On Friday, I delivered the news of my decision to end the daily broadcasts of the PBC Show.
Our last live broadcast will be Friday, March 20, which will replay on some stations through March 22.
Since we started on KRXA in 2005, I’ve been covering the costs of producing the show and delivering it to our affiliate stations by satellite. With phone bills and the other expenses, it adds up to more than $5,000 a month. We get a little advertising revenue and some generous listeners contribute, but most of it is absorbed by my small business, Collins Media Services. Until last summer, I was able to cover the costs from my work as a radio producer and consultant. Like everyone else, the Bush recession has hit me hard.
To make money in syndication, we need to be on 20+ stations and at least one of the big 3, NY, LA, Chicago. As an independent, self-syndicated show, we’ve had to compete with Air America, Dial-Global and Nova M programs, and for various reasons, the PBC Show didn’t break through. Air America is the brand that most people connect with progressive talk radio, and their bankruptcy and sequence of blunders has, unfortunately, defined our collective efforts in a negative way that has provided an easy target for the non-liberal media. As a result, the total number of stations offering progressive talk in the US peaked at about 105 in 2006, and is now around 70. Miami, DC, and even Ann Arbor have lost their progressive stations in the last month.
Over the past 3.75 years, I’ve tried it all. I pitched all of the Air America programmers except the current one, who never returned my calls or emails. I was offered a deal by Nova M, but they reneged in a bizarre story I’m saving for my talk-n-tell book. Air America just announced that Montel Williams will be their new offering in the Thom Hartmann time slot, which tells us that Jerry Springer’s flameout was just their first attempt to retread a tabloid TV host as a “progressive” radio host.
As I said on Friday, I’m very proud of what we’ve done here, and grateful to my partner, Kathee Shatter, for indulging my risky business, and to two exceptional producers: Matt Renner (now DC editor at Truthout.org) and Katrina Rill. Katrina was with me when we euthanized my satellite radio show, and I’m sorry she has to go through it again.
I’m grateful to every listener, even the ones who think I’m full of it, for taking the time to listen. And to those who called and emailed and sent letters and checks, I couldn’t have done this without you. To the many fine guests who spent time on the show, and especially to the regulars, I thank you for your immeasurable contributions to my program and to the knowledge base of my listeners.
Thanks for all the emails in response to this news, I will try to answer as many as I can, and all will be saved so we can notify you of future plans. I’m not going away, and may launch a podcast and/or weekend radio show after I take a break to recharge and re-wealth. Special recognition to generous individuals who have clicked on “You Can Help” and made contributions, including the whopper from Seattle. Your contributions will be used to retire some debt, pay off the bills and give Katrina and Nick something extra for their dedication. No pressure, no guilt, but if you can help, you have my gratitude.
Many people who heard the $5,000 monthly cost figure have emailed to pledge $10 a month and said, “how do we find the other 499?” We have tried that to some extent, but I don’t want to turn the show into a pledge-a-thon, ’cause I listen to the radio, too, and don’t like them. Plus, I’m well aware that many of my listeners can’t even spare $10 a month right now. Overall, I don’t think we can shift to a voluntary subscription plan to produce a reliable funding stream.
If you disagree, email me: email@example.com Tell me if you’re willing to subscribe for at least 6 months, and how much you can pay. If enough people respond by Monday night 3/16, I will make a final review of this decision. Dave Berman in Eureka, Tom McAfee in SF, and Aldous Tyler in Madison have offered to coordinate this kind of effort, but I need to give them your names and emails.
Keep listening this week, call in when you can–we’ll try to get allof our favorite guests to check in, too.