Friday, November 23, 2012

The Chronicles of NARN: Higher Ed

Since its inception (March 2004 to be exact), the Northern Alliance Radio Network has aired weekends on local station AM 1280 WWTC (The Patriot). Since about October 2004, when I first learned of this local version of weekend conservative programming, it has been appointment radio for me personally.

As certain members of the NARN have come and gone, Ed Morrissey, along with Mitch Berg and King Banaian, have been stalwarts of the group. While Mitch and Ed continued to he heard Saturdays 1-3 pm on AM 1280, King moved to our sister station, AM 1570, where he can also be heard on Saturdays, from 9:00 until 11 a.m. So when I came aboard the NARN in June 2011, I echoed a certain sentiment of comedian George Gobel. In 1969, Gobel appeared on The Tonight Show and sat in the presence of host Johnny Carson as well as legendary guests Dean Martin and Bob Hope. Upon looking around, Gobel queried "Did you ever get the feeling that the world was a tuxedo and you were a pair of brown shoes?"

On Wednesday evening, I received a call from Mitch regarding the latest change in NARN programming. It appears that Ed has chosen to move on, a decision he explained via his regular blog Hot Air.  

So why leave? I’ve decided to take on some new pursuits, especially in catechesis and service within my faith. That will take a considerable amount of time over the next couple of years at least — and perhaps longer than that. That means I need to clear some time for myself and my family on the weekends.

I’d like to thank The Patriot and their team for nine years of great support. The station manager, Ron Stone, was sorry to see me go, but tremendously understanding and supportive of my decision. Ron asked me to come back occasionally as a guest, as did Mitch, and I look forward to doing so. For now, though, Mitch will do the show solo — and I know he’s going to do a terrific job.

Ed definitely brought a lot of national credibility to the NARN, given his excellent work at the wildly popular Hot Air. In fact, if you listen to conservative titan Rush Limbaugh on a regular basis, you'll hear him cite Ed's writings quite often.

It was October 2003 when Ed threw his proverbial hat into the blogging ring. I've heard Ed say that he began this venture merely due to the fact that one can write only so many "Letters to the Editor." Hence, Captain's Quarters was born.

I don't know that Ed looked at this milieu as anything more than channeling his inner pundit. However, in 2005, Ed was unwittingly launched into national prominence when he blogged about a scandal involving Canadian politics. Since Canada does not have the same free speech privileges that we have in America, the Canadian media was not allowed to cover the story. However, Ed took the reins on "Adscam", which alleged the Liberal Party of Canada funneled government funds through Canadian advertising firms. As such, Ed's blog became the only source of information regarding Adscam for Canadians to access. At the height of this story, Ed's blog received close to half million visitors per day, about 10-15 times his normal traffic. From there, Ed became an in-demand national speaker and conservative pundit for some of the more prominent conservative media outlets. He then parlayed that notoriety into a full time blogging position with Hot Air, where he has been since March 2008. Not bad for a guy who, merely five years prior to that, looked at blogging as a hobby outside of his work as a Call Center manager for a security alarm company.

Despite his escalating success and higher profile, Ed has remained as down-to-earth as when I first met him in early 2005. In fact, when at Right Online a year-and-a-half ago, I was borderline amused at all the people lining up to talk to Ed after one of the breakout sessions he conducted. Folks were overjoyed at having their picture taken with Ed as well as being able to have a one-on-one conversation for just two minutes. Not surprisingly to me, Ed was very accommodating to all the requests and interactions.

Even though I have rarely seen Ed more than once per month, I will miss his presence on the NARN. He and Mitch were a fantastic duo and balanced each other superbly. With any justice, they would have their own nationally syndicated gig on a daily basis. But Ed is making this decision to leave the Saturday NARN broadcast for exactly the reasons I'd expect: his commitment to his Lord as well as to his family. With that in mind, I wish him nothing but the best.

Godspeed, Ed.


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