Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Tuesday talkin'

A few short items, including The Young Turks, an NPR experiment that didn't quite pan out, and more.

Turks go wide

Here it is, transcribed from the Air America press release:

Following a brief six month hiatus, the first progressive radio show to air across the country is set to return July 14th, 2008 to the airwaves and in syndication on TidalTV and Air America Radio. As mentioned previously, “The Young Turks,” hosted by Cenk Uygur, just moved to its new on-air home on XM Satellite Radio during yesterday's morning drive, airing from 8–10A ET on XM’s America Left. TidalTV will broadcast on tape delay, while Air America’s Website will host the video live from 9–11P ET daily.

Outside of the two hour political show carried by XM, TidalTV, Air America and The Young Turks' website will also have a third hour of entertainment and pop culture programming from 11-12Midnight ET. Video clips from this extra hour can be found on AOL and You Tube.

Head Turk Cenk Uygur said “We are coming back to our roots and thrilled to be a part of the line up on XM, TidalTV and Air America. This new programming is going to be a perfect compliment to our tremendous web presence. When we’re able to combine the power of our internet audience with the audience we grew in our previous stint on XM, there’s an excellent chance we are going to be unstoppable.”

Bryant Park(ed)

Well, it was a pretty ambitious undertaking. Basically, an NPR morning show geared toward younger listeners, a laid-back, upbeat and less stuffy version of the rather dry Morning Edition. And with some markets having multiple NPR outlets, and the fact that the two-hour Morning Edition is played over and over again by most affiliates until seemingly everyone hears it, The Bryant Park Project at least had some potential. The show also positioned itself heavily toward online listening and interaction. It was also a morning show for people who were tired of the American Idol updates, "Battle of the Sexes," intern stuntboys and "Whip 'em Out Wednesday" shenanigans littering the rest of the FM dial. Breezy conversation and news about Zimbabwe? Who'da thunk? I admit, I actually liked it.

But new national program launches are never very easy. Especially when they carry a $2 million price tag. So, come July 25th, The Bryant Park Project will be no more.

Part of the show's struggles concerned its hosts. Alison Stewart and Luke Burbank are both very capable, but they didn't cement themselves as hosts well. Burbank bolted for his hometown of Seattle and a gig at KIRO, while Stewart took time off to make babies. News anchor Rachel Martin got a gig at ABC News. In addition, very few stations had picked it up thus far, preferring to simply rerun NPR's morning mothership over and over all morning.

Stewart, returning from maternity leave for the show's final week, told the New York Times, "From what I understand, we are obviously in extra-tough economic times, and it is a financial and strategic decision. I was told it had absolutely nothing to do with the quality or content of the show."

For morning radio listeners who can't stay awake during Morning Edition, and don't particularly care for the Morning Zoos of the world, there is one other public radio offering still available. Public Radio International launched their morning show, The Takeaway this past April. The show, hosted by Adaora Udoji and John Hockenberry, does have a market, as they've already lined up co-producing affiliates in New York (WNYC), Boston (WGBH) and Baltimore (WEAA), among others, as well as support from the BBC and The New York Times.

KPTK holds a town hall

KPTK in Seattle is hosting another shindig, as they hold their "We The People" town hall
on August 16th at the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall. Stephanie Miller, Thom Hartmann, Rachel Maddow, Randi Rhodes, Mike Malloy and Sam Seder will all be there. Hosting the event will be Ron Reagan Jr.

Wicked, wicked Wiki

I've been pretty busy lately, polishing up LTRapedia - The LTR Wiki. So far, many pages are up. The wiki will do what is a bit difficult on a blog, namely giving deeper background information on many of the topics covered here. It's still a seemingly neverending process putting it all up, but I've been cranking away at it for the past few weeks or so. Looking for that station in Boise or Langdon, North Dakota that carries Ed Schultz? It's there. I've been holding back, waiting until I got the whole thing at least somewhat finished-looking. But I'm impatient. Again, it's still a work in progress, and many, many things still need to be added and cleaned up, but for a wiki devoted to progressive media, it's gonna be a real humdinger. Check it out.


FSL said...

Ding, dong! Bryant Park Project is dead! This was the dumbest move NPR ever made. "Morning Edition for Dummies." "The Slacker News." I half expected to here, "The Bryant Park Project is made possible by a grant from Ritalin." Many people seem to think text messages represent proper use of the English language (your school taxes at work), but I never thought NPR would pander to such. The inane "host chat," too much and too long, was reminiscent of student news shows on my school district's cable channel. I give them credit for going outside the box of the usual news topics but reports and interviews kept meandering and resisted getting to the point.

News of the slackers by the slackers. Two presenters take the gig and then promptly quit. One takes the job and then gets herself knocked up. This is typical of the absence of work ethic in radio today.

PS: WEEI is a Boston sports talk station (and one of the early news/talk stations). The Baltimore public radio station is WEAA. The Takeaway, however, does seem to show a bit more class than the late BPP.

ltr said...

Once again, you're talking out of your ass. Have you ever listened to the damned show?

A word of advice: People tend to look down upon others who think they know a lot about subjects they really don't know much about.

Gleaming over random trade sites does not make one an authority on anything.

FSL said...

Yes, LT, I have listened to it - the show itself, and excerpts from it in NPR podcasts.

I won't ask if you have ever listened to Morning Edition. If you comments on it, I assume you have. It is clear, however, that each of us heard something different (listening to both programs).

Radio is one of the most ill-managed industries - ever. In part, this is because it is managed by people who "know" radio and most (maybe all) of what they know is wrong. In general, conventional wisdom on any topic is wrong.

Public radio is and has always been a medium for the elite. Every once in a while the people who run public radio get overcome with liberal guilt and think they should do something for the unwashed. If they'd listen to spots now running on commercial radio, they'd realize the great unwashed is who everybody else targets.

The problem with BPP is they were trying to make public radio news-talk palatable to people who listen to Howard Stern, Opie and Anthony (and others). What they came up with ain't Howard and it sure ain't public radio news-talk.

Baba booey.

Jill said...

The Takeaway is actually pretty good. It isn't Morning Sedition, but it sure beats Imus and the team of Boomer Esaiason and Craig "Pick on the Governor's Wife's Post Partum Depression" Carton by a mile.

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