The Competitive Liberal Talk Situation Akron Never Got

For a few weeks this spring, the Akron market had two liberal talk stations. (Oh, OK, maybe one and a half.)

MediaCom’s WJMP/1520 Kent(/Akron/Cleveland/Mars/Jupiter), which has had just about every format under the sun including TV audio, had been running the Air America liberal talk network. Then, the 600 pound gorilla known as Clear Channel showed up in the middle of the market, announcing a change from sports to liberal talk for the station now known as WARF/1350 Akron. The announcement reportedly spurred MediaCom to dump AAR within hours of it, and the station’s now running the Fox Sports Radio feed formerly run by…1350.

While Akron never really got a competitive liberal talk situation, Sacramento looks like it’s about to get one. AllAccess reports that the market’s incumbent station in the format, KSAC/1240, is about ready to take on Jones Radio’s syndicated liberal talk product, including Stephanie Miller and Ed Schultz in their live clearances. It repeats market rumor that Entercom standards KCTC/1320 is about to flip to the liberal talk format, taking the Air America product that KSAC is moving away from. (KSAC will have one host now associated with Air America, Thom Hartmann, whose national program is now sold by the network’s new syndication arm in competition with their own Al Franken. Hartmann also does a local morning show for Clear Channel’s KPOJ/620 in Portland OR.)

There is one other market with a nominal “competition” among liberal talk stations. San Antonio has two FM rimshots running the format – one, Clear Channel’s KRPT/92.5 Devine TX, the other, KTXX/103.1 Karnes City TX, runs the full Air America schedule…minus Jerry Springer, which KRPT picked up on its own before the deal between the show and Air America was announced. KRPT has the signal advantage, by far, as its signal is somewhat closer to San Antonio.

EDIT: We’ve been reminded of another recent competitive liberal talk situation, in the Monterey/Salinas/Santa Cruz CA market…where KRXA/540 Carmel Valley CA recently launched, and KOMY/1340 Watsonville CA added some Air America programming. KOMY is the sister station of KSCO/1080 Santa Cruz CA, and its ownership and management is, well, interesting. The station owner recently complained that he found it hard to sell the new liberal talk programming on KOMY, though long-time observers of his operation would likely lay more of the blame on the colorful, controversial owner himself. (Yes, Radio Equalizer’s Brian Maloney, former KSCO talk host, we’re sure you know this.)

KRXA, by the way, is one of Bill Press’ first affiliates, for his show which launched right here in Akron on WARF/1350.

And back locally, aside from the fact that comparing the signal of puny 1000 watt east suburban daytime rimshot WJMP to full-market 5000 watt WARF is a bit unfair, it’d have been interesting to see if WJMP would finally have shown up in the ratings competing with Clear Channel’s product. Probably not, still, because of the nature of 1520 itself…a poor “little sister” to MediaCom’s dominant talk WNIR/100.1…

And if the new Fox Sports 1520 doesn’t pick up disaffected 1350 listeners, even in Kent/Ravenna, it’ll be fun to see what format Kaiser Bill and company try next on their little AM station…

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