18 October 2004

State of Talk Radio in the Valley 2004

A belated roundup this year, so many changes to the local talk radio scene, had to wait for the dust to settle and the microphones have swapped around a lot over the past year. KFNX 1100 AM became a major player in the market, grabbing a big share of the Valley audience with a vastly improved all-local talk lineup that bested rival offerings. But then when 1010 AM made the switch to Air America national, progressive talk radio programming, that dumped syndicated talkers Michael Savage from the Phoenix market. Mike Barna and KFNX then jumped at the opportunity to nab Savage, Jerry Doyle and Tammy Bruce, discarding their previously heralded all-local lineup. Bad move I believe, but then again, I'm no fan of nationally syndicated programming and prefer to listen to local talent. KTAR 620 AM was a bit battered by the new competition, it seems, as it said goodbye to longtime talker Preston Westmoreland. Ted Simons assumed Westmoreland's position and Bruce St. James, in turn, was given Simons slot.

While it may rankle the ream of righties that revel in the all-conservative KFYI 550 AM programming, the local shows there will rate at the bottom of my list. The criteria I am applying is simply what appeals to my ears I like to be intellectually challenged and enjoy listening to intelligent folks share their thoughts. Not that the host has to be a PhD, just that the airing of independent takes is permitted or interesting guests booked. Blindly parroting talking points of another is a quick way to get me to tune out, no matter which partisan side presenting. Engaging dialogue with reason, with thought provoking discourse. I accept that market forces often dictate the converse; more are satiated with Jerry Springer than a CSPAN Booknotes show. Nor does it mean I have to agree with the host and a majority of program callers again, I desire to be exposed to many different perspectives, potentially bringing light to matters I may have been oblivious to, or overlooked, locked into my own stance. Or maybe just learn about something I didn't know about too much before.

Now, onto the roundup.
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