The largest media market in the world is about to lose its only non-Rightwing commercial talk radio station. Los Angeles' KTLK 1150am will be flipped to a far Rightwing station featuring hosts like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck and other rightwing talkers. "The changes are set to take effect for the first broadcast of 2014," according to the Los Angeles Times this afternoon.
KTLK is owned by Clear Channel Communications, Inc., the nation's largest owner of radio stations. Clear Channel is now owned by Mitt Romney's Bain Capital LLC. The talkers mentioned above who will be taking over the previously-progressive station are also syndicated by Clear Channel-owned Premiere Networks, the largest radio syndicator in the nation. The BRAD BLOG has long argued that the outsized control of our public airwaves enjoyed by Clear Channel/Premiere and a handful of other conglomerates --- including their ability to leverage our public airwaves (licensed from we, the people, in exchange only for their promise to serve the public interest) to distribute their own syndicator's shows --- is a likely violation of U.S. v. Paramount, the 1948 anti-trust Supreme Court decision which found that the major movie studios could not also control the means of distribution by owning the nation's largest theater chains at the same time.
As if ending progressive talk radio in L.A. isn't bad enough, Clear Channel will now also reportedly be flipping its formerly progressive San Francisco talk station KNEW 960am (a move which they had threatened and then partially changed their mind about flipping in late 2011), over to a completely Right-leaning station as well, says the Times. That will leave San Francisco, arguably the most progressive city in the nation, without any commercial progressive talk radio outlet at all. But, as in L.A., listeners will still have many different Right-leaning talks outlets on our public airwaves to choose from, several of them owned by the same major corporation.
In Los Angeles, Clear Channel also owns KFI 640am, the number one station in the market. That station currently runs Limbaugh, along with a host of other Right-leaning local talk shows. KTLK, had once described itself as "Progressive Talk", before changing it's tag line to "L.A.'s Voice" earlier this year. They had already gutted of most of the station's progressive-leaning talk shows over the past several years. The station will now be re-dubbed "The Patriot". The Times reports that "Clear Channel is hoping to pump up [KTLK] as an outlet exclusively dedicated to right-leaning chatter"...
[UPDATE: As of 6:00pm PT, the KPOJ website has now flipped to "Fox Sports AM 620 Portland".]
This is horrible. Tonight, without warning, Clear Channel Communications-owned 620 AM KPOJ in Portland, Oregon, one of the most progressive cities in one of the nation's most progressive states, has flipped from its years-long progressive news and talk format over to Fox Sports as of 5:30pm local time.
KPOJ was the only commercial progressive talk radio station in Portland. The city will still have several other Rightwing talk radio stations, including one owned by Clear Channel, and they already have two sports stations, but the Bain Capital-owned media conglomerate is now killing yet another progressive voice from our publicly-owned airwaves.
The BRAD BLOG can now confirm that KPOJ has flipped its programming format and website to Fox Sports as of 6:00pm PT tonight.
When one company owns "competing" talk radio stations in the same town, and gets to decide which one enjoys a stronger signal and which one receives promotional dollars (and which one doesn't), "competition" in the market place is a mirage. It's the equivalent of a Coca-Cola distributor owning the sole rights to distribute both Coke and Pepsi in the same town. Which one do you think is going to sell better there? That's precisely what talk radio is like in almost every major market in the country now. One company, usually Clear Channel, generally owns both the "Right" and "Left" talk stations. (In Portland, Clear Channel owns Rightwing talk outlet KEX as well as KPOJ.) Promoting one station would likely decrease listeners and ratings --- and, thus, ad dollars --- for the other. Thus, there is no "free market" competition in talk radio.
This is hardly the first time that Clear Channel has done the same thing, in very progressive cities, underscoring yet again that there is no real, "free market" competition in talk radio over our publicly-owned airwaves. The market place is decidedly rigged...
John's a pal, and one of the smartest guys in media. Period. Good hire, Al Gore! He was kind enough to stick around with us for the hour, as we were joined by Mark McCaffrey of the National Center for Science Education to discuss this week's bombshell: The Koch Brothers-funded(!) scientist and former climate change skeptic, Professor Richard Muller, coming out to confirm his recent findings that global warming is, in fact, "real" and that "humans are almost entirely the cause."
Progressive radio will be allowed to remain on our public AM airwaves in San Francisco, though with major schedule shake-ups, the removal of its popular progressive branding and several bizarre additions to the line-up, including far Rightwing extremists such as former Fox "News" phenom Glenn Beck in the place of what had been one of Green960's most popular morning shows.
The latest move in the strange back-and-forth saga follows on radio giant Clear Channel's announcement just over two weeks ago, that Green960 --- the only AM Progressive Talk Radio station on the dial in San Francisco, one of the nation's most progressive cities --- would be banished from the popular public airwaves and sent to the radio-ghetto of the little-known and even lesser-received HD2 band. Its progressive programming --- featuring the likes of popular lefty-ish talkers such as Stephanie Miller, Thom Hartmann, Randi Rhodes, Norman Goldman and Mike Malloy --- would be replaced (with the exception of Rhodes, who is syndicated by Clear Channel's Premiere Radio) by yet another so-called "conservative" talk station, featuring extremists such as Beck and other Fox "News" regulars.
The move by the media conglomerate, now owned by leading GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney's Bain Capital, LLC, was to occur on January 3. The move would have left Rhodes as the only progressive voice on the entire AM dial in San Francisco, as of the first business day of the new Presidential Election year.
But a funny thing happened on the way to 2012 on Bay Area talk radio...
[UPDATE 12/21/11: Confirmation that Clear Channel will keep most of its progressive programming on the AM airwaves in San Francisco --- though with some bizarre changes --- is now detailed here...]
The only progressive AM talk radio station, Green960, in one of the nation's most progressive cities, San Francisco, may be allowed to stay on the public airwaves after all in the 2012 Presidential Election year!
Last week we detailed corporate radio giant Clear Channel's plans to remove Green960 (call letters KKGN) from the AM dial and send it to the radio ghetto otherwise known as "HD2," a band that requires a special receiver that very few people actually own. Adding insult to injury, the 960 spot on the AM dial would be replaced with Glenn Beck and other Rightwing talkers from Clear Channel's "conservative" talk station "Fox News Radio KNEW" which is currently on 910, but would move to the 960 frequency.
In the 910 slot, Clear Channel had planned to launch a new talk station, which would also include some Fox talkers, branded as "San Francisco's Talk 910 KKSF."
If plans move ahead as previously announced, the end result would be that --- except for progressive talker Randi Rhodes, who is syndicated by Clear Channel's syndication arm Premier Broadcasting and who would be allowed to keep her live Noon-3p PT slot on both the new KNEW 960, as well as the "HD2" schedule where the current Green960 line-up would be sent to --- there would be no progressive AM talk station on the air in San Francisco.
The entire shuffle was set to occur at the beginning of the 2012 Presidential Election year on January 3rd, a move that had raised at least a few eyebrows, as Clear Channel is now owned by the Mitt Romney-founded venture capital firm, Bain Capital LLC.
Well, now that entire plan, according to one industry website and several insider sources I've spoken to today, may be on hold and Green960's popular line-up of progressive talkers like Rhodes, Stephanie Miller, Thom Hartmann, Norman Goldman, Mike Malloy (for whom I am a regular guest-host, including on tonight's show), and others may be allowed to stay on the AM air after all!...
[UPDATE 12/16/11: Clear Channel may now be re-thinking their plans to dump Green960! Details now here...]
The only progressive AM radio talk station, Green960-KKGN, in one of the nation's most liberal cities, San Francisco, is being taken off the AM dial by radio behemoth Clear Channel Communications, Inc. --- a media conglomerate now owned by Mitt Romney's Bain Capital, LLC --- at the beginning of the 2012 Presidential election year.
Adding insult to injury for progressives in the Bay Area, the 960 slot on the dial is being replaced by Clear Channel with the likes of Glenn Beck, Fox News Radio's John Gibson and other radical Rightwing talkers, according to a press release [PDF] issued by the media giant last week, touting, in somewhat Orwellian terms, their "goal of expanding talk radio in San Francisco."
"We saw the opportunity to expand our footprint in this crucial arena as we head into an election year and a population increasingly engaged in local, state, and national events and activism," says Clear Channel's San Francisco Director of Operations Don Parker in the release.
The expansion will amount to moving Green960's current schedule of progressive talk shows off the AM band, and on to FM's HD2 radio ghetto where it will become a largely automated "robo-station," according to several radio insiders familiar with the station and Clear Channel's plans for it. The station which was formerly Green960 will have the catchy new name "FM Progressive Talk 103.7-2" at its new home, if listeners can find it.
The new Rightwing format taking its place on 960 will be known as KNEW, which is currently at 910 on the AM dial featuring a number of Fox News Radio programs. The 910 position will then be filled with a new talk format being developed by Clear Channel called "San Francisco's Talk 910 KKSF," which will also include some Fox News Radio veterans.
One bright side for progressives in San Francisco, the popular Randi Rhodes, who is syndicated nationally by Premiere (Clear Channel's syndication arm) will continue in her current live Noon to 3p PT slot on the new KNEW-960. She'll also remain in the same live slot in the progressive line up on the HD2 band, though few are likely to hear her there, as very few Americans actually own an HD radio receiver.
Rhodes tells The BRAD BLOG there could be a potential upside to the format change which will leave her progressive voice, as well as Bill Press' in the pre-dawn hours, sprinkled in among the far Rightwingers.
"I never want to see Progressive voices lose ground, but hopefully we can build on the new HD channel," Rhodes told us via email on Friday. "It does look like the beginning of the end of 'conservative format purity' has started. That's a change in the industry that I've been fighting for for a long time and I'm happy to be part of it."...
Okay, so it's Nicole Sandler, not "Micole", but it makes for a more alliterative headline, so too bad.
I'm back on deadline on the exclusive series I've been working on for a few weeks. So, for the moment, here's just a few of the more fun media appearances I've done lately, in the wake of Tuesday's recall elections in Wisconsin. Looks like I was able to help, if only momentarily, to turn the topic --- on a few Progressive airwaves anyway --- away from the idiotically premature horse race nonsense (Iowa Straw Poll anyone?), to the far more important track conditions that otherwise almost never get discussed on air at all...until it's too late...
Includes my appearance in the first few minutes and then, after I'm gone, continuing discussion of the points raised during it by callers throughout various moments during the rest of the show. One of those moments was a caller who identified himself as Derek Woodward from Alton, PA who was clearly (and purposely) misinformed about the GOP push for disenfranchising polling place Photo ID restrictions.
"Why would you not want to ensure that only the people that can vote are eligible to vote?," asked the Woodward. The responses he received from Stephanie and Jim Ward and a caller or two were great. My work here is done!
Okay, not really. So here's just a couple of articles to support their responses on that question which arises in light of the Rightwing disinformation masters who purposely misinform gullible folks like Woodward...
A number of noteworthy news items occurred yesterday while I was on the hot, hot, hot Midwestern road for the entirety of the day. These are several among those items...
Greene Indicted on Obscenity Charges
South Carolina's mystery Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate (the one whose election "victory" is only explicable through malfeasance or malfunction of the 100% unverifiable ES&S iVotronic touch-screen voting systems) was indicted on obsenity charges yesterday. One of the charges was an "extremely rare" felony count. The state Democratic Party chairwoman, Carol Fowler --- the one who presided over the 5-hour Executive Board protest hearing by Greene's primary opponent Judge Vic Rawl who argued that voting machine failure was the only explanation for the unknown, jobless, money-less, campaign-less Greene having "won" --- has asked him, again, to voluntarily step down from the nomination. When asked if he'd be willing to accept the nomination if Greene steps down, Rawl has told The BRAD BLOG previously that he'd cross that bridge when/if he came to it.
Appelate Court Backs Congressional Defunding of ACORN
A 3-judge panel (two Rs, 1 D) on the 2nd District Court of Appeals has unanimously reversed [PDF] the ruling of a federal district court judge last March concerning the Congressional defunding of ACORN in light of deceptively-edited video tapes published by Rightwing propagandists Andrew Breitbart and James O'Keefe. The appellate court determined that Congress can target a specific group for punishment, despite what the district court judge had identified as an unconstitutional Bill of Attainder in light of the government having "offered no...unique reason to treat ACORN differently from other contractors accused of serious misconduct." U.S. District Court Judge Nina Gershon had previously granted injunctive relief to the four-decade old community organization after finding they were barred "from federal funding without either a judicial trial or an administrative process applicable to all government contractors." The 3-judge appellate panel disagreed. ACORN's legal representation has called the decision "deeply flawed," says they are planning to ask the full court for reconsideration, and added "We cannot let Congress act like judge, jury and executioner without any hearings at all."
O'Keefe Accidentally Admits to Being Immoral
And speaking of ACORN, the Rightwing dirty trickster and federal criminal James O'Keefe who hacked together secretly-taped videos in order to phony up the idea that the anit-poverty, pro-democracy community group was committing some sort of crimes, has, according to Think Progress, admitted during a recent speech that what he does is "the nadir of morality." ("Nadir" means "lowest point", versus "zenith" which means "highest".) No worries though. O'Keefe's employer, the discredited, pathological liar Andrew Breitbart, has plans to deceptively re-edit the video of O'Keefe in order to "fix" that little Freudian slip.
Stephanie Comes Out!
Finally, the most fun news of the day comes from progressive radio talker and friend of The BRAD BLOG, Stephanie Miller. During a moving program yesterday, Miller announced to listeners that she was gay, noting that it's been an "open secret" among close friends and family for years, but that a "perfect storm" of events (the recent federal court ruling that CA's Prop 8 ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional and the fight to repeal the federal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy in the military, etc.) led her to the belief that it was the right moment to come out to her listeners and the public. The BRAD BLOG sends our props and kudos to Stephanie for her courageous decision. The audio of her "coming out" segment, follows below...
10 minutes on this morning's Stephanie Miller Show. Discussing why things like actually counting the ballots in New Hampshire would have been a great idea. And on the lunacy and self-destructiveness of progressives (like this uninformed front-pager over at dKos, and his even lesser-informed followers, such as Markos himself) buying into the conspiracy theory that the dozens of verified, independent, multiple-sourced pre-election polls were wrong, but the unverified and uncounted election results, as announced, are somehow magically known to be accurate.
The results might well be right. But unlike the transparent and verifiable polls, no human being has actually bothered to count or even examine 80% of the ballots in NH. So whose the irresponsible crackpot here? Some of these folks are digging their own November grave.
We stay up all night without sleeping and go on Steph's show, you decide...
A man from Centerville, Ohio, identifying himself as "Sock" Sokolowski has sent a death threat to radio host Stephanie Miller after her recent appearance on Fox "News'" Hannity & Colmes.
The BRAD BLOG has obtained a copy of Sokolowski's profanity-laced letter which includes a closing salutation claiming that he is "From the right 'Right'". The letter is posted, unredacted and in full at the end of this article.
On her popular Stephanie Miller Show this morning, the radio host telephoned "Sock" --- who included his address and phone number with the letter --- to confront him live and on air about the letter.
-- You can now listen to this morning's phone call here [MP3].
-- The video of Miller's H&C appearance that began the whole "kerfuffle", as producer Chris Lavoie just described it to us, is here on Youtube. BTW, in this appearance Miller brilliantly says to Colmes: "It's called journalism, Fox News should try it sometime."
Despite numerous clear threats in the letter, Sokolowski --- who opens his missive by writing "As with Cindy Sheehan the best thing that could happen to you would be seeing some WONDERFUL activist sticking an AK-47 up your Glory Holes and sending you into eternity" --- claimed several times during the phone call that he didn't threaten Miller in the letter.
Writing that "I am a paci-fist [sic]", Sokolowski typed "this is not a threat". He then went on to write that he hopes and prays "that someone decides you're better off as statistics."
"Honestly," the letter continues, referring to both the radio host and Sheehan, who lost her son in the War on Iraq, "should I hear of either you leaving this earth prematurely I would initiate a personal celebration that would make Animal House appear to be just another quiet Sunday in church."
Promising to to mail copies of Miller's H&C appearance to "some WONDERFUL people," Sokolowski threatens that "we must identify this nation's enemies and though we keep friends close, we MUST keep our enemies even closer and you two vile bitches are just that."
Referring to both women as "mother fuckers," Sokolowski writes that he hopes for further exposure for both Miller and Sheehan on "TV shows...as GUARANTEED your words will someday possibly accelerate your demise."
He concludes the note by explaining that he "would love to celebrate and would for days on end as I would and will when still another America HATER meets his/her maker."
The Stephanie Miller Show has said that they will be posting now posted a profanity-free version of the letter in the Daily blog section of StephanieMiller.com. The BRAD BLOG, however, is happy to post the entire unredacted letter below, exclusively and in full. Only the phone number and address have been removed...
FURTHER UPDATE BEFORE THE LETTER 12:50pm PT: It looks like our man "Sock" is a rather prolific letter writer. Former CIA man Larry Johnson of NoQuarter has identified this man and posted another letter which "Sock" apparently sent to a local newspaper. Given the text of his letter to Miller, this passage from his railing for the importance of "conservatism" in America, strikes at our irony bone:
As proven in the Bush v. Kerry presidential race, [Americans] want the candidates to offer their agenda for the nation rather than simply hate and venom for the opposition. They want to consider alternatives on a range of issues, but all the left offered was a hatred toward our president.
Moreover, KamaAina at DU has located another laugher of letter from "Sock" to the Dayton City Paper from last year, headlined "CONSERVATISM IS WINNING THE WAR". That commentary calls for, among other things, the ascendency of George "Makaka" Allen and Condi Rice as our next President and VP.
Here now, "Sock's" not at all "hate and venom" filled death threat to Stephanie Miller in full...