Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Shakeups in New York, Sacramento and Palm Springs

In my month-long sabbatical from LTR, I was surprised that I didn't really miss a whole heck of a lot. I noticed that comparable blogs, on both sides, have been rather quiet as well. So, I guess I picked the perfect time to be burnt out.

There are a few situations to catch up on, just to keep y'all in the know. First in New York, WWRL (1600AM) has been undergoing some radical changes as of late. First, morning man Richard Bey left the station, due to what has been cited as a 'personal situation.' And now, the flagship station of Air America Radio has suddenly found itself with a whole lot less Air America. First, hometown host Lionel is gone, replaced by infomercials. Thom Hartmann has now been replaced by Ed Schultz. And Clout has been replaced by Al Sharpton's syndicated show. All that's left really of Air America on the station is Randi Rhodes and Rachel Maddow.

Air America is said to be looking for another New York station that could be more of a full flagship. Meanwhile, a more limited agreement will keep some Air America programs where they are.

And while Hartmann is no longer on WWRL, he has picked up four affiliates. WINZ (940AM) in Miami (where he replaces Ed Schultz), WZNZ (1460AM) in Jacksonville, WNWF (1120AM) in Destin, FL and KBAI (930AM) in Bellingham, WA are now carrying his show.

In Sacramento, progressive talk and Air America are gone for good, as KSAC (1240AM) has pulled the plug, flipping last Friday to gospel music as KRJY. "It's not a ratings thing - we have plenty of listeners," said nighttime host Mike Malloy on his show. "KSAC is experiencing what most other liberal talk show format stations are experiencing - it's not a lack of audience, it's a lack of business support." Meaning that the station isn't selling much in the way of advertising. Of course, selling advertising time on a station with no sales staff is a challenge in itself.

Owner/GM Paula Nelson said that she's happy with her decision."I was ready for this change - I just wasn't having fun anymore," Nelson says. "The whole political thing has gotten nasty, dirty and contentious."

And it didn't help that major political companies didn't support the station during its four years as a liberal talk radio station, she says.

"There are all these Sacramento Democratic organizations that haven't spent a dime on (advertising) for our station," Nelson says. "To them I say, 'You did this - you were complicit, you shut us down.'

"If you're not sending us the marketing dollars, then you're part of the problem."

Malloy said that his network, Nova M Radio, is currently searching for a new home for his show.

In Palm Springs, some listeners of KPTR (1340AM) have been a little worried about some developments at their owner, RR Broadcasting. In a complicated set of transactions, the company is buying the station's former FM sister, KWXY, and selling one of their stations to a Spanish-language broadcaster, which plans to move the station closer to the Riverside/San Bernadino area. KWXY's easy listening format will move to its former home at 1340AM, displacing progressive talk. But not to worry - progressive talk will survive. The format will move to 1450, replacing mostly-wingnut talker KGAM. The move is expected to take place in the next few months.


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