It was fun while it lasted. Good luck to everyone who was associated with the show. I hope another outlet pops up soon! (yeah, I've signed the petition, called & written letters to Clear Channel, etc.)


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