Monday, February 11, 2013

Take Your Progs Off The Air Like You Just Don't Care

Jill at Brilliant at Breakfast has something to say about the past and future of Liberals on the Marconi machine:
...In the short run, I suppose the wingnuts can crow about how they once again "own the airwaves." But the airwaves that don't have video attached to them have become increasingly less important. Yes, the call-in format is dying on the progressive side, but once you get past Morning Schmoe, MSNBC boasts a pretty impressive prog-news lineup. Taken in conjunction with the phenomenal success of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, it becomes clear that progressive media isn't dying, it's just changing form. Sam Seder is still out there with The Majority ReportCenk Uygur has been from podcasting to terrestrial radio to podcasting to TV and back to podcasting. We Act Radio has a full lineup and is available on TuneIn Radio. And with Blog Talk Radio, anyone who has the time can create a podcast (even my cousin Dan)....
Back when WCPT AM started broadcasting a five watt Liberal trickle, I was hopeful, going so far as to wander the halls of the late Castle Driftglass, crystal set in-hand, dowsing for the sweet spot.where I could catch the progressive what-what before the sun went down and the signal was handed back to house music, farm reports and interstellar radiation..

Since that time WCPT has expanded to around-the-clock broadcasts and an FM profile.

But in all of that weekly broadcast time, the 3rd largest radio market in the American empire still has not managed to produce more than one Liberal show using Chicago talent:  Hal Spark's Saturday program (which I very much enjoy) is relayed through the Chicago station, but originates wherever Mr.Spark happens to be at the time (and which -- thanks to the bewildering array of gadgets and gimcracks they throw at the relatively simple problem of putting a "person" in front of a "microphone" which broadcasts using a "99.999999% reliable, century-old  technological" at a fixed time every week -- turns what should be a simple and routine event into an exciting weekly adventure of  "Will this be a dead-air week?", "Will this suddenly be a rerun?", "Will it be audible anywhere but Ustream?", "Will the host be capable of taking "phone calls?" and "Will 'guests' spontaneously vanish mid-sentence?") ...and everything else -- including their rebroadcasts --  comes from somewhere else.

I have no idea why Liberal radio is a basket case, but it is.  And nothing makes that point that more clearly than the fact that a radio town like Chicago can't figure out field more than one local Liberal talker a week.


Capt. Bat Guano said...

Drifty, here's a pretty good article on this subject.

DocAmazing said...

I guess it's a question of where one lives. In California, we've got the Pacifica radio stations (esp. KPFA in Berkeley and KPFK in LA) and some excellent left-end-of-the-dial stuff, including my favorite college radio station, KALX in Berkeley (

Bukko Canukko said...

Here's another good article about why left-wing talk is fading from the airwaves, focused on the demise of that format in Portland, OR, a liberal city if there ever was one.

Aside from the fact that WPOJ was owned by Clear Channel/Bain Capital, the problem was that the station wasn't attracting enough listeners. Maybe it's because liberals have better things to do than listen to people rant about politics. Perhaps they're listening to music, or learning about current events by READING instead of having stuff spoon-fed into their ears.

Where I live, we used to be able to hear left-wing talk radio from a station in Seattle when we were in the car and the weather conditions were right. (That was before my now-ex took off with the Prius and returned to San Francisco, another market where left-wing talk radio disappeared.) Seattle's station has gone down, replaced by another sports talk format. (I've heard there are four such stations there.) A lot of what was on the Seattle station was personality-driven, Obama-worshipping chatter that did not interest me, but I liked Norman Goldman and loved Mike Malloy (angriest leftist on the airwaves, he.)

Now when I want left-wing talk, I get it on my computer. Used to do the same during the four years I lived in Australia, too. I'm fortunate that I can pay for subscriptions to podcasts like Malloy's (or donate to bloggers who do 'casts.) I'm finding left-wing talk radio increasingly irrelevant, though. For sure I agree with what the talkers are saying, including you two, but I just don't care so much to sit around listening to people talk. I get more complexity of information from online newspapers, blogs and even old-skool books.

Plus, radio talk is mostly about politics, and I find that to be somewhat of a diversion thrown out by the Inverted Totalitarian System. Not that there's no difference between the two sides of the Money Party -- I agree with you and BG that both sides are NOT the same. But I'd rather read about financial and environmental stuff online, and expand my brain with history books, than have someone's voice rattling on in the background. The quality of the information is deeper via my eyes than through my ears.

Bukko Canukko said...

Also, too, when I want to have someone talk markets! finance! scandal! at me, I tune the computer dial to this guy's show.

Max is a bit of a clown, deliberately so for theatrical effect, but he nails the crooked banking and political systems across the world. It was through him that I learned about non-money matters such as "meat glue" and "pink slime." Oogle those if you're in the mood to go veg.

"The Keiser Report" also airs on Putin's English-language Russian TV channel, which I used to pay extra to the cable company to get back when I had a televison. Now the big-screen is where the Prius is, and you now what? I am getting along fine without them. I could buy a new set with spare change from the bank account, and I could get a new Mercedes for cash if I sold some of the shiny round things from the vault, but I don't need all that. A bicycle, a computer and some ingenuity saves me more than $1,000 a month that I used to be shelling out.

brother yam said...

Good gravy he looks like Ross Douthat. Disturbing.

Tim Hosler said...

I live in Painesville Ohio and we have a progressive station that is just pathic . Dead air , interuptions of the broadcast for god knows what, the same consumer alert about peanutbutter for a whole year. It's painful and to the point where you suspect it may be sabotage. I call and tell them that they've been off the air , that they just played Stephanie Miller trying to lay down tracks for a commercial for 5 minutes. Any high school could do a better job and this is the liberal voice of the East Side of Cleveland!

Anonymous said...

liberals don't listen to radio because its too slow--we have learned to read w/o moving our lips...

in the car w elisten to music and can concentrate on driving.