The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

16 December 2006

Madison Liberal Talk Radio Cancellation Protest, The Mic FM


Madison Lefties Plan Libtalk 'Funeral Procession'

Determined to save their failed liberal talk radio station, Madison's so- called "progressive" community has already resorted to several of its usual noisy "hey hey, ho ho!" tactics.

With those efforts having so far failed to convince station management to keep "The Mic" as a libtalker, given weak ad sales and mediocre ratings, activists are now looking to escalate their campaign.

We've covered some of their past antics here.

In addition to enlisting the help of US Senator Russ Feingold (D- Wisconsin) and other Democrat Party honchos, lefties are hoping a planned "funeral procession" stunt on Wednesday will do the trick.

From the Capital Times:

'Funeral procession' for progressive talk planned March to Clear Channel set Wednesday

By Kevin Lynch

Efforts to resuscitate the progressive talk radio format of "The Mic" WXXM-FM/ 92.1 have failed so far. Concerned listeners now plan a "funeral procession" as the Jan. 1 end of the format nears.

The march will begin at 1 p.m. Wednesday at Brittingham Park near the intersection of South Park Street and West Washington Avenue and head down Fish Hatchery Road to the Clear Channel Madison offices.

A 420-page petition of more than 5,500 signatures to keep "The Mic" on the air will be delivered to Jeff Tyler, Clear Channel vice president of marketing, by activists Valerie Walasek, Gary Tipler and businesswoman Barbara Wright.

Despite the petition and a rally at the High Noon Saloon on Dec. 12 to demonstrate advertising support for the station's political talk forum, Clear Channel still plans to change the format to sports talk with an emphasis on prep sports and the University of Wisconsin. It also will feature syndicated sports personalities Jim Rome and Dan Patrick.

In an interview with The Associated Press published in The Capital Times on Wednesday, Tyler said Clear Channel would explore ways to continue progressive talk in Madison.

"Our company sales team embraced the station, the format and enthusiasm we all had for the station and its role in the community," Tyler said. "However, there are many advertisers, local and national, who have been at conflict with the programming or stay away from controversial programming."

The station has cancelled its local progressive talk shows, but it still airs programming from Air America, and other nationally broadcast talk hosts, including Al Franken, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Rev. Jesse Jackson, Ed Schultz and Stephanie Miller.

Miller and Schultz have addressed their concerns about losing the progressive talk format in Madison. Miller recently read a letter from Walasek to Tyler on her program. Schultz noted in The Capital Times that "The Mic" posted a 3.7 percent of the market share in the summer Arbitron rankings, good for 11th place.

What isn't helping the cause is their ongoing habit of blaming local management for the station's failure, claiming that the sales and promotional efforts were lackluster.

And while they point to The Mic's supposed strong ratings, one question hasn't been answered: in a city as far to the left as Madison, why hasn't their libtalker been number one with a bullet?

No Time: David A Lunde

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  • note the mis-spelled "bumper" on that graphic. Pull up to the "bumber", baby...Boston, another bastion of
    liberalism, should be losing WXKS and
    WKOX within days; no idea if a funeral is planned. If a similar protest were to be launched, I'm not sure if it would be successful.

    In a city like Boston, you'd think the big contingent of "progressives"
    would try to convince another station to run AAR (and no doubt
    some of them are calling or emailing the likes of WRKO or WTKK in the hope of getting one or more AAR/Jones shows on those stations).
    As for Clear Channel, they are full speed ahead on the Rumba format...

    If another station in Boston feels
    they could get high ratings and
    high billing with Air America,
    perhaps by putting it on a bigger
    signal, let them, but so far no word.

    By Blogger raccoonradio, at 16 December, 2006 13:54  

  • You mean if you trash capitalism, assume business is guilty no matter what, and slander cops and the military, then no one wants to advertise on your shows? We need government to regulate Wal-Mart to support it's enemies.

    By Blogger Lonewatchman, at 16 December, 2006 14:23  

  • As a current resident of Madison, I really shouldn't be surprised by this latest hit piece on the Mic. Maloney, who isn't from Madison and probably knows absolutely nothing about our local culture, obviously is going to be far off.

    The Mic's ratings were never the issue; the face remains that a bunch of right-wing snobs from Clear Channel know little of Madison; they just see how college sports are big in our city (and are already covered by other radio stations), and assume "Ah, those Madison people don't need more actual intellectual radio, they just need more coverage of athletics". They, like you Brian, are ignorant.

    By Blogger Ben, at 16 December, 2006 17:25  

  • Ben,
    Perhaps you could start your own radio station, I'm sure it would be a success. If you need start up capital and can't convince an investor that your venture is worthwhile, perhaps you could hold a fund raiser, like these enterprising folks in Missoula did. Link Just get some of your buds together and yell loudly and get some cute signs.

    Just kidding, although I am still chuckling how the Montana "intellectual" culture figures a $300 fundraiser was a success, as I figure a grade school bake sale could raise that kind of money.

    Good luck in your venture!

    By Blogger Rich in MT, at 16 December, 2006 18:46  

  • I'm somewhat confused. The article Brian quotes says "Clear Channel still plans to change the format to sports talk with an emphasis on prep sports and the University of Wisconsin. It also will feature syndicated sports personalities Jim Rome and Dan Patrick,."
    Clear Channel is already running both Jim Rome and Dan Patrick on WTSO 1070

    Will the switch these programs over to FM or simulcast them on both FM and AM? If they are going to FM, what will be the new programming on the AM station (currently ESPN Radio).

    It doesn't make much sense to me.

    By Blogger Ezsuds, at 16 December, 2006 22:25  

  • Maybe progressive talk belongs on non-comm radio and they can have pledge drives and such. If most advertisers won't sponsor it, let listeners pay for it--plus a few "progressive" businesses can do donorships (Starbucks, Utne Reader, Rolling Stone, etc.)

    Don't Boston NPR's
    WBUR has many listeners
    and a powerful signal. (They're
    also the ones who give us the
    Car Talk guys.) Visualize a non-commercial version of
    Air America on the LEFT side of
    the FM dial...or maybe we already
    have it...I'll get my lawyers,
    Dewey, Cheatham, and Howe of
    Harvard Sq. on it right away...

    By Blogger raccoonradio, at 16 December, 2006 22:29  

  • Great! Competition for Pacifica--JUST WHAT RADIO NEEDS LIKE A HOLE IN THE HEAD!

    By Blogger The Real Bob Anthony, at 16 December, 2006 23:01  

  • Moneychangers and autistic synchophants.

    Now THOSE are the forces we want running America! Woo-hoo!

    Talk money to me, baby...

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 16 December, 2006 23:09  

  • Let's get this real. The airwaves do not belong to corporations. They are lent to them to do public service. Consequently, public protests about the use of the public frequencies are completely appropriate.

    Fact is, Maloney, you have corporate dick so far up your ass and, pathetically, are moaning for more, it seems, that I can't believe a word you write.

    By Blogger John, at 17 December, 2006 01:43  

  • You know, I wrote that previous post about "corporate dick" etc. was really inappropriate. I apologize. My sentiments remain much the same, but that was really uncivil language--I had had a bit too much Christmas Cheer before I wrote that.

    Happy holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Wonderful Kwanza, belated Eid-al-Fitr Greetings to all!

    And boy do I have a hang over.

    By Blogger John, at 17 December, 2006 15:38  

  • I hope Drudge is not beating you to the breaking story about Al Franken Departing AA.

    Hopefully your tipping Drudge.

    By Blogger none, at 17 December, 2006 20:58  

  • Newsweek has an article talking about the tumult at Air America. Not
    only were they
    building up huge amounts of debt, but there was no network "program director" to
    handle clashing producers and hosts; just when they started to make headway,
    some of their most popular shows were cancelled, angering listeners,
    and they had
    no realistic business model. Michael Harrison of "Talkers" is quoted
    as saying that
    liberal talk radio still can fly, but as for AAR, "If they'd hired
    broadcasters instead of a bunch of comedians, they would have had a
    chance of succeeding."

    Newsweek article

    By Blogger raccoonradio, at 17 December, 2006 21:09  

  • He's not from Madison and it's not about the ratings.LoL.

    By Blogger Owen, at 17 December, 2006 23:41  

  • Ben,

    It is idiots like you that ruin Wisconsin and have produced a brain drain over the years.

    MADison (to steal from MAD magazine) has always been the Midwest's la-la land. A university too stupid and arrogant to solve such mundane problems such as matching student housing to enrolled students. You could get housing and not have classes, or have classes but not have housing.

    My cousin ran a business in MADison and always complained what idiots city and county government was. He also said MADison got the government it deserved because most of the people lived with their hands out expecting the working people of the state to fill their empty hands and give them a lifestyle better than workers in the rest of the state.

    Hash and the other lefties are just exhibiting the mental illness of the far left, and this story is documentation of that illness in liberal communities.

    By Blogger PCD, at 18 December, 2006 08:45  

  • pcd,

    Coming from an anti-education, anti-intellectual like yourself, I won't lose sleep over being called an idiot.

    P.S. to Brian: It turned out that due to this activism, the station is now NOT being cancelled. Do you like the taste of crow?

    By Blogger Ben, at 22 December, 2006 08:57  

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