Tuesday, January 24, 2006

New liberal talker comes to Charlottesville, VA

The Charlottesville Radio Group, the very firm that airs a fair number of conservative talkers on WINA, including Savage and Sean Hannity, has launched WVAX 1450, progressive talk radio featuring liberal yakkers such as Al Franken and Lionel.

The Charlottesville Radio Group is owned by Saga Communications, a Michigan-based firm with radio holdings throughout the country. In addition to WINA and the new WVAX, the station owns Lite Rock Z95 and the rock station 97.5 WWWV.

Charlottesville Radio Group's vice president and general manager, Dennis Mockler, said the company is simply tapping into a market that's not being served.

"There's a lot of media companies out there in a variety of different forms, but really no local station targeted to the people with a liberal slant," Mockler said. "We saw a huge void."


While liberal talk has struggled to gain traction in most markets, Charlottesville's reliably left leaning citizenry may prove more welcoming.


Beyond Franken, the station's daily lineup includes Randie Rhodes and Ed Schultz. An hour of Schultz's program has been airing on WINA; the full three hours will air on the new station. Weekend fare offers more issue-oriented programming such as Mother Jones Radio and Ecotalk.

Note: Air America is listing KHRO (1650AM) in El Paso, TX and WBLF (970AM) in State College, PA as new affiliates, in addition to WVAX.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Air America has chance at another spot on dial

Rumors have been circulating about the future of liberal-talk network Air America in the Valley. We've got the word from Bob Christy, general manager of KXXT-AM (1010), the network's home here.

Owner James Crystal Enterprises sold KXXT, Christian outlet KXEG-AM (1280) and a Florida station to Communicom Broadcasting for $20 million. The deal was announced in October but has yet to close.

Where does that leave Air America? According to Christy, the plug will not be pulled on the network anytime soon. He says Communicom will change the station's format; however, it has graciously agreed to keep Air America programs on the air until it finds a new home.

The person looking to relocate Air America is none other than Christy, who holds the rights in Phoenix.

"I can move it to a new station," he says. "I'm working like a crazy man to put together the funding to buy another station."

Christy thinks Air America is worth saving.

"This station never made a ratings book, prior to last fall," he says. "In the realm of talk stations, we're the third most listened-to station. We broke even in nine months, which is pretty amazing in radio."

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