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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Portland radio and the big bleat

Portland's left wing is pretty amusing, as long as it isn't spending your money. Now the Blue people are all a-twitter about how they're going to try to force Clear Channel radio to resume broadcasting "progressive" programs. They've got to be kidding. In commercial radio, the corporate boys do as they dang well please, and there's nothing anybody can do about it. "Let's get Ron Wyden after them." Ha! Ha! That is pathetic, on more than one level.

Left-wing talk radio doesn't sell advertising time, even in Portland. When it does, if it ever does, it will be back on the commercial airwaves. In the meantime, there are OPB and KBOO -- slight left, and way-way-out-there left. That's going to have to be good enough.

With all the stations on the dial, maybe there should be a place for the Wolfson guy. But hey, a lot of things should happen that don't. There should be a Bojack radio show. Can you imagine? Dream on -- we have. If it was going to happen, it would have happened by now.

Comments (35)

KBOO is amazing. I remember during the last round of fundraising how OPB was saying they covered alternative stories.

Not even close, compared to KBOO's coverage. You have to give KBOO credit for covering Occupy unlike everyone else. They *do* provide alternative coverage. Now we can certainly discuss the merits, etc...

Plus, you just have to love the Grateful Dead program on the weekend!

Honestly, I bet you could get a slot on KBOO if you really wanted to.

Oh boy, this post is gonna piss off a lot of people!

The Telecommunications Act of 1996 signed by Bill Clinton was a tragedy. It was the same old story about fostering competition when in reality it was a corrupt giveaway to big communications companies.
Of course, everything about right wing radio has to be seen in a new light: These morons actually talked themselves into an alternate reality, that is in the process of destroying the Republican Party. It's been sheer joy to check in with Rush, Sean and the gang as they try and explain why their brand of BS cost them the election. That part is priceless.

But there was something beautiful, and magical about an American band emerging because one radio station somewhere started playing the B-side of their single and it took off. That was when America had a much better music scene. Now even huge mega-stars are afraid to speak out lest they offend one of these handful of companies and get banned.

Al: GOOD. I've had this argument before, on both sides of the political fence. In this case, it's great to whine and cry about the lack of left-leaning programming, but unless someone's going to subsidize that programming, it has to be paid for via advertising. Advertisers may be sympathetic to the programming, but unless it's intended purely for name recognition, that advertising has to accomplish a purpose, which is to draw in new customers to the advertiser's goods or services. If it doesn't, then what's the point.

As I said, I've had this conversation on the other side of the political fence, too, particularly with very right-leaning friends who kvetch about how network television shows are too lefty for them. It's bad enough that the demand for that sort of programming is lacking outside of Fox News (you may have noticed that Rush Limbaugh's TV show died a while back due to poor ratings), but the advertisers face the same exact problem. On both sides, it's like how their proponents cry about a lack of feminist or Christian bookstores in a particular area, and then refuse to patronize them when they do open up. You can argue about polarization all you want, but the reality is that both cater to an audience so cheap that it uses both sides of the toilet paper, and both don't have much of an option to attract new audiences.

As for "forcing" CheapChannel to run more left-wing programming, good luck on that, considering that ClearChannel would do so if its owners thought there was a blasted penny to be made off it. ClearChannel's owners may be right-wing, but they're also pragmatic capitalists, and they'd run shows by Rachel Maddow and Michael Moore in a heartbeat if there was a buck to be made.

Truth be known, Bojack is middle-road and could draw listeners and advertisers from both sides. The only question would be if any from either side could afford to pay their bills.

Abe, that's more than fair. I also know from long experience that "should" projects stay that way for a reason. I constantly hear that I should do public speaking for a living, or that I should write (another) book, and the people telling me this are sincere that they want to see this happen. Until they put some money in the game, though, I rate it right up there with the people who walk into indie bookstores, tell the proprietors "You should carry Kindles in here," and get butthurt when they're told why that isn't an option. They aren't interested in buying when the product is finally available: they're only interested in feeling good about convincing someone else to do the work to massage their egos.

Nothing really left about OPB or NPR for that matter...they have to worry to much about people hunting big bird. Of course,if it isn't far right, reactionary, dig the bunkers radio I guess it is "left" by omission. Follow the money...more money in Right Wing Radio.

Nothing really left about OPB or NPR for that matter...they have to worry to much about people hunting big bird.

Adjust your blinders a bit to the right - you left an "o" off "too". But it's OK, at least you tried.

Will Bojack Radio be music or talk?

Who said long ago that freedom of the press belongs to those who own one? There's no shortage of money on "the left." For some reason "the right" put their money where their mouths were and it doesn't seem to be working all that well for them at the moment, does it? But "the left" could certainly do the same, though Air America was a bit of a fast fizzle.

Wolfson was horrible. The Democrats and Obama could do no wrong. That is not progressive radio, that is living in the Matrix crap.

What is interesting is that Clear Channel has been legally bankrupt for years. But nobody cares because we are living in a post-rule-of-law world.

What happened to KPOJ is what's happened to a lot of small businesses. Just as mom 'n' pop burger joints gave way to McDonald's and the neighborhood grocery and hardware store got trampled by Walmart, so it goes with radio.

In the particular case of KPOJ, you had a station with one local show, a station that went unmarketed by its corporate owner but nevertheless had an audience. Carl's show provided something of an ongoing forum for the discussion of local issues, and while he could have been a bit less partisan about that (I understate), it's something right-wing talk stations don't seem to bother with.

It's hard to run a station any more cheaply than they were, but if you get rid of the local guy and go with third-tier national sports talk, you can indeed cut costs. Unless you're fond of endless to-and-fro about the Los Angeles Lakers or Tim Tebow, the product absolutely sucks. But it IS cheap.

Nah... you don't need a radio show. Lars Larson already steals most of your content.

And sometimes he even gives you credit!

Jack, you can have your radio show now, if you want it. Podcast or stream it, the way the kids do. Honestly, aside from truckers, are there a lot of people who have a lifestyle that includes listening to broadcast radio much? I used to enjoy snatches of Thom Hartmann on KPOJ when in my car, 20 minutes at a time, but if I'm after news or opinion, there are plenty of fine outlets (like this one) online. AM radio seems like a tough way to make a living, unless, apparently, you are reinforcing the myths of the rabid John Birch wing of the Republican party. As far as music goes, it is not really possible that there is radio d.j. anywhere that will spin what I want to hear better than my Rdio playlists. Broadcast radio is going the way of print newspapers, unless I miss my guess.

Get back at Lars by stealing a page from his playbook: Become a shill for every bad retail business in the Metro area:

"When Mrs. Bojack and I need to wind down after a tough day of whistle blowing, we love our Hot Springs Spa..."

Do it, Jack.

I'd like to hear a couple of podcasts. Mainly to see if you have a voice for radio. Or would it sound like a tax law lecture? Jack it would be a hoot to do a couple!

KPOJ wasn't a small business that gave way to a McDonalds. It was just one in a building full of radio stations owned by a big corporation - the McDonald's model already applied.
KPOJ was the McRib sandwich - an item on the corporate menu that was discontinued.

Don't worry, they'll come up with some kind of "body part" tax to pay for a liberal radio station.

I don't see why they need KPOJ since it is basically the marketing arm of the Democrat party - Let the Ds pay for it.

Ratings at KPOJ flat out suck(ed) but then so does right wing KPAM ratings suck. But KPAM will go on as long as Pamplin keeps throwing the dollars at it.
By the way this was the station Pamplin said would "play it down the middle" give "both sides of the issues" and other silly fantasies that lasted about 18 seconds (give or take 18 seconds). Lars DOES usually credit you Jack but NEVER credits you for the theme or the philosophy behind what you say since that would take intellectual honesty...something totally foreign to the little weasel......

I'm with Steve on this... all they need to do is get the sheeple to pass an "Arts Tax II" and divert a significant portion of it to subsidize a public-private partnership between CoP and ClearChannel to restore "the people's radio".

I think KPOJ should be brought back and that Metro should fund it. Then the personalities would qualify for PERS. Maybe let them join the firefighter's union, because they keep in check the evil right-wing conflagration. It would make up for the loser jobs at the Sealy Mattress plant.


Jack, I thought you had a show a few years ago. You and some other guy would argue about stuff.

What happened to that? I think that you and Lars ought to do an hour together now and then. A debate format.

I might listen to that.

The burning question is, does Jack have a face for radio.....

In all the various postings about petitions, local and national pol support, reader comments all lament the passing of KPOJ.

Missing from all the commentary is actually anyone willing to step up to buy a radio station and put on a format that speaks to these progressive listeners.

The closest I've seen is "someone (else) should do this for me".

There are still radio stations for sale in some markets. There is still spectrum available for new stations, there is even provision for "low-power" stations where individuals can set up stations (low-power).

Check out KQRZ


So...instead of complaining, open up the wallet and roll your own station!

Better idea: Rush needs some exercise, so we'll just turn HIM into a sports channel.
Honestly, There has to be a threshold media corporations must meet to state a case for such a radical format change. These corps are entrusted with public airways, and should not be allowed to act soly in their own best interests – financial or political – and unilaterally make radical format changes without public notification and feedback.
How about a 60-day prior notification requesting a format change presented with financials and rationale to the effected public for debate and permission before ideas and people, like Karl, are silenced.

Jack, I thought you had a show a few years ago. You and some other guy would argue about stuff.

I was the substitute lefty punching bag for Rob Kremer on his show for a while. A very short while. Life is too short to deal with people like him.

I hope congress passes a law requiring Taco Bell to give 60 days notice if they want to discontinue the Doritos Loco Taco. Maybe they can pass one requiring companies give notice before layoffs (you know, the layoff notices that the administration told Lockheed that it was OK to sit on until after the election).

Mike (OOTM) is absolutely right... you can start your own station and Karl wont be "silenced" anymore. You can even require yourself to give the 'effected' public your rationale for debate and permission (???!!!???) whan you want to change something in your business. But, it wouldnt really be your business anymore would it? It would be PBS.

Hell, American Airlines doesnt put an olive in their salads anymore. I like olives. American Airlines serves the public. Jobs of olive growers and processors depend on it. They didnt give us the rationale for their decision so we could debate and give permission for them to delete the olive.

I want my olive. I dont care who has to pay for it, but I want my olive NOW.

(Here is where Bill McDonald suggests i try my martinis with just a twist)

BTW... it doesnt fit your smarmy little dig, but the fact of the matter is that Rush is 50+ pounds lighter than he was 15 years ago. Not easy to do for anyone (Candy Crowley).

Finally (on a roll), name three advertisers on Karls show that you patronized... and you let the advertizer know that you learned of them through that show.

Cheers, It's Mike

"BTW... it doesnt fit your smarmy little dig, but the fact of the matter is that Rush is 50+ pounds lighter than he was 15 years ago. Not easy to do for anyone (Candy Crowley)."


More ouch:

When did John Candy get a sex change?

With enough of the democrats earning nice salaries off of the government, one would think a group of them could get together, buy an existing station (there are still quite a few locally owned stations in the market), and start up a left-wing radio station.

Or...buy 620 from Clear Channel (surely they don't really need the frequency). Of course they would have to buy all new equipment (or buy it from Clear Channel), a new transmission tower and site...

As Erik H. says. Pool your money, and put him on. You could hire Keith Olberman for star power.

I'm sure Bain Capital's ownership of Clear Channel had no effect whatsoever on this decision...


..live from the belly of the beast

In theweek since we flipped KPOJ to Fox Sports, there have been a whopping two people visit the Clear Channel studios, here in beautiful Tigard, Oregon. We actually prepared (and kinda hoped) for some sort of organized protest. But, the protesters did not come.

The complaint calls and nasty posts on http://www.facebook.com/FoxSportsPDX have trailed off. Even the hardest of the blow-hards are retreating to the inevitable 'Save KPOJ' areas of the web.

Air America went bankrupt in 2006. KPOJ rarely showed any profit since that bankruptcy. Terrestrial radio is heavily regulated and fighting for its life against digital media. With CC picking up 2 new (old) sports franchises this year in the Beavers and Blazers, the flip to the more profitable sports line up was simply good old fashioned American business.

For a radio station to remain the same format for 6+ years is quite a feat in today's radio landscape.

Funny how no one is thanking CC for keeping KPOJ alive as long as it did.

Sorry, Knee Deep, but I think you wandered onto the wrong website thread. Reality-based comments create undue hardship for people trapped in a permanent state of denial.

OMG -- Jack Roberts! You are back! The ban ended?? cool

KPOJ tuned into a sports station? Yeah, because that's what the world desperately needs - another sports talk radio station.

I did enjoy listening to it on my way to and from work. If I want to listen to sports I listen to 1080 instead.

And of course this couldn't possibly have anything to do with Clear Channel being a right wing corporation.........

The Taco Bell analogy doesn't work. Radio is different. The airways are different, they belong to the people, they are part of the commons. A more apt analogy would be a park with a golf course on it run by a private company. There are such entities. The company says, "We've been running the golf course for years, it's always made money, but we would make more if we built condominiums on it." Yes, I would want 60 days notice and a public discussion before that decision was made. Part of the licensing agreement for a radio station is that they serve the public. It's been that way since near the beginning of radio. A diversity of points of view (including that of over half of the American public and 3/4 of Portland) serves democracy.

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