06 April 2007

[pdx_media] KPOJ's Punctuated Equilibrium

753 Despite the snarkiness of my title, I'm actually quite pleased with the changes at KPOJ. But evolution is a gradual change, and if they want to borrow a term from the biological sciences, then that should be it.

Anyway! I am thrilled to hear that Mike Malloy will be coming back. This is a an upside/downside thing: if Mike were being broadcast live in Portland then he'd be on from 1800 to 2100. But that's okay; Mike's full program on tape delay is about 100% better than no Mike at all (the situation since he was terminated with no warning from AAR last October). For us Mike fans, KPOJ's rather lighthearted, gradual approach to changing the schedule have been a little maddening, but they have well redeemed themselves by making it worth the wait.

One thing I didn't count on was the shifts to the morning sked. Thom Hartmann, already a winner here amongst us lefties, didn't just have a three-hour morning show, he has for quite some time had a synidicated national show. When he came here to Oregon he continued, meaning he was on the mike for 6 hours a day–a marathon, apparently, in radio host terms, and in a market where the brightest local light is Lars Larson, this raises the average IQ of this market's radio output considerably.

They've gone to 6 hours of Thom in the morning, adding his natonal show live from 0900-1200. At first I was a little concerned; while Thom is stunningly intelligent, he gets a bit dry at times. But not to fear; the 0600-0900 block is adding a comic personality who goes by the name of Carl Wolfson. From what little I hear of him, he's quite funny and rather wry, which is right up my street; the dryer the comedy the better (you know, like Dennis Miller before his brains fell out).

I think the biggest takeaway here is given away by KPOJ's adoption of the term "The Flagship" when referring to Thom in general (it occasionally boggles the mind that Thom, with no shortage of fans already, relocated to Portland two years ago from Vermont–he was secure and popular there. Our grass must really be greener). Really, KPOJ, in three short years, has become a legend in the radio industry; first Clear Channel AAR affiliate, possibly the first of all AAR affiliates; it's programming and logo style have served as a template for other progressive stations; quadrupled listenership and kicked Lars's plastic ass with Randi Rhodes (Lars was beaten by a girl!).

But I digress just a little. KPOJ has really carved out a niche for itself as a radio power, and is a strong enough draw (based on the buzz I'm hearing–I'm not a media insider, there's other sites for that action) that I think it can stand on its own as a source of progressive programming regardless of who it affiliates with. KPOJ is big enough that it can become a center in and of itself, and that's the meaning of a Flagship.

I think in the future KPOJ will become more than a flagship for Thom Hartmann. I think it's going to become even more legendary.

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