Is Portland Progressive Radio Coming Back?

Thom Hartmann doing his radio show, the Thom Hartmann Program. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Portland progressive radio ain’t dead yet! It’s been a year now since Portland’s former progressive radio station went off the air. In that time we have all wondered why there is still no Portland progressive radio, especially former advertisers like Tom Dwyer Automotive. Finally, there may be some hope on the horizon, in the form of Portland’s X-Ray FM.

Wait, what?

That’s the rumor at least. 🙂 Which, seems to be confirmed by X-Ray FM

I first found out of course through the excellent Tom Dwyer monthly newsletter. If you are a fan of Portland progressive radio, you know that Tom Dwyer was one of the biggest sponsors of the former station, and cares a great deal about this topic. Sign up for TDA’s newsletter to show your support, and stay up to date on the latest developments!

This Willamette Week article is by far the most in-depth I have come across yet. While we should be excited about the possibilities, we also have to remain grounded. Apparently, there are still some obstacles to overcome:

“The station needs to find a location for its transmitter and file paperwork with the FCC. Even if it’s not on the air, the station plans to start broadcasting on the Web on Halloween.”

As of 3 PM PST, Halloween day, there is still no streaming content from the X-Ray website. You can however sign up for their mailing list, and I’m sure you’ll be the first to know when they do go live!

So, what do I do in the meantime?

Well, you can always stream Carl Woflson online for free, any time you want! If you are a Thom Hartmann fan, his website is by far the best resource for any medium he broadcasts in. Radio, video, books – You can find anything and everything Thom there.

Be sure to follow X-Ray on all the “social stuff”, Facebook and Google+. There are many artists and local musicians who look to be a part of the lineup as well. So if you’re out and about exploring the scene in Portland keep an eye and an ear out for local talent. 🙂

How do we keep Portland progressive radio, once we get it?

Ah, that’s the problem isn’t it? We know Portland progressive radio out-preforms third rate Portland sports talk radio in terms of listener engagement. (Of course, now that the Blazer games are on AM 620, the numbers will probably go up during basketball season.) The problem has been the de-regulation and consolidation of not only the content, but also the advertising. It’s easier to sell X number of radio stations to a national advertiser then it is to sell Y dollars in Return On Ad Spend to multiple local advertisers.

The fact that X-Ray FM, at this point, is an independent not-for-profit entity, made bode well for long term sustainability in our city. Undoubtedly running a radio station is an expensive business. However, if the profits of shareholders at the multi-national conglomerate level is not part of your operating costs – Small business local advertising dollars can be a sustainable “break-even” model for a local alternative station.

Whether X-Ray ends up being the new Portland progressive radio station or not remains to be seen. What we should take from these recent developments above all else is the knowledge that there is still a highly engaged audience for Portland progressive radio, which is NOT going away without a fight!

If you have a chance to patronize former Portland progressive radio sponsors like Tom Dwyer Automotive, or The Floor Store, talk to them and let them know that you are a customer because of their support of progressive radio. As long as there is an engaged audience, there will be willing sponsors! That, above all, is what can get progressive radio back in Portland, and keep it here for good!