When Madison's "The Mic" 92.1 FM was scheduled to be flipped to Fox Sports Radio, we stood tall with Valerie Walasek and forced management to reconsider, keeping the station's format continuous. We are now involved in the fight to get the local shows back on the air, either on The Mic or elsewhere if we must.
These two tales are hardly isolated. Boston, a city that boasts having voted over 70% Democrat in November, has had their Progressive Talk station switched with no warning to Hispanic/Latino programming. Nothing wrong with that on its face, until you realize that only 14% of Boston's populace is Hispanic or Latino.
Even if you were to assume that there are no Bostonian Hispanics or Latinos who are also Progressives, switching formats cuts your potential audience to 1/5th its original size. Considering the excuse to flip it was a lack of advertising sales and listenership, this move makes no sense at all. Oh, and THEN they went and cranked the signal power up on the station.
In Columbus, OH, they were told on December 21st that at 9:00 am on Tuesday, January 9th, their Progressive Talk station was going to be flipped to conservative talk programming. In short order, a grassroots movement formed and put together a petition that collected over 2,300 signatures in the short week and a half of its existence. They planned a rally for the day before the format change, Monday, January 8th, that would be broadcast over the airwaves via the Stephanie Miller Show. Mary Jo Kilroy, the County Commissioner, and a number of others lined up to speak.
That morning, John Crenshaw of Clear Channel Columbus flipped the switch a day early so as not to broadcast the rally over Columbus' airwaves via the Progressive Talk station, which carried the Stephanie Miller Show. His excuse? "The Buckeyes are playing tonight, and we felt we should offer pre-game programming." As of this moment, if you call Clear Channel Columbus at 614-486-6101, they offer to take your name and number to be "called back" about the decision.
As of this writing, there are at least thirteen more markets that have either flipped from Progressive Talk recently, or are about to be. Knowing we can help reverse this trend, we have formed the NonStop Radio project. Based out of www.NonStopRadio.com, the project has the following three core purposes:
1. To discover and assist grassroots movements in keeping threatened Progressive Talk stations on the air for their communities,
2. To assist grassroots efforts in re-establishing Progressive Talk stations where they have been canceled, or set up new Progressive Talk stations for markets not yet exposed to it, and
3. To act as a clearinghouse of information so that activists everywhere can come to the aid of threatened and canceled stations, and to also distribute tips and tricks so that any non-threatened station can be made less vulnerable by its supporters.
Given that many of these decisions to flip Progressive Talk outlets have come since the 2006 elections, it becomes clear that there is an effort afoot to quash the format. DNC Chair Howard Dean credits Air America, one of the most prominent broadcasters of Progressive Talk, as being the deciding factor in at least eight congressional wins for Democratic candidates in 2006. This effect cannot have escaped the notice of the conglomerates who own many, many of the stations Progressive Talk broadcasts on. These corporations, such as Entercom, Clear Channel and others, donate heavily to Republican candidates. It must have hurt to see their boys lose and realize that some of their stations, the ones that carry Progressive Talk, helped that happen.
But don't for a minute think this is being done out of revenge. No, the concerted attack on Progressive Talk has far more to do with fear. After all, right now, the balance of power in the Senate is tenuously in the Democratic Party's control. In 2008, 21 of the 33 Senators up for re-election are Republicans. The last thing these GOP-supporting corporations want is to let another 8 (or more) seats fall out of Republican control! Their only hope of regaining control of either house of Congress lies with destroying the ability of Progressives and Liberals to communicate en masse.
Don't let this happen. Join with NonStop Radio and fight for the continuation and proliferation of Progressive Talk.
Yours in the Cause,