"No experiment can be more interesting than that we are now trying, and which we trust will end in establishing the fact, that man may be governed by reason and truth. Our first object should therefore be, to leave open to him all the avenues to truth. The most effectual hitherto found, is the freedom of the press. It is, therefore, the first shut up by those who fear the investigation of their actions." --Thomas Jefferson to John Tyler, 1804.

Meet the new radio … or not so new

There’s an unusual change in Boise radio, and a somewhat cloaked one one too. It’s unusual for the shift in control of a frequency from non-commercial to commercial. And it looks to be cloaked for the gap between the way it’s being presented to the public just now, and what its corporate and other alliances suggest.

What’s going away is the jazz, local news and National Public Radio offerings on KBSU AM 730 (FM broadcasts will remain), whose license is held by the state Board of Education. You might remember that the latter consists of conservative Republican Tom Luna and appointees of conservative Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter. The Board sold off the AM 730 frequency to a private radio company, Impact Radio Group, a pretty unusual thing.

What’s coming in its place is “NewsRadio AM730 KINF”, which was scheduled to go on air today.

The radio news site RBR.com has Impact’s description of what will go on air: “Impact Manager Darrell Calton commented, “We are ecstatic about the launch of “NewsRadio AM730 KINF”. Our local team of reporters, anchors and partners will create a true radio news station designed for the Treasure Valley. We should be technically ready by Friday if not before.” Each weekday, NewsRadio AM730 KINF will deliver ten hours of prime time coverage featuring Idaho’s NewsFirst Team, America’s Morning News, America’s Radio News Network and the Associated Press. The station is partnering with the Idaho Statesman for expanded coverage in the news room, and … KTRV-TV Channel 12 for meteorological expertise and news room muscle and Boise Traffic.”

The addition of any local news coverage on radio is worth some celebrating (bearing in mind that KBSU-AM was doing some of that too). But what else is heading for air, and how will the time be apportioned?

For example. America’s Radio News Network (do you start to get suspicious when you see grandiosity of that sort in the naming?), which is about six months old, is owned by Talk Radio Network, which has “an emphasis on conservative talk on weekdays and variety/general interest talk radio on weekends. Some of the most recognizable personalities in American radio, such as Laura Ingraham and Michael Savage, are syndicated on Talk Radio Network. It is headquartered in Central Point, Oregon.” (The current yes/no poll question on its web site: “Do you feel that your nation is making moves towards Socialism?”) How many hours will ARNN occupy? We’ll know soon enough.

In other words, look for more conservative talk radio for Boise, a market already overwhelmed on AM with it – conservative and nothing else, very much in alignment with the people who run Idaho and its state government. That’s not quite the sense you get from the hopeful talk about a local news team and partnership with the Idaho Statesman. (How will its partner the Statesman be reporting on this?) But follow the corporate bread crumbs, and see where you go.

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