Air America in C’ville

Saga Communications subsidiary Charlotteville Radio Group, who recently bought WINA from Eure Communications, has launched a liberal radio station, David Hendrick reports in today’s Progress. WINA’s talk programming is politically conservative to the point of consternation to C’ville’s famously liberal citizens, so the establishment of an Air America affiliate in town will no doubt be welcomed by many. It’s on air now, at WVAX 1450.

Me, I have no patience for any of these shows. Whether Bill O’Reilly or Randi Rhodes, it’s just not much fun to listen to people so rabid.

5 thoughts on “Air America in C’ville”

  1. If I’d had to choose, I would rather that CRG had balanced the offerings on WINA than created a “separate but equal” radio station for “liberal talk radio”. In fact it’s separate but hardly equal: 1 kilowatt signal strength vs. 5 kW for WINA, and of course WINA remains the only station in town for local morning talk and news coverage.

    But I agree with your second point. Having a balanced menu of right-wing talk and left-wing talk provides the illusion of democratic discourse, not the reality. It would be much better to have talk radio with hosts who, whatever their place on the political spectrum, actually listened and responded to their callers, and who don’t see their primary function as entertaining their audience by caricaturing the positions of their oppenents. From that point of view, Rachel Maddow is the only Air America Radio host I’ve heard who is regularly worth listening to, and it looks like she won’t be on the WVAX schedule.

    I’d also happily trade the existence of WVAX against increased signal strength for WVTF’s Radio IQ service (although it’s easier to get out in the county than it used to be).

  2. I’m so with you on Radio IQ. I can’t get it at home, but when I’m in the car, that’s generally all I’m listening to. Though I’m more likely to sympathize with the positions espoused on WVAX talk shows than on WINA talk shows, I’d much rather listen to the balanced exchange of views on Radio IQ.

  3. You can preview the website at with some template filler still in place.

    RadioIQ has that new frequency, so it’s 89.7 and 91.5. As for the HD digital extra signal the announcers keep promoting, the radios still cost $270 and up.

    Seems the digital thing is not all it’s cracked up to be. The bitrate, that is, sound quality, of an HD extra signal looks to be closer to that of an average mp3 or internet radio, not “HD”, if “HD” means “high definition”. In other words, it’s not CD quality, and only maybe better than regular FM. And the signal does not carry as far. Satellite radio (Sirius, XM) have even worse problems with squeezing the bitrate too much, in the goal of more channels. You see digital crackups on some cable teevee systems too, form the penny-pinching on bandwidth.

    So better technology, worse quality.

    Maybe the $ would have been better spent on bigger towers. It’s fustrating to drive (or otherwise move) around town and have to tune into various crappy signals: 88.3, 89.3, 103.5; and IQ on 89.7, 91.5. Is the FCC not giving them the watts, or tower heights?

  4. When it comes to good radio I’ve been spoiled having lived in L.A. Since I’ve been in Virginia I got sick of the appalling lack of variety so I invested in an XM radio for the car, and get my favorite L.A. stations streaming on the web at home.

    I had my hopes when Air America Radio first came on the air (how long ago?). But since that time I haven’t really been impressed. While I haven’t listened to the specific station that is “radio IQ” I have listened to other NPR stations and I agree they do a better job of covering the issues much more comprehensively.

    I haven’t noticed any of the tech issues mentioned here with my Satellite radio (and as for streaming radio on the web… well it just is what it is).

    If anyone remembers the old “Chuck Cecil, ‘Swinging Years'” radio show that used to be carried on a local station on sundays (back in the early to mid 80’s). You can now find that at 5pm to 9pm (ET) Saturdays on If you like Country music then the show before that is good also, the host has a blog with his previous weeks “playlists” so you can see it’s not the type of country music one would expect to see on a commercial station.

    And that concludes my 2 cents.

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