Bellingham’s progressive talk radio replaced by classic hits
Progressive radio talk station KBAI is now a classic hits station. Cascade Radio Group General Manager Don Kurtis (pictured above) said the change is the result of a national decline of progressive talk radio syndicates.
“It was apparent the time had come for a change. It was certainly not a right-wing conspiracy,” Kurtis said of the change this week. “There is nothing behind it other than we can’t put a consistent product on the air and in order to be viable for our sponsors, we need to have a consistent product.”
While there was strong support for the progressive shows in the county, Kurtis said hosts Jon Grayson and Bill Press alerted KBAI that they were ending their syndicated shows at the end of last year, and that this year has seen the death of Alan Colmes, as well as a reduction of hours from host Leslie Marshall.
Gary Kanter, a musician and semi-regular guest on The Joe Show, said the decision left him feeling frustrated.
“This was the last local progressive show. It provided an alternative to right-wing radio,” Kanter said. “It allowed listeners to call in from the community and listen to someone who was receptive, to have a conversation instead of a screaming match.”
Rush Limbaugh’s show was added to KGMI in 1991, and Cascade turned KBAI into a progressive talk station more than 10 years ago to “add some balance,” according to a story on KGMI.com.