Thursday, November 12, 2009

Radio Free America

I noticed the look of the AM1280 the Patriot web site has been updated. Most prominently, the podcast links for the various programs have been removed from the front page. They're now accessible only via the tiny "podcasts" button near the top of the page.

This move was no doubt caused by the migration of the national hosts toward the "premium," member subscription model for hearing their old shows. All of the Patriot Big Four went this way. Bennett, Prager, Medved, and Hewitt. One by one, they fell like dominoes over the past few months. Now, if you want to hear one of their old shows in their entirety, you have to cough up and pay the piper.

An iron curtain has descended across the talk radio universe. Behind that line lie all the stars of the ancient shows of conservative talk. The Hughniverse, Pragertopia, MedHead, Bill Bennett's Round Table, all these famous hosts and their guests lie in what I must call the membership sphere, and all are subject, in one form or another, not only to the influence of money, but to a very high and in some cases increasing measure of control from Karl Rove.

Slight exaggeration there. But I ain't happy. Getting to catch up on missed radio shows for FREE was a major value added feature of the Internets for me. I suppose you can't blame Hugh and the boys for starting to charge for content. They are talented and entertaining communicators. There is a demand for their broadcasts. The business model of giving content away on the Internet has proven to be unsustainable for other information providers like newspapers and magazines. Maybe it's time to give this a try.

Assuming they get people to pay for their old shows and the model becomes ubiquitous, we may look back at the recent past as the Golden Age of Internet Radio. (Tell us grandpa, what was it like getting to hear day old commentary from Erwin Chemerinsky for free?) Ah, I'm getting misty-eyed already.

I should mention there is at least one place where the Golden Age lives on. A magical land where you can get full broadcast hours, commercial free, and all available for the low, low monthly price of zero dollars and zero cents. That's right, it's the Northern Alliance Radio Network. You have to dig to find the podcast now, but here's a helpful link for you to bookmark:

NARN Podcasts

And it's not just us babbling. Recent broadcasts from the First Team include interviews with the likes of Michael Barone, John Derbyshire, Peter Schweizer, John Ondrasik, Michele Bachmann, and Pat Anderson.

I know that ain't exactly the level of quality that the local competition is offering up on Saturdays, with the likes of Ron Rosenbaum interviewing Pat Kessler. But give us a break, we're volunteers. We do it for love, not money.

Remember, NARN broadcasts LIVE on Saturdays starting at 11AM, podcasts usually up by Monday afternoon. Now, as ever, 100% premium membership fee free.

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