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So, over the last few nights, when I have been commuting home from my job, I have been listening to WMAL. WMAL is an AM radio station in the DC area. I also listen during my lunch break and I am shocked at how the station has turned to the very far right.

The WMAL that I see today is nothing like the WMAL that I grew up listening to. WMAL has completely become a right-wing station. More beneath the fold.

When I was growing up WMAL had a more diverse lineup. They always have had Limbaugh, but they also had Bob Levey and Sports Talk. They had a diverse lineup that wasn't dominated by the right.

Then I caught their AM drive time show, hosted by Grandy and Andy. Grandy was once a Republican Congressman from Iowa. While this show has news predominantly, in between news items, Grandy infuses his political views.

Chris Core then comes on the air in the morning, and he is probably the most reasonable of the right-wing hosts. In between these shows Paul Harvey comes on the air to read the news.

Limbaugh runs from 12-3, followed by Sean Hannity. Both shows are filled with right-wing ranting and raving. But the shows that come in the evening--Mark Levine from 6-8 and Chris Plante from 8-10--are the worst.

I was listening last night and Plante was savaging Pelosi and openly saying that she "was giving aid and comfort to the enemy". The callers chimed in stating that "if they pull out or if they don't support the surge, they will attack us here". That show was really off the charts.

Anyway, though, WMAL was once a more moderate station. It surprises me, although it shouldn't, that that type of talk radio has a market here in the DC area.

But right now I am reading the Republican Noise Machine. What I still don't undersatnd is why the Democrats have yet to effective challenge talk radio. While Air America is a start, given its financial problems, it hasn't been that successful. So what is the solution?

Originally posted to jiacinto on Sat Feb 17, 2007 at 06:43 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  New network starting up (10+ / 0-)

    called Nova M......
    Anyway, for whatever reason, I think the left-talk powers that be tend to see the blogs as competition for the progressive dollar, rather than a resource to be utilized. My message to local left-talk affiliate programming-types: Embrace the blogs.
    Hell, embrace ME! Dammit! :)

  •  It is ABC Radio station. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chumley, trashablanca, kestrel9000

    I don't know if you've checked in with NewsChannel 8 lately, but they have gone off the rightwing cliff too it seems.  I don't know much about the Albritton Communications Company who owns them and WJLA, but they also have stations in Alabama and South Carolina.

  •  I meant to say that it is all about station (5+ / 0-)

    ownership.  The Congress needs to reverse the laws that freed up corporations to own more than a few radio or televisions stations at a time.

    •  better that than the fairness doctrine (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      inclusiveheart, ChiGirl88

      Makes more sense to break up the monopolies and influence of conglomerates, than to force stations to have an official opposing view, which would turn any radio program on either side to utter shit.

      •  Well the fairness doctrine didn't require that (0+ / 0-)

        you provide an instant response to a left or right position.  It required equal time which meant that you could spend an hour one day featuring the Republican and an hour featuring a Democrat at another time.  So you'd still be able to have a liberal show and a conservative show, but you would have to dedicate equal time for both in your line up.

        In any case, breaking up the monopolies (which were given the go ahead in the Reagan Bush era) is a key step towards restoring some semblance of balance.  It would also greatly improve content especially in terms of radio.  Clear Channel couldn't do things like ban all radio play of the Dixie Chicks for instance.  Well they could, but they wouldn't be essentially cutting them off nation-wide as they did.  Media would be much more resposive to their local markets which would he a huge improvement.

        •  But nowadays (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          would I tune into my fav progressive radio show to hear equal time by an opposing view?  Nope.

          •  Yep. (0+ / 0-)

            You'd have to switch channels when Hannity came on right after Randy Rhodes for instance.  But you know, I don't think that would be so bad given the options.

            Also, as I happen to have to drive through Virgil Goode territory from time to time I listen to the religious radio stations - which are the really pernicious messaging outlets for the right wing political machine - and I think those audiences could use a little bit of counter-point on the political front.  So think about it that way and see what you think.

            The extreme polarization we are seeing especially on the right side of the political spectrum has a lot to do with the fact that many, many people across this country receive very little by way of alternative views anymore.  They don't even have the opportunity to consider a differing view.  The "liberal" view is simply non-existent in their world.

  •  I wish Sirius would pick up Nova M.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    other than Ed Schultz, the Sirius Talk Left Channel doesn't really have a strong lineup IMO.

    It's great to see Malloy back in the fray.

    Live in the Atlanta area?: Join the Atlanta Kos meetup group now forming by clicking on the homepage link in my profile.

    by VolvoDrivingLiberal on Sat Feb 17, 2007 at 07:00:38 AM PST

  •  Not Just WMAL (0+ / 0-)

    It is and has been happening all over the Country. Outside of Pittsburgh, station by station has been moving to Limbaaaaaa, et al. Can't listen to talk radio anymore.

    •  Been There (0+ / 0-)

      Yes, this is very old now - at least 15 years or so of a rightwing drift on talk radio.  Most of the left was stuck on NPR, and didn't notice.  

      I was involved in efforts to get some local AM progressive content way before Air America; none of it was successful.  People didn't realize that losing control of AM radio was a mistake.  Now they do.

  •  For reasons I can't get my mind around (0+ / 0-)

    progressive talk radio sucks.  AA is having finacial problems because not enough people listen to it.
       And don't bore me with conspiracies about "the power of corporate media" and whatnot.  AA was well-capitalized was given a send-off of free publicity that any broadcaster could only dream of.
       Maybe they are trying to fill a niche filled by NPR, but I don't think so.  NPR news/talk does not have a deep enough to account for it.

    •  Maybe talk radio isn't meant for the left (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      buddabelly, unionboy

      I don't know. Or maybe they are trying to imitate the right too much. For DC related travel advice, please visit that link.

      by jiacinto on Sat Feb 17, 2007 at 07:03:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's not (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tmo, buddabelly

        I think people on the left are less inclined to want to be told what to think than people on the right.

        That's not to say we don't have knee-jerk types too; but we're more likely to think things through before taking a stand. (Which is why we're often slower to take a stand than people on the right.)

        Daily Kos works because it's more interactive than radio is. Sure, few of us are front-pagers, but it's questionable how much being an FPer is worth. When radio gives us the equivalent of diaries, comments, and mojo, maybe then we'll have something to work with.

        I believe that ignorance is the root of all evil. And that no one knows the truth. RIP, Molly Ivins. And thanks.

        by Nowhere Man on Sat Feb 17, 2007 at 07:53:18 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Historically, radio commentary is right-wing (0+ / 0-)

        It is difficult to place a starting point, much like - warning, baseball analogy - it is difficult to place the starting point for modern relief pitching. But the phenomenon of talk radio has always appealed to the right (I'm specifically not saying to conservatives because I believe there is a difference between conservatism and the impulse that is not so much for conserviting things as it is anti-left) and more to the point the xenophobic right. If you have a bunker mentality, there is soemthing appealing about having a signal beamed on to your desktop telling you all the reasons you have to be pissed off about those whom you disagree with, supplemented with calls from people like you in a way that will suggest that you are the majority.

        Radio commentators in the 40s and 50s tended toward the Right. See Father Coughlin. See Walter Winchell.

        But the modern phenomenon, I'd contend, begins in earnest with the commentary on the Watts riots by LA radio talk host Joe Pyne. It was after Watts that said bunker mentality started to seep into Paul Harvey's commentary I'd guess, just based on hearing Harvey on a tiny transister each October as school chums and I waited for the 64 and 65 World Series games to start.

        Linbaugh's genius, if you can call it that, is that he is a more friendly radio presence than Pyne was. I say this only experiencing Pyne through his TV show where I grew up. And no, I didn't see the Watts-week TV show in which he waved a handgun in the air and warned the ne-groes not to come rioting in his studio.

        Have you heard? The vice president's gone mad. - Bob Dylan, 1966

        by textus on Sat Feb 17, 2007 at 08:12:55 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Starting place of relief pitching (0+ / 0-)

          >>It is difficult to place a starting point, much like - warning, baseball analogy - it is difficult to place the starting point for modern relief pitching. <<</p>

          The starting point for modern relief pitching was Jim Konstanty who, in 1950, won the NL MVP award as what was basically baseball's first closer.  It was a slow evolution since then but Konstanty was baseball's first real closer

          "An army of principles can penetrate where an army of soldiers cannot." - Thomas Paine

          by Mister Gloom on Sat Feb 17, 2007 at 08:29:49 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  But as with Pyne, there were motifs or whatever (0+ / 0-)

            that resulted in The Closer. There were things that a pitcher did in relief even if he was a starter by trade. Even before as a starter he played a significant role in the 51 Yankeews, Allie Reynolds was known as someone who coudl be one kind of pitcher as a starter and another kind in relief.

            But Konstanty, sure. In that spirit, Joe Pyne.

            Have you heard? The vice president's gone mad. - Bob Dylan, 1966

            by textus on Sat Feb 17, 2007 at 06:58:59 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  It seems like some mediums are better suited (0+ / 0-)

        For some sides of the aisle than others. The right has talk radio, and cable news to a smaller extent (Keith Olbermann being an exception) while we have satire in the form of TDS and TCR, as well as the blogosphere (with exceptions like Free Republic and Redstate.) "The 1/2 Hour News Hour" will fail to do well for the same reason that Air America hasn't done well: the existing genre or medium is dominated by the other side.

    •  I think that.... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sam Loomis, Bronx59

      ....people on the left have been filled with a bit of self-loathing due to 30+ years of right-wing propaganda that we wince when someone on the left states a liberal view strongly and unapologetically. Also, we've come to associate loud-mouthed radio hosts with ignorant, lying right-wingers. But, I gave lefty talk radio a chance and I got used to it. In fact, I came to enjoy Mike Malloy's screaming rants.

  •  those people are a minority (0+ / 0-)

    and they are supported by the media conglomerates because the media is like any other corporate group, interested mostly in their own bottom line.  So it is not surprising.
    But they are still in the minority and no amount of spewing hate is convincing anyone anymore except their insane 30 percent cult to whom "Republican" is a religion.

  •  Hyperbolic rhetorical ranting and raving (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    sells soap to the unwashed sheep of the world.

  •  The solution is taking ownership (4+ / 0-)

    I am so sick of liberals and progressives whining and crying about Talk Radio being taken over by the Right Wing.

    It's a question of ownership, and Ownership has privledges.  If we, as liberals and progressives, want to hear our own voices on the radio stations, we are going to have to step up and take ownership of those stations.  Nothing else will work in the long run.  But we're too busy scraping our pennies for this cause or that cause, and the top of the ladder people among us refuse to learn the lessons of the Conservative Movement of the 1970's.

    And we seem to be stuck in a 20th century mindset when it comes to financing and fundraising.  People would rather put up T-P's than build brick buildings.  I'll explain that if anyone cares enough to ask.

    If Democrats have a pre-911 view of the world, Republicans have a pre-July 4th view of the world.

    by chadlupkes on Sat Feb 17, 2007 at 07:09:58 AM PST

    •  Respectfully, Chad, (0+ / 0-)

      but how are you going to get people to listen to your station.  Progressives have a plethora of media and a severe audience dearth.
        Or is it just a matter of getting those right-wingers off the air, followed by silence?

      •  A plethora of media? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tmo, TracieLynn, drewfromct


        -TV is dominated by the right wing (Fox, ABC, GE owned NBC, TIMES owned CNN).
        -Cable is dominated by right wing leaning corporations (Sinclair for example).  
        -Radio is dominated by right wing leaning corporations (Clear Channel).
        -Print media is dominated by right wing leaning corporations and even the gray old ladies are filled with Judith Millers and David Broders.
        -Even the fucking billboards we see on the side of the street are owned in large part by right wing leaning corporations who refuse to take our dollars so we can put up progressive signs while they gleefully take in theocon money declaring us as sinners who will burn in hell.

      •  People ARE listening (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TracieLynn, jfdunphy

        We're not suffering from an audience dearth, we're suffering from an advertising dearth.  I'm in Seattle, and KTPK AM 1090 is one of the top radio stations in this market.  Most stations in smaller markets are struggling to keep enough advertising revenue to stay afloat, and thus can't afford a lot of promotion.  The grassroots can take this on, print their own bumper stickers, and help.

        If Democrats have a pre-911 view of the world, Republicans have a pre-July 4th view of the world.

        by chadlupkes on Sat Feb 17, 2007 at 07:20:49 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Call me old-fashioned (0+ / 0-)

          but advertising money follows the audience.  And progressives tend to have slightly higher incomes than others, owing to education, etc, making them an even MORE desirable audience to have.
             Advertisers don't give a damn about content of a show as long as their ads are going to be heard.  And if audence research, which is pretty darn sohisticated, is not finding the listeners, then they ARE NOT THERE.

          •  Not really (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            >>Advertisers don't give a damn about content of a show as long as their ads are going to be heard.<<</p>

            Not really.  Ed Schultz has one of the highest Arbitron ratings in the country (9th biggest audience in the industry last I looked) and yet he's still scrapping by with ads for ITM trading and that adjustable matress company (though I believe Hannity does testimonials for the latter as well).  So that can't explain it.

            "An army of principles can penetrate where an army of soldiers cannot." - Thomas Paine

            by Mister Gloom on Sat Feb 17, 2007 at 08:32:35 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Nova M is in neg with Sirius (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chadlupkes, kestrel9000, scoff0165

    There are a lot of issues with battling talk radio.

    1. Ownership - many operate under the model that no one listens to progressive radio but you need to look at the very successful AAR stations out there.
    1. AM radio frequencies that are available for purchase or rental are low wattage stations. The big boys own the bit 25-50,000 watt stations
    1. WHERE is the left funding to get this off and going? The right put in tons (millions) to fund wingnut radio and it has paid off. Somehow the Lefty funders think progressives should do these things out of the goodness of their hearts and NOT be paid real money for real work.

    Example - Sept 2004 Phoenix Air America went up on a small watt AM station. This station was profitable in 10 months with a mix of local and national shows. A Christian broadcasting company came in and bought up the frequency in a multi-station purchase. Poof our little AAR that did was gone March 2005. In 28 days with seed money funding using a pixil page project and putting together partners, the new Phoenix AAR was back on the air and eventually became Nova M Radio Network. This station IS the result of community banding together and making it happen.

    If you want to change things, do something.
    Don't sit there and whine and expect someone else to do it.

    •  And remember... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ....a lot of right-wing media took years and years to show any sort of profit. Fox News Channel was not instantly successful, by any means, but they had Murdoch behind them and eventually their slick marketing led them to success. I'm not sure if the Washington Times is successful yet, but I do know they lost money for years and had Rev. Moon's support nonetheless.

  •  Progressive radio (6+ / 0-)

    Air America has been bought out by the Greens and I don't mean the party.  Stephen L. Green has bought a majority stake in it.  His brother Mark is a leading progressive voice in NYC.  Now that Air America is a bit more financially secure and will soon be joined by Thom Hartmann they can work on expanding.  

    It's not going to be an overnight thing.  FoxNoise didn't get to where it is without losing some money (actually alot) and the Moonie Tomes is still losing money.  The political landscape is changing and IMO the AM radio landscape will and is changing with it.  Another example of this is Nova and Mike Malloy.  As more and more stations broadcast Air America and Nova more and more people will tune in, companies like Clear Channel will have to broadcast more progressive talk.  

    While it might seem slow in progress, glacial at times the fact that we're here talking about Air America and the fact that we're talking about alot of issues which we would not otherwise be talking about shows that progressive radio is working.  It came out a bit too late to affect the 04 elections but I think the impact on the 06 elections was huge.  The fighting Dems would not have gotten the exposure they did if it wasn't for Air America and other progressive radio hosts for example.  4 years ago I felt like I was in Wonderland where everything was turned on it's head and I was the crazy one.  Now it seems I'm one of a few million.  Can't tell you how many times I hear on the radio someone calling in who has had their eyes opened up by what they heard on the radio.  

    Also, the fact that Bill Orally and these rightwing nutjobs are getting more desperate in their demagogery as their ratings go down shows that they realize their time is up.  All we need now is more wealthy people like Stephen L. Green to invest in the progressive movement.  The fact that the right has uber wealthy uber demented individuals like Richard Mellonhead Sciafe and Sum Myoung Mooonbat who are more than willing to throw money at projects and people for the sole purpose of bringing down their ideological opponents is scary.  If we had people like George Soros investing in media to get the truth out, the right wouldn't have such a monopoly on what we see, hear and read.  That's why it is vital that we keep supporting progressive media in general so they see there is a market out there for the truth.

    •  Air America needs to broaden its reach (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bill W

      and get some actual radio talent on.  Randi does well because she is trained and has experience in radio broadcast, and her production values are solid.  The rest of that station is populated by amateurs who focus on being partisan before they focus on being entertaining.  AAR just isn't very entertaining to a broader swath of people, and to succeed, they will need to broaden their appeal.

      They can do this without moving to the middle or giving up their passion, but they play to such a narrow audience, it's no wonder they can't make money.  And their production values are something a sixth-grader could best.

      But most of all, they need to be entertaining, which they really aren't most hours of the day.

      •  Very Good, Sam (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sam Loomis

        I could not agree more.

      •  Good points. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sam Loomis

        There are so many explanations for why Air America hasn't done as well as they'd hoped, and very few people are willing to suggest the obvious -- they're just not all that good at doing entertaining radio.

        It comes from all sides, as well. I hear right-wingers saying that Rush does well because he's conservative, and that AAR fails because it's liberal.  If I was Limbaugh, I'd be supremely pissed off to hear that.  I'd want to at least hear the suggestion that I was successful because I had some talent and produced a professional-sounding show.  

        Remember Limbaugh's tv show?  Did it fail because conservatives don't watch tv?  I doubt it.  I suspect it failed because it was a shoestring budget slapdash effort being produced out of a fifth-rate tv studio in Secaucus, NJ, and it had all the polish of a middle-school drama club video project.

        If I'm in the car during afternoon drive hourse, I'll usually listen to Randi Rhodes.  But there are times that her show becomes so mind-numbingly repetitive that I switch over to Sean Hannity.  My politics are about as far as one can get from Hannity's, so I'd say that's a pretty serious indictment.  

      •  Young turks not bad (0+ / 0-)

        >>The rest of that station is populated by amateurs who focus on being partisan before they focus on being entertaining.  AAR just isn't very entertaining to a broader swath of people, and to succeed, they will need to broaden their appeal.<<</p>

        The Young Turks, AAR's new morning show, is actually pretty good in that regard.  Though I believe that they were in radio together prior to AAR picking them up.

        "An army of principles can penetrate where an army of soldiers cannot." - Thomas Paine

        by Mister Gloom on Sat Feb 17, 2007 at 08:40:24 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Young Turks (0+ / 0-)

          Unfortunately, those of us who are listening to AAR's "flagship" station in NYC don't get the Young Turks.  Instead, we get the Sam Greenfield & Armstrong Williams show, which is an utter trainwreck.  Greenfield, for those who haven't heard him, makes Alan Colmes sound like a leftist ideologue.  And Williams, who was at least somewhat entertaining as a fire-breathing right-winger, seems to be trying to sound more centrist. The result comes off as a debate between the slightly left-of-center and the slightly right-of-center.  In other words, really bad radio.  

          Mornings, I listen to conservative powerhouse WABC's "Curtis and Kuby" show, which at least offers an intelligent and genuinely progressive voice in the form of attorney Ron Kuby. (Oh, if only AAR could afford to hire him away from ABC.)

      •  Thom Hartmann (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sam Loomis

        Not sure I'd call him entertaining in the Rush Limbaugh mold (whatever that means) but he is informative and very, very knowledgeable.  He seldom if ever raises his voice let alone yells and always has thought provoking discussions.  If that's what you mean by entertaining then I think you'll be happy with Thom.  If however you like the yelling and the off the handle craziness of some of these right wing blowhards, then Mike Malloy is your man.  He is insane, out of control yet truthful and rational.  Unfortunately he's no longer on AAR but is on Nova.

        One of the main reasons I'll miss Al Franken is because of his guests.  I thought his show bordered on the absurd at times (hate email of the day, boring corrections, etc.) and I really don't like him as a radio host (he stutters way too much) but his guests were great.  I especially loved Thursdays with Tom Oliphant.  I'll miss listening to him.    

  •  Talk radio is owned by corporations, (0+ / 0-)

    and unfortunately, corporate politics veer to the right. That's why the garbage you're describing gets funded. I agree with the commentors who say the way to counter conservative trends in the MSM, including AM radio, is through blogs.

    Out here, we had a talk radio station host this totally stupid water-drinking contest, to win a Nintendo, or something like this. A mother of 3 small children drank all this water, and she died a short time later of brain inflamation. Now, the woman's famiy is suing the station for damages. I hope they win big, because monetary damages is all the producers will listen to.

  •  "Grandy and Andy" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Just to remind everyone who this rightwing hack "Grandy" is:

    He's Fred Grandy, and before entering politics he was a Hollywood actor most famous for playing the nerdy, dimwitted character "Gopher" on TV's THE LOVE BOAT.

    Sad but true.  That's who's calling longtime Marine Jack Murtha a traitor:  Gopher from the LOVE BOAT.

    "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power." -- Abraham Lincoln

    by chumley on Sat Feb 17, 2007 at 07:57:21 AM PST

  •  There is a AAR station... (0+ / 0-)

    in The DC area,which is on 1260 on the AM dial. It is a 5000 watt station and it should be able to be picked up in the DC area quite nicely.

    •  Yeah (0+ / 0-)

      I listen to it. I alternate between them and WMAL. At night, however, AM 1260 fades to a lower signal; and it becomes very hard to hear unless you are inside the Beltway. For DC related travel advice, please visit that link.

      by jiacinto on Sat Feb 17, 2007 at 12:11:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  the best is mike malloy.... (0+ / 0-)

    ....he is on sirius channel 146.

    i listen to him on the internet either through nova m or one of the several radio stations that attach to NOVA M radioand have arrangements with nova m.

    he is the best voice in the opposition to these fucking animals in the republican party that i have ever heard...

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