Believe it or not, I have some conservative readers — really conservative readers. During my break, at least one was aghast that AM1280 The Patriot had replaced the “First Team of the Northern Alliance” show hosted by Power Line’s John Hinderaker and Brian Ward of Fraters Libertas. You can read Hinderaker’s good-bye here and Ward’s here.
Even though The Patriot’s 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday slot isn’t familiar territory, I am nothing if not an equal opportunity media reporter. Hinderaker wrote that The Patriot (owned by Christian broadcaster Salem Communications), chose to sell the weekend hours to programs willing to pay for it; he and Ward did the show for free, and didn’t pay to hear themselves on-air.
No matter what your ideology, paid programming usually equals lousy programming, which has caused teeth-gnashing among fans. Patriot operations manager Lee Michaels acknowledges that he wanted to move a show that had been on the air for eight years — “Money Talk Live With Josh Arnold” — to noon-1 p.m. It’s the lead-in to what I guess is Northern Alliance’s second team, featuring bloggers Mitch Berg and Ed Morrissey, who are on 1-3 p.m.
At the moment, the 11 a.m.-noon slot features a “best of” from Salem host Dennis Prager.
It’s common in the radio biz to sell your lightly listened-to weekend hours, because the checks from the product pitchers and investment gurus easily outstrip ad revenue. Still, Michaels insists he didn’t expel the Power Line/Libertas boys: “We did not cancel the First Team of the Northern Alliance (NARN1). We offered them the opportunity to do a shortened one-hour show or to move the show and do it live from 5-7 p.m. or pre-tape a show for either a Saturday or Sunday play at another time. They declined all these offers.”
Having done my share of garbage-time radio, I can understand anyone who doesn’t want their volunteer gig jerked around. “There is an outside chance that the show might be reincarnated on another station,” Hinderaker wrote. “Most likely, though, it will be time to turn the page on this aspect of our civic involvement.”