It was 20 years ago today that AM1280 The Patriot – the station that I’ve been on for the last 17 years – changed to its current, conservative talk format.
For starters, if you’ve followed the history of AM radio in the Twin Cities (as one does), that’s a pretty amazing number. The 1280 kHz frequency was one of the first ever assigned in the Twin Cities – but in the decade and a half between my moving to the Twin Cities and March 19, 2001, probably changed formats, and often owners, at least annually. Business (several times), R&B (a couple), Classic Rock, Oldies (at least one), and even Dance music (in the early ’90s, almost as a “pirate” operation – the 1280 frequency seemed to be a metaphor for the ongoing collapse of the AM radio band
Then Salem – which had been running Christian-format radio for some time – bought the 1280 (and its sister station, AM980, which went through almost as many gyrations as the 1280 over the previous couple of decades), and converted it over to what was a new format for them, conservative talk.
And two weeks shy of three years later, they took perhaps an even bigger flyer – putting a bunch of local bloggers, only one of whom had ever done commercial radio (and one other, student radio) on the air to do a weekly weekend show. That’s where I come in.
So it’s an unbelievable story nested inside another unbelievable story – a bunch of guys doing a grass-roots talk show on a station that managed to stake out a piece of wan, forgotten turf in a crowded radio landscape, with both managing to hack out an enduring piece of Twin Cities media mindshare.
To celebrate, we’ll be doing a special (deep breath) four hour NARN tomorrow, featuing just about everyone that’s ever been on the show: John Hinderaker, Scott Johnson, King Banaian, Ed Morrissey, King Banaian, Briand “Saint Paul” Ward, “Chad the Elder” and Brad Carlson, along with a few of our former producers (Tommy Huynh, Jon Osburne and The Consigliere).
Hope you can tune in! It’s going to be just as mad and chaotic as those first couple years of shows were!
See you then, 1-5PM tomorrow!