Over on Huffington Post, Mark Green introduces Air America Radio v2.0:
Today my family formally purchases and takes over Air America Radio. Why? Because if progressive values were a stock, now is the time to buy.
That’s great and all — the Greens seem to have the resources and the passion to make Air America work, and I’m hopeful they have the know-how. I wish them the best of luck.
But it will take more than a turn-around at the network for Air America to thrive in the Seattle market. If local affiliate AM-1090 wants to build its local audience, it’s going to have to put a little money and effort into building some local programming.
Live and local, that’s what makes 710-KIRO so compelling, and such an integral part of the community. When I’m on the air weekends, 7-10PM, I’m the only live, local talk host on the dial. And when I got called in to do wall-to-wall storm coverage back in December, it may not have been my usual schtick, but I was proud to be able to provide such an important service to my neighbors.
Whatever its financial problems Air America helped change the landscape of talk radio, proving liberal talk could be a viable format in many markets, and creating opportunity for other liberal talkers on competing networks and stations. My total lack of prior radio experience aside, I’m not sure that 710-KIRO would have been quite as willing to take a chance on an unabashedly partisan, liberal talker like me, if Air America hadn’t already paved the way.
But as much as I’m rooting for Air America to succeed, I hardly ever listen to it anymore, and when I do, I usually stream the network feed rather than listen to AM-1090 over the air. That’s partially due to scheduling, and partially due to my allegiance to 710-KIRO. But it’s mostly because my passion is local politics, and on that subject AM-1090 is silent.
Even national issues have local angles — angles that are completely lost on a station that has no local presence. Two of the three biggest national news stories yesterday raised very local concerns for the Puget Sound Region: the growing scandal over out-patient care for Iraq War soldiers and veterans, and the congressional hearings over the firing of eight U.S. Attorneys. But local listeners who got their information from AM-1090’s national programming would have missed the relevant local coverage of the events.
So best of luck to the Greens and Air America Radio v2.0, but a little friendly advice to AM-1090 from your competition over at 710-KIRO: go local. And do it soon.