Madison's The Mic, 92.1 FM, lives, thanks to some common sense and a little old fashioned political muscle and business pressure. It is clear that station manager, Jeff Tyler, was successful in convincing the corporate suits in Texas that Madison's progressive talk was not to be taken likely.
The sorry part of it is that companies like Clear Channel can have such a stranglehold on the public airways through the monopolization of so many licenses in a single market. Thank you, Ronald Reagan.
The cast of characters in this drama:
- Valerie Walasek, who made it clear that the responsibility for organization and commitment rests in each one of us. Some smart political organizer should hire her.
- The thousands of Dane County residents who proved that signing a petition and attending a rally do matter. Intensity counts a lot too.
- Jeff Tyler, Clear Channel's market manager, with over 25 years experience in Madison, proved to the suits he knew best.
- The millions of Americans without progressive radio can now redouble their efforts for free and open discourse on the airwaves.
- The right wing pundits who argued that weak market demographics accounted for the canceling of the Mic as a way of bashing the Left. Now they will whine all the way home about naked political pressure that made Clear Channel cave.
- The old Mic Advertisers. It was great to see so many businesses that were not afraid to advertise on the Mic the last two years, and were not afraid to stand up for progressive talk in Madison.
- The new Mic Advertisers. Welcome aboard.
- The sales staff at Clear Channel: You guys can do better. Come on and show us.
- Lee Rayburn and Jodie Shawback. We have to bring them back. The morning local programing was indispensable for our community.
- Brian Turany. The Mic's biggest cheerleader, station manager, who rode out one of the wildest rides in Madison media history, never losing his cool and his professionalism.
- Terry and Mary Kelly, Madison's original investors in Air America who are in the process of making heroic efforts to save Air America, who made public and private efforts to keep progressive talk going everywhere.
Update The Mic press release:
MADISON, Wisc. – December 22, 2006 – Clear Channel Radio-Madison today announced that the progressive talk format on WXXM FM, The MIC 92.1 will continue into 2007. The decision reverses an earlier announcement that the station would switch to local sports programming on that date..
"We are overwhelmed by the recent outpouring of support for our Progressive Talk format from the public, some of our community leaders and some dedicated local advertisers,” said Jeff Tyler, Vice President/Market Manager of Clear Channel Radio-Madison. “As a result, we have decided not to change the format of WXXMFM, The MIC 92.1 on January 1, 2007. We thank everyone who spoke, called, e-mailed and wrote to us intelligently and actively about keeping progressive talk on Clear Channel Radio in Madison. We deeply appreciate the local business leaders who are pledging their advertising support -- they are playing an enormous role in helping to keep progressive talk on the air in our community."