When a radio talk show lineup that includes Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck is viewed as too liberal for Salem, it's clear that we've veering into some really right-wing territory.
But this is the media ground KSLM is claiming, according to a front page story in the April 2018 issue of the Salem Business Journal, "KSLM and the Golden Age of Radio Returns to Salem and the Mid-Willamette Valley."
I don't see how the KSLM talk show lineup has anything Golden Age about it. These guys and gals are way out there on the rightward political spectrum:
Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Mark Levin, Alex Jones.
The story says that Don Wyant and his wife Cindy "had grown concerned that the only local news talk radio being broadcast into the Salem area was not true conservative news, having drifted into liberal positions on many subjects in the news."
(Cindy Wyant is listed as the owner, general manager, and program director for KSLM.)
So who is the other local news talk radio station that drifted into those objectionable liberal positions? It must be Keizer's KYKN -- which is the station that carries Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck.
KYKN also hosts the Gator & Denise show. Gator Gaynor and Denise Nanke are locals with a decidedly conservative bent.
I couldn't help but think of Gaynor when I read this quote from Don Wyant in the Salem Business Journal story (RINO is Republican in Name Only; CINO is Conservative in Name Only):
The staff and family of KSLM are true conservatives and like Don Wyant likes to say, "You won't find any long-haired RINOs or CINOs hanging out here and representing us. What you will find is a team of true Oregonians that love Oregon, love Salem and care about the community. We are all about family and values and believe that comes across on KSLM, every minute of every day".
Long-haired RINOs or CINOs? These two do fit the long-haired part of the description.
It's kind of fun to see KSLM trying to out-conservative KYKN. It's also a bit confusing, given that Salem is a decidedly liberal-leaning city.
Seemingly it would make more sense for a news/talk radio station to be on the moderate side, given the political makeup of the Salem area. But liberal talk radio hasn't been much of a success, given the notable failure of Air America to survive.
The problem is that us progressives have a strong belief in facts, so news and talk tend to be redundant.
Extreme conservatives, on the other hand, have no problem talking about totally made-up crap, so I've little doubt that KSLM has an ardent listener base who eats up the right-wing conspiracy theories spawned by the likes of Sean Hannity and Alex Jones.
And since KSLM and KYKN are both seeking to attract the 38% of Salem citizens who voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election, it makes sense for KSLM to stake out the farthest right territory on the radio dial. Here's another quote from the story:
With so much fake news all around and compromised conservative news, it is comforting to finally have this level of true news that Salem area residents can count on. As Cindy puts it, "I thought the term RINO meaning 'Republican in Name Only' described only people... but we have come to realize it can mean organizations, media and much more. There is also a growing CINO group... meaning 'Conservative in Name Only.' CINOs and RINOs are becoming more common in news talk media, that has historically been conservative, and are attempting to influence conservatives towards liberal agendas, which is just wrong."
KSLM also is trying to set itself up as standing up to local liberals.
Being dedicated to bringing true news to Salem residents does come at a cost, however. Since it launched, it has been under attack from local liberals that have tried to discredit it and to harm it. That has not discouraged the family or staff, in fact they say it has made them more determined than ever to serve the Mid-Willamette Valley and continue to bring the one-of-a-kind format to local listeners.
This is a perplexing charge. I'm a local liberal, and I'm not aware of anybody in my "tribe" who has attacked KSLM.
This blog post is a first shot on that front, from what I can tell from a Google search that turned up exactly zero liberal attacks. I also searched Facebook for liberal criticisms of KSLM and also came up with nothing.
Naturally I was curious to see who was on the KSLM "sponsors" page. I wasn't shocked to see Capitol City Republican Women or Shilo Inns, but Enlightened Theatrics was a bit of a surprise.
Not that there's anything wrong with them advertising on a right-wing radio station. I just associate Enlightened Theatrics with a more inclusive political philosophy than KSLM advocates.