22 November 2005

State of Talk Radio in the Valley 2005

Time again for my annual descent into the dark underbelly of AM radio, into the seedy realm of talk radio. Another examination, on a local scale, of a genre of radio that could serve so wonderfully as an open forum for erudite discussions on the issues of our time, but alas, it's more often the case that it caters to mob like thinking and and pumps fuel to simplistic "blame {target}" bromides.

Again, as with every annual roundup, a bevy of disruptions to the local talk radio scene, this year, even greater the drop into destitute tidings for the Phoenix listener. Air America burst upon the scene, but most if its programming is devoted to syndicated Democratic shill-dom, though they do offer up two of the better hosts, and a nice sampling of local voices on the weekend. The one time radio giant, KTAR 620 AM, dumped popular morning host David Leibowitz, and decided to substitute in a surrogate Limbaugh wannabee for morning drive time, much to the chagrin of the Valley listenership. KFNX 1100 AM retreated back into infomercial hell, after a promising 2004 program schedule full of local hosts, two of which migrated over to the Air America affiliate, KXXT 1010 AM. But one must wonder, given new ownership, how long KXXT will continue with the progressive talk format. Finally, ratings leader and neoconservative beacon, KFYI 550 AM, plods along, plugging in sweet sounding radio voices to prattle on a generic, homogenized, cookie-cutter setup, that is indistinguishable from the horde of syndicated talkers that occupy the radio dial, across the nation.

Now, onto the roundup…
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