Fairness Doctrime In Action
By: Mark W Adams

Daylight Saving Time (or the end of it, whatever) opened up a new world for me this week.  It's darker earlier which has a negative effect on what I listen to in the late afternoon driving around Toledo.

See, we don't have one of those cool Air America stations many big city folks can rely on for their daily dose of progressive propaganda.  But I can usually get my fix when I'm away from my computer streaming Thom Hartmann and Randy Rhodes by tuning into the weak signal from AA's Detroit affiliate, WDTW.

Alas, AM radio still works under quirky 1930's regulations and even more irrational physics and weather rules that require most broadcasters to reduce their signal power as the sun sets -- and this led to a pleasant discovery this week.

WNWT, 1520AM out of Rossford, Ohio (just across the Maumee River) is programming one of the most eclectic mix conservative and liberal talk radio shows I've ever heard on one channel. 

I couldn't quite pull in the last hour of Ed Schultz out of Detroit through a growing roar of static the other day as it got prematurely dark, and decided to search for something else before giving up and switching to music.  But I'm a talk radio junkie and held out hope for a miracle.  My search for something other than right wing pontificators for once was not in vain.

You'll understand my delight that I can now hear some liberal voices, loudly and in the clear, if you consider that i can get Limbaugh, Hannity, and Michael Savage on six different stations in this area.  Now they've got some interesting competition.

As I said, it's a weird mix at WNWT -- which stands for "News, Weather and Talk" as far as I can tell.  They're doing their best to be equal opportunity annoyers.  At the top and bottom of the hours, the "News" feed is from CNN, but the "Weather" comes from the local FOX affiliate (cuz you know, reality has a liberal bias, but weathermen just make shit up).

Near as I can tell, they've elected to offer the lighter side of the polarized political radio spectrum and avoiding the most belligerent voices.  No Rush or Schultz.  No Hannity or Rhodes.

Bill Press starts the morning from 6am to 9am (who seems to have the only full airing of his 3 hour show), followed by the first 2 hours of Stephanie Miller -- which dovetails nicely with my progressive wake up and drive the kids to school routine and is the same as the Detroit station without the static.  Stephanie's third hour is pre-empted by two hours of (still trying to be) funny conservative Dennis Miller.

The Millers segue into consumer finance guy, Clark Howard,  leading into CNN's Lou Dobbs at 3pm (who knew he was on the radio) then Keith Olbermann's old partner from Sports Center, Dan Patrick who's still the most entertaining sports talker since the last thing he likes to talk about is sports -- just fun.

Dr. Laura and Larry King are on in the evenings, who are innocuous enough.  Unfortunately, late night is turned over to the moron twins, Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck (whose name they spell wrong), and according to their web site Nancy Grace is also on the talking sound machine from 1am to 2am.  But who listens to the radio after dinner time anyway?

Dr. Dean Edell (if that's really how the good doctor spells his name) is scheduled to be on between 5-6am, just before Bill Press, but this morning (vampire that I am) I was delighted to hear the end of Rachel Maddow's show instead -- and there's a blank bit between 3am and 5am on their program guide, so maybe that's in flux.

All in all, as an experiment in program diversity, this seems a noble and novel exercise.  Indeed, if Al Franken as the 60th Senator is given the ironic honor of introducing the return of the Fairness Doctrine, it may be the way of the future.  I hope it works, and I'll be listening.