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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March 08, 2008



"communication style" - what a problem that is for people in all areas. We're having it at school and I don't know why people can't look at what is being achieved and stop thinking about how they feel.

Get over it, folks.

I think it is so hard to predict what is best for any enterprise. Sounds like Stern has done a good job and that the challenge is for local stations to use the same strategies to find and promote great local programming.

Sounds a little like an attempt to find a scapegoat for their own failings and impede progress to me.

Fred Owens at Frog Hospital

The Hillary-Obama fight reminds me of one of those win-the-car contests where you have to keep your hand on the car and you can't leave to go to the bathroom or sleep and the last one left standing gets the car. If it's a matter of sheer stamina, Hillary gets it.


I'm a former radio guy. I think Ken knew that NPR and other traditional networks are facing a problem. They are seeking more platforms for their programs. If you were producing programming wouldn't you want it on as many platforms as possible? From a public service standpoint you would want people to use your service your way.

The problem is that the programs are a big part of their life blood. You have to respect NPR's decision but it is the local stations that help fund the network. It's as if they are paying NPR to help give audiences a way for them not to listen (and support) their local stations.

The answer is for local stations to be local and use network resources as part of their mosaic of services in such a way that while it’s “network” it is more focused on what relevant in their community.


This is bad news indeed. Just look at how accessible pod casts form the CBC are online (and their Web redesigns, launching first from Vancouver, B.C.). While NPR does not have a television component, reminding people their content can be accessible on the individual's terms is probably not a bad approach.

Even though it is just on an 'interim' basis, I can't see a better candidate for a job like this one - NWPR is part of our strong regional public radio presence and hopefully the cross-platform management experience can only benefit the national organization. I wish everywhere I've lived had something as local and captivating as the "Northwest radio news network" (which of course uses: NWPR, OPB, KPLU, KUOW, and Boise State Radio) to create engaging local conent.


The mediocre programmers who run most public radio stations are finding themselves caught in an impossible position: they don't have the wit or the resources to produce a full schedule of quality programs without NPR and the other syndicated program distributors. As long as the only local competition is maybe one other station that also builds its schedule around the NPR tent poles of Morning Edition, All Things Considered and a few other programs, their audiences contribute almost enough to keep the station on the air and pay themselves (and a few of their staff) a living wage.

But now the listeners in Wenatchee and Boise have access to dozens of interesting stations from the BBC, the CBC, XM or Sirius by satellite, Pacifica, and all the NPR and PRI shows that the local folks have decided not to carry, along with the handful of good NPR and community stations around the country that offer something beyond generic NPR (such as WNYC, KEXP, WWOZ, KCRW and KPLU among others). All of a sudden, that local station that can't afford to take risks, even if they knew how and they had the courage to do so, is no longer the beloved local institution that deserves support from the listeners who didn't know what else was out there. It's Plato's cave all over again.

Dennis Haarsager's Northwest Public Radio has done a great job of providing NPR programs to Washington outside the Seattle/Tacoma, Spokane and Portland/Vancouver markets. He and his people fill up their schedules with good NPR and other stuff, and even some local news and music shows. But except for the stations within a CBC signal over the border, his competion for that audience is limited to one or two other NPR stations.

In the meantime, NPR is looking at the wider picture. They're already the single largest provider of podcasts in the world, and they're providing programs to the satellite folks. That means that there's a huge audience that is time-shifting their listening and bypassing the local affiliates.

When NPR offers something out of the usual pattern, the stations don't want to touch it, because they're (probably rightly) afraid that their audience will hate it and hold back those contributions. Look at The Bryant Park Project: they've only convinced something like 7 stations to carry it, but there's a growing online audience of regular daily listeners. I've tried to listen to BPP a few times and I don't care for it -- I'm not interested in most of pop culture stuff they cover. But it's a real alternative to Morning Edition.

When Wimax and other mobile broadband service put streaming Internet audio into cars, even more of the local stations' audiences will disappear. Lots of people will choose the specialty music stations and risk-takers, and the stations in big markets with more intresting programs instead of the bland local fare on the kitchen radio from the local NPR/KRAP-FM signal.

The first priority of the station managers on the NPR board (like any other organism) is their own survival. And that was threatened by Ken Stern's plans for NPR in the new media environment. Unfortunately, the stations own NPR and they don't want it to contribute to their own demise.

The existing NPR network was built around local stations, each with a local staff and ownership, but that's a hugely inefficient structure. The BBC's structure, with a bunch of nationwide stations (with enough transmitters to cover the whole country) and separate local and regional radio stations allows the local stations to address local intereests and issues, knowing that they'r complementing and supplementing the national services.

Alas, that train left the depot almost 40 years ago. It would take a major shift that would kill many local stations to fix it today.


I loved listening to the CBC radio 1 and 2 when I lived in Snohomish County. They carried shows that were about stuff you would never hear anywhere else and it was fascinating. It did get tiresome hearing locals complain about snow and mud over and over this time of year, but, helloooo, you chose to live there!
There is a reason that the majority of Canadians live within 200 miles of the Canada/U.S. Border, and milder climate is one of them. But the best part of CBC is the regional music they play, fulfilling the requirement for a certain percentage of Canadian content.


I think the bit about frequencies becoming worthless commodities should be the headline; an entire industry of engineers and talents like Monson and Ross that earn decent amounts of money by being a high-demand resource to people stuck with simple AM/FM radios are becoming less of a property thanks to pod casts and XM radio. XM and Sirius are going to merge, and surely their subscription and unit prices will drop like a rock as their listenership expands. I give them five years tops. There will be half as many talk stations and the target audience of the few that remain will the Paul Harvey listeners who can't figure out how to work an iTunes. It's happening to news papers, it will happen to radio.


Andrew, you are right.

Dennis Haarsager

I hope I didn't tell someone I was going to be a caretaker at NPR, because that's not what the board wants me to do -- rather, to continue it's forward momentum. If they wanted to slow the digital future, they couldn't have hired the "wronger" guy. I've been writing about it for nearly five years. See my comments at http://tinyurl.com/2exd4m. --Dennis

Dennis Haarsager

Of course, my comment above should have read "...its forward momentum." --Dennis


To me, beyond localism (which smaller NPR affiliates don't have the staffs to produce), the answer seems simple, which is probably why it wouldn't work: set up a corporation controlled by NPR's affiliates, and have that entity distribute NPR's fare on non-terrestrial platforms, so that affiliates share in the revenue and glory of what will eventually become the more important means of distribution.


What a great idea, Geov.
To Mr. Haarsager,and Michael. I would love to discuss these matters and definitely would join this conversation more often if Michael would follow it more closely; Mr. Haarsager would comment from time to time; and such as the great Geov Parrish would get in as well.These are going to be some interesting years for all of us in both commercial and public radio, and I would love to see this blog become a locus of that discussion.

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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....