The Euclid radio veteran is set to launch WABQ-AM 1460, a progressive talk station due to ramp up next Monday, August 1.
“You can move across your AM dial and hear Rush Limbaugh on 10 different stations,” says Richards. “It’s as if the conservatives have a corner on the market. But it seems there’s a large unserved or underserved progressive niche here. There’s nobody to tell their side of the story, and that’s what we’re here for.”
Kicking off will be a weekday-morning show hosted by Joe Cleveland (quite possibly not his real name), an on-air vet whose roots dig back to WENZ-FM The End, as well as stations in other markets. Following him will be a cavalcade of syndicated liberal talkers: Stephanie Miller, Ed Schultz, Thom Hartmann, Bill Press, and Leslie Marshall, among numerous others cued up through the daylight hours and deep into the night.
Richards made his bones in the Columbus market, where he launched the still-chugging FM alternative CD101 back in 1990. A progressive talk station he started there a few years ago also had a gallant if brief run.
"It worked out quite well,” he says. “Unfortunately, the owners leased it out to a group of Catholics.” And you know what Catholics do to liberalism.
Counting its watts by the dozen, the Painesville station expects to reach much of the East Side, with sporadic coverage on the West for those who point their coat-hanger antennas in just the right direction.
To Richards, it’s the message that matters more than the power.
“The right has managed to demonize the word ‘liberal,’” he says, “and the media is very leery of being accused of being liberal, so they bend the other way to try to avoid any appearance of being biased.
“We are the liberal media you’ve been hearing about.”