Thursday, May 26, 2005


Left side of the dial

I would like to think that the last presidential election proved St. Louis' credentials as a blue spot on the map, even if it lies within a red state. Yet turn on the radio and Rush and Sean and the whole gang of EIB/Fox talking heads reign on the airwaves. So much for the free market giving people what they want.

Elsewhere in America, however, liberals are speaking up and being heard on the radio. In spite of frequent and persistent rumors of demise for Air America Radio, the network now boasts close to 60 affiliates nationwide and can be heard anywhere on XM and Sirius satellite radio. Democracy Radio carries 95 affiliates. Even Clear Channel, known for its close ties to the White House and often viewed as the Death Star of radio mediocrity, has converted several stations to a progressive talk format. Apparently some big players have decided someone's listening in and there's money to be made off of angry liberals.

Oh sure, this movement doesn't yet come anywhere near approaching the conservative talk radio juggernaut. And many of these Air America affiliates are low-power, rather shoestring affairs. In Dallas, for example, the network is carried on an AM frequency that formerly hosted a mix of Hindi talk shows and Bollywood favorites. Yet, the fact that Dallas, perhaps the king of red cities, has an Air America affiliate at all is perhaps something to behold. It certainly flies in the faces of inustry naysayers who until very recently said progressive talk radio would never fly.

"It's always been around," Michael Harrison, publisher of industry magazine Talkers, told UPI. "Another myth is that liberal talk radio doesn't work."

It seems to be working quite well. So here's my gripe: Why can't we get progressive talk in St. Louis, where the whole damn metro area went for Kerry last November? A glance at Air America's listing of affiliates show that they're on the air now in rather un-blue places like Columbia, S.C., and Corpus Christi, Texas. Why not St. Louis?

I'm not saying that everything coming off the progressive airwaves is brilliant. I'm not a big fan Janeane Garofalo, and Air America's decision to add the freakish Jerry Springer to its roster just leaves me scratching my head. Seems about like handing over more ammo to the conservatives. And don't get me started on the far-left Pacifica network, which makes all of us liberals look plain foolish and silly. But a fix of Al Franken or Ed Schultz would certainly brighten my day.

I know I could get as much progressive talk as I could stomach if would just listen online. Like most people, however, I only listen to the radio in my car. Al Franken would certainly beat some overplayed crap by Elton John or the Eagles anytime as I'm driving around.

If you live in St. Louis and agree with me that we need some progressive talk, a petition is circulating. The other day, I saw only a few more than 400 names on it. We're going to need a lot more than that to give Sean Hannity some competition here in the Gateway City, so hurry and add your name now. Just click the link below:

If you DON'T live in St. Louis, odds are pretty good you can find some progressive talk in your local radio market. Click the links below to see what's available in your neck of the woods:
Air America:
Democracy Radio:

Odds and ends

I had to laugh when I saw today's New York Times story about Sen. John Thune, South Dakota's conservative poster boy for GOP domination everywhere. He's the guy who defeated Tom Daschle last fall. Seems he's incensed the Base Realignment and Closure Commission has slated his state's Ellington Air Force Base for closure.

"I'm going to play whatever cards I have to get the best possible outcome I can for my base," he told hometown reporters at the Rapid City Journal.

Remember Newt's Contract with America? I remember their big pledge to the voters that if granted control of Congress, Republicans wouldn't play pork barrel politics like those Democrats who just want to bribe the voters. No sir, Republicans would be above all that.

I guess Sen. Thune didn't get the memo.

If you read my harangue yesterday on Kenneth Tomlinson's attempts to geld PBS into TV certainly not worth watching, you'll probably be interested in coverage on that issue on the Media Matters web site:

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