Why I decided to sell AM 540 – in brief

This will, as the title to the post says, be brief.  I will explain in greater detail the decision in a few days – perhaps in the pages of the Herald if they accept my submission.  It is important to note that the sale is of the terrestrial radio signal and the license to transmit on it only.  We are planning to maintain our studio in Sand City and to continue broadcasting as similar a lineup as we can at www.radiomonterey.com.  Michelle Jackson is going to take a more active role in operations as I pull back in light of my move back to MD full-time.

The reasons are:  1) the increasing onerousness of flying back and forth across the country twice monthly, 2) my desire to spend more time with my wife and sons,  the years are flying  by – with Michael now 15 and William 13 – they won’t be living at home that much longer, 3) somewhat  disappointing financial results, 4) the expense of maintaining two residences, and 5) concerns about the viability of AM radio going forward.

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17 Responses to Why I decided to sell AM 540 – in brief

  1. Doug McGuire says:

    I am sad to see the demise of liberal talk radio on the AM dial in the Monterey Bay area. I have enjoyed these past 8 years. I wish you all the best,

  2. Will Hutchinson says:

    I assume that you will let listeners know where they can find the same shows you put on now. Where, and what time slots EST Randi Rhodes, Stepahie Powers, Karel are actually going to be playing so some of us can still get progressive info. These personalities do not play off their websites like they say they do.

    • hal says:

      Will – as I mention in the post, we are hoping to continue to broadcast our current syndicated lineup on an internet-only station so you may well be able to hear Bill Press, Big Eddie, Randi, et al., at http://www.radiomonterey.com. By the way, we don’t carry Stephanie Powers’ show or Robert Wagner’s either. For the past year, we haven’t even carried Stephanie Miller.

  3. Zack Patrick says:


    This is a sad day.

  4. pdbird says:

    What about holy hip hop on the block?

  5. Jason Smallberries says:


    I was really bummed this A.M. upon hearing that you’ve decided to sell KRXA. I’m usually out of radio range, but I listen to your show, as well as whatever I can catch of Ed Schultz and Mike Malloy nearly every day. It seems like over-the-air broadcasting is all distilling down to either: A) Religious stuff; B) Syndicated, Reich-wing, us vs. them hate talk; or C) Syndicated sports talk. Zzzz. By and large, it’s least common denominator, canned corporate crap. Unfortunate, as old-fashioned radio is still the most convenient, reliable and affordable way to listen.

    Anyway, it is with great sadness that I bid you and your skeleton crew adieu! Thanks for keeping it going as long as you did, and good luck with whatever comes next…

    San Jose

  6. The Lesser Rusty says:

    Bummed sums it up. But I am happy for all the years I’ve listened to KRXA.

    What a special place this has been! How rare in this country – an independent liberal station?!?! RARE!

    “I love the friends I have gathered together on this thin raft.
    We have constructed pyramids in honor of our escaping.” Morrison

    Keep on, keepin’ on – Hal and everyone. Cheers!

  7. The Lesser Rusty says:

    Any chance for KRXA mark II to get on satellite radio?

  8. Shawn in PG says:

    Dear Hal: I just pieced together the fact that there is going to be a big change in all of our lives. Being with family is a great reason to go home. I have seen how hard you have worked to make the station fly. From our first meeting in the conference room back in the day, to the challenge of taking over the morning spot. Oddly, I was just thinking how your talents have developed to the point that I no longer hated you for killing Stephanie Miller. Most of the programming I can find on the net, but in my heart, Monterey liberal radio will never be the same. I am EVEN going to miss Coach. All the best! Shawn in PG

  9. Larry in Aptos says:

    Well, that about does it. I guess having liberal talk radio on the air doesn’t cut it, as Peter B. Collins mentioned in an article he wrote several months ago. All the best to you Hal, and I’m glad you gave us on this Central Coast an opportunity to hear people like Randi, Thom, and Ed all these years. I guess I’ll be listening to NPR more (and there’s not one but two stations giving us that around these parts), KNBR, and depending on which neighborhood I’m in, KPFA, the Pacifica Radio outlet. And by the way, if you don’t know it, Peter B, when he still had his show on your station, did a simulcast of his show and Pacifica radio program some years back. So you did “broadcast” a public radio station’s signal on yours!

  10. Roberto Pelayo says:

    I have mixed feelings about this event. Before, I was upset because you only had Stephanie Miller for 2 hours. Then you cut her off completely, that was the “kicker”. On the other hand, it doesn’t surprise me because that is what’s happening all over. Even the giant “power house” like KGO had to make radical changes. So the only thing I have to say is:

    Good Luck! and So Long!

  11. A.P. says:

    I have really enjoyed KRXA since 2005 and will miss it. I will do what I can to listen. Are you going to be able to cover local Monterey county issues in the future?

    I agree with so much of your commentary, especially regarding the very wealthy. It is difficult to convince people how inequitable our society has become due to the huge profits the very wealthy continue to accrue. This may take decades to change, though it doesn’t have to. Your voice is a crucial step in the right direction.

    I take issue with blaming teachers for low test scores, however. I have taught elementary school for 24 years. Parents play such an important role in determining how hard their children try in school each day and on these tests. When parents discourage their children from behaving well in school or trying their best, what hope do teachers have? When parents don’t have calendars, clocks, the ability to read, write, or count (let alone compute) in any language (as characterize some of my students’ parents), students and their peers suffer. Teachers who must divert time and resources to helping these students catch up aren’t able to focus on others who stand a better chance of passing. We’re told by administrators to leave these students behind so we can reach the second group. We usually only have a few students at grade level throughout the year to act as role models for others. Read Malcolm Gladwell’s book. “Outliers,” particularly the chapter on testing, for more insight into this issue. As long as test scores continue to be norm-referenced versus criterion-referenced, we will see teachers unfairly blamed and students’ needs continue to be unmet.

    This is the first year our district has benefitted from Promethean Board (“smart board”) technology. Other districts have used this for years. How is it fair that we haven’t been able to use this until now? This is just one of many reasons to avoid tying test scores to teacher evaluations.

    The premise that student achievement should be attributed to other factors besides their own effort is false. As a high-achiever I understood my success was a combination of my own hard work and advantages conferred by our family’s relative socio-economic position. But I also came from a very dysfunctional home and was helped through by friends’ parents. At no time did it occur to me to blame my teachers for any of my difficulties. I wished there had been more in-depth civics discussions and chances to develop my ability to articulate my ideas, as my chaotic upbringing didn’t provide this. Other than make the grades, I was pretty quiet and inarticulate until early adulthood, unfortunately. I could blame the public schools for not having more classes in this regard. But I wouldn’t dream of tying my test scores to my teachers’ evaluations. All of my teachers presented the material, provided help, gave tests that I was supposed to pass, graded my tests fairly for the most part, and that was that. My parents never intervened on my behalf to complain to the school the way parents do nowadays. The year after I graduated Proposition 13 kicked in, so the quality of public education declined further. In retrospect, I was lucky to have had the choice of classes I had. That’s not to say technology hasn’t greatly increased student achievement since I was in school. But teachers themselves should not be blamed for students’ test scores. The overall system must be improved instead.

    Thank you for all you have done and continue to do. I am glad there is some way to access your quality programming and commentary. I will try to keep listening.

  12. David Steele says:

    Good luck, Hal, and thanks for doing this. Nowadays, although I only listen to KRXA between the hours of 8pm and 11pm every Sunday night, it’s a slot I look forward to every week.

    It’s rare that I get to listen to an authentic “home town” radio station complete with liberal shows.

    I will miss it.

  13. Tony Peet says:

    Hal, Is there any chance at this that you will change your mind or that a buyer can be found who would maintain the format? Or…is it all truly a done, done, done deal.
    Thanks, and blessings to you.

  14. JR says:

    It has to be said, that while I will miss 540, as long as I will get the content via internet I will still be tuning in. This station helps keep me in tune with the local area given I live in the midwest. I completely understand why, given the difficulties in maintaining such an endevour from cross country. It aint cheap to live in Monterey County!

  15. Let’s not forget that many of the shows that KRXA listeners have come to love will still be airing online and via Tune In- it is a great app that you can download for FREE on your smart phone (android or iphone). So while there will be changes, Hal will still be providing a platform for liberal talk radio, with the same local feel that everyone loves.

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