Another progressive talker falls victim to the rightwing corporate stranglehold of our public airwaves...
By Brad Friedman on 3/13/2009, 8:25pm PT  

The Peter B. Collins Show will come to an end, as of next Friday, according to an announcement by Collins on today's broadcast. After nearly five years on the air, the economic climate, and the stranglehold of rightwing corporate control over the public's airwaves has made it impossible for him to continue.

We've been a regular weekly guest, as well as an occasional fill-in host, for Peter since not long after he first began broadcasting his syndicated show, first heard on Monterey, California's KRXA 540am and, until next Friday, on stations in San Francisco, Eureka, CA, Portland, OR, Seattle, WA, Missoula, MT and on the Internet. His call to us earlier today with the news, a few hours prior to our weekly scheduled appearance during the final hour each Friday, was heartbreaking, but hardly surprising in today's climate for nearly everyone but the vast majority of rightwing whackjob radio hosts propped up by rightwing corporate interests.

After a quick segment, during our appearance on today's show, discussing a number of this week's developments in elections issues, we turned to the matter of his leaving the air, and our belief that the playing field is indisputably rigged against non-rightwing talk radio. It's not a matter of "Progressive Talk" having failed in America, it's a matter of progressives, to this day, not having been given a level playing field on which to compete. Period.

See the bottom of this article for the audio of today's hour, including Peter's announcement (and his very kind "emphatic endorsement" of us to take over the still-available 3p-6p PT daily timeslot on San Francisco's Green 960.)

As our friend and progressive talker Thom Hartmann pointed out on his show this morning, Stephanie Miller, another friend and progressive radio host, noted that she's syndicated on some 60 affiliates from 9 to Noon ET each weekday, while rightwing whack-job Laura Ingraham is on some 300 stations during that same time slot. Yet, Hartmann noted, Miller beats Ingraham in almost every single market where they air at the same time. Does that sound like fair competition, or that "Progressive Talk" has failed? We haven't failed, corporate America, however, has failed you.

More details on all of that, in the audio of today's hour posted below. It should also be noted, by the way, that PBC mentioned he'd be open to the idea of an angel from heaven dropping in to help meet his $5000 monthly nut. If someone could do so, a long shot we both realize, then one of the nation's most intelligent, informative, insightful, entertaining and important progressive voices would likely be able to stay on the public airwaves, where he belongs...

Here's part of PBC's announcement today:

Earlier today I've announced that after reflection, consideration and a few setbacks, we're going to wrap up the Peter B. Collins Show a week from today. And I'm very disappointed, obviously, in telling you this and in ending the show. Because it means a lot to me to be able to connect with you every day.

I am so pleased at the listeners to this program, and how smart you are, how well informed you are, and the level of discussion we're able to generate on a program like this.

And when you compare it with so much else that's on the dial, that's reduced to just name-calling and snivelling and self-aggrandizement for the host, I'm very proud of what we've done here and I have no regrets about that.
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I really call on listeners to speak up, not on my behalf, but for what you want from talk radio. And make sure that the operators of the radio stations in your area know how you feel and no that you don't want "shock talk", that you don't want tabloid radio.

We concurred wholeheartedly with Peter's sentiments, of course, and continued to discuss related concerns about the progressive radio conundrum, and the corporate media's failure to meet their Constitutional responsibility as the only industry given special dispensation in that document. No, as we noted on air, Peter B. does not get to enjoy the same freedom of the press and freedom of speech that Rush Limbaugh does.

Peter later went on to very generously add --- as he's now taken himself out of consideration for the afternoon time-slot on San Francisco's Green960 (KKGN) --- that he'd love for folks to throw their votes of support to us on the Green960 website's listener poll to help determine who will now fill that slot. We discussed our presence on "the short list" for that show a week or so ago, noting that "stacking the deck" and "stuffing the ballot box" in this election is actually encouraged by the station! So please vote for us, as much as you like. PBC-approved!

"I'd love to throw my emphatic endorsement behind you," Peter said on air today. "I would like to ask all of my listeners, wherever you are, whether you're in the Bay Area or not, to log onto Green960 and go ahead and vote for Brad, and then go ahead and vote again." (Thanks, amigo.)

On a personal note... It is with great sadness that I received the news today, and share it with you here. Peter's willingness to discuss, week in and week out, what I consider to be one of the most crucial issues facing our nation --- election integrity --- has put him almost entirely alone among his progressive talker colleagues, much less among radio broadcasting as a whole.

His keen understanding of the issues at stake, his willingness to understand them, and to take action, even when there was not an impending election over the years, his skill in breaking news by bringing on newsmakers to join us during many weekly appearances --- from election officials, to advocates for and against all matters of election integrity-related issues --- puts him alone in his field. Barring that miracle, his voice will be missed. His public advocacy, on this issue, and on so many others like it --- about which, often times, only he has been willing to cover --- will be a great loss to our Republic. More than most of us likely realize.

He's also one grade-A, first-class human being who has been incredibly supportive of me, and everything I do around here, for many many years. Rare in the world. And even rarer in the radio business. So thanks, Peter, for having me along for the ride.

Here's the MP3 of today's hour (actually 40 mins, w/ commercials removed, courtesy of Green960), or you can listen online right here...

We'll be back with PBC on his final show (for now!) next Friday at 5pm, as usual...