Will They Hire the Hosts of Grey Matters?

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When Clear Channel confronts a left-liberal audience, it doesn't forget the profit motive. Inside Radio reports that the broadcasting chain is bringing "progressive talk" radio to Ann Arbor, the Berkeley of the midwest, with programming drawn from Air America and other lefty sources.

(N.B.: Ann Arborites interested in freeform dissent will be better off listening to my alma mater, WCBN.)

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  1. Sir, I’ll have you know that it is Madison Wisconsin that rightfully holds the title “Berkeley of the Midwest!”

  2. It’s the other way around…Berkeley is the Ann Arbor of the West Coast…recall that Tom Hayden et al formed SDS in AA in 1964-well before Berkeley became known as the petri dish of the counterculture.

  3. Also a WCBN alum here (’88), but I found it to be a pretty stiflingly P.C. place. Some great radio shows, but I’m not sure how much ‘dissent’ can happen there.
    A liberal talk radio show there in A-Squared is going to be one big-ass echo chamber.

  4. How about Lawrence, KS as the Berkeley of the Great Plains?

  5. Todd,

    I dunno, cause although it’s at the very edge of them, Boulder, CO’s also technically on the Great Plains! 🙂

  6. Elvis: P.C. at CBN ebbed and flowed. I came to the station in ’88 — right after you left, I guess — and I ended up doing a few talk shows in addition to my DJing. There were a couple other volunteers there during my tenure who also liked to buck the prevailing political winds, though one of them ended up getting fired. And I very nearly became director of public affairs programming, losing the job not because I was politically incorrect but because I turned in my application late.

    Musically, of course, it’s the best station in town.

    Anyway, I meant dissent from the national consensus, not dissent from the local consensus. CBN has that in spades. I suppose this new outfit will have it as well.

  7. Fyodor,

    Boulder would be more a Berkeley of the mountains. Maybe Berkeley is the Cambridge of the West…

  8. I’m a WCBN alum from the mid-late 90’s, and have fond memories of the Jesse Walker-era Grey Matters with Des Preston, a truly great hour of radio that helped to inspire me to ultimately get on board. One show I remember in particular was an extended take-down of the women’s-only Take Back the Night march…a truly heretical opinion at that time.

  9. I nominate Ann Arbor as the Oberlin of Michigan.

  10. One of my professors told me that the difference between Ann Arbor and Berkeley is that Berkeley is much more violent these days; he was a recent transplant to Ann Arbor.

    But yeah, as the joke goes being a conservative on campus here often means only semi-liberal democrat.

  11. AA also has a Clear Channel affiliate in Miami, WINZ-940 AM.

  12. “Musically, of course, it’s the best station in town.”

    Well, given the state of radio in Metro Detroit, I’d hope so. I’m not much of a CBN fan, as they always seem to be playing arythmic glitches interspersed with yak wailing instead of good old fashioned pretentious indie rock.

  13. Historically, UM/Ann Arbor was called the “Harvard of the West” this was back in the 1860s or so, of course… substitute “Midwest” if you like. Harvard was for hundreds of years the largest university in the country, and the fledgling UM eventually caught up with it and surpassed it, and at one point was pretty comparable academically (though it’s still not TOO far off), so there’s the origin.

    As for WCBN, it’s pretty spotty. I like the fact that DJs can play whatever the heck they want instead of having the same old run-of-the-mill “college radio” format with payola/playlists, etc. It all depends on who the DJ is and what the show is– sometimes it’s fantastic, sometimes it’s unlistenable.

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