On Monday May 21, KRXA will be shaking up its weekday lineup with the Morning Show expanding to three hours and moving from 8 – 10 to 6 – 9. Coach and I will co-host the first two hours and then I’ll fly solo for the final 60 minutes. The Ed Schultz Show will follow in its entirety, with Randi, Barry Lynn, Karel, and Thom in their familiar slots.
Despite intermittent complaints that we are far too quick to add and remove hosts, as of May 11, we will have maintained a wholly stable lineup from 3a – 4p for three years. It was on May 11, 2009, that Randi Rhodes returned to the airwaves for good. Later in 2009, we finalized our lineup through 6pm when Karel took over afternoon drive. Given this enviable record in an industry known for frequent changes, why the significant alteration?
First and foremost, Dial-Global which syndicates both Stephanie and Ed notified KRXA a few weeks ago that we could no longer carry their shows unless we agreed to air all the commercial spots sold for inclusion in each. This would have meant a total of 10 minutes of prime ad time per day would no longer be available to KRXA to sell to local sponsors, to promote our programs, or for local content. On balance, we concluded that this price was simply too steep.
Several reasonably obvious solutions came to mind: 1) the one we decided to take, 2) air all three hours of Stephanie’s show live and pull Ed’s for a 3-hour Morning Show airing from 9 – noon, 3) move the Morning Show into the afternoon and pull Randi or Karel, or 4) take the Morning Show off the air or out of prime time at least.
We went with option 1 for several reasons. Coach and I are both morning people. We are at our best then and confident that we can deliver the most informative and entertaining show possible at that time. Moreover, the most valuable radio “real estate” is morning drive and KRXA generates revenue through spotlighting local businesses and organizations during the Morning Show. That revenue stream would likely be jeopardized if we broadcast during a later daypart.
The Stephanie Miller Show certainly has devotees and the Morning Show certainly has detractors. In certain important ways, however, I believe that Stephanie has taken a step back from where she was when I first heard her during the run-up to the 2004 Presidential election on WWRC in Washington, DC. Then as now, the pace was frenetic and the spotlight was firmly on Stephanie but with an important secondary role for the brilliant impersonations of voice guy Jim Ward. Stephanie’s focus on the breathtaking perfidy of the Bush administration and the Republican party more generally seemed absolutely right given the war on the people of Iraq, Karl Rove’s extraordinary duplicity, and the right-wing media’s nonstop lies about John Kerry.
From my perspective, Stephanie’s “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” approach towards President Obama is less successful than her take no prisoners tack towards W was and towards the GOP still is. At a time when even the Democratic party often acts only politely interested in the plight of poor, working, and middle-income Americans, Stephanie seems disconnected from the ways in which the President has failed to champion the interests of the 99%. With more and more air time given to lesser lights like Hal Sparks, Jim Ward’s reduced role is also problematic for me as is the relentless flogging of the “Sexy Liberal Tour”. In fact, these trends go together since Sparks is a co-star on the sexy liberal tour, reliably takes Obama’s (and Stephanie’s) side in debates with progressives, while Ward’s is the most progressive voice on the show.
Ed Schultz who follows Stephanie in Dial-Global’s syndicated progressive lineup and on KRXA has been the most consistent champion of labor in America. Unlike Miller, he takes note when President Obama leaves working people holding the bag in favor of Wall Street or corporate America. For this reason, among others, we have chosen to air the Ed Schultz Show in its entirety.
If KRXA did not have a viable 3-hour alternative to the Stephanie Miller Show, we might well have bitten the bullet and agreed to clutter up our valuable weekday available ad spots with syndicated ads for which we receive no financial remuneration. In light of my management responsibilities at KRXA, I would not have felt comfortable doing a 3-hour show on my own. But we are very fortunate in our relatively small radio market to have the benefit of Coach K.C. Lynch’s big-market talent. I have wanted to provide him with greater exposure for some time and the opportunity has now arisen.
Finally, as much as I admire our syndicated hosts Bill Press, Ed Schultz, and Randi Rhodes, none pays sufficient attention to the ongoing ecological catastrophe or America’s disastrous and continuing military adventures in the middle east. KRXA listeners will hear detailed discussions of these topics and many more besides, with a special focus on California’s Central Coast, on the Morning Show.