Sirius Left (channel 146) launched a new talk radio show today – "Make It Plain," hosted by Mark Thompson – but in doing so, the satellite radio channel had to drop one of the leading national liberal talk show hosts.
Thompson, the first African-American to get a weekday slot on Sirius Left, is a veteran talker whose career included stints on WOL in Washington and more recently as the first African American host on XM.
To make room for Thompson, Sirius dropped Stephanie Miller and cut Ed Schultz’ show from three to two hours. Schultz, Mike Malloy and Thom Hartmann are the only lib talkers carried on both satellite services.
Sirius described their new lib talker as someone who will speak passionately about political, social, and economic issues from an African-American perspective. Their press release calls Thompson "an African-American broadcast pioneer, human rights visionary, and community leader, who launches with a powerful, high-profile and stellar lineup of guests from the African-American community." Make It Plain will air weekdays, 5 to 9 pm.
The rest of the Sirius line-up remains unchanged.
Bill Press, 6 to 9 am
Alex Bennett, 9 am to noon
Thom Hartmann, noon to 1 pm
Lynn Samuels, 1 to 3 pm
Ed Schultz, 3 to 5 pm
Mike Malloy, 9 pm to midnight
In addition to Schultz (noon to 3 pm), Mike Malloy (10 pm to midnight) and Hartmann (8 to 10 pm), Air America Radio (Channel 167) on XM’s weekday schedule includes the following hosts:
The Young Turks, 6 to 9 am
Lionel, 9 am to noon
Randi Rhodes, 3 to 6 pm
Rachel Maddow, 6 to 8 pm
Sirius currently has 7.7 million subscribers (XM has 8.6 million). Arbitron reported satellite radio ratings for the first time during their Spring 07 survey. Sirius Left recorded a cume of 59,100 homes and AAR on XM recorded a cume of 109,600 according to Arbitron. The combined Sirius and XM cumes are slightly less the cumes recorded on WWRL in New York and KTLK in Los Angeles.
However, ratings scored by lib talk hosts on satellite radio do not generate ad sales. Accordingly, satellite radio does not provide a revenue stream for lib talk.
Thompson told a reporter for Tennessean that he’s looking forward to his new show on Sirius.
"We all in America, the different cultures, speak different languages. That is OK; diversity is a good thing. However, in talk radio, there aren't a lot of African-Americans broadcasting nationally, so this is an important opportunity to step up to bring diversity to what is a very real cultural institution in America, and that's talk radio.
"Black talk radio has always had its own special place when it comes to the African-American community. It's something we need to keep alive, and satellite radio is one of the best places to keep that going."