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1480 KPHX - Phoenix Progressive Talk -- returns July 6

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will_in_chicago Donating Member (196 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-26-09 02:49 AM
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1480 KPHX - Phoenix Progressive Talk -- returns July 6
On Thursday night, I was at an event sponsored by the Arizona Advocacy Network. "Progressive Talk Returns" was billed as a forum with Dr. Mike Newcomb, who discussed the relaunch of 1480 KPHX as a progressive talk station as of 12:01 AM Phoenix time on July 6.

The following is an account of what was said during the forum, with some additional background information. I will comment in another post on some of my thoughts on the event.

For those who just want to learn who will be on the station, here is the weekday line up. All times are currently Pacific Daylight Savings Time.

3 AM -6 PM --- Bill Press
6 PM - 9 PM --- Stephanie Miller
9 AM - 12 noon --- Thom Hartmann
12 noon - 3 PM --- Randi Rhodes
3 PM - 6 PM --- Dr. Mike Newcomb
6 PM - 9 PM --- Mike Malloy
9 PM - 12 midnight -- A rebroadcast of the Ed Schultz Show
12 midnight to 3 AM -- A repeat of another show (unspecified show)

Dr. Newcomb did not say much about the weekend, save to say that weekend programming would be brokered.

Now back to my account.

Dr. Newcomb was introduced by Linda Brown, executive director of the Arizona Advocacy Network. She mentioned that Newcomb had first come on the air on KFNX 1100 AM in Ph oenix on July 3, 2003.

Newcomb began with an accounting of his involvement in Arizona Democratic Party politics. This began in 2000, when he volunteered for the campaign of David Mendoza against Republican Jeff Flake. While Mendoza lost, Newcomb said that he did a credible job against Flake. Newcomb also ran for governor in 2002. He said that he wanted to run on a progressive platform and address such issues as the quality of education and the state deficit. He said that he believes his involvement in the race brought progressives to the voting booth. He also said that he raised some issues that Janet Napolitano, the eventual winner of the Democratic Primary and the general election, addressed.

"The progressive message is somethomg that I have always believed in my heart and it is distinctly American," Newcomb said.

Later, Newcomb said he began broadcasting on KFNX 1100 AM and gained listeners. In September, 2004, he began broadcasting from 5 AM to 7 AM on KXXT 1010 AM. However, this came to an end in March 2006, when KXXT was sold to a Christian broadcasting company.

"We didn't want to quit. We know that there was a need for this format," Newcomb said.

Within a month, Newcomb said that listeners had raised some $100,000 for a new station. Progressive talk show hosts like Mike Malloy and Randi Rhodes asked their listeners to help with the effort. Newcomb contacted Jose Molina, owner of 1480 KPHX. He said that Jose Molina has become a dear friend and that his son Jonathan now operates the station, which has been family owned since 1979.

1480 KPHX became the flagship station of the Nova M Radio Network, based out of Illinois and run by Sheldon and Anita Drobny. There was a simulcast of 1480 KPHX and 1190 KNUV, before 1190 KNUV became the home of Nova M Radio and the Mike Newcomb Show.

Newcomb said that he had separated from Nova M Radio and was off for a year and a half before coming back in October, 2008. Newcomb said that Nova M Radio declared bankruptcy and 1190 KNUV shut down.

At no time during the forum, did Newcomb On Second Thought which operated 1190 KNUV for several weeks and featured the Mike Malloy Show, the Mike Newcomb Show and the Nancy Skinner Show. Newcomb was the owner of On Second Thought, which broadcast from February 18, 2008 to March 5, 2008. The Phoenix New Times and other sources reported that the doors to 1190 KNUV were padlocked days before the station switched to a Spanish language format.

Newcomb said that he talked to Jose Molina about restarting 1480 KPHX as a progressive talk station. He stated that the elder Molina called his show regularly and is a fan of the progressive talk format.

Additionally, Newcomb indicated that Jose Molina said that he would talk to singer Sheryl Crow for a benefit of the station. Newcomb also indicated that Molina would talk to Tina Fey and Bill Maher.

The new 1480 KPHX will feature a new website, set to become operational soon, Newcomb said. He added that his producer Eric Reinert has put up new features to allow for dynamic content on the site.

Newcomb said that he want to build a movement and give back to the community. The station needs to get sponsors and advertisers.

Additionally, Newcomb said that the station was the third highest rated news talk station in Phoenix after KFYI and KTAR. He said that he could see the 1480 KPHX being number two in news talk within two or three years.

Kathleen Osborne will be in charge of advertising, Newcomb said, while Reinert can be contacted about programming. Newcomb said that the weekend will have brokered program, and will feature such things a a religious program, a financial show, and an ethnic show on the Filipino community in Phoenix.

"I've always thought of the Progressive Coalition as a Rainbow Coalition," Newcomb said.

"I think that he the move voices we have the better it will be."

Newcomb responded to a question from the audience about the station's signal strength. He said that 1480 KPHX covers about 90 to 95 percent of the coverage area for Maricopa County but is weakest in a north south stretch near Scottsdale. He added that Jose Molina said he could apply to the Federal Communications Commission to upgrade the 5,000 watt daytime signal. However, that would be a future consideration and would require time and money.

On another topic, Newcomb indicated that he would be willing to criticize Democratic politicians. He added that he believed one day that society would consider discrimination against gay individuals the same way that we now consider discrimination against women and racial minorities.

Newcomb said that he might have a feed for local weather and traffic, something that requires funds.

In response to another question, Newcomb said that he almost became CEO of AAR in 2006. However, the deal fell through.

Newcomb indicated that he had spoken to former hosts on KPHX. He indicated that he has spoken to former KPHX afternoon host Jeff Farias and that Farias will not be part of the initial relaunch of the station. "If the stars are right, I would love to have him back."

Newcomb also indicated that he had spoke with Cyntha Black, who hosed Action Point with Cynthia Black on 1480 KPHX and 1190 KNUV.

Newcomb indicated that he would be ready to give the public a chance to speak. Linda Brown asked if the Arizona Advocacy Network could program a regular segment on the show each week on important local issues and events.

Newcomb responded by saying that the station will be ready to discuss an relevant issues and that we need to have a dialogue.

One audience member said that Phoenix has seen progressive talk stations come and go. He asked how things would be different this time.

Newcomb said that Jose Molina is willing to run the station as long as it is financially viable. The station needs sponsors and advertisers and publc support. Newcomb mentioned an internet club, and mentioned that the previous stations had one for $9.99 a month. He added that small donations had helped President Barack Obama win the election.

For a blog on the return of 1480 KPHX, check the following entry in the Phoenix New Times: Randi Rhodes Returns to Phoenix Airwaves as 1480 AM Reverts Back to Progressive Radio. Herb "Sarge" Phelps, hosts of Sunday Morning Coffee with Sarge, shares his impressions of the forum at Sarge Reports.

I will share some of my own observations on this event in my next post.
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will_in_chicago Donating Member (196 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-26-09 02:50 AM
Response to Original message
1. Some observations
I was somewhat surprised that no advertisers or sponsors were mentioned at the forum.

Additionally, I was somewhat surprised to hear about an internet club. The Nova M Radio Network had a Founder's Club, where listener's could donate to the network to obtain access to podcasts and other features. I am not certain what happened to the funds of the members of the Founders Club after Nova M Radio ceased operations, or who was or is responsible for such funds. I am not certain if anyone who was a member of the Founders Club lost money when Nova M Radio ceased its operations.

Herb "Sarge" Phelps indicated that Thursday night was the first contact he had with Dr. Mike Newcomb in some two years, despite Dr. Newcomb stating that he had been in touch with hosts from the former station.

I was VERY surprised that there was no mention of On Second Thought, the network which last operated 1190 KNUV as a progressive talk station.
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SargeUNN Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-26-09 03:29 AM
Response to Original message
2. I was there also and here is my thoughts on it
There was about 30 to 35 no more than 40 from my observations present. I was shocked at how Newcomb lifted facts from one time period to another and inserted them where they would fit better for his benefit, such as Arizona being last in education which he made a central part of his failed run for Governor. I lived in the state that really was last at that time, and worked to force the Mississippi politicians to get us out of last place during the time Newcomb was running.

Newcomb claimed he has talked to all former host on KPHX which I can attest is not true since my show Unreported News ran on that station for over a year and a half, but my first conversation with Newcomb since arriving in Phoenix over 2 years ago was AFTER his making this statement. Also I am aware of his rates which are way too high and he would expect to be paid this rate which was good when the station was doing well in September before the debacle of the axes fell resulting of the firing of half the staff.

I was very upset when he made his statements about Jeff which included the statement that Jeff "knew what he had to do to be on the air at KPHX" which means pay the too high price and have no say in the station. In other words, King Mike Newcomb.

Newcomb also said he had lots of sponsors and advertisers but never named even one while begging for money.

Newcomb needed a drum and bugle corp behind him as he waved his flag as the ultra progressive and failed to mention his statement on air of he likes Joe Arpaio and didn't have a problem with him. When the caller asked about Dan Saban, Newcomb played like he didn't know Saban was running even though Saban had spent thousands advertising on the station and most likely had Saban's ad run DURING his show.

I was also struck by the fact he called on certain people that are to be active in running the station asking questions as if rehearsed. He failed to mention that he still owes a lot of money on his ill fated On (ONE) Second Thought Network with a lot of unanswered questions about money still owed by him to some former employees. I Know of a case where Newcomb told a former employee he will NEVER pay him.

I was less than impressed would be the understatement of the year and to say I walked away feeling like I had just attended the old snake oil salesman pitch much more likely.
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zbdent Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-26-09 05:36 AM
Response to Original message
3. what's ironic is that Akron Ohio was the first station for the Bill Press show
and its station did get ratings ... when the station went to sports programming, they stopped reporting on its ratings ... must be so bad they're microscopic ...

and "the market"? RWers complain that the Northeast Ohio area is overwhelmingly "liberal/Dem" ... so their idea to "make a profit" is to provide exactly what the people DON'T WANT??? RW commentators?
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will_in_chicago Donating Member (196 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-26-09 12:34 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. A need for good plans
One thing that progressive talk stations need is good business plans. Such plans can help provide a growing revenue stream, and get word out about the station to listeners.

Another issue for many progressive talk stations is signal strength -- many of the stations have relatively weak signals in comparison to the 50,000 watt conservative talk stations that dominate many markets.

I don't think you can consider the radio business to be a free market when you have a handful of companies owning the majority of stations and determining the format. When I moved from the Chicago area to Phoenix, I had to wait until I was near Albuquerque to pick up another progressive talk station.
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zbdent Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-26-09 06:45 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. well, the owner of the Akron "Progressive" station had a business plan ...
(the owner being Clear Channel) ...

when the ratings were holding steady, and the "Progressive" message worked, resulting in the fact that the Dems recaptured the House and Senate ... the owner shut it down ...

I have it documented that, when Rush was brought in to the low-wattage station in Akron, they ran several near full-page ads with his face (and another RW talker) in the Akron Beacon Journal. This was for a few weeks.

When the "lefty" station came in, they got a line in an "entertainment" columnist ... just mentioning that a stunt was being pulled by a radio station where they were acting like someone was running a pirate station (something declared illegal a few years before, and cracked down on by the FCC, with Clear Channel's blessing) ...
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