In today's Sacramento Bee, there was a very good article on conservative versus progressive talk radio. It is worth the read.
I had the dubious distinction of having the drive of Denver, CO to Cactus, TX routinely for a period of 6 months about 5 years ago. I often played radio roulette to see what the rest of the country was thinking. On that trip, there was the choice of the American Family Network and the American Freedom Network on AM radio. That was it. 300 miles covered only by conservative and biblical conservative conversation. NPR existed when you got closer to Amarillo. Kansas is much the same, Nebraska a little better. Iowa has had enough NPR on AM radio to break up the conservative monopoly. Colorado Springs now can get KKZN out of Denver during the day, but at night it is an endless stream of Hugh Hewitt, Glenn Beck, Doctor Michael Savage and Bill Cunningham. O yes, Focus on the Family, too.
If this is your only cultural and political reference and major source of information, it is a very narrow band of filtered information you can get. It limits your conscious choices as there is so much you do not hear. If you are not at all affluent, XM or Sirius radio are not there for you. Yes, people in rural areas, or even even urban areas, may have access to the internets, but will they check politico.com or digbysblog.blogspot.com. Not if they are told over and over again that these are at best "feminazis" or "the devil's minion."
Reagan did a disservice when the fairness doctrine disappeared. I am afraid that is out of the bottle forever, particularly with any first amendment challenge to this Supreme Court. Clinton did not help when he opened up ownership. CNN and Fox helped clinch the deal when the news division became a profit leader.
When my wife and I moved to Sacto recently, we wondered how 1240 could stay on the air given the lack of commercials. To this day, I do not understand why tattoo parlors, massage therapists, the Sacramento Food Coop, etc. were not hit up for small commercials at a reduced rate just to get some money coming in. Harlow's rock and roll venue, local organic wineries, many others have to have progressives coming there. Buying advertising on a progressive talk radio station should not alienate their primary target audience. I don't get it. UC Davis is right near by (and yes, you could hear it there). There had to be places to buy advertising.
I have often wondered if the Sacramento Coop could sponsor an ownership group through their mailing list and owners to get a radio station started to carry liberal or progressive broadcasting. Why not? Won't restaurants that believe in local food advertise? It probably is time for progressives in marginal markets to think of ways to get their message of hope out and the airwaves are the most accessible.