13 November 2012

[pdx_legends] KPOJ: The Death of A Radio Station

2890.This last couple of weeks … which I'm starting to think of as Portland's Fortnight of Suck … has taken many bits of wonder and sweetness away.

Losing Jack Ohman to the Sacramento Bee was bad enough, but at least we can read him as a syndicated cartoonist, as bittersweet as that will be. Does it need be said that I'll miss the incredibly fun Sunday stuff he did? Like I said, bittersweet.

Then we lost Kirk Reeves. That bittersweet note became a combo.

Now … KPOJ is pfft gone. Just like that. In a particularly graceless move, Clear Channel Portland, which is no Golden West Broadcasting, and I'll say that with conviction, announced, last Friday, that KPOJ was changing format (being 'flipped', as they say) to all-sports talk as of the following Monday, perhaps because they sensed that Portland was in desperate need of three 24-hour talk radio sports outlets.

The bittersweet combo went to full-effect bittersweet symphony.

I didn't see the need myself, but what do I know of advertising?

So, I log on about 4:20 PM. Somehow find this story at the WWeek announcing the change was two days out. Well. I turn on the radio, tuned to 620, of course, and there's Randi Rhodes as clear as you please.

And then I read the update: just to be whoever it is that they are, they decided to move the changeover to Friday. Which was, at that point in the proceedings, right now.

And, five minute later I was listening to FOX Sports Talk 620.

KPOJ hadn't just been flipped; it'd been taken out behind the back shed and shot, and I just got there in time to see it happen. Old Yeller was dispatched with more compassion.

So, really, if you want liberal talk in Portland … there's nothing. Seriously. Oh, I suppose I could lay out money to have satellite radio, but I'm na├»ve enough to believe in and remember a time when you didn't have to pay to have your radio (Isn't it odd that Americans would rebel against a BBC-style model but willingly put up with commercials or incur another bill from big bidness?) and news and information wasn't just another profit center.

And while KPOJ wasn't exactly the rockstar it was back in '04, when it started, it sure was solid, and had regular listeners and proud advertisers. All of whom, in the end, meant nothing to Clear Channel.

Well, there is some movement aborning to, if not bring back liberal talk radio to Portland, at least to prove there's a market here for it and that ignoring it would be foolish. The Facebook page Save KPOJ aims to prove there's a constituency, and Kari Chisholm (of BlueOregon) has started a campaign via the SaveKPOJ.com website.

Forlorn hopes at this point? Maybe. But in two days, the Facebook community has over 1,600 likes, and the petition at the website has amassed nearly 5,000 signatures.

It might not bring back KPOJ, at least not right away, but maybe there's a chance here to get in on the forging of a true independent and liberal tradition of news and information in Portland, which, being Portland, ought to have one.

Also you might want to like Carl Wolfson's page on Facebook and follow him on Twitter. Just sayin'.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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