Feathered Bastard

Randi Rhodes Returns to Phoenix Airwaves as 1480 AM Reverts Back to Progressive Radio

After reporting earlier this year on the slow, painful collapse of progressive radio with the implosion of left-wing network Nova M here in Phoenix and the padlocking of its short-lived replacement at 1190 AM, I've been deluged with phone calls and e-mails from loyal listeners of the lefty airwaves, asking me when liberal on-air personalities such as Randi Rhodes, Mike Malloy and Stephanie Miller will return to Phoenix radios.

Well, the word seems to be that liberal talk radio will be back at KPHX 1480 AM this July 6, and, apparently, without the self-destructive influence of Nova M and its owners Anita and Sheldon Drobny. According to Kathleen Osborn, an account exec with "Phoenix Progressive Radio," the new venture is headed by KPHX owner Jose Molina, whose station changed format to lounge music when Nova M ditched 1480 AM and hightailed it to KNUV 1190 AM.

Osborn is already soliciting advertisement for the talent lineup which she has listed thusly: Bill Press, 3 a.m. to 6 a.m.; Stephanie Miller, 6 a.m. to 9 a.m.; Thom Hartmann, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.; Randi Rhodes, 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.; Mike Newcomb, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.; Mike Malloy, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.; and Ed Shultz, 9 p.m. to Midnight.

I'm happy to see Rhodes, easily the most talented talker on the left, in this tentative schedule. And the inclusion of Ed Schultz should hearten those who appreciate his two-fisted progressivism. But Mike Newcomb in drive time? Sorry. Dr. Mike might be on the right (um, or left) side of history, but he has all the appeal of soggy Pall Mall. The new 1480 AM would be better off looking elsewhere for local talent, unless Newcomb has put up some of the seed moolah for the venture. In which case, might I suggest the still empty Midnight to 3 a.m. time slot.

As far as a local lefty with a devoted following, Jeff Farias would be a better bet. He and Nova M parted ways last year when the Drobnys went on a tear and fired station manager John Manzo. Since then, Farias has been doing a successful online show, livecast from his garage. It's impressive to watch Farias fans call into a show that you can only get via the Internet. Farias has continued the show, even since scoring a midday slot beginning at 11:30 a.m. on KXXT 1010 FM.

In any case, I hope this changeover from the Rat Pack music to progressive talk goes down. Don't get me wrong, I love me some Sammy Davis, Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra. But that's what the Good Lord made iPods for.

Below is the full text of an e-mail Osborn's sending out. I spoke with Osborn to confirm the e-mail, and the media kit attached to the e-mail certainly looks professional and legit. Also, the station's Web site promises, "The New 1480KPHX.com Coming Soon." Finally, who would be advertising the fact that they have a snoozer like Mike Newcomb on during drive time if it weren't true?

(At least one of my other sources in the local radio biz has confirmed that the changeover is occurring to his knowledge. Messages left for Mr. Molina have yet to be returned.)

If I hold out some skepticism, it's because the lady who answers 1480 AM's phone was completely bewildered by my call looking to confirm this shift in KPHX's programming. She promised to call me back with more info. Hopefully nothing's amiss. But, well, we are talking about progressive radio...

From: Kathleen Osborn [mailto:[email protected]] 
Sent: Tuesday, June 16, 2009 4:11 PM

Subject: Fw: The Return of Progressive Radio in Phoenix! 1480 KPHX
Importance: High
 Dear Phoenix Progressive Radio Advertiser,
We are pleased to announce the return of Progressive Radio here in Phoenix, the 5th largest city in America! Our launch date is scheduled for July 6, 2009 on 1480 KPHX! As you may or may not know, Jose Molina is the owner/operator of the station located at 824 E Washington in Phoenix. Jose is a 30 year veteran of radio and a loyal Progressive listener. Jose is looking forward to bringing the Progressive format back to Phoenix and he is also excited to involve the community as well as supporting  our station with upcoming charity events, concerts and golf tournaments to name a few. We are recapturing the spirit and the glory of Progressive Radio and appreciate your support!
Talent Line Up:
Bill Press           3AM to 6AM
Stephanie Miller  6AM to 9AM
Thom Hartman    9AM to 12PM
Randi Rhodes    12PM to 3PM
Mike Newcomb  3PM to 6PM
Mike Malloy       6PM to 9PM
Ed Shultz          9PM to Midnight
We are reaching out to you and we are getting an overwhelming amount of support, everyone is very enthusiastic about this announcement. I want to give you the best price, so we are honoring a 30% discount until July 31, 2009 or until our clocks fill up!
Attached you will find our Media Kit with the daily line-up as well as our rates and show clocks. Please review the clocks so that you can identify the spot positions that you desire. Once you have chosen your desired positions in the clocks, you can scroll to the final page which is our advertising contract. Please fill that out and return to me. You may fax or email it.
I am very excited about Phoenix Progressive Radio 1480 KPHX and I look forward to meeting you and working together!
Kathleen Osborn
Senior Account Executive
Phoenix Progressive Radio
1480 KPHX
Phone: 480-277-9125
Fax:     602-257-1351