by: Jill Richardson /
I’ve got an exciting announcement about a project I’m involved in! Air America just got some competition…
If you know anything about me, you know that I am addicted to liberal radio. I love it because they cover the issues I care about, and I love it even more because it’s all I’ve got. I can’t watch TV because it gives me migraines. Some days when my head hurts it even hurts to read. So my most reliable and least painful form of news and entertainment is radio.
About the time I moved to San Diego from Madison, I got word that the Madison Air America station, The Mic 92.1, was going off the air. After listener protests, they actually stayed on the air. But that was a predictor of what was to come. San Diego lost ITS Air America radio station less than a year later. At that time, I was working in Dallas – another city that had lost its Air America station and had no progressive talk. My parents live in Chicago, a city with a crappy Air America signal that totally dies at night. And my grandmother lives in Phoenix, a city that lost its Air America station when some crazy Christians took it over, or something like that. They got a new station on the air at some point after that, but even that has gone under now. The casualty list is a long one.
Because the companies that own most of the air waves aren’t progressives, they seem to put progressive talk on their least successful stations with low signals and then they hardly advertise them. Still, the liberals flock to these stations. And then, frequently, they get closed down anyway. One station was recently turned into an African American Christian station. They decided to make it that format over their other option – Calypso music. Why any business person thinks that progressive talk – a format that is going to appeal to about half the population at least – is not a better bet than Calypso music is beyond me. A better bet is that this is censorship. They aren’t liberal and they don’t want liberals on the air.
Meanwhile, as a listener, I am disgusted with Air America itself. When San Diego lost its Air America, I subscribed to AAR podcasts and began listening online and on my iPod. So now I’m actually paying for radio, something that used to be free. And since I’ve done that, Air America has gotten suckier and suckier. Rachel Maddow’s on TV now, so she’s gone. Thom Hartmann left. Jon Elliott just left. Randi Rhodes, Mike Malloy, Lizz Winstead, and Marc Maron got fired. And they just hired Montel Williams – a Republican! What the hell am I even paying for? Nothing, that’s what. Nothing I listen to anyway.
So what are we going to do about it? Well, here’s the big announcement: We’re starting a new progressive talk radio station. For liberals, by liberals. SMART liberals, not dumb ones like the ones that run Air America. The new station will have the full lineup of the most popular liberal talkers – Thom Hartmann, Randi Rhodes, Jon Elliott, etc. It’s going to be a franchisable model that can be easily started up in new cities, all over the U.S. And it’s starting in my city, San Diego, THIS MONDAY.
The first step is two-fold. One is getting Jon Elliott on the air, and the other is fundraising. No money = no radio station. We project that we can get some of the cash from advertisers, but ad sales are down right now. Once upon a time, we thought we could get all of our money from our advertisers, but then the Bush Great Depression started and now that looks like a distant dream.
So we’re going to do a hybrid model. Money from advertisers, and money from listeners (you). We’re asking $10/mo from people who are willing to become members. To join, go to http://www.jontalk.com and sign up there using PayPal. Without members, we can’t get off the ground. Members will get the podcasts and will get other benefits – member-only events for San Diego residents and something else (books? T-shirts?) for people who aren’t local. But the real benefit is having this radio station on the air.
The station goes on the air on Monday. THIS Monday (tomorrow!). It’s going to be 1700AM and we’re only going to have Jon Elliott on the air from 3pm-6pm. As we are able to fundraise, we’ll add other talkers, and we hope to have the full liberal lineup by January. We plan to then expand out to 30 stations around the U.S. by the year 2014. In other words – this is a national effort, not just a San Diego one.
If you are willing to help, please go to http://www.jontalk.comand sign up to be a member. Thanks!