Some of you may be aware that I had a standing date with Lee every Wednesday morning at the end of the show. It was always a pleasant way to start my morning, chatting with him about whatever was going on around town and beyond.
But after reading his small note about leaving the station (nothing more has been released about it), I'm not bummed about his departure because it means less me on the radio. I'm bummed because Lee's show was one of the few with a heavy focus on local issues, events, and organizations. He routinely had interviews with area community activists, artists, politicians, and more. The show became an invaluable resource for progressive people and ideas (and beyond, really) in Wisconsin.
The Mic has not yet released its new lineup (but are apparently planning to do so next week), so I don't know who or what will replace Lee. I hope that, at the very least, it's locally-based, but we'll have to wait and see.
I am somewhat concerned to learn that the show jumping into Thom Hartmann's old time slot appears to be hosted by Fox News media regular and financial advice-giver Dan Ramsey, a rather conservative fellow and a strange pick to replace Hartmann.
Already, a group of interested citizens are having a meeting with the station's operations manager, Mike Ferris, to discuss these changes and to hopefully give their input about the future of progressive talk in Madison. I encourage you to attend if you have any interest in this subject:
Friends of Progressive Talk MeetingI know that I'm massively saddened by the loss of both Rayburn and Hartmann on the Mic. They made up a good 50% of what I ever listened to on that station (Rachel Maddow and Madison's own Stu Levitan being the other 50%). Still, I have to admit that I'm on the fence about the changes overall. I don't know what the operations manager's plans are for the station. I don't know if they have new, good things in store. I will say, however, that the addition of Ramsey's show sets off warning bells in my mind. I'm skeptical, and I'll be keeping an eye on developments as they happen. Hopefully, tomorrow night's meeting will shed some light on the subject.
6:30 p.m., Tuesday, January 13
Dardanelles Restaurant (853 Monroe St., Madison)
Discussion on format changes to The MIC 92.1 FM.
Operations Manager Mike Ferris to speak.
Lee Rayburn leaves the Mic.
Ramsey, Hartmann and Progressive Talk
At the meeting Tuesday, Clear Channel Operations Manager Mike Ferris, who brought the progressive talk format to WXXM, The MIC 92.1 over four years ago, will speak on his decision for the format switch Mon-Fri, from 2 to 5 p.m. The Fox News media regular Dan Ramsey is now broadcast in the slot in which Thom Hartmann had been delay broadcast. Mike will talk about the issues, his decision and his intention to keep progressive talk on The MIC. We will then have a discussion on the program changes.
Lee Rayburn Leaves The MIC
Unfortunately, Lee Rayburn quit his job, according to his post on his Facebook page Friday afternoon. Nothing more is known, nor has been announced. On Saturday his name was removed from the station's hosts list.
Having a wide variety of opinions and political affiliations represented on the airwaves is an important part of our democratic society. At the moment, it strikes me that there are far more conservative voices being broadcast than not, and any such inbalance is bad. The Mic is pretty much the lone voice in the wilderness for progressive/liberal viewpoints in our area (outside of more localized stalwart, WORT), and I'd hate to see it disappear.