Editor’s note: At NPI, we believe strongly in cooperation and collaboration, which is why we’ve been assisting a grassroots group called Progressive Radio Northwest in their effort to bring talkers like Stephanie Miller, Thom Hartmann, Randi Rhodes, and Norman Goldman back to the Seattle radio dial. Read on to learn more about their work and their upcoming event, Party on for Progressive Radio.
On January 2nd, 2013, Seattle became the latest in a string of major cities to lose its only progressive talk station when KPTK was switched to an all-sports format by its East Coast corporate owner. What’s a progressive radio enthusiast to do? Stay silent? Kvetch and complain to CBS? Shrug our shoulders and carry on?
We say: none of the above. As Mother Jones once said, “Don’t mourn, organize!” And that’s exactly what we’re doing. We’re Progressive Radio Northwest (PRNW), a group of dedicated volunteers working to develop a well-thought out plan to bring back strong-signal progressive radio to the greater Seattle area.
We support podcasting, streaming, satellite and new means of delivering programming as a way for activists and engaged citizens to stay informed. But that doesn’t mean we should abandon promoting the progressive point of view on the free public airwaves. As citizens, we all ought to be able to hear a diversity of views when we are channel surfing on the AM or FM bands.
Here are some important reasons we believe local, terrestrial progressive radio should have a place on the radio dial here in the heart of the Northwest:
- Radio stations rooted in the diverse, inherent character of their regions can be invaluable community resources.
- Listening to a live broadcast can be a uniquely powerful communal experience, and in turn a powerful vehicle to promote community. The newer technologies offer convenience, but so far lack this potential.
- Just because terrestrial talk radio is dominated by right wing talkers like Rush Limbaugh doesn’t mean we have to cede the free public airwaves to intolerance and misinformation.
- Even as broadcast technologies continue to evolve in coming years, the most widely listened-to outlets will be the ones that have already established a terrestrial radio audience.
With vision and bold, creative ideas, progressive terrestrial radio can be a valuable, viable endeavor that makes a significant contribution to the quality of life in the Pacific Northwest and to the national conversation.
The PRNW team has been reviewing a number of possible paths forward, from creating a community owned station to simply taking over an existing frequency. Streaming capabilities and other ways to interface with new technologies are a priority. We believe a new station ought to feature popular national shows as well as community content and local talent.
The challenge is clear. Broadcast content that used to be confined to the traditional AM/FM dial is moving beyond its terrestrial moorings to an exponentially expanding, increasingly decentralized media universe. With the proper leadership and financial support, however, the potential exists to create a new kind of business that will help local terrestrial radio thrive in the digital era.
We invite you to join us in paving the way for the return of progressive talk to the public airwaves. Let’s show potential advertisers and investors that the Greater Puget Sound can support strong-signal progressive programming.
On Saturday, January 18th, at the Impact Hub in Seattle, we’re holding a special event to reunite KPTK listeners and thank past advertisers — Party On for Progressive Radio, with special guest Norman Goldman.
It promises to be a wonderful evening, and we invite you to join us. Tickets are available now from Brown Paper Tickets, starting at $10.90. You can learn more about the event and our mission at our website. You can also like our page on Facebook to get updates from us. We hope to see you in a couple weeks!