I woke up this morning and turned on 1240 AM, as I often do, to listen to Stephanie Miller. I heard the same young woman doing the news update, but something seemed different, and when she gave out the call letters of the station and they weren't KSAC, my heart sank. It rose a little when I heard a radio spot from someone running against conservative Congressman Dan Lungren. He'd been doing similar spots on KSAC. But that small relief was short-lived. After the spot, I didn't hear Stephanie Miller and her talented crew's satirical political commentary. Instead, I heard something about "praising the Lord" day and night followed by gospel music. I hoped briefly that this was some kind of premature April Fool's joke, but it quickly became apparent that it wasn't. KSAC, "Sacramento's only progressive talk radio station," had changed its call letters and adopted a full-time gospel music format.
I went online to find out what had happened. I quickly discovered a story in the Sacramento Bee explaining it. It seemed that while KSAC had plenty of listeners, it couldn't find enough commercial sponsors to keep it afloat with its liberal or progressive format. Other progressive or liberal talk radio stations in this country have apparently suffered the same fate or are on the brink of doing so.
This is too bad. Of course, I can still listen to Stephanie Miller, Ed Schultz, Randi Rhodes, Mike Malloy, and Peter B. Collins on the Internet. But this isn't nearly as convenient as being able to hear them on the radio in the house or in the car when I'm driving to and from work. I liked to switch between progressive KSAC and conservative KTKZ (1380 AM) and get the counterbalancing views of Laura Ingram, Dennis Prager, Michael Medved, Dennis Miller, and Hugh Hewitt But now I can hear only one political persuasion on local radio, the conservative one, and I think I and the public at large are ill-served by this.
This isn't a rant against big business or conservative talk radio. I'm just saying that it's too bad the Sacramento area lost its progressive radio voice because it couldn't find enough commercial sponsors to keep it alive. I'm wondering how hard and how skillfully the management tried. Are there really not enough progressive minded businesses around to keep progressive talk radio on the air? If there are, they need to put their dollars where their convictions are.
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