Progressive radio timeline

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This timeline collects events pertaining to the history of progressive talk radio. A major focus of the timeline is the adoption and abandonment of the progressive talk format by radio stations across the U.S. In some instances, events relating to conservative talk show hosts (e.g., Rush Limbaugh, Morton Downey, Jr.) are listed for comparison. Major sources for the timeline include Liberal Talk Radio, Wikipedia, and David Brock's The Republican Noise Machine: Right-Wing Media and How It Corrupts Democracy (2004).



February 2010

January 2010

  • January 4: format of WZON (103.1 FM, Bangor, ME) is switched by owners Tabitha and Stephen King (the novelist) to progressive talk


November 2009

October 2009

September 2009

July 2009

June 2009

  • June 30: final edition of "Politically Direct with David Bender"
  • June 22: final edition of AAR show "Doing Time with Ron Kuby"

May 2009

April 2009

March 2009


October 2008

August 2008

July 2008

May 2008

April 2008

March 2008

  • March 28: KSAC (1240-AM, Sacramento) switches from progressive talk to gospel and changes call letters to KRJY
  • March 22: Randi Rhodes uses vulgar language to describe Hillary Clinton and Geraldine Ferraro at an event in San Francisco; the incident later leads to her moving from Air America to the Nova M network
  • March 13: House members take up resolution of disapproval regarding FCC's December loosening of cross-ownership restrictions
  • March 5: Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) introduces resolution of disapproval regarding FCC's December loosening of cross-ownership restrictions

February 2008

January 2008


December 2007

November 2007

October 2007

August 2007

July 2007

  • July 12: Cal Thomas and Bob Beckel in USA Today on reinstating the Fairness Doctrine

June 2007

May 2007

April 2007

March 2007

  • March 30: WARF (1350-AM, Akron, OH) changes format to sports
  • March 14: KDXE (1380-AM, Little Rock, AR) changes format to sports
  • March 7: FCC hearing in Columbus, OH: "Future of Media Town Meetings"
  • March 6: Green Family Media purchases Air America Radio
  • March 5: WTWK (1070-AM, Burlington, VT/Plattsburgh, NY) switches to women's talk format ("EVE 1070")
  • March: KXNS (105.9-FM, Missoula, MT) switches to "Jack FM"

February 2007

January 2007

  • January 29: Air America Radio announces tentative agreement to be bought by Stephen L. Green
  • January 28: KPHX (1480-AM, Phoenix, AZ) goes on air as flagship station for Nova M network
  • January 27: "Media ownership rules: Economists: FCC withheld research" by John Dunbar in The Santa Fe New Mexican; study that found that local ownership resulted in more local news coverage was suppressed by FCC; copy of study surfaced three years later
  • January 10: KIST (1340-AM, Santa Barbara, CA) station sold
  • January 9: rally held in support of keeping progressive talk on WPTG (1230-AM, Columbus, OH) on announced day of format change
  • January 8: WPTG (1230-AM, Columbus, OH) flips format from progressive to conservative, a day ahead of schedule
  • January 4: Cincinnati, OH progressive radio listserv launched
  • January: announcement made that KXXT (1010-AM, Phoenix, AZ) would switch to Christian programming after January 31


December 2006

  • December 30: first meeting of Air America for Nashville
  • December 27: first meeting of Save Boston Progressive Talk
  • December 26: Columbus, OH progressive radio listserv launched
  • December 21: Boston, MA progressive radio listserv launched
  • December 21: WKOX (1200-AM, Framingham, MA) and simulcast station WXKS (1430-AM, Chelsea, MA) switched from progressive talk to Rumba (Latino music) by Clear Channel
  • December 21: WTPG (1230-AM, Columbus, OH) loses progressive talk format
  • December 21: WXXM (92.1-FM, Madison, WI) local group wins its fight to keep progressive talk
  • December 11: WSAI (1360-AM, Cincinnati, OH) loses progressive talk format
  • December 5: WKBF (1270-AM, Quad Cities, IA/IL) switches to Christmas music, never to return to progressive talk
  • December: KTXX (103.1-FM, San Antonio, TX) switches to Spanish-language programming
  • December: WHLD (Buffalo/Niagara Falls, NY) changes format to gospel, but continues to air "Democracy Now"

November 2006

  • November 8: WSMB (1350-AM, New Orleans, LA) loses progressive talk format
  • November: in Huntington, WV, WCMI takes over progressive talk from WRVC

October 2006

  • October 30: Nova M network founded by Sheldon and Anita Drobny
  • October 13: Air America Radio files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection
  • October 1: KXEB (910-AM, Dallas, TX) switches to Catholic radio as part of Guadalupe Radio Network (based in Midland, TX)

September 2006

August 2006

  • August 30: Mike Malloy fired by Air America Radio
  • August: progressive radio in Burlington, VT switches from WVAA (24-hour signal) to WTWK (weaker daytime-only signal)
  • August: WDOD (1310-AM, Chattanooga, TN) switches from Air America Radio to hits of the 1950s to 1970s

July 2006

  • July 14: Janeane Garofalo's last day as co-host with Sam Seder of "The Majority Report"

June 2006

  • June 23: president Gary Krantz announces that he'll be leaving Air America after a little more than a year
  • June 11: WMLB (1690-AM, Atlanta, GA) Air America syndicated programming terminated except for Al Franken Show

April 2006

  • April 6: CEO Danny Goldberg announces that he'll be leaving Air America after a little more than a year

March 2006

  • late March: Nova M Radio signs local marketing agreement with KPHX (1480-AM, Phoenix, AZ)



October 2004

September 2004

  • September 7: The Stephanie Miller Show launches

July 2004

  • July 13: WINZ drops sports for progressive talk, including Air America and Ed Schultz

May 2004

  • May 5: current owners of Air America Radio in default of contract; Sheldon and Anita Drobny reorganize the company

April 2004

  • April: WTND (Chicago) drops Air America Radio; WCPT (also Chicago) picks it up
  • mid-April: Air America Radio temporarily off the air in LA due to financial difficulties

March 2004

  • March 31: Air America Radio goes on air (24-hour format) on WLIB-AM (NY), WTND-AM (Chicago), KBLA-AM (Los Angeles), KCAA-AM (Riverside/San Bernardino, CA), KPOJ-AM (Portland, OR)

February 2004

January 2004

  • January 6: Al Franken signs deal with Air America Radio; March 31 "drop dead" date stipulated
  • January: Ed Schultz Show launches









Early 1990's

  • 1994: group of freshman representatives in Congress calling themselves the "Dittohead Caucus" declare Rush Limbaugh an honorary member of Congress
  • 1993: October 10: Rush Limbaugh admits to listeners his addiction to prescription painkillers and states that he will enter inpatient treatment for 30 days
  • 1993: WEFT (90.1-FM, Champaign, IL) goes to 24-hour format
  • 1993: Rush Limbaugh publishes See, I Told You So
  • 1992: Rush Limbaugh publishes The Way Things Ought to Be
  • early to mid-90s: Chuck Harder's The People's Radio Network is on the air


  • 1989: December: Chuck Harder's liberal Sun Radio Network bought by Kayla Satellite Network (half-owned by conservative Liberty Lobby)
  • 1988: Rush Limbaugh moves to WABC-FM in New York, which will remain his flagship station to the present day; his show is nationally syndicated
  • 1987: Chuck Harder starts the Sun Radio Network in order to syndicate "For The People"
  • 1987: FCC repeals Fairness Doctrine; Rush Limbaugh becomes one of the first to take advantage of this development
  • 1984: Rush Limbaugh returns to radio as a talk show host at KFBK in Sacramento, California, where he replaces Morton Downey, Jr.
  • 1984: June 18: Alan Berg, liberal radio show host, is shot to death; members of neo-Nazi group, The Order, are eventually convicted of conspiracy for the murder
  • 1981: February 23: Alan Berg debuts at Denver station KOA
  • 1981: WEFT (90.1-FM, Champaign, IL) goes on air
  • 1981: KPFT/Houston becomes the first public radio station to broadcast special programs in 11 different languages, serving the multi-ethnic Texas Gulf Coast communities


  • 1979: Florida's first community radio station, WMNF (88.5-FM, Tampa, FL), goes on air
  • 1977: WPFW/Washington DC goes on the air, after winning a six-year competitive process for the last available frequency in the nation's capital
  • 1972: Pacifica Radio establishes Pacifica Radio Archive and Pacifica Program Service established in Los Angeles
  • 1970: KPFT in Houston goes on the air and is bombed off twice during its first year by Ku Klux Klan attacks on its transmitter tower


  • 1960: commercial station WBAI-AM (New York, NY) is given to Pacifica Radio


  • 1949: first Pacifica Radio station (KPFA-AM, Berkeley, CA) goes on air

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