Sunday, January 02, 2011

A Farewell to NARN

Here's one way to lose a volunteer employee, from the Seinfeld episode, The Bizarro Jerry:

KRAMER: What did you want to see me about, Mr. Leland?

LELAND: Kramer, I've ... been reviewing your work ... Quite frankly, it stinks.

KRAMER: Well, I ah... been havin' trouble at home and uh... I mean, ah, you know, I'll work harder, nights, weekends, whatever it takes.

LELAND: No, no, I don't think that's going to, do it. These reports you handed in. It's almost as if you have no business training at all. I don't know what this is supposed to be!

KRAMER: Well, I'm just tryin' to get ahead.

LELAND: Well, I'm sorry. There's just no way that we could keep you on.

KRAMER: I don't even really work here!

LELAND: That's what makes this so difficult.

It didn't *quite* go that way between the First Team of the Northern Alliance Radio Network and AM1280 the Patriot. But at least that last exchange has a ring of truth to it.

As John Hinderaker reported earlier on Power Line, the six year run of our volunteer participation at The Patriot has come to an end. I won't go into all of the details behind the move, John does a good job of that in his summary. I will say that it did come as a surprise when we were informed earlier this week that our time slot was going to be immediately turned over to more, shall we say, revenue generating friendly programming.

It's too bad sufficient revenue couldn't have been raised from our program alone. From my perspective as a radio listener, it was at least the equal of what the competing talk stations were putting up during that time. In terms of the quality of national guests and commentary featured, no shows on other local stations came close to providing it.

A final 1 hour "goodbye" show was broadcast on Saturday morning John hosted from the studio and I was able to join for most of it via phone. (If only I would have realized this was possible a few years earlier. Radio LIVE from the comfort of my home. Broadcasting withering and anonymous social commentary in my underpants!). If the podcast goes up on the Patriot Web site, I'll post a link later. It was heartening to hear the appreciation for the show expressed my many listeners. Thanks to all who listened and called in over the years. It was always a pleasure to hear from such intelligent and committed conservatives. They provided a much needed reminder that the state of Mark Dayton and Al Franken isn't uniformly loony.

Also, thanks to our NARN colleagues, Mitch Berg and Ed Morrissey. They were there at the beginning and continue soldiering on with the best local weekend political talk radio in town. You can still catch them on the Patriot at 1PM, I know I will be. And thanks to King Banaian, or should say Rep. King Banaian. Another standout from the original NARN cast. I'm glad to hear that despite his new duties as a state legislator, he'll be back on KYCR, 1570AM, starting this Saturday at 9AM. All three were great to work with and have become good friends.

Thanks to the producers we've had over the years. Joe Hanson (RIP), Andy, Ryan, Matt Reynolds, Irina, Anastasia, Jon Osburne, and our current producer (the best we ever had) the great Tommy Huynh.

A special thanks to my co-host for these past couple of years, John Hinderaker. What a pleasure it was to get to pick the brain of one of the smartest and most articulate conservatives in the country on a weekly basis. Although people might not realize it from his sober commentary on Power Line, he's also a gregarious and fun loving guy and has become a good friend as well.

Thanks to the dearly departed Chad the Elder, who had to bail a few years ago due to pressing familial commitments. Although he made a few cameo appearances over the years, the show lost something significant without regular doses of his wit and wisdom.

Thanks as well to our two favorite fill-in hosts, during those rare and well-deserved breaks John and I would be forced to take: Paul Happe, aka the Nihilist in Golf Pants with his unique voice and cutting insights, always a riot to work with. And Brad Carlson, another smart and funny local conservative, one with significant radio chops. He could be working professionally as a talk radio host.

The godfather of the NARN, Hugh Hewitt needs to be recognized. He vouched for us at the outset and got us on the air. And over the years he has been unceasingly generous with his time, advice, good humor and provision of opportunity.

Finally, a special thanks goes out to the management of AM1280 the Patriot and Salem Broadcasting. Letting a bunch of amateurs take over their airwaves for free, and with complete creative control, for over six years must be an unprecedented act of charity and bravery for commercial radio in the USA. It was a fun ride for us all and a real service to the local conservative movement.

I suppose there is a chance that the NARN First Team could be reconstituted for broadcast at some point in the future. But in case that doesn't happen, we go out with a smile. Thanks to everyone who listened and helped with the show. It was the time of our lives.