take your answer off the air...

  • HorsesAss.Org: the straight poop on WA politics & the press
    progressive brilliance from the guy who pointed out Tim Eyman's nascent horse's-assedness
  • Talker's Magazine
    The quirky talk radio trade mag. Check the Talk Radio Research Project- it's not very scientific, but places on the top 15 talkers list (scroll down to Talk Radio Audiences By Size)) are as hotly contested as Emmys (and mean just about as much).
  • The Advocate
    No, not THAT Advocate... it's the Northwest Progressive Institute's Official Blog.
  • Media Matters
    Documentation of right-wing media in video, audio and text.
  • Orcinus
    home of David Neiwert, freelance investigative journalist and author who writes extensively about far-right hate groups
  • Hominid Views
    "People, politics, science, and whatnot" Darryl is a statistician who fights imperialism with empiricism, gives good links and wry commentary.
  • Jesus' General
    An 11 on the Manly Scale of Absolute Gender, a 12 on the Heavenly Scale of the 10 Commandments and a 6 on the earthly scale of the Immaculately Groomed.
  • Howie in Seattle
    Howie Martin is the Abe Linkin' of progressive Seattle.
  • Streaming Radio Guide
    Hellishly long (5795!) list of radio streaming, steaming on the Internets.
  • The Naked Loon
    News satire -- The Onion in the Seattle petunia patch.
  • Irrational Public Radio
    "informs, challenges, soothes and/or berates, and does so with a pleasing vocal cadence and unmatched enunciation. When you listen to IPR, integrity washes over you like lava, with the pleasing familiarity of a medium-roast coffee and a sensible muffin."
  • The Maddow Blog
    Here's the hyper-interactive La Raych of MSNBC. daily show-vids, freakishly geeky research, and classy graphics.
  • Northwest Broadcasters
    The AM, FM, TV and digital broadcasters of Northwest Washington, USA and Southwest British Columbia, Canada. From Kelso, WA to the northern tip of Vancouver Island, BC - call letters, formats, slogans, networks, technical data, and transmitter maps. Plus "recent" news.
  • News Corpse
    The Internet's chronicle of media decay.
  • The Moderate Voice
    The voice of reason in the age of Obama, and the politics of the far-middle.
  • News Hounds
    Dogged dogging of Fox News by a team who seems to watch every minute of the cable channel so you don't have to.
  • HistoryLink
    Fun to read and free encyclopedia of Washington State history. Founded by the late Walt Crowley, it's an indispensable tool and entertainment source for history wonks and surfers alike.

right-wing blogs we like

  • The Reagan Wing
    Hearin lies the real heart of Washington State Republicans. Doug Parris runs this red-meat social conservative group site which bars no holds when it comes to saying who they are and who they're not; what they believe and what they don't; who their friends are and where the rest of the Republicans can go. Well-written, and flaming.
  • Orbusmax
    inexhaustible Drudgery of NW conservative news
  • The Radio Equalizer
    prolific former Seattle KVI, KIRO talk host speaks authoritatively about radio.
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January 14, 2006



If only Keith Olbermann had a full-time radio show...


Hmmmm . . . requires some thinking. I found myself puzzling over items as I was reading.

Seems to me AM radio began it's resurgence in Seattle when Mike Siegel took KING to new heights with his (then) liberal activism, esp. as it concerned the Exxon Valdez. He had people picketing and when he was fired by KING, it generated physical withdrawal for many of his listeners.

Also, I used to stay up at night listening to Larry King who was then a fantastic interviewer because he listened more than he performed. He, too, was addictive. and he talked a lot about the return of AM radio via talk radio. When Jim Bohannon took over the show, I quit listening. I didn't like Jim's constant insertion of his own tics and testy opinions.

The ability to listen is also what makes Dave Ross so good. (IMO)

I'm thinking what made Rush so different wasn't his entertaining ways but his ability to polarize people and he did it confrontationally and negatively. Negativity is so bonding! Ask those of us who listen to Mike Webb. We love it! That's what Dori does as well. Just with less passion and more snideness and arrogance. Even Larry Lujack was addictive as the bad boy of teen radio.

I'm curious. Who in talk radio had higher numbers than Mike Webb in the 9-1 talk slot (besides KUOW). Does anybody know?

Can't wait to hear other opinions on Pat's letter, esp. from those people who have been paying attention to Seattle radio over the years. BTW, my favorite station of all time was KZAM. Not talk radio for sure, but great hosts and eclectic programming which someone told me was their downfall. Maybe I'm not the typical listener.

Right now if it weren't for Al Franken and Thom Hartmann and a couple of NPR programs, I'd give my radios away.


Just 10 days and a couple of followups.... and no more of those boring meetings


Why, oh why, is the venerable Pat O'Day a republican? What happened??!!


I respect Pat's views greatly, and the specifics of what he speaks about are inarguable. There is indeed a formula that is required to run a radio station, to produce shows, and to meet a basic need of the public.

In fact, I pointed out many such things to the PD of KVI about 10 years ago, in begging for a new local host for their station. I looked to KFI out of LA, which has produced more nationally syndicated hosts, and more people who transitioned into big media than any other. John and Ken, Laura Schlessinger, Bill Handel, Tammy Bruce, Joe Crummy, Bill Press, Tom Leykis, Dean Edell, and Stephanie Miller all started at or came from KFI. I begged for an intelligent host who could use dramatics and humor to engage the audience, and provide information, debate, and a compelling reason to listen.

It was a dream come true to me that Bryan Suits came on the air. They did well with him, and he speaks with clarity, humor, and from experiences that lead one to believe that he truly believes what he speaks about, and does more than bloviate. Good move on their part. (Now, if they would just upgrade the power of the station, so I could hear it better, we would be in a perfect world)

Part of the issue here, it seems, is that things change. This isn't the 40's. Not the 50's, 60's, or 70's. The market is evolving. Technology is changing. So do the metrics and the expectations of the audience. I have no doubt that there is talent out there to carry the torch that Murrow, Cronkite, Bolland, Wayne Cody, and the others that came before us. The question becomes how to engage those people, develop them, and to get the in roles that can enhance the craft? For a GM or PD to basically abdicate the time and effort to develop new talent, going for the easy route of putting on syndicated shows creates even less opportunity to make things better. Our guy on KRKO has a good gig, a wonderful manner, and is consistent. Yet, being on a sports talk radio is limiting to him. He now competes with Blogs, podcasts, limited station power, and a small audience. Yet, he does well.

I have considered, and been repeatedly advised to look at being on air talent for radio, yet I have not done much with it. I believe that I understand a fair amount of what's required, think that I can match the dynamics of emotion and information, making it compelling and consistent, and could bring a new perspective to radio. Going beyond the parroting of political rhetoric, I honestly believe that the lessons of blogging can and SHOULD be brought into radio to provide a more full view of issues and topics today. Perhaps someday I will make the commitment and do it. Not today.

Pat, thank you! For bringing your perspective and the sense of the market to us. Very interesting, compelling, and shows us where we have been. And some great thoughts on where we should be today.



Murrow, Cronkite and Cody on the same list?

Edell and Schlessinger - "compelling" radio? Besides Stephanie Miller, Leykis maybe the only one I agree with on your list and his popularity seems to be declining??? Or perhaps he just no longer fits the Seattle audience. . . Many years ago I liked him but his johnny-one-note started to get old with me.

Chuck Bolland was an okay news shouter.

Of the list you named, I don't know Crummy or Bruce. Stephanie Miller is great! She is entertaining - downright funny! Also, informed and interesting. And she engages in political talk which is the niche that attracts me.

Your post seems a little self-serving, Steve. (IMHO)


Steve don't threaten us with your awesomeness.


Pat O'day is an anachronistic boring dinosaur from yesteryear. Advice from O'Day about modern broadcasting is like contemporary singing lessons from Ethel Merman.


Chris sez, "If only Keith Olbermann had a full-time radio show..."

So his ratings would match his TV show? In the toilet?


Steve sez, "In fact, I pointed out many such things to the PD of KVI about 10 years ago, in begging for a new local host for their station. I looked to KFI out of LA, which has produced more nationally syndicated hosts, and more people who transitioned into big media than any other. John and Ken, Laura Schlessinger, Bill Handel, Tammy Bruce, Joe Crummy, Bill Press, Tom Leykis, Dean Edell, and Stephanie Miller all started at or came from KFI. I begged for an intelligent host who could use dramatics and humor to engage the audience, and provide information, debate, and a compelling reason to listen."

Steve, that's a great point you brought up about KFI. You have to understand that some of your responders have never been out of King County and wouldn't know about KFI or any other prominent station. It's interesting to note that KFI has produced so many national personalities from different walks of life and all sides of the politcal sprectrum. Andrew and Joanie only care about loonieism at its best and nothing else counts.

Mike Barer

Pat may be Republican but only a fiscal one.



You could show a bit more class and humility by refraining from attacking Pat O'Day. He is a respected radio icon in this market and his opinions carry some weight in this area. If you don't care for his advice, you could just say nothing. Instead, you posted something mean spirited and it makes you look petty.


Self serving, perhaps, though to what end I would be, escapes me.

I named those names and listed them as compelling on the basis that they are obviously successful, having found a niche, a formula, and an audience that listens. I don't personally enjoy all of those personalities or their shows. But I do recognize, and celebrate success in their lives.

From a self serving standpoint, you are correct that by looking at their success, I try to learn their methods and focus, that I might evaluate and apply those lessons that would apply to me, if ever I should enter that arena of competition. Not sure anything is wrong with it.

Steve's post was illuminating about Stephanie and Tom, in that it shows a strong to lukewarm like for that particular genre of show. And I am happy for Steve that he likes those over the others. It's myopic when one considers the broad spectrum of radio, for not everyone has the same tastes in personalities or formula. And that's ok.

Had an interesting moment in watching the background of what it takes to put a radio show on. John Kobylt and Ken Champeau were doing a live remote on the border with Mexico, out in the middle of nowhere. Went out there, and watched the whole process. Tammy Bruce was in the studio as backup and was bringing people off the street to 'protest' the racist rantings of John. One of the studio engineers at the station let John know that Tammy was feeding the people she brought in questions and phrases to increase the vitriol. Friends, I have rarely witnessed an outburst such as John laid upon Tammy regarding 'contrived' radio, and how inappropriate it was to artificially enhance the guests opinions. I am sure she remembers the encounter, as have I.

You will notice that I left off Lars Larson, and Mike Siegel in the list. While they have their local niche, it's hard to argue that they have been compelling in their formula. Lars and Mike both had a level of local syndication, but neither was able to make it pan out to anything approaching success. Perhaps it was their formula and focus, state issues, style, or personality. In any event, I now know that I would more likely resist a state level syndication effort, and focus more on a centralized broadcast from a 50KW station to reach the larger audience.

Folks, I say this as I become one of the many who have migrated to satellite radio. Not for the talk, but for the lack of commercials as I travel through the northwest and the country. Aside from Bryan Suits, and my one hour a month that I will listen to Dori, I would rather enjoy the peace and tranquility of classical music without commercials.


The Tom Leykis phenomena. Tom has a mystique. He is 'naughty.' He is 'controversial.' He says those things that appeal to people who want to have an outlet for their nonsocial thoughts and feelings.

He is successful at garnering an audience. He has formulated a persona that causes people to want to listen.

I celebrate his success. Don't personally care for him, and haven't since his days at KFI, but obviously, it's worked for him. In my opinion, and from having listened to him for almost two decades on and off, it's clear that his underlying theme is a contempt for the people that he can annoy, and an even bigger contempt for those who try to emulate him. He has a venue to jab the ribs of all who listen and call, and enjoys every minute of it. Good for him!

Art Bell is among the most sad stories in talk radio, in my opinion. I say that as I offer my condolences to him on the passing of his wife last week, but also for the years of angst, hardships, and drama that has invaded his life as a result of his success. His show struck me as a ham radio operator who enjoyed talking with people, and using the platform to engage the audience to share their stories. He enjoyed learning, in the early days, and discussing things in alternative realities. In the early days, the person most compelled to listen and learn was Art himself. But as the threats, loonies, health concerns, and such invaded his life, he lost that interest, and the show suffered. Became a curse. And he weathers the effects on his life to this day. Yet, there are many elements of his success that are valuable to take note of, and to learn from.

1) Engage the audience to share instead of picking callers who support your views.
2) Do what you love, and love what you do.
3) It's possible to set up a remote studio and avoid a great deal of the office drama
4) Never pollute your home environment with your work life, particularly in radio.
5) Know when to quit.


Randi Rhodes whips Lars' ass in the ratings in Portland...


steve; you missed an important part of Leykis' 'mystique'... "Pay for intereseting callers to address the topics you want to talk about."

Also, wasn't Bell the one who quit doing rightwing Schtick after Oklahoma city?


Sparky sez, "Randi Rhodes whips Lars' ass in the ratings in Portland..."

Does she wear spiked heels, a push up bra and a mask when she does it?


I don't know if I can sympathize with Art Bell with regard to his radio related problems. His wife's death and the fiasco with his kid aren't related to his radio career.

I listened to him in the late 90's and I realy felt dicked around with all the breaks and mini retirements he was staging. If he was threatened by crazies he could have had security. No matter what the story, his listeners deserved some sense of consistancy. It didn't help matters that his stand-ins were so much worse than he was. Bad memories.


Didn't Mike Siegel fill in for Art Bell for an extended period? I thought they were both nuts.

Dick Curtis

Happy 74th Birthday Pat!

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    pacific nw talk stations

    • KIRO 710ESPN Seattle 710 KHz
      Games and sports-blabber
    • KIROFM 97.3
      Multi-format: news and nearly all local talk. This is where classic KIRO AM news talk radio went... hopefully, not to die. The home of Dave Ross & Luke Burbank, Dori Monson, Ron & Don, Frank Shiers, Bill Radke, Linda Thomas, Tony Miner and George Noory.
    • KUOW FM 94.9
      Seattle's foremost public radio news and talk.
    • KVI am 570 KHz
      Visit the burnt-out husk of one of the seminal right-wing talkers in all the land. Here's where once trilled the reactionary tones of Rush Limbaugh, John Carlson, Kirby Wilbur, Mike Siegel, Peter Weissbach, Floyd Brown, Dinky Donkey, and Bryan Suits. Now it's Top 40 hits from the '60's & '70's aimed at that diminishing crowd who still remembers them and can still hear.
    • KTTH am 770 KHz
      Right wing home of local, and a whole bunch of syndicated righties such as Glennn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Michael Medved, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Lars Larsony, and for an hour a day: live & local David Boze.
    • KPTK am 1090 KHz
      Syndicated liberal talk. Stephanie Miller, Thom Hartmann, Ed Schultz, Randi Rhodes, Norman Goldman fill in the large hole to the left on Northwest radio dial.
    • KLFE AM 1590 kHz
      Syndicated right-wing 2nd stringers like Mark Levin, Bill Bennett, Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, Dennis Miller and Hugh Hewitt inhabit this timid-voiced neighbor honker for your radio enjoyment (unless you're behind something large like Costco).
    • KOMOAM
      News, traffic, Ken Schram and John Carlson.
    • Washington State Radio Stations
      Comprehensive list of every danged AM & FM station on the dial.
    • KKOL am 1300 KHz
      Once a rabid right-wing talker, except for Lou Dobbs, it's all business....