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Dems win, Entercom kills progressive talk

Posted by schroeder915 on November 9, 2006

If there was any question about Entercom’s politics, consider the fact that the day after the Democrats won control of Congress, Entercom killed the Air America Radio format in New Orleans.

Instead, dimwits Bob DelGiorno and Monica Pierre are hosting a local call-in format on 1350 AM, with redneck Spud in his usual local call-in format on 870 AM. Instead, Entercom is recycling its WWL programs on 1350 AM, this morning subjecting us to dimwits Bob DelGiorno and Monica Pierre, who are normally on 870 AM weekdays from 5-9 a.m., if you can listen to them without hurling, and redneck Spud has his usual time slot airing from 9-11 a.m. Entercom is calling their re-runs “on demand” programming. I’d prefer that they archive all of their newsmaker interviews on the WWL Web site.

In addition to a pack of redneck nitwits for radio hosts, WWL also broadcasts Rush Limbaugh in the middle of the day. So now, there’s absolutely no talk format alternative to the far right wingnuts, and since the Fairness Doctrine was killed by Ronald Reagan, there’s no way to require broadcasters to balance the perspectives aired.

Air America Radio was, until today, being broadcast on WSMB 1350 AM. WSMB is owned by Entercom, which also owns WWL 870 AM. The WWL 870 AM broadcast has, for the last several months, been simulcast on 105.3 FM.

The FCC should re-examine whether Entercom deserves to keep its licenses when it’s occupying two channels on the dial for exactly the same content, and when it drops a progressive talk format immediately after an election brings the Democrats to power in Congress to re-run the same programs it’s broadcasting on two other channels.

I called WWL yesterday to tell them to fire Spud McConnell after he accused Democrats of saying things that favor al Qaida. It’s the second time I’ve heard him make that ridiculous accusation, and of course, he can’t name names or provide any specifics. The WWL screener sarcastically asked me why I even listen to WWL if I don’t like it. I answered that it’s the only radio station in town that provides a local talk format, and that I tune in to see if there’s anything being aired of local interest. I complained that instead of local interest stories, we’re subjected to the right-wing rants of hosts like Spud McConnell, who admitted that he gets his news from Fox, and who had to ask his guests what a filibuster is. The call screener hung up on me.

I called in again this morning after I heard, during a news headline story, a quip that “ironically” Senator Mary Landrieu agreed with Bobby Jindal that the OCS revenue bill should get passed in the 109th Congress.

I fail to understand how Entercom — a Pennsylvania company — can keep it’s six New Orleans radio licenses when it’s so clearly not serving the New Orleans community with objective information. And that goes for every other commercial radion station on the dial. San Antonio-based Clear Channel owns seven New Orleans radio licenses as well, but offers absolutely no local talk, conservative or otherwise. If commercial broadcasters aren’t providing objective news at a time when New Orleans residents, trying to rebuild their homes and neighborhoods, need so much information, then they don’t deserve to keep their FCC licenses.

What can we do to fight back? I’ve love to get an attorney to contest one of Entercom’s licenses before the FCC, and start a true community radio station that provides meaningful, objective, local information for New Orleans residents.

For now, we can bug the hell out of Entercom! They’re tallying public comments about the format change.

You won’t have any luck calling the WSMB office. I suspect the station runs unattended because ads would frequently cut into the Air America broadcast.

Call Entercom’s office: 866-490-3153

If you want to bug them some more, call the WWL listener line: 260-1870.

You can also call the WWL office:

WSMB Talk Radio 1350
1450 Poydras St
New Orleans, LA 70112
(504) 593-2100

And you can try calling the WSMB office:

WWL 870 AM
1450 Poydras St
New Orleans, LA 70112
(504) 260-1870

Of course, you can also write a letter to the editor of The Times-Picayune (


John Kerry is a two-time loser


Please tell me I didn’t just hear WWL’s Garland Robinette say we should nuke Iraq!


The WWL toilet tank


What is the narrative of New Orleans?


Media democracy now (again)!


Media democracy now!


Demand more from WWL radio


Curious George’s Jackson Square speech redux


Here on Gilligan’s Island


Broadcasters scramble for eyes and ears


WWL audio blog

New Orleans radio personality Bob Walker was quoted in this re-printed 2005 City Business article:

Few station managers in New Orleans are from New Orleans – if any.


“WWL did not even have special reports and advisories at night during Tropical Storm Cindy after hundreds of thousands of people lost power and searched their portable radios for any information they could find,” Walker said. “All that was offered on WWL that night was syndicated radio garbage.”


WWL’s lack of community concern that night won’t soon be forgotten by its audience, Walker said. Enough cracks like that can eventually bring down a mountain, he said.

Maybe the New Orleans community would be served better if the FCC forced Entercom to give its 870 AM license back to Loyola University, which started WWL as the first radio station in New Orleans. Of course, then Loyola would have to revive its celebrated broadcasting program which it shortsightedly killed after Hurricane Katrina.

Letter to The Times-Picayune (exceeds recommended 200-word limit):

A day after the Democrats won control of Congress, Entercom dropped the Air America Radio progressive talk format in New Orleans. Coincidence? I don’t think so.


Air America Radio was, until Wednesday, broadcast on WSMB (1350 AM). Pennysylvania-based Entercom also owns WWL (870 AM), and four other New Orleans radio stations.


To its credit, Entercom offers the only local talk show format in New Orleans on WWL, but I take issue the lack of objectivity in the programming.


There was a moment of truth-seeking after Katrina when WWL hosts sought explanations for why New Orleans flooded, and to expose political cronyism. Lately, however, WWL hosts frequently seem to get lost in the issues, and pitch softball questions to guests.


It’s no secret that WWL isn’t presenting listeners with balanced information. WWL hosts aren’t bashful in displaying their partisan views, and WWL broadcasts Rush Limbaugh, who spews partisan vitriole and White House talking points.


The only alternative to WWL’s talk show format was Air America Radio.


Entercom killed Air America programming to feature re-runs of its WWL programs on 1350 AM. Meanwhile, the same content broadcast on 870 AM, is simulcast on 105.3 FM.


How can the FCC allow such redundancy in Entercom programming?


Furthermore, how can the FCC allow San Antonio-based Clear Channel to just program the same playlists around the clock on its seven New Orleans radio stations?


No matter what their political stripes, citizens have been poorly served by radio broadcasters since Hurricane Katrina.


When citizens are only given one side of an issue, they can neither confirm nor test their prevailing assumptions.


Since the Fairness Doctrine was killed in 1987, the only way that citizens have been able to hear different views on issues, and challenge the spin of politicians of any political party, was if other broadcasters presented them.


And when the only alternative to right-wing talk is repetitive music, citizens may not be getting information they need to rebuild their homes, their neighborhoods, and their lives.


Our democracy suffers, and we suffer, when we aren’t empowered with balanced information.


The FCC should re-consider every commercial broadcaster’s license in New Orleans in public hearings, asking how those licensees are serving a community still recovering from the worst disaster in American history. If commercial broadcasters aren’t responsibly using their licenses, the FCC should turn them over to community organizations that would better serve the public.


15 Responses to “Dems win, Entercom kills progressive talk”

  1. F P said

    Did you see the Bill Moyer show on this? Most of the show covered the gulf coast including a local community radio show.

    “Some activists describe the ongoing debate this way: A small number of mega-media giants owns much of the content and controls the delivery of content on radio and television and in the press; if we let them take control of the Internet as well, immune from government regulation, who will pay the price? ….”
    “The genius of the Internet was that it made the First Amendment a living document again for millions of Americans,” says Robert McChesney, a media scholar and activist and co-author of OUR MEDIA, NOT THEIRS. “The decisions that we’re going be making … are probably going to set our entire communication system, and, really, our entire society, on a course that it won’t be able to change for generations.”

    With the MOYERS ON AMERICA series, we inaugurate Citizens Class, an extensive, interactive curriculum designed to encourage and facilitate public discourse on the issues raised in the series. The workshop features multimedia discussions, reference materials on the key perspectives presented in the program, and questions for further reflection-all designed to stimulate deep and thoughtful community dialogue. Interested? Check it out.
    In search of specific information? Just browsing? Select topics below to explore a range of issues, from the new digital divide, voices from the debate over net neutrality, to ways to find out who owns your local media.

    You should get in touch with these other activists. Even if it is just to sign up for their newsletters and keep tabs on their efforts.

  2. F P said

    here is another good link to this stuff:

  3. Methinks it’s way past time to create a shit-storm over WWL’s content.

  4. f p said

    I hear the Republicans are going to start thier own Public Radio. The word is that the GOPBS is going to cancel Barney. They reasoning is that dinosaurs never really existed. It was fabricated in order to discredit creationism.

  5. MAD said

    I gave up on WWL Radio some time back. Aside from the boring blather, it is all commercials, all the time. What a waste this once fine station has become.

  6. MAD, it is not enough to give up. WWL isn’t the worst — at least they do public affairs programming, but they really need to hire some objective professionals who freaking read a good newspaper (or two, or three). They are *supposed* to serve the community with more than just right-wing drivel.

    FP, I think you’ll appreciate this.

  7. rickbrah said

    basicly all local radio media has gone back to biz as usual. wwl, and wist w/eric asher were hitting on all cylinders after the storm but all those radio jocks are back in the comfort zone in their homes in jeff. parish , the sliver by the river , or the north shore so the reality of whats going on in the rest of the metro area is only given lip service.

    i think the fairness doctrine would be better served by having on air hosts who are currently living in the stagnet zone sit next to these blowhards in the same studio.

    remember gerry v. and wild wayne hosting a show for a few weeks after the storm? and all the other pairings of opposites because there was only one transmiter up and running? it was some of the best radio i have ever heard in my life.

    put a human face on the day to day trails of someone living in a trailer or a house on a block that is only 50% ocupied and it becomes harder to not think about it and go back to your pre katrina prejudices.

    the only good thing for me about these cats going back to their drivel is i have rediscovered sports talk and wwoz.

    also is it just me ? was any one really bugged by that dumbed down howard sternish morning show on air america? complete with dumb sound effects to underscore the hosts point.

    less isolation and more interaction will be the only thing that gets the dumbasses on both the left and the right to see each other as humans.

    kumbayah mother fuckers.

  8. rickbrah said

    than again maybe this isnt such a good idea. look what happened to that one guy from lakeview who was living in a trailer and had to go to work every day at the radio. vince mainello.

  9. Rickbrah, I have to disagree with your characterization of Air America Radio sounding “Howard Sternish.” First of all, you can’t dumb down Howard Stern. He’s already in the sewer. Secondly, (I think you’re characterizing the Stephanie Miller Show which is, technically, syndicated outside of Air America), what Stephanie Miller does is make fools of right wingnuts who are handed their talking points by Karl Rove. I don’t like that we have to put up with one extreme or another, but if that’s the world the government has handed us after Ronald Reagan dumbed down the public square by killing the Fairness Doctrine, well, then that’s what we get.

    I totally agree with you about getting people on the air who are living with these problems on a day-to-day basis. That’s the point of my next post.

    Ha! I don’t know if it was the trailer that made Marinello snap, or having to work around a bunch of self-righteous redneck men. Then again, maybe he was a self-righteous misogynist like the rest of them.

  10. f p said

    here is what is happening now: new video here from crooks and liars and this stuff since the election:

    Reps. John Dingell (D-Mich.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) — both strong supporters of Net Neutrality — are set to take command of telecommunications policy when their party reclaims majority power in the House in January.

    According to a report today in Broadcasting & Cable, Dingell said that he will take a new crack at a telecom reform bill, and that it would “clearly” have to better address Net Neutrality and the public interest in general. “Our duty is not just to the Bells, but to good public policy and to protecting the public interest,” he told reporters…. read more here…

    and here:Whereas before, the big telephone companies and their coin-operated lobbyists were confident that Congress would simply roll over and do their bidding, today, no member of Congress can vote with the telecom cartel without full public scrutiny.

    The major telecommunications bill pending in the Senate is a massive giveaway to the phone and cable companies, and should be blocked during the lame duck Congress. It’s time to start from scratch in 2007, and begin having a genuine public debate about what the future of the media and the Internet should look like.

    It looks like MaRy Landrieu is undecided and Vittner is AGAINST Net Nutreality?? What is up with this?

    Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA)
    Undeclared on Net Neutrality
    Call Sen. Landrieu now at 504-589-2427
    Say: “I urge Senator Landrieu to protect Net Neutrality. Senator Landrieu should stand with the public and block all efforts to pass anti-Net Neutrality legislation in the 109th Senate’s “lame duck” session. More than a million Americans have spoken out forcefully in support of Net Neutrality. Senator Landrieu must stand with us to prevent the largest phone and cable companies from controlling the Internet. I urge the Senator to vote NO on Senator Stevens’ telecommunications bill (H.R. 5252 / S. 2686) should it go to the floor. We need to scrap this bad legislation and work together to pass Pro-Net Neutrality legislation in the next Congress.”

    Sen. David Vitter (R-LA)
    Against Net Neutrality
    Call Sen. Vitter now at 504 589-2753
    Say: “I object to Senator Vitter’s stance against Net Neutrality and am calling to urge the Senator to block all efforts to pass anti-Net Neutrality legislation in the 109th Senate’s “lame duck” session. More than a million Americans have spoken out forcefully in support of Net Neutrality. Senator Vitter must stand with us to prevent the largest phone and cable companies from controlling the Internet. I urge the Senator to vote NO on Senator Stevens’ telecommunications bill (H.R. 5252 / S. 2686) should it go to the floor. We need to scrap this bad legislation and work together to pass Pro-Net Neutrality legislation in the next Congress.”

  11. f p said

    where are those levee ladies? I want congratulate them on the 75% wipe out of the tax assessor legacy. They must be looking for something new to do?

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  13. rickbrah said

    hey mang. just talking about stepanie miller not air america..

    i love al frankin and the way he can dance with humor and compassion , and reason to make his point.

    his show should be a guide book for both the right and the left.

    people dont deserve a dumbing down of current events thru fear , sound effects , or inside jokes.

    the point of public airwaves is to educate the public.

    ( in an ideal informed world)

    and you dont do that thru confirming what one allready belives.

    so i guess that was where i was comming from with my nostalgia for the first two or three weeks of radio air in new orleans after katrina.

    thanks for talking back.

    the nola bloggers have been the best source of info since radio has gotten its arbitron back and had to go back to profits.

  14. rickbrah said

    i gots to quit drunk typing.

    you allready made all my points.

    thank you for this blog and all the nola bloggers.

  15. Clear Chanell just announced it’s pulling Air America in Madison WI

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