Monday, September 03, 2007

RIP Air America Memphis.

I don't blame Jerry Dean or Entercom, it wasn't pulling the numbers, in fact the only ratings they were getting were for the Cardinals.  Now, they're Fox Sports Radio, with the Cardinals and UTK athletics.

I will have a MMHF post for later, and THANK YOU to Paul Ryburn for your great posts.  It's 3:30 A.M., and the only people up are me and Jerry Lewis, so I am going to bed.


Jim Maynard said...

Well I do partly blame Jerry Dean and Entercom. They did very little to promote or build Progressive Talk 680 AM. The station has been on autopilot for a long time with the same old air fillers repeated over and over. There is a market for progressive talk radio in Memphis, they failed to take advantage of it. They started out with the bad decision of using Leon Gray, a conservative African-American talk show host, and went downhill from there. They could have used other local progressives, like some of us bloggers, or had more local news and commentaries, or used short progras llike Jim Hightowers Common Sense Commentaries, etc. etc. I could think of a long list of things that could have helped the station. ANd other progressive talk stations have made it in less Demcratic areas, Entercom should have sought help and advice from some of those stations that could show them how to to id.
Granted, progressives, especially Democrats, in Memphis didn't do a lot to help.
Now we have NO progressive/liberal radio in Memphis. SAD.

LeftWingCracker said...

Well, I know that a goodly number of local democratic politicians did promos for them, I did many posts on them and put them up on the blogroll.

As for Leon, well, I know he's a terrific person, but he was not a good fit. When the local progressive blogosphere has to point out problems on a "progressive" show, well.......

Hightower would have been a plus. Hell, I remember when he was on AM600 on Sundays here.

In general, the politics were good but the radio was NOT. One of the commenters at the Radio-Info board pointed out that (and this was someone who was on OUR side politically) Mike Malloy was the best they had, and when he left, it was unlistenable.

That, of course, was a national, not a local decision.

I also thought that once Franken lost Katherine Lanpher to play off of, he was never the same.

In the long run, great concept, poor execution and the local and national levels.

LeftWingCracker said...

"Entercom should have sought help and advice from some of those stations that could show them how to to id."

Yes, I agree with this, though, this should have happened.

ltr said...

I wrote an article about WSMB last Friday. Seems like this was a very badly promoted and programmed station.

gregrocker said...

I have been tracking the progress of the progressive talk stations across the nation and am sorry to hear about Memphis. I thought you might like a bit of context.

A group of Rightwing Tricksters, many from the original Nixon squad, under Reagan neutered the Fairness Doctrine and then proceeded to take over the AM radio dial with 24/7 disinformation that played on many of its listeners prejudices. For a dozen years, these listeners were studied by the prestigious Annenberg School for Communication at UPenn (funded by the conservo TV GUide fortune), which found up to 50 million were duped with false certainty on almost every issue, swinging the past 5 of 6 elections.

Bill Clinton asked a Chicago backer to try to address the fatal AM gap and Sheldon Drobny founded Air America. But it was more of a donor fundraising-type start up, with not enough emphasis on radio management and expertise. Nevertheless at Dirty-tricks-Central College Republicans annual convention, dozens were tasked to undermine Air AMerica, including blogs like Radio Equalizer who have ankle-bit it nonstop with false ratings, rumours and the usual chickenhawk trash talk.

There was strong suspicion when Clear Channel and other corporate players stepped in to fill out the AAR network that it was some sort of dirty trick, occupying key markets with weak signals that could easily be dubbed "failure" and blocking AAR from a more natural growth progress.

I remember when the Leon Gray controversy arose several years ago, thinking that it seemed like another clueless insider sabotage job. What was he doing on a progressive talker when he is homophobic which defines the generational change which is at ther root of the new progressivism?

What is required is for the Dem Congress to hold hearings,for their own survival, to investigate why corporations have turned over the AM radio dial to far right extremists who are allowed to lie 24/7 without correction. Just the pressure that these hearings would bring upon ownership would begin to change the dynamic that had the owners thumbing their nose at the new Dem Congress by rolling out clunker Dennis Miller in 150 markets, while Ed Schultz wins ratings and can't get picked up in 70% of the country!

Brian said...

Let's let people know there is an audience for progressive talk done "right" in the Memphis market.
Sign the petition at
If we can convince the "right" people that there is a market for this and "We the people" will support it, perhaps we can still have a voice on the mid-south airwaves.

nut-meg said...

Well I know I have listened and supported their advertisers.

I'll still stream the shows I like when I can as long as Air America is still around. No reason for me to listen to the radio at all anymore.

nut-meg said...

Because we really needed another sports talk station... Which to me is akin to listening to paint dry.

I like sports. But I don't enjoy listening to guys sitting around talking about sports for hours, especially when the country is in such a mess and might not survive. It just seems like another opiate for the masses.

Coco said...

Of course Dean and Entercom are to blame. 100%.

They were apparently ignorant of the market and hitched their wagon to Air America, which was already a dud when WWTQ picked them up.

For this market, more folksy radio personalities would have been a better fit. LWC mentioned Jim Hightower, but Ed Schultz and Stephanie Miller would have gone over well here, too. Neither were associated with Air America and have been leaders in their respective markets. They would have, IMO, been more successful than Jerry Springer and Janeane Garofalo (a vocal atheist, which is a poor match for this market).

I took a break of satellite radio a couple of weekends ago and tuned into 680, hoping that someone there actually got a clue and changed the programming. Wishful thinking. I was treated to a "Go Vegan!" radio program, here in the home of barbecue. (Nothing makes me crave a big ol' steak sandwich more than listening to a self-righteous vegetarian.) How symptomatic of a station that's clearly out of touch with the local population.

Surely, the righties will portray this as a failure of liberal talk ... all because 680's management was a poor judge of the market. There is a market for progressive talk radio in Memphis, but it takes more than airing shows from a bunch of washed-up comedians.

Mr Turnbow said...

Air America got cancelled in Louisville, Ky two years ago and replaced by fox sports radio. I used to listen to that guy that did the night show after Rhodes. I cant think of his name but he was interesting.

Joseph said...

Hey Cracker,
Thanks for the post. I was wondering what was going on when I tuned in this morning.

Yeah, as I said on the WWTQ blog, when it was still around, what they really needed on the Leon Gray show was a white lesbian from Midtown to co-host with him. That would have added a different perspective and maybe have actually contributed some to the debate.

Oh well, I only listened to the Turks and Rachel anyway.

Randy said...

I wonder why Progressive talk is gone? I just looked at the most recent Arbitron ratings and it tells the whole story. WWTQ for the last 3 reporting quarters registered NO RATING. Dead last in the Memphis market, 36 out of 36. If you have no listeners it has to be tough to sell advertising.
Until Progressive radio moderates it tone it will never go anhywhere.
I keep reading the blogs that say their is an audience for Progressive talk, but station after station continues to drop the format. Just look at the Arbitron ratings in any market and it tells you the story. Generally progressive talks stations are in the bottom quarter of the ratings. Portland, Oregon is always used as the model of sucess. KPOJ ratings are down 33% in the last year

Jim Maynard said...

Randy, I'm sure their ratings will skyrocket now that we have yet another sports station...
The problem is that in a coprorate controlled media driven by profits and advertising, progressive/left talk radio is not going to be "profitable." Business is not going to finance a media that is critical of business. I don't know what your mean by saying progressive talk radio has to tone it down ??? Like Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage???

Brassmask said...

Here's the reality.

It served no purpose for WWTQ to get any real listeners in Memphis. Who wants to get everyone all riled up and making trouble for media types?

Jerry Dean and Entercom are most certainly to blame. Jerry Dean did NOTHING to advertise that there ever even WAS a WWTQ.

When we all but volunteered to appear on the station to give local Memphians a liberal voice they wanted and desperately needed, the silence from them was DEAFENING.

Those who had the inroads to Dean were not interested in being in charge or making the effort to sell Dean on the idea.

And in a city where "religious leaders" who were once minorities and denied their civil rights now strive to deny the right to exist to another minority who in the world can't be disgusted and dismayed at the liberal radio station employing one such person to be the voice for that station????

As for the left needing to tone it down, the very opposite couldn't be any more true. If anything the left needs to ramp up its, not agitating but passionate voice.

The left has become the stereotype that the right has worked for years and years to paint us as. Namby pambies who are easily cowed for fear of being painted in some other negative light.

As we cast about for also-rans and kindasortas to represent us, we're continually shooting ourselves in the collective foot.

Aren't we tired of having the discussions about how we failed?

Aren't we yet sick to death of wondering how we can muster up some kind of excitement for the pitiful wafflers and blusterers who are running for our local offices?

How can we be surprised that Air America is no longer on a radio station in Memphis when we continually bend over to take swift kicks in the seats of our pants and ask for another, sir?

Like abused wives, we watch our hubbies come home with the stank of another on him and climb into our bed and think, "At least, he doesn't beat us".

Till he does.

Then we think, at least we still have a roof over our head and he'll be better if we just let him do so and so.

Till we don't and he isn't.

Lowering expectations is not the way to go. Demanding more Steve Cohens and fighting for those types of representatives is the way to go.

And piss on anyone who doesn't want to be that kind of representative.

Piss on them. Piss on them all if they aren't going to break some skulls and shake the boat and mix some metaphors.

The spirit of Adolph Hitler said...

I am proud of you America, continue to promote the lies of democracy while following my fascist dictates. As I have written in Mein Kampf, you must first gain control of the airwaves to saturate the populist with our right-wing views as I accomplished in Germany then rid yourself of the faggots and the jews, and secure your borders from colored entrance. I see you have studied well my failure in world domination, because I ran short of oil and material supply. Continue to conquer Iraq(I mean liberate and bring the heathens our democracy)and then move on to chapter 6 in my book and will continue to guide you from there.Remember The Gods of Arbitron bless us and supports us, until we speak again my fascist brother.

Coco said...

The problem is that in a coprorate controlled media driven by profits and advertising, progressive/left talk radio is not going to be "profitable."

Jim, there are plenty of liberal business owners who'd support such a venture. Especially in a politically-liberal place like Memphis.

Air America failed for the same reason that Fox News' Half Hour News Hour was a flop. They thought that you could just copy someone else's idea and change the ideology behind it. Rush Limbaugh and Jon Stewart are not successful because of their respective ideologies alone, but because they individually are talented individuals in their respective media. There are successful liberal talk shows that beat Rush, Hannity, et al in their respective markets. To my knowledge, none of them are syndicated through Air America.

WWTQ failed because they bought into Air America's "put a liberal voice, any liberal voice behind a microphone" approach to talk radio and didn't diversify the programming to include actual successful liberal talk shows.

RaymondKHessel said...

It was obvious that the people at Progressive Talk 680 were not liberal. Why after letting Leon Gray go, did they stop putting black people on the on-air comments? If they were true progressives, they would know we want to hear diverse opinions. A black friend of mine used to have his comments put on regularly, but when Leon left, they quit using his, or any other black person's comments.

RaymondKHessel said...
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sm said...