Saturday, January 01, 2011

End of an era

For the past 5-6 years, the Northern Alliance Radio Network has been a weekly staple in my life. Every Saturday, beginning in March 2004, a conglomerate of Twin Cities bloggers gathered together in a minuscule Eagan studio. Mitch Berg, a long-time radio vet who sort of quarterbacked the show in its early days, once told me they had about five guys in the studio at once with 2-3 others waiting outside.

Eventually, the NARN guys were given three two-hour segments from 11:00 am until 5:00 pm every Saturday, which meant all these great political minds were given ample opportunity to be on the air. As time went on, the 3-5 slot gave way to Sons of Liberty, leaving NARN with John Hinderaker and Brian Ward on the 11-1 time slot and Ed Morrissey and Mitch from 1-3.

But as I learned today, via Hinderaker himself, The First Team of the Northern Alliance Radio Network is now defunct.

We learned last week that the radio show Brian Ward and I host on AM 1280 the Patriot is coming to an end. The station has sold our 12-1 hour on Saturdays to someone who is willing to pay for the privilege of broadcasting. They are working on selling the 11-12 hour and expect to do so within the next few weeks. Apparently the amount the station can command by filling the time slot with infomercials exceeds the advertising revenue for our show, even though our ratings have been good. Very good, if you take into account our zero budget and the station's erratic signal, and add those who listen on the internet.

But that's how it goes. Our relationship with WWTC has always been a marriage of convenience; no money ever changed hands. Because they didn't pay us, the station never told us what to do. It's been a remarkable thing, over the last five or six years, to be able to commandeer a radio station for two hours a week to do whatever we wanted. I've often said that everyone should have a radio show.

I will definitely miss John and Brian, especially their weekly bits of "Loon of the Week" and "This Week in Gatekeeping." Both were very astute in the current events on the political scene while at the same time possessing the inherent ability to discuss lighter topics, including sports and pop culture. As such, it was one of my favorite two hours of radio on a weekly basis. Naturally I'm a bit biased since Brian turned to me on four occasions last year to fill in on their NARN broadcast. Sure, I had opportunities elsewhere to do talk radio prior to my stints on the NARN. But since I had gotten to know Mitch, Ed, King, Brian and Chad, and consider them all friends, it was extra special to be able to share the same airwaves with them. After all, I often relied on these guys for insights into some of the most vital political news, local and national.

But thanks to the power of the internet, I will still have that connection to John and Brian through their respective blogs. And it is my sincere hope I will continue to see them out and about at the various blogger gatherings.

Godspeed, guys!


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