Wednesday, May 02, 2007

A virtual potpourri of tidbit goodness

Things have been somewhat quiet lately in medialand. Basically, just a bunch of little stuff. And I've admittedly been a bit lax in putting it up here. My apologies, as I often get sidetracked the last weekend in April when the NFL Draft comes around (and yes, I'm still giddy about Oklahoma blazing inferno Adrian Peterson in a Vikings uniform, though he still has to suffer through Brad Childress' boring-as-hell offense). So, here's some of the stuff you may have missed.

First, one comes, one goes. Sort of. Following the shuffling of Stone Broadcasting's stations in Western Michigan, the deal that sees WWKK (750AM) in Petoskey traded for a 50,000 watt signal in Traverse City has been consummated. Therefore, WWKK, which carried a mostly liberal talk format, is now simulcasting a country format of a Traverse City station, and Stone's conservative talker WJML (1110AM) is simulcasting in Traverse City on WLDR (1210AM). The new WJML combo combines the programming of both of Stone's Petoskey stations. Ed Schultz is on from 3-6P and Lionel from 10-Midnight. Thom Hartmann and Randi Rhodes air in the wee hours of the night, starting at Midnight. Of course, to get to that stuff, you'd have to put up with the likes of Neal Boortz, Glen Beck and Michael Savage. The good news is that Traverse City listeners can now hear liberal talk programming, courtesy of WLDR. So, welcome aboard!

And soon, a station will go away, if it hasn't already. Tiny WLFP (1550AM), formerly WURP, in Pittsburgh is not really a liberal talk station. They have carried The Young Turks for quite a few years, and even aired some weekend programming from Air America. But they also carried Tom Leykis, Don and Mike and G. Gordon Liddy, with Sporting News Radio filling in most of the other gaps. With a pending $225K sale in the works to, the station will soon air the feed of that network. The original plan was to bring Don Imus' syndicated show back to their morning drive slot, but we all know how that turned out. As far as I know, they're still working out a few bugs and the switch will be flipped anytime now. Currently, it sounds like they're running quite a bit of Sporting News Radio leading up to the flip, displacing their other programming, including the Turks. And they currently have a message on their website claiming that a format flip is imminent.

In addition, listeners in central Ohio, particularly around the Athens area can hear Stephanie Miller and Ed Schultz on WAIS (770AM). The station is daytime-only, meaning they sign off from sunset to sunrise. But fans who miss WTPG in Columbus can now hear some of the departed programming straight outta Nelsonville, OH. The station has no web presence to speak of, but you can find out more about them at Radio Locator.

And don't count out new liberal talk stations on the horizon. Nova M Radio's Sheldon and Anita Drobny were in Boston last week appearing at an event designed to help work out a plan to bring liberal talk back to the city's airwaves. Thanks to the efforts of a swelling grassroots movement and Jeff Santos, who had the only local show on WXKS/WKOX before it's flip to "Rhumba," the Drobnys have taken an interest in their plight, and are exploring ways to do in Boston what they successfully accomplished in Phoenix. You can read more about the event and see pictures at Daily Kos. Incidentally, since the two Clear Channel stations dropped liberal talk, they have been nonexistent in the local ratings books. And Arbitron surveys have been known to be rather favorable to Spanish language radio stations.

Speaking of Nova M, they are offering listeners the opportunity to leave the country with Mike Malloy. Sort of. It's a seven day Mexican Cruise, departing October 7 and going to Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta. You can read more here. If Mexico doesn't intrigue you, you can also sail with Air America's Randi Rhodes to Alaska in August.

UPDATED ITEM: Wonder who WOR would hire to replace Lionel when he departs for Air America? Well, look no further - his replacement will be Steve Malzberg. Now, the name sounds vaguely familiar to me, but he was formerly on WABC and the old incarnation of WWRL. And judging by his website, which features links to NewsMax and Club For Growth, in addition to the typically hollow 'support the troops' mantra, he sounds like a run-of-the-mill conservojock. Anyways, Malzberg will also be syndicated in Lionel's slot on the WOR network starting May 7. Uh, I think I'll pass.

And finally, for people wondering who the hell is doing the 9-Noon shift on Air America this week, that is Dave Barber, formerly of WPRO in Providence, as well as the Michigan Talk Radio Network. The Flint, MI native has also worked at WWCK and WFDF in his hometown. And yes, he knows Michael Moore, featuring him on his shows from time to time. And no, Barber will not be hired by the network. In fact, he just got rehired by WWCK for the same time slot. So a double congratulations to Dave Barber. He continues at Air America for the rest of the week.

A minor correction: WWCK program director John Roman has set LTR straight. They haven't rehired Dave Barber, but are running his Air America fill-in appearance this week. Their schedule goes back to normal starting next week. My bad.


Anonymous said...

The part LT left out about the Drobnys in Boston; they have begun to follow the first rule of being producers: Never put your own money in the show.
Instead of digging into their own pockets as they did with AAR, Nova M and their LMAs in Phoenix and Little Rock, the Drobnys are pitching what they call the Green Bay Packers model. They are trying to get fans of libtalk to buy stock in a new libtalker for Boston. This sounds like Drobny has realized that radio is too expensive a hobby - even for him.
And while Sheldon wants "the community" to cough up the money, it appears he plans to retain control himself. Given his track record in the launch of AAR and now with Nova M, this does not sound like a good investment. The least he could do for the people from whom he wants money is to incorporate as a non-profit: That way at least the suckers would get a tax break.

ltr said...

This is nothing new. The Drobnys have also floated the "Packers idea" with people in Milwaukee last year. That's probably where they got the Packers thing from.

And the Little Rock thing fell apart mostly because of issues with the owners and facilities, or so I'm told.

Believe what you want. The glass will always be half-empty for you.

Anonymous said...

Not always. Whether the glass is half full or half empty depends on whether you're filling or drinking.

AlanF said...

There are a lot of questions that have yet to be discussed, let alone answered: the degree of control that would belong to the Drobnys vs. the large investors vs. the small investors vs. a community-based group, the amount of money that would come from these entities, whether the participants' contributions would be considered investments or donations, and so on. This was an event to gauge interest, not to resolve any of these questions. And interest was definitely there.

The Phoenix station seems to be doing fine, so I consider that a positive part of their track record. I also consider the Drobnys' ability to get a major progressive talk network on the air pretty remarkable.

While the Drobnys clearly are "putting their own money in the show" to some extent (why else would they be involved?), looking for money from as many additional sources as possible, including the listener community, is a smart move.

Cynicism may sound like omniscience, but they're not the same thing.

NYLefty said...

Steve Malzberg was a sports reporter (on WABC and elsewhere) for years before he reinvented himself as a conservative talk show host. It makes sense for WOR to follow Michael Savage (ugh!) with another right-winger like Malzberg, who makes Lionel look like Mike Malloy on steroids.

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