With the recent bankruptcy filing by Air America, it would appear on the surface that experiments with progressive talk radio have met their maker. The thinking goes like this: It was too difficult to get traction against the juggernaut that is conservative talk radio and its dominance of the airwaves. Liberal talk radio simply could not compete.
While it would be easy to think this way, it would be incorrect to do so. Yes, the most visible manifestation of left-wing radio has been silenced, but that does not mean progressive talkers are not still out there plying their trade to large audiences hungry for a left-leaning take on the news of the day.
National Public Radio is the most obvious place to start. While the debate about which side of the aisle NPR tends to favor might linger among partisans, there is no doubt that the perception about NPR is that it leans heavily toward the left. There is also no doubt that the latest Arbitron figures have NPR reaching out to hundreds of affiliates nationwide, and to a listening audience of millions of people.
Other nationally syndicated progressive talk shows like Democracy Now, and shows hosted by Ed Schultz, Stephanie Miller, Bill Press, Thom Hartmann, Diane Rehm, and others, occupy places on the dial at stations such as KTLK-AM, the second largest talk station in Los Angeles, and WAMU-FM, the second largest news-talk station in Washington, D.C. There is also an entire station dedicated to liberal talk on Sirius/XM.
So to paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of the death of progressive talk radio have been greatly exaggerated. It still thrives, and it is still looking for good content to fill its segments and speak to its listeners.