Thursday, October 25, 2007

A Bad News Week for Lib Talk Ends with Some Good News

It’s been a bad week for liberal talk radio. We learned that one liberal talk station –KOKE/1600 in Austin had flipped to Spanish and two others will soon flip to sports– KRFT/1190 in St. Louis, which offers some lib talk, and KLSD/1360 in San Diego, the largest station yet to drop the format.

We also had to sit with our teeth clenched while master showman Rush Limbaugh humiliated 41 Democratic Senators by auctioning off a letter written by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to Clear Channel CEO, Mark Mayes seeking a reprimand for Limbaugh's "phony soldiers" remark. Finally, we have Randigate and enough has been said about that matter.

So we were somewhat relieved when we learned that the embattled lib talk format was beginning to fight back. A few days ago we received a press from Air America Radio announcing that 11 stations would soon be carrying all or part of the lib talk networks schedule. Since, the press release didn’t identify when these new stations would launch and which hosts were to be offered, we contacted AAR’s VP of Affiliate Relations Dave Kaufman, for more information.

What we learned is that the network will soon (within the next few weeks) launch its entire schedule on one station add some AAR hosts to two other stations and expand coverage on two incumbent talk stations. In addition, they are still working on deals with several others.

Kaufman confirmed that KXLJ/1130 in Juneau, the first full time AAR affiliate since, WTAA/1490 in Atlantic City, launched the format in June, will start broadcasting in a few weeks. Seattle Streaming Radio LLC, owner of KXLJ, is conducting signal tests right now.

Interestingly, this will be the 11th lib talk station on the air in a state capitol. The other 10 are – WPYR/1380 in Baton Rouge, LA; WOIC/1230 in Columbia, SC; KKZN/760 in Denver, CO; KUMU/1500 in Honolulu, HI; WXXM/92.1 in Madison, WI; KTNF/950 in St. Paul, MN; KPHX/1480 in Phoenix, AZ; WCHL/1360 in Raleigh, NC; KSAC/1240 in Sacramento, CA; and KTRC/1260 in Santa Fe, NM.

The stations expected to launch before the end of the month with a partial lib talk format are WTAN/1340 in Tampa and KKEE/1230 in Astoria, OR. WTAN will launch with Lionel, who is a Tampa native, and will possibly be adding Randi Rhodes in the near future. KKEE will start with both Lionel and Rhodes.

Two other stations mentioned in the AAR press release – 3WT/1500 in Washington and KJLL/1330—already offer lib talkers, but will be adding new ones in the coming weeks. 3WT and KJLL are what we are calling "balanced" political talk stations. They offer both liberal and conservative talk hosts.

Deals with three other stations mentioned in the AAR press release – WBDB/92.7 in Ogdensberg, NY, WVPO/840 in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and WPLY/960 in Allentown – are still being finalized by AAR.

According to Kaufman, AAR is moving away from the strategy of securing full time affiliates that carry all of the network’s programs. Many of these so-called turnkey affiliates have subsequently dropped the lib talk network in search of easier operations like satellite delivered sports talk.

Hopefully, Kaufman will be as successful finding radio stations as he was during his last position as Affiliate Relations VP for ABC Radio Networks. During his tenure at ABC, Kaufman was involved in the successful rollout of the Sean Hannity Show which now is carried on over 500 radio stations.


Emacee said...

Not sure it qualifies as a "gain" for liberal talk if a station takes Lionel rather than Stephanie Miller.

Steve J. said...

3WT/1500 in Washington and KJLL/1330—already offer lib talkers, but will be adding new ones in the coming weeks.

KJLL added Randi Rhodes, 8-10 PM, M-F

Emacee said...

KJLL is also adding Leslie Marshall. Not sure but this is the first announcement I've seen of a station taking Marshall's syndicated show since her local show in Buffalo was canceled.