Channel this

Gambling man: You’ve got to get up pretty early to fool ole Bites—5 o’clock in the morning, to be precise, an hour the uncouth refer to as the “ass crack of dawn.” That’s the approximate time Bites recently pulled out of sleep’s clenched butt cheeks and tuned into local Air America affiliate KCTC 1320 AM, hoping to catch the Bill Press show. There was a sense of urgency dialing in, for as informed readers know, Sacramento’s Left Channel is about to be replaced by 24-seven sports programming.

According to brain-dead Bee scribe Joe Davidson, this is apparently a good thing. He began his February 16 story on the planned format change with the following sentence: “At long last, Sacramento can boast of having two all-sports stations to match markets of similar or larger size across the country.”

In journalese, this is what’s called blowing the lead. Obviously, the story here is Air America’s pending local demise. More on that later.

Meanwhile, eager to catch Press before the network pulls its disappearing act, Bites inadvertently tuned into KTKZ 1380 AM (right next to 1320 on the dial) where Bill “Morning in America” Bennett was lecturing on the virtues of his own prowess as a talk-radio host. Recalling Bennett’s well known gambling addiction, Bites couldn’t help thinking KCTC had already swapped formats, and the former drug czar was providing listeners with helpful tips on beating the spread.

Air ball: Actually, Making Book with Bill Bennett probably would have gone over quite well with KCTC’s listeners, or at least the two major advertisers the station appears to have left, the Cache Creek and Colusa Indian casinos. Lack of advertising appears to have plagued the Air America affiliate since its inception, if the large swaths of empty air space that frequently occur are any indication.

Bites doesn’t blame progressive politics for Air America’s failure locally. Quite frankly, with the exceptions of Randi Rhodes and Thom Hartmann (who recently replaced Al Franken) none of the hosts in the station’s lineup truly could be called progressive. Franken was an insufferable bore more intent on running for the U.S. Senate seat in Minnesota than making political waves. Local morning hosts Scott Forrington and Andy Sims have never really gotten off the ground.

Last and least is Enid Goldstein, a stealth neocon if ever there was one. Goldstein habitually implies that anyone who dares question Israel’s draconian treatment of the Palestinians is an anti-Semite; she seems incapable of recognizing the disastrous effects the cozy relationship between Israel and the United States has had on the rest of the Middle East. Progressive she ain’t, or entertaining, for that matter.

Dial left: Bites predicted Air America’s sacking of liberal firebrand Mike Malloy last year was the beginning of the network’s end, and the forecast almost proved correct. In late January, New York real-estate developer Stephen Green, brother of noted progressive Mark Green, purchased Air America and pulled the bankrupt network’s fat out of the fire one last time.

Meanwhile, Malloy has turned up on KSAC 1240 AM, “Sacramento’s First Progressive Talk Station,” where he joins the hilarious Stephanie Miller, Limbaugh-of-the-Left Ed Schultz and quick-witted local gal Christine Craft in a lineup that proves progressive can be entertaining. What a joy it is to hear Malloy back on the air in Sacramento again—when he’s not being preempted by San Jose Sharks games!

Sad but true, Americans prefer their sports to just about anything else, including their own well being. Most Americans, anyway. Die-hards who can’t bear losing Air America locally already are lining up to protest the format change, which officially takes place February 26. A demonstration is planned at the KCTC offices Wednesday, February 21. For more info contact Steve Reed at (916) 202-8577.