Progressive radio stations

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See List of progressive radio stations for a table of radio stations across the United States that host or have hosted at least one progressive talk show. See Progressive radio timeline for a continuously updated list of events regarding progressive talk radio.

Progressive talk radio has existed in one form or another for many decades, most notably the noncommercial Pacifica network, which still broadcasts in a handful of major cities. The most important event in the recent history of progressive talk is the formation of the commercial Air America network, which went on the air in March 31, 2004. Since that date, syndicated Air America programs, together with a number of programs from the Jones network and some local programs, have been broadcast on stations across the country. Most such stations are low-signal AM outfits owned by large conglomerates such as Clear Channel and Entercom, which dominated the radio landscape after the Telecommunications Act of 1996 weakened the restrictions on ownership. These conglomerates have followed a pattern of starving progressive talk stations of resources and then flipping them to another format, often one already broadcast on other stations in the same area. While progressive talk has been shown to do well on stations with decent signals and surprisingly well even on stations with a weak signal, the conglomerates have often displayed a willingness to cancel the progressive talk format abruptly, even though this action almost always results in a fall in ratings. The wave of cancellations intensified following Election Day 2006. See the Progressive radio timeline for more details on the history of progressive talk.

Groups have formed in cities where progressive talk has been threatened or cancelled. This table contains links (many taken from NonStop Radio) to their message boards. In Madison, WI, following rallies and the involvement of governmental and nongovernmental figures, Clear Channel dropped its plans to end progressive talk. In no other community has a station been persuaded to drop such plans (though the Portland, ME community forestalled a format change in late 2004, only to have it take effect in 2007), or to reinstate progressive talk once it has been eliminated from the programming. However, new stations have taken on progressive talk in communities where progressive talk had existed before. In addition, in late March 2006, a coalition of a community group and the Nova M network (founded by Sheldon and Anita Drobny, former founders of what became Air America) put progressive talk on a station in Phoenix, AZ after an existing progressive talk station was converted to a religious format. Groups in a number of communities are exploring the possibility of acquiring their own stations. In Boston, local progressive talk-show host Jeff Santos, in conjunction with members of local political and business communities, formed an entity, Santos Media, which leases most of the airtime on local station WWZN for progressive talk.

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