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Why Washington Post Radio Died

(Jump to bottom for an update on what will replace Washington Post Radio.)

From its sudden and fascinating inception to its slow and awkward demise, Washington Post Radio was a work in progress. It never came close to fulfilling its original promise--"NPR on caffeine," in the spicy phrase of the newspaper's radio-TV guru, Tina Gulland--but it was a radio station bubbling with possibilities.

Not that many listeners cared to explore those possibilities. The radio station--which will die next month by mutual consent of its clumsily-paired parents, The Washington Post and Bonneville broadcasting--never showed much of a pulse in the ratings, even though its programming ran on one of the most powerful and storied spots on Washington's radio dial, the former home of all-news WTOP.

In an era of rapid change in the news and media businesses, when both print newspapers and broadcast radio stations are seeing huge chunks of their audience migrate to online news and entertainment sources, Washington Post Radio was an experiment in stretching the idea that it doesn't really matter through what platform you get your news--what's important, rather, is who the storytellers are.

From the start in March of last year, Post Radio was intended to serve several purposes: 1) Promote the Post's print and online journalism by reaching a new audience on the radio. 2) Create another outlet for Post reporting and thereby add one more justification for keeping a big, sprawling newsroom at a paper that, like almost all U.S. papers, is otherwise shrinking its staff. 3) Give Bonneville, the owner of all-news WTOP and several other D.C. radio stations, a way to capture some of the Washington region's enormous audience for public radio's more in-depth and upscale news and information programming. 4) Build on the powerful profits that WTOP draws as the dominant local station in morning drive time.

The radio industry by and large found the experiment intriguing but foolhardy--a difficult marriage of two very different news cultures. The station, owned by Bonneville in a contract with the Post, was managed primarily by executives at WTOP's headquarters on Idaho Avenue NW in McLean Gardens, while most of the people who appeared on the station sat in a studio built in the Post's downtown newsroom. Both companies provided producers who worked in their respective newsrooms organizing each day's programming.

Not long after Post Radio launched, National Public Radio helped local public stations WAMU (88.5 FM) and WETA (90.9 FM) finance a series of focus groups with listeners "to help us see what Washington Post Radio would mean to us," said Caryn Mathes, general manager of WAMU, the third-most listened to public station in the nation, after outlets in New York and San Francisco.

The four focus groups were united in their perceptions of Post Radio: Listeners said that after they tuned in to the Post station, which launched with the slogan "There's always more to the story," "there wasn't more to the story," Mathes said. "People felt the station didn't deliver on deeper, more insider kind of stuff from the reporters who were on the air."

For the Post's hundreds of reporters and editors, going on the radio was something new. From the start, some people were good at it, some were just awful and a lot perhaps had potential, but didn't have much idea of what we were doing. This was learning by doing--in a very public way.

At first, the idea was to create a throwback to radio's golden era, with a station designed like a magazine, with different departments each hour--an hour on travel from the folks in the paper's Travel section, an hour with the editors from Book World, an hour of politics, and so on. But with the station making not a blip in the ratings and with its producers increasingly convinced that too many of the Post's writers had perhaps chosen a career in print for a good reason, the executives at Bonneville quickly moved to scrap the original format and go to something they knew more intimately--a tightly-organized hourly clock with different stories and personalities appearing every five minutes or so.

Listeners had every reason to wonder what had happened to the increased depth they had been promised. Print editors accustomed to a more serious news menu clashed with radio producers who argued that their medium required a more populist and lowbrow selection of stories. In each newsroom, too many people rolled their eyes over the cluelessness of their cross-town partners.

When the radio-side producers one morning invited on the air and lightly questioned some nutball hawking a conspiracy theory about how the U.S. government had arranged for the 9/11 attacks, editors in the Post newsroom went ballistic. Although many attempts would follow to find a happy medium between the two news sensibilities, the basic reservoir of mutual respect had dropped suddenly and permanently to a dangerous low.

At its best, Washington Post Radio was a comfortable, personable and conversational way to learn what was in that day's newspaper and sometimes even to get the story behind the story. The station's anchors were top-shelf professionals, from NBC veteran Bob Kur and former local TV weather forecaster Hillary Howard to CBS and NPR newsman Sam Litzinger and longtime local radio host David Burd. And some of the Post's voices worked splendidly on radio, winning praise within the industry and from listeners as well--Lisa deMoraes on television, Stephen Hunter on movies, Emilio Garcia-Ruiz on sports, and columnist Gene Robinson on just about anything.

Sometimes, the theory behind the station became reality, and a foreign correspondent could phone in from the scene of an earth-moving event with the kind of firsthand account that radio was invented to deliver. More often, however, the reporters who came on the air did little more than repeat what they'd said in that morning's paper.

In the end, there were too many oh-my-God, Martha, this person is freezing up live on the radio moments. A Book World segment crashed and burned when a writer insisted on reading his pearls of wisdom verbatim from his newspaper work. And on more occasions than either side cared to admit, reporters were told to come on the air to talk about one story, only to go live and hear an anchorman ask them about something wholly different, about which the reporter knew not a thing.

In the end, though, Post Radio's competitors say it was the basic concept that was flawed: "It sounded like a bad college seminar where neither the professors nor the students knew how to keep anyone listening," said the program director of an FM music station who asked not to be named because he might work with people at Bonneville in the future.

And from the other end of radio's spectrum, this from the chief of the region's most powerful public radio outlet: "This assumption that people don't have an attention span is kind of offensive," WAMU's Mathes said. "People who want a deep contextual approach to news do have an attention span."

For those of us who tried our hand at radio, Washington Post Radio was enormous fun, a chance to dive into a form that might seem similar, but really requires very different skills. The idea that Post executives fell in love with remains an important one: If the American newspaper is to survive as the basic foundation of newsgathering in this country, the companies that produce daily papers will have to find ways to sell their wares in various other media. But what the demise of Post Radio teaches is that that expansion into other crafts will mean that news organizations must hire and train people with a different set of talents and passions, and that inevitably entails a different concept of what the news is. It's a new world out there. Read all about it.

2:30 PM UPDATE:

This just in from Bonneville, the owner of the stations at 1500 AM and 107.7 FM, as well as 820 AM in Frederick, that were Washington Post Radio--the new station will be called Talk Radio 3WT and will feature syndicated right wing talkers Neal Boortz and Glenn Beck, as well as liberal talker Stephanie Miller.

Here's the text of a press release from Bonneville's local boss, Joel Oxley:

WASHINGTON, D.C. August 28, 2007 Bonneville International Corporation announced today that it will replace Washington Post Radio (WTWP) on 1500 AM, 107.7 FM and 820 AM with a personality-driven station, Talk Radio 3WT (call letters WWWT).

Talk Radio 3WT will feature a lineup of personalities currently heard on the station - David Burd, Jessica Doyle, "The Tony Kornheiser Show," and Pat Goss - along with established,
nationally-recognized personalities Neal Boortz, Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck, and Stephanie Miller, as well as play-by-play sports. The station's slogan will be "Left, Right, and Whatever We Want," reflecting 3WT's diverse collection of personalities and opinions.

Earlier this week, Bonneville International Corporation and The Washington Post agreed to end their broadcast alliance which had resulted in the creation of Washington Post Radio.

Washington Post Radio, owned and operated by Bonneville International Corporation, was a collaborative effort which launched in March 2006 and featured station hosts interviewing editors, reporters and columnists at The Washington Post.

"Washington Post Radio was a tremendous experiment in broadcasting, and it was wonderful working with The Washington Post, a world-class newspaper," says Bonneville D.C. Sr. VP Joel Oxley. "While many advertisers were satisfied with the results the station generated, we just did not garner the Arbitron ratings we had hoped for. When we launched the 'Tony Kornheiser Show,' it was met with such success that we realized we needed to take the station in the direction of personality-driven talk with more opinion and less hard news. Since this did not meet the original vision of Washington Post Radio, The Washington Post and Bonneville mutually agreed to end the broadcast alliance."

"We'll continue to work together as media professionals as we always have," Oxley added. "The Washington Post has a huge array of talented people that we've featured for years on our radio stations in many capacities, and we will continue to do so. We're fortunate to have a great relationship with, and access to, one of the finest organizations with some of the best professionals in the world."

3WT will debut on 1500 AM, 107.7 FM, and 820 AM in Frederick on September 20.

By Marc Fisher |  August 28, 2007; 6:08 AM ET
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Comments

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1. The Post Radio FM signal does not provide the coverage needed to reach an adequate audience, and many listeners no long have access to AM.

2. Look at a newspaper layout - the stories are different lengths. Now think about stretching the short ones and squishing the long ones to some draconian standard. It would be frustrating for editor and reader alike, agony to read.

That's how Post Radio was produced. It needed natural segmentation based on the content, not the clock.

Posted by: Mike Licht | August 28, 2007 6:49 AM

First of all, Tony Kornheiser is a nasty, self-important jerk who needs to be put out to pasture. Beyond that, anyone who sees the moniker "Washington Post" radio knows they are going to be subjected to a bunch of wimpering, whining lefties. That's fun??

Posted by: muskrat | August 28, 2007 7:09 AM

What happened to Washington Post TV ?

I was on a KLM flight from Amsterdam to Montreal in November 2001 where they ran a trial of it ?

Is it still up and running ?

Posted by: Terence D. Carroll | August 28, 2007 7:28 AM

Well, I'm sorry to hear it didn't work out. But, since I never once turned it on...it doesn't really surprise me that it died. If I'm listening to talk radio, I'm listening to NPR. I do sometimes contribute to WTOP's ratings - because I'm tuning in for traffic information. And for the Post? Well, mostly I read it online. (And never click on the ads. Sorry.) Anyway, thanks for the analysis! It's great to hear the behind-the-scenes version.

Posted by: h3 | August 28, 2007 7:31 AM

The Washingtonpost had a radio station. This is the first I herd of it. Oh well it doesn't really matter I listen to C-SPAN radio.

Posted by: RG | August 28, 2007 7:54 AM

It died because it was another liberal manifesto floating in the breeze - the WAPO on training wheels - and people are getting tired of hearing bleeding heart stories and liberal proganda all the time.

It died for the same reason the WAPO is going down the tubes - innaccurate, biased reporting.

Posted by: Tom Jefferson | August 28, 2007 7:54 AM

reads like most of the comments here were made by people that didn't listen. i'm going to miss waking up to it...

Posted by: cyrus morrell | August 28, 2007 7:58 AM

I was excited when I first heard of post radio, but after tunning in the first couple of weeks I felt it wasn't delivering. The programs felt like one big bland, like something very caffeinated/or on speed. The post reporters they had on lacked personality and the ability to captivate an audience with the sound of their voice and presentation. I got tired of continuelly listening to that Kur guy; why did he had to be on 3 hours at a time repeating himself anyway. The promised was not kept, so I went back to listening to NPR and PRI.

Posted by: didn't deliver | August 28, 2007 7:59 AM

I only listened to it when the Nationals were on, and I would immediately be reminded of why I was very happy when WTOP moved to 103.5-FM: the 107.7 signal is lousy. It dissolves into static as you go past the Pentagon on I-395, which is absurd. Thank God for satellite radio.

Posted by: Rich | August 28, 2007 8:14 AM

I never post comments in blog items or articles Marc, but I have to this time:

YOU define why Post Radio failed, because an over-paid print gas-bag was given air time on a radio station to vent, and wasn't given proper guidance how to do so effectively by either Bonneville or your Post employers. Nor did you do anything to get better. You helped nail the coffin together. Congrats.

Posted by: edzone | August 28, 2007 8:14 AM

I'll miss Post radio, as I did tune in from time to time, but I think part of the problem was that reporters are always afraid of appearing biased, so, all they felt comfortable doing was repeating what was in their story because that was what was on the record, you see? Anything else was editorializing and if you aren't a columnist that's a sticky position to be in when you have to go back and keep working your beat.

Posted by: journoT | August 28, 2007 8:26 AM

P.S. I'll really miss Jessica Doyle. Hope she lands somewhere that I can tune in to on my radio dial.

Posted by: journoT | August 28, 2007 8:27 AM

I listen to WTWP, although my enjoyment has waxed and waned. The carving of the hour into segments really destroyed any chance of the anchors asking more than a few superficial questions. I do enjoy the broadcasters-David Burd, Jessica Doyle, and Hillary Howard in particular. I have also enjoyed the increased presence of Victoria Jones. I'm glad to learn to learn that Burd/Doyle won't be leaving, and I hope Howard and Jones stay.

However, the commercials are usually painful to listen to (never change), especially the radio promos, which are God-awful and laughable.

Posted by: Jennifer | August 28, 2007 8:34 AM

Even in the Washington metro area, there is still not much of a market for the liberal view. It is not the presentation, it is the content.

Posted by: Doug | August 28, 2007 8:44 AM

I listened five minutes a day, to The Reliable Source thing in the morning. They managed actual conversation, informative about something that didn't matter but was fun.

Let's hope something useful and interesting replaces it.

Posted by: Jessica | August 28, 2007 8:50 AM

The Reliable Source segments were examples of the problem. Every afternoon they rehashed half the morning items and scooped half the next day's items. Roxanne and whatsherface have wonderful voices and nice personality, but I wasn't getting any value added.

The mid-day interview shows were like parody NPR kaffeeklatsches. It was bad, boring radio.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 28, 2007 8:56 AM

I love Tony K and will listen to what ever station he returns to.
I liked the format. I liked the dead-tree Post guests.
I absolutely hated the morning and evening drive time "personalities." The hosts killed the station for me.

If the hosts were more transparent, it would be my only drive time channel. Bye Bye.

Posted by: Josey | August 28, 2007 9:03 AM

Thank you for your frank column, Marc. I must say, though, from the day WTWP's launch was announced, a listener had to wonder, "Who needs this?" We have WTOP and WAMU, with reportage as thorough and diligent as one could hope for. The corporate boardrooms must have been chanting, "Must . . . leverage . . . content," as all media outlets are doing these days. Of course with shrinking circulation, The Post had the staff-size justification issue you cited. Bonneville presumably had the "Make even more money" issue.

Tuning in was often excruciating. When it wasn't annoying, it was tedious, despite the reporting depth. Unlike NPR's interviews, one never knew when a TWP interview would come to its droning end. In TV a potential air person who isn't attractive is said to have "a face that belongs on radio." In the case of WTWP, it was mostly "voices that belonged in print."

Posted by: John in Alexandria | August 28, 2007 9:04 AM

I found myself listening to 'Washington Post Radio' most often on WTWP-AM and most often when the Nationals were playing; I hope the team stays on that 50kw signal (you can pick it up cleanly all the way from New Hampshire to Florida at night) for the sake of people outside the immediate DC area.

My question is, how much longer will Tony Kornheiser continue to be described as a "Washington Post columnist"? I just looked, and the last time he filed any copy for the dead-tree version of the Post was nearly 11 months ago, on October 5, 2006.

Posted by: Curious Reader More Than Listener | August 28, 2007 9:11 AM

Lots of ink and thousands of hours have already been spent blaming everyone from Post reporters to ignorant radio executives, etc., but the truth is, the thing that killed Post radio was its signal. WTOP may have relinquished its place on the dial, but it TOOK ITS BANDWIDTH with it. It always shocked me that this excessively-focus grouped entity never bothered to discover that maybe the easiest problem to fix was the real problem. Most of Washington never got to HEAR Post radio and we'll never truly know if it might have caught on.

"Mission Accomplished" without any sense of follow-through seems to be epidemic these days.

Posted by: john corrigan | August 28, 2007 9:13 AM

I listened to a few Nats games. I prefer XM Satellite Radio. I don't get the whole "liberal" Washington Post thing. The Post hasn't been liberal for years, since Bradlee retired and Graham died. Even Bill O'Reilly thinks the Post is "fair and balanced" so you gotta figure it is what it is, a Neo Conservative mouthpiece - and you know conservatives with money LOVE illegal immigrants. Oh, and the Moonie Times, an unabashedly Right Wing Paper, has a seventh the circulation of the Post. I think the Right Wing Loonies prefer the Radio, it uses simpler language. Maybe if the on-air personalities at Post Radio would have become screaming drug addicts, the ratings would have been higher.....

The NY Times, now there's a paper with a liberal bias. And the Wall Street Journal has a Conservative bias. And neither runs comic strips......

Posted by: BR549 | August 28, 2007 9:17 AM

I listened to WTWP a few times but found nothing compelling me to listen regularly. Washington already has plenty of yakking. Here is a radio concept for you- STFU and play some music! WTWP had enough time to fill that I was crossing my fingers that they could have some time for community oriented dj's to play different types of music. Radio like better college radio where you can find a lot of different tastes, and discover something you might not usually seek out or even know about.

I'm not that widely travelled, but I have been in far flung areas that have a lot more to listen to on the radio dial than anything in the WDC market. It's horrible and getting worse. Now it's all talk, religion, and "urban".

Terrestrial radio now is just so awful and it's all boiled down to the lowest common denominator 1) ratings & ad revenue, or 2) listener contributions. I have satellite radio now, and unless there are big changes in terrestrial radio, I'm afraid I'll never go back.

Posted by: Bill | August 28, 2007 9:20 AM

WaPo has lost its credibility. Lazy reporters, incessant navel gazing over its name, and a steady compromising of journalistic principal has led to a debased trademark. (WaPo thinks it a good idea to let its reporters become TV/radio stars, ala Kornheiser, Wilbon, and Howie Kurtz on Imus.) You cannot take WaPo seriously. The story you read? Might have been taken from another source who reported it first, but WaPo either won't tell you or will bury in the 8th graf (as in the Cho affliction story, first reported by the WSJ).

If WaPo had credibility, it could have gotten away with running out radio-inexperienced talking heads. But those of us for whom the name means anything know exactly what it represents. And veracity ain't it. Journalistic integrity CERTAINLY ain't it.

WaPo radio should have stayed true to the present-day paper: sensationalism, race-baiting, and demagoguery. At least it would have been entertaining, and there's no reputation left to sully. Ben Bradlee would be spinning in his grave, if he weren't still alive. Kathy Graham certainly must be.

It's like a movie for WaPo. Unfortunately, the movie is Sunset Boulevard and WaPo is playing the Norma Desmond part.

Posted by: RL | August 28, 2007 9:23 AM

I don't usually blog but some of these comments are just so immensely stupid. I listen all the time and I have seen no liberal bias. I think the Neanderthals who comment on it just don't like the fact that the media's job is to report what's going on, and in the last 7 yrs there's alot of bad news. What do they want, a 24-hour-a-day worship service for whomever they happen to support?

I also thought the evening drive time w/ Hillary Howard and Bob Kur was the best radio anywhere. Sorry it has to go.

Posted by: Ed | August 28, 2007 9:29 AM

I think that they never figured out that they were on the radio. I believe that most listeners prefer a "conversational" approach as opposed to a question and answer session. Whenever I listened (except for Kornheiser and Burd), the format was of a single host interviewing Post reporters who called in. It was very structured and rigid with little opportunity for spontaneity. Also, it was boring. Instead of having Tom Shales call in and answer questions about his morning review, have Shales and Lisa DeMoraes and a host such as Burd do 2 full hours together in the studio. See where that led. Maybe even to real CONVERSATION and spontaneous humor.

Posted by: bowie | August 28, 2007 9:34 AM

WTWP faield because it didn't give people a reason to listen. There was nothing entertaining or informative to be gained by listening. WTWP failed to consider and listen to the most important group in the equation, the listeners. WTWP set up shop with their agenda, plowed ahead with boradcasting, and never considered if people will actually listen to their blathering on.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2007 9:43 AM

I think edzone has it about right.
Washington Post writers barely manage to keep their heads above water as legitimate journalists. Putting them on radio was downright painful.

The Washington Post exists for a town brimming with experts on every topic imaginable. Unfortunately, none of them work for the paper. You can blame the radio partner for failing to provide depth, but it is doubtful the WaPo staff would have been able to deliver this type of commentary even if it were called upon to do so.

Sadly, I am still drawn to this paper just like those perversely fascinated by a trainwreck. It gets to be quite sporting to try to spot how many idiot things are published each day.

Posted by: joe | August 28, 2007 9:44 AM

WaPo Radio was neither sufficiently different from other news radio formats nor sufficiently different from the dead-tree version.

Tony K has said on the air many times that radio is a personality-driven medium, and that's why people tune in to listen to him yap about his dog. There are many strong personalities among Post writers but they were used as guests and not hosts. Kur and Doyle and Howard are smooth hosts but don't have vivid personalities. There should have been strong regular hosts who could talk about any issue and bring on guests as appropriate. It might also have helped to have theme shows -- Wonk Heaven in morning drive, followed by Metro Midday, followed by Style Time in afternoon drive -- to give people who had already heard the headlines a reason to tune in and stay tuned in.

Signal problems didn't help, but people would tune in to a weak signal for a show that mattered. Besides, they could always listen online if they wanted.

Posted by: Rico | August 28, 2007 9:45 AM

Wow, "Tom Jefferson" (now THERE's a misnomer if I've ever seen one on the Internet); if you want to see "inaccurate" and "biased", perhaps you should look in a mirror.

Baesd on your post, you seem to think anything that doesn't agree with you is "liberal propaganda". Maybe you should read about the liberals who think the Post propagates "conservative propaganda" -- and maybe you should take into consideration the old journalistic axiom that you're only doing your job right when both sides of an issue are angry at you.

--- --- --- --- ---

It died because it was another liberal manifesto floating in the breeze - the WAPO on training wheels - and people are getting tired of hearing bleeding heart stories and liberal proganda all the time.

It died for the same reason the WAPO is going down the tubes - innaccurate, biased reporting.

Posted by: Tom Jefferson | August 28, 2007 07:54 AM

Posted by: Fair and Balanced | August 28, 2007 9:47 AM

I was a fairly regular listener. I will miss it - especially if the station actually picks up Glen Beck and Neil Bortz as was reported. Please, enough with the Right-wing hate speach already. There are plenty of smart people out here and we are not buying it.

Posted by: Edde | August 28, 2007 9:52 AM

So come on Marc: What are the names of the really BAD WaPo people when it came to on-air ability? You mention some but don't name names. We want to know!

Posted by: I want to know! | August 28, 2007 9:56 AM

Like many others I'll miss Mr. Tony (and he's on hiatus) and the rest... not so much. I think Marc addresses some very good points but I think the poster who pointed out that radio is a personality driven medium nailed it on the head.

Posted by: Alicia | August 28, 2007 10:09 AM

No more Kornholer! Thank God!

Posted by: Wilmot Proviso | August 28, 2007 10:09 AM

I'll join the crowd that will miss Doyle and Burd in the morning. They had a good chemistry with each other and with the regular contributers to the morning show. I can't see how anyone could accuse their show of a political bias one way or the other.

Other thoughts:
The Kornheiser show was a lot better with David Burd sitting in. Tony's rants are better served in much smaller portions.

The FM signal strength is just awful though, and up in North-West Montgomery County it has actually gotten worse recently, being just about swamped by the adjacent stations.

Posted by: Jack | August 28, 2007 10:14 AM

The flagship radio station of a Major League Baseball team should try to build around that unique product. Washington Post Radio barely acknowledged the Nats and the excellent broadcast team of Slowes and Jaegler. Sure they added a call-in show after the games this year but that ain't much. And they pulled the midnight rebroadcast of games in favor of another syndicated talk show. Want proof of the Bonneville lack of interest in the Nats? Check in during a rain delay. You're likely to hear "Newsweek on Air" or some other non-baseball program. Talk about preparation.

The Post and Bonneville thought "If we build it, they will come" but there was nothing there--except the Nats games.

Maybe a better operation will get the rights next year and be proud to be the flagship of the team.

Posted by: Screech | August 28, 2007 10:15 AM

I enjoyed Post Radio quite a bit, but know that I was mostly alone in that feeling.

Nigel's random segues to the Passport Nissan promos always made me laugh.

Posted by: Arlington, VA | August 28, 2007 10:18 AM

I've been tuning in since the start, and will miss the station, especially if its true that it will be handed over to voices like Bortz and Beck. It was great listening to a station that cared more about reporting than editorializing and that wasn't hampered by having to stop for a traffic report every 10 minutes. It's also sad to see people coming in here to dance on the grave of the station because their puppet masters have told them that the Post is some evil liberal conspiracy, and that they've pushed that misplaced assumption over to the radio station as well.

It was nice to just hear some talk while driving without having to choose between shock jocks, mouth pieces, or constant traffic interruptions. If Burd's staying on in the morning, then I'll likely still tune in, but they'll be losing a loyal afternoon listener after the format change.

Posted by: David | August 28, 2007 10:20 AM

The reality is that most newspaper reporters are not radio or television broadcasters, and most radio and television broadcasters are not newspaper reporters--that is a basic fact, and all reporters need to deal with it. Newspaper reporters need to stick with one thing--reporting the news. If you're not happy at a newspaper, then leave and do something else. But please don't try radio and television!

Posted by: thefrontpage | August 28, 2007 10:22 AM

Some people don't have access to AM. In one room, I have no access to FM, just a 50 year old Zenith portable that has been tuned to 1500 for the last 15 years. Who do I lobby to get WTOP back on 1500?

Posted by: Bill | August 28, 2007 10:24 AM

Where will Tony land?!

Posted by: I Miss Tony | August 28, 2007 10:35 AM

Well, I guess this is in a way sweet justice considering that WTOP was moved to 103.5 to make room for Washington Post Radio and that move started a series of events that eventually eliminated the best Classical Music station in the nation, WGMS, which was profitable and successful, albeit for a niche market. Still, the ill-conceived Washington Post Radio ended up where it deserved to be, off the air.

Posted by: Dale | August 28, 2007 10:39 AM

The editorial page of the WaPo, as well as most of the op-ed columnists, are obviously liberal. (George Will and a couple others excepted, of course.) As Marc and others like to point out, though, the editorial and news departments are supposedly separate. I think the news coverage is pretty fair, at least in comparison to the NYT (low bar, to be sure, but...). There's still bias, of course, and anyone who thinks it's not a liberal bias is possibly reading a different paper, but really the WaPo is not bad as these things go.

More on topic: I hate people talking on the radio. I don't care if it's news (as if I don't know how to use the tubes -- I mean, Internet -- and need people to read me news?), commercials, or DJs laughing at themselves making inane jokes; if I don't hear music, I'm changing the station. Or, far more likely, I don't have the radio on in the first place, and I'm listening to my iPod. Most people I know who somehow can stand talk radio, listen to NPR. I'm not sure I've met anyone who listened to the WaPo radio. So I would guess that's probably the main reason the WaPo radio died.

Posted by: k | August 28, 2007 10:44 AM

I for one am saddened, disappointed, and quite angry that the plug has been pulled on WTWP, just as the ratings are starting to climb, and the people filling in the ratings diaries have finally figured out that 1500 AM was Washington Post radio, not WTOP. It wasn't given half a chance. My anger is over the reports that this station of reasoned, intelligent conversation is about to be supplanted by yet another slate of Hate-Monger radio with the rabid likes of Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck and their ilk, designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator possible. I have been a life-long reader of the Washington Post and have subscribed for 35 years. I was really pulling for Washington Post radio to survive and thrive, providing balance to the vitriol that pervades talk radio. I have been a regular listener since its inception, particularly in the morning. I'll follow Tony Kornheiser to whichever radio station on which he lands, and probably continue to follow the iteration with David Burd and his cast of regulars who, as with Tony Kornheiser's show, have distinguished themselves with their humor, intelligence, and their gender and ethnic diversity, all too rare in radio. Apart from them, it is back to WAMU for me, and to that Minnesota Public Radio station that is due to open locally soon on that former religious music station. Sad that the Washington Post didn't have the will, the courage, or the resources to allow their nascent station to grow into something meaningful and worthwhile.

Posted by: Dr. F. | August 28, 2007 10:45 AM

WAPO radio died because of market forces. For a product that wasn't very good, there were too many alternatives on down the dial for in-depth news reporting, a la NPR, and for news analysis and commentary, a la conservative-bent AM radio talk shows.

There might have always been something more to the story, but folks generally had established sources to get the facts (and to get them right) and to get the insights about them. Why on Earth would anyone want to slog though with WAPO radio, waiting and hoping that someday they'd get it right? I don't have the kind of time, and in this market, no one should expect to be given much patience. In my car, I give you about 7-10 seconds to get my attention and another 5-8 seconds to keep it before I move on to something different.

And by the way, if there was something more to the story, if nothing else, I'd always check out the WAPO online blogs and comments. Why bother with the extra redundancy?

Posted by: Petey | August 28, 2007 10:49 AM

Marc, didn't the Post once own WTOP itself? Until the FCC regulations about cross ownership changed, that is. But those rules have been relaxed, haven't they? So the Post could presumably buy its own radio station.

Wouldn't that eliminate the dual management problem that seems to have afflicted Washington Post Radio? Wouldn't that allow the Post to find and define its own radio personality and allow for the long term investment that a project like this takes?

Posted by: Rocco | August 28, 2007 10:50 AM

I, surprisingly, listened to WTWP frequently. I am pleased that the entire morning program schedule with David Burd et al will not change, despite what people have written here. Also, its signal was perfectly fine. Obviously, it was good enough when it was WTOP, and it is still good. I also noticed, which may have bothered some, that it was equally fair to all sides, never actually arguing with people of all political persuasions (unlike the NPR people, who always seem to me to argue with non-liberals and go out of their way to make liberal's arguments stronger). On WTWP, if a liberal was on, conservatives thought it was not combative enough. If a conservative was on, liberals thought it was not combative enough. Really it was just being respectful to whoever was being interviewed. It also did frequently seem as if reporters were just summarizing their print stories. Finally, all evening there was frequently paid programming. They could have just repeated the afternoon programs in the evening and increased their profile. Finally, I noticed that WTOP started having more longer interviews, a more conversational tone, and deeper reporting, almost as if they were trying to steal WTWP's main ideas. That I never understood. When there are two news stations in a city, one is often more headline-oriented, the other with more depth (like WINS and WCBS in New York, or KFWB and KNX in LA). But Washington is more an in-depth news city with basically two in-depth news stations. But in the end, WTWP made NPR programs seem in comparison very dull, monotone-like, and even more clarified its clear liberal slant masquerading as news. I am sorry to see WTWP go, but at least half of it is remaining.

Posted by: Carl in Olney | August 28, 2007 10:55 AM

Well, I'm sorry to hear that WP Radio is going off the air, but I am not surprised because I don't think it was effectively advertised. Quite frankly, I never remembered it was even on the air.

I have chosen to show my listener loyalty to the "Anti-WMAL neo-con world" and listen to either Progressive Talk 1260 on AM or Air America on XM radio all day long.

The DC area is such a progressive area - why don't you try to bring more progressive talk to the airwaves next go round.

Posted by: LP | August 28, 2007 10:56 AM

"The Post and Bonneville thought 'If we build it, they will come,' but there was nothing there--except the Nats games.

"Maybe a better operation will get the rights next year and be proud to be the flagship of the team."
_____

I'd like to think so (Stan Kasten would, too), but as long as Redskins-centric Andy Pollin is at WTEM, I'm not counting on it. And I certainly wouldn't want to align with Red Zebra, considering its weak signals and the Nats' likely second-class status there.

I wish Washington had an equivalent of New York's WFAN, a really authoritative all-sports station.

Posted by: Vincent | August 28, 2007 10:59 AM

Marc: You dug too deep. WaPost Radio was money and time lost on what should have been the parent company's focus: Internet.

Confronted with a changing media landscape, it was folly for the Post to grasp at the AM dial for new blood. Did anyone involved with the business decision take a cursory glance at the demographics of AM news/talk listeners? They aren't grasping for NPR on caffeine.

Meanwhile, here we are with a Post web site that still:

- doesn't translate text entirely on Camino, Firefox and other increasingly popular browsers (I get code language every time a story includes an ampersand);
- doesn't offer much multimedia (if there are podcasts or other brief and interesting audio offerings, I haven't found them easily, and that says enough);
- relies for the vast, vast majority of its content on simply replicating your print offerings--this is the 'Net, it's a different vehicle, but you'd hardly know it from this website;
- ignores the micronews or neighborhood news that draws an increasing number of eyeballs to other sources (City Paper, DCist, various neighborhood blogs, and more);
- ignores the incredible growth in user-submitted still and video content;
- treats blogs as an add-on or sub-tab item within the newsroom, instead of spotlighting this format online, esp. with breaking news items.

I could go on, and you seem like one of the Post folks who fully realize these shortcomings. I love the Post and its substance. I want the Post to thrive and adapt, putting this substance before new audiences. Its venture into radio, however, represented a stunning mistake at this critical and convulsive period.

Posted by: Joel | August 28, 2007 11:04 AM

I just found Washington Post radio to be boring. I also wondered why the whole story wasn't in the paper, anyway. Surely reporters know how to write concisely enough to get the story in the written version. I also did not like David Burd, who is not funny and does not have anything like Tony K's sense of humor (though I admit that Tony is not humble, either). The whole concept never seemed to jell.

Posted by: Jay | August 28, 2007 11:06 AM

Regarding the comment about bending the station content around the need for traffic reports every 10 minutes: Don't take those traffic reports away! They're vitally necessary to this region. And yes, they need to be frequent, because someone is always tuning in for the first time, or the situation changes.

Yes, I know that you can get traffic reports on satellite radio and some other services (I'm not a techie), but people who can't afford all that fancy equipment need to plan their trips too. (And I think WTOP's traffic reports are better than XM's, anyway.)

Posted by: Greenbelt Gal | August 28, 2007 11:08 AM

I will miss David Burd's dry wit; he was the best part about the station and his new show w/Nigel was entertaining. I will also miss hearing Hillary, Bob and Sam.

I will not miss the insufferable "Mr. Tony". It was ridiculous that the station called the morning show his show after he was no longer on it and included regular clips of his rants, which everyone on his team pretended were entertaining, I guess to feed his ego. It was insulting to Burd, whom is a much better on-air talent, to continue calling it Tony's show.

I also will not miss the amateur station promotions featuring the girl going to France.

Posted by: Mary | August 28, 2007 11:09 AM

The station failed because of the arrogance or ignorance of both parties. Unlike other businesses, which realize there must be consumer need before launching a product, here the parties believed they KNEW what consumers wanted. Surprise, surprise, it failed. Now Bonneville will put on syndicated talkers because it is cheap and they have absolutely no idea what to do with those frequencies. If radio was truly the public's airwaves (which it isn't, of course), Bonneville would be forced to sell the stations to someone who might see what the public wanted and was not already getting on DC's airwaves (i.e., AAA, 60's oldies, real rock,etc. Instead we will get more talk that will tank in the ratings.

Posted by: Andy | August 28, 2007 11:30 AM

I will miss Wash Post Radio. I enjoy NPR but sometimes I don't want so much detail - I want to hear the headlines, the weather and the traffic report on the way to work. I also enjoyed the interviews which were conducted in a straight forward, interesting way. Sorry to hear they are going off the air.

Posted by: Ann | August 28, 2007 11:46 AM

I will miss Wash Post Radio. I enjoy NPR but sometimes I don't want so much detail - I want to hear the headlines, the weather and the traffic report on the way to work. I also enjoyed the interviews which were conducted in a straight forward, interesting way. Sorry to hear they are going off the air.

Posted by: Ann | August 28, 2007 11:46 AM

I have listened to WTWP almost every day since it has been on. It was like having the newspaper reporters read the newspaper to you during drive time. I liked that. Burd and Doyle were good. Big Radio only cares about an audience of sophomoric twenty-somethings who are entertained by potty-mouthed overpaid no-talents yapping about offensive crap, or kool-aid drinking arch-conservative right-wingers who listen to insulting combative Republican party operatives spewing hate-filled lies.

Posted by: JayJ in Fairfax | August 28, 2007 11:49 AM

I too will miss WTWP, and lay the blame solely at the feet of Bonneville, who, much as everyone else is saying, turned it into same-old same-old. I'm sure that the Post is filled with people who really know their subjects, but couldn't deliver that knowledge within the "3 quick questions and now let's go to six commercials" format. At least NPR is still around.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2007 11:55 AM

It's a shame that Bonneville just wants to pump in more syndicated nonsense. I hope that the credibility of sister all-news station WTOP doesn't become eroded in the process.

Hopefully, the Nationals will find a more supportive radio flagship.

Posted by: Everett W. | August 28, 2007 11:57 AM

I used to wake up to WashingtonPost Radio in the morning, first to Burd/Doyle, and then transition to Kornheiser as 8:30 rolls around. Then Tony's 'season' ended and Dave started to sub in for Tony's show, and that pretty much did it for me. Tony's show was only good when he's hosting, otherwise the format just fails.

Now I listen to WETA in the morning, and found that waking up to classical music is very soothing!

Posted by: another former WTWP listener | August 28, 2007 12:03 PM

Thanks for the post-mortem, but you didn't mention the lawsuit. These are the interesting issues for journalists: should they be paid more for working on different platforms?

Posted by: Andrea Useem | August 28, 2007 12:23 PM

I really liked the podcasts of your radio shows maybe instead of getting rid of the audio format completely you could go more web 2.0 with it.

remodel WP radio in the WP podcast network. shorten the shows to 30 min or less with a 15 sec commercial at the beginning and end and a 30 sec one in the middle (see NPR's podcasts). two episodes a week per show. one is an interview and one is a voicemail response show. seperate each by a couple days and get that larger audience you want. especially if your shows were more national in nature

give apple some cash and get featured in itunes for a month and get that 100k listener/subscriber/downloader number you want

Posted by: Mike Schleifstein | August 28, 2007 12:24 PM

I hope they move WTOP back to 1500 AM as that always come in well, whereas the 103.5 FM is very weak where I live, near Crystal City.

Posted by: Al | August 28, 2007 12:30 PM

Okay, let me get this straight; the WAPO radio died because it was a leftist, liberal production? So, is the all-powerful liberal media real or not? I mean, if it is so powerful then why not continue to run the radio station? If it is not as powerful as some claim, then perhaps it is the republicans who need to stop acting like victims. Your whinning about the liberal media is getting as old as stories about perverted republican congressmen.

Posted by: Iraqi Vet | August 28, 2007 12:42 PM

Thank you for a very informative column. Not to diminish the substantive issues that you brought up but there are a couple other problems that I had trying to listen to WTWP.

1) The signal - I completely agree with the other remarks here.

2) The Nats - It is hard to build an audience when a station's core programming is preempted for baseball several times a month. Driving around during the evenings and weekends can be a great opportunity for people who don't listen in the office or during their commute to listen to a radio station.

I had the exact same problem with Z104. It felt as if Z104, a music station, wanted me to go find other music stations. Are Nats games an albatross for Bonneville?

Posted by: Rockville, MD | August 28, 2007 12:59 PM

FM = OLD MEDIA
AM = DYING MEDIA
XM = PAY MEDIA

Why wouldn't the Post want to investigate a venture into NEW MEDIA? How about playing up synergies between the print side, the online side and use the web to, I dunno, host a web-only radio station instead or as some others alluded to, at least do more to play up on the streaming video/audio angle. I'm not sure folks would want to check out an audio version of the same thing the could read on the site, but how about streaming audio/video of a Post interview with a person that will be featured in an online chat later on in the week, and/or an interview with someone with an opposing or alternate viewpoint? If you post that to the web, you'd potentially create additional fodder for the chat session. And you'd in some measure shown "something more to the story."

Posted by: Petey | August 28, 2007 1:07 PM

News execs always think they can eek out a little more "content" from their staffs. But if elements of a story were intentionally left out of the morning print version, it was likely done so with reason. The info was either irrelevant, superfluous, or uninteresting. So, to think it would be captivating listening to hear MORE about a story -- that is, about details purposefully left out -- is in err from the start. I had hopes for Washington Post Radio, but in the end, it was as dull as dishwater.

Posted by: Tom Coffee | August 28, 2007 1:25 PM

The radio station is gone. May one dare hope that you follow its lead?

Posted by: curious | August 28, 2007 1:46 PM

It died because it was just too induldgent on the Post's part. Mostly, I trust the Post, but I don't just want to hear from their editors and reporters about their take on things. I want to hear from actual leaders in the community and decisionmakers. Not just those who try to interpret and write about what's really going on.

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Posted by: Bored to Tears | August 28, 2007 2:37 PM

We enjoyed listening to the twilight zone late on Saturday & Sunday evenings....will that still be broadcast?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2007 2:58 PM

Bill O'Reilly and Stephanie Miller on the same radio station? That's going to make people's ears react like they're listening with earphones to that one second from fully left channel to fully right channel "swoosh" sound effect on the old Firesign Theater albums.

Posted by: Pending Radio Whiplash | August 28, 2007 4:32 PM

Carl in Olney apparently never travels far. I live in Falls Church and could pick up the show only as long as I enjoyed an oscillating stream of static in the background...

I, too, will miss the show. But I must admit that I had hoped, from the beginning, that it would improve and give "more of the story" as promised.

Posted by: nicole | August 28, 2007 4:43 PM

Post fumbles the 'Net today, again. The time & money wasted on radio should have been spent on dragging the Post into a current understanding of the 'Net.

Where were surfers going for the latest on Larry Craig today? Not the Post. The home page had no prominent mention of his upcoming press conference. To make matters worse, the headlines on the home page (re: Craig) remained unchanged for nearly one hour after Craig started his comments.

TPM and a bunch of lesser blogs were on it. Come on, Post. Radio? You're losing the 'Net game.

Posted by: Joel again | August 28, 2007 5:28 PM

Washington Post Radio was awful. It was like a coffee klatsch with nothing to talk about. It was as drowsy as a commercial for a sleeping aid. It was so nonessential that Jim Bohanon at midnight was like the cleanup hitter on a bad team.

How could they not have recognized this after the first day and made it better? It boggles the mind.

Posted by: Martin | August 28, 2007 5:47 PM

I'm so happy there are still plans to air the Tony Kornheiser show. This "little" will continue to listen to Mr. Tony as long as his show is on the air. Since Mr. Tony has been on haitus, I have also developed a fondness for Lord Dave and his crew. My mornings are not complete without stories of the animal revolution and Nigel's hilarious Passport Nissan segues.

Posted by: Dominique | August 28, 2007 6:46 PM

I feel sorry for David Burd but not having Tony Kornheiser on the radio can only be a plus. I dont' watch him on tv, read him in the newspaper or listen to him on radio. He is a windbag and thinks that he knows everything. WTWP was doomed from the beginning.

WMAL made the right wing changes that left Burd on the outs. They have that "Gopher", Fat Andy and the ever righteous "Christ" Core. What a trio that is.

Posted by: Radio Listener | August 28, 2007 7:33 PM

"Tom Jefferson":
If you plan to criticize the Post or anybody else for being inaccurate, try learning how to spell first. Oh, and it's "propaganda", too.

Posted by: Donzinho | August 28, 2007 8:49 PM

One of the big problems with Washington radio in general, not just WTWP (We Talk Wonky Politics) is that there isn't enough local generated and focused programming of interest. We get bombarded with too much out-of-town syndication programming instead of programs about us done by us.
Everybody here isn't interested in what talking heads in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago et al perceive as what Washington should be interested in hearing.
Whatever happened to the local personalities that people grew up with and connected with who knew about communities and real people who lived and grew up here? Washington radio has lost its soul in pursuit of profit, which makes most stations, not just WTWP, sound like they could be located anywhere or nowhere.

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Posted by: datindnqt | August 28, 2007 9:52 PM

"... the new station will be called Talk Radio 3WT and will feature syndicated right wing talkers Neal Boortz and Glenn Beck, as well as liberal talker Stephanie Miller.

Oh, great. That really fills a need in the local market -- another ranting, raving, political talk radio station.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2007 10:29 PM

i was able to pick up the station in the bonnies of central virginia & i loved the station, loved the coverage of the nationals, & everything else i'm sad to see it go.

Posted by: carter haruka | August 28, 2007 10:57 PM

I tried listening to it, but the signal was just so lousy. Nothing will kill a radio station quicker than a lousy signal.

Posted by: Fred | August 28, 2007 11:54 PM

LOL! Had to get out of bed to post this. While listening to the Nats-Dodgers game, a spot featuring the incredibly pompous Ronnie Mervis aired in which he glowing referred to the "benefits of having (his company) advertise on Washington Post Radio." Guess that spot will soon be pulled from rotation.

Posted by: leetee1955 | August 29, 2007 12:20 AM

Well, more time in the afternoons to listen to the other stations.

Minus Mr. Tony, WashPost radio really lost its appeal (though I liked the week with Burd on vacation, the guests hosts were much better - sorry David, you are too much a "whacky morning DJ" for my tastes).

I would flip on WTWP during afternoon commutes, but certainly won't now. Hate radio from either side sucks.

Guess this explains the long survey I answered over the phone the other day.

Posted by: dmvp | August 29, 2007 3:34 PM

Could everyone please shut up now while I put on some music? Thanks.

Posted by: roger | August 29, 2007 5:24 PM

I loved it!

Hillary, Tony and the gang will be missed!

Posted by: Mimi Schaeffer | August 30, 2007 1:47 AM

Sounds like the radio producers weren't that hot, or else we aren't getting the whole story here. Radio stories are not 'more lowbrow' - at least, they shouldn't be. They just need to be done in a different way. And to put a guest on who doesn't know about what they are talking about is just asking for trouble. The key to good radio is simple: finding the right person (even if it takes a few more phone calls), and making sure that person is thoroughly briefed before they go on air. Instead of looking to NPR's format (which relies a lot on reporters and bulit packages), perhaps WashPost might have looked at something like the BBC World Service's news programs, which incorporate a lot of live content, or a service like the BBC's domestic Radio Five Live, which is rolling news, but miles away from WTOP.

Posted by: CM | August 31, 2007 3:51 AM

I am so very sad that Wash Post Radio is giving up. I've enjoyed it tremendously. I can't believe it didn't garner a large enough audience to be successful. Maybe the advertising wasn't effective. The only place I ever noticed it being advertised was on the radio station itself, like preaching to the already converted. The hosts have tons of talent, especially David Burd and Jessica Doyle and Hillary Howard. Also Victoria and Nigel.

Posted by: Linda | September 3, 2007 6:50 PM

As someone who was involved in the search for a programming head for WaPo Radio - I am not surprised it failed. The only seemingly important question in the interview process was - "tell me about your ratings experience". The entire conversation was about ratings - not substance. The big thing that Jim Farley and others forgot was that they weren't charged with putting on another commercial-talk sound-alike. It was supposed to challenge NPR. It was supposed to live up to the Post's excellent reporting. Instead the people doing the hiring were interested in numbers - "hire someone from a big-market news-talk, that'll do it !" must have been heard in the halls as they were slapping each other on the back. Glad to see they failed miserably and substance once again ruled the day (on WAMU). I feel sorry for the otherwise good radio folks who got mixed up in the confusion and lack of coherent leadership.

Posted by: Islander 84 | September 3, 2007 9:21 PM

The first commenter said that the "...Post Radio FM signal does not provide the coverage needed to reach an adequate audience." What station is this person listening to? I live about 15 miles north of Richmond, and can pick up WTWP on 107.7 inside my brick constructed house with a handheld portable FM radio. I'm guessing commenter Mike Licht needs a new radio.

My main problem with WTWP was that I heard to much low end talk, such as about Paris Hilton and other celebrities. If I wanted that, I'd tune to MSNBC!

Posted by: Bill W. | September 3, 2007 11:16 PM

Tony please comr back!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 4, 2007 4:45 PM

Anybody who is unable to detect a massive leftist slant in the Washington Post has a seriously out-of-kilter plumb bob. I've got just one word for you-- "Opus".

Marc, I think you and the rest of the people at the Post fail to understand just how much your paper is despised in this town. The ultra-left slant has been that way since the 1970's, peaked in the 1990's, and believe it or not, is actually irrelevant today.

Why has it become irrelevant? First of all, because the company has lost all credibility with the thinking segment of the public, for all the reasons pointed out by previous commenters and then some. Your paper is losing readership at a significant clip (anyone who doesn't believe that should try to cancel a subscription-- I practically got BEGGED to stay on, and they stopped billing me but still delivered). Most of the people who read your rag do so because they have to read some newspaper just to keep up with what is going on. If there were a decent alternative in this town, one that had any integrity at all, they'd drop you like a hot rock and never pick you back up again.

You can say that the paper has changed, that it is more balanced, but I don't care. Even if it was (and it is not, the Opus affair illustrated that beyond a doubt), I don't trust you and I never, ever will. Because of your horrible history, as soon as WTOP changed over I switched that button on my car radio and never allowed anything your people said to have the chance of polluting my ears.

There are products put out by other companies I might not have the highest opinion of that I still might try in a pinch, and I'll even read the Post from time to time if I don't have to pay for it, even if it's just to keep in touch with the absurd. But there were alternatives to WTWP, and I never needed to listen to it, so I never did.

Here's the kicker, my friend. I used to WORK for the Post, and did so for years, from delivery boy to route manager to writer (yeah, I'm using a pseudonym). It took a LOT to get me to despise the Post, but by golly, you all succeeded. Hope you're proud of yourselves.

I only read this article because a friend asked me to. Otherwise, I never would have bothered.

Posted by: Erstaz Moniker | September 5, 2007 4:26 AM

There needs to be an alternative to NPR/WAMU to provide something interesting and intelligent in the morning besides Garrison Keillor, endless reports on climate change and two-years-after Katrina, and tedious local reporting on obscure DC political events. The pundit/politician side of Imus provided that until he imploded. WTWP provided some of that as well. I thought most of the Post reporters were knowledgeable and worth listening to, though the format was too restrictive and the ads were excruciating.

Posted by: Tdubya | September 5, 2007 10:50 PM

Caryn G. Mathes Did not learn from the demise of WTWP. She now wants to drag WAMU down the toilet too with yet another endless stream of negative news broadcasting 24/7 from 88.5. The DC area already is saturated with news talk stations.

Since her arrival at WAMU she has consistently ignored the history and successes of WAMU to push her own flawed agenda.
It didn't work at her last job, why destroy the loyal listenership here by shoving them to HD radio that no one has, or can afford?

Posted by: Citizen | September 9, 2007 2:44 AM

Mr. Tony is still part of 3WT so he'll be back and hopefully still stink.
I found the TK show to be a refreshing and intelligent alternative to the often tedious NPR and the the truly revolting Eliot. I miss Mr. Kornheiser's ego driven rants, his golfing stories, his taste in music, all the Brit stuff and news about the impending animal revolution. TONY COME BACK!!!!

Posted by: Sian | September 11, 2007 9:41 AM

Puddin' pants Friday, Victoria, Jones, David Byrd, Mr Tony, Nigel, the animal revolution and the irreverence are welcome additions to my drive. Keep it up folks!

Posted by: Rochelle | September 14, 2007 12:03 PM

I must disagree with most of the folks who say that 107.7 can't be heard in most of the area. I live in Fauquier County and most of the time 107.7 is the only station that comes in clear enough to hear. WTOP fades out when I get near Bealeton, in the southern part of the county. I hated it when they switched around since I commute to Sterling every day, and rely on traffic reports. I guess the best part of Washington Post Radio is Victoria Jones, she has a very melifluous voice. Hope she hangs around, and I hope The Radio Factor gets the 1200-1400 time slot daily. I wish that WTOP would get a repeater down here, too.

Posted by: Chief Van | September 19, 2007 7:47 PM

I feel really sorry about this sudden demise.
I will miss Bob & Hillary.

Posted by: Rajesh | September 21, 2007 3:08 PM

... will someone PLEASE switch the 1500 AM signal back to WTOP? It would be a great public service move to get regular traffic reports out to the public in a larger area since Baltimore traffic reports are harder to find than a pat of butter at a fat farm.

Posted by: One more thing ... | September 27, 2007 6:32 PM

I think WaPo Radio committed one big, big sin in its operational life: it kept on talking about Washington, about things happening in official Washington, and around Washington, and to Washington .... but without talking to actual Washingtonians!!! When was Dorothy Brizill ever a guest on anything other than Plotkin's show? Or Sandy Seegers? Or any of the hundreds of neighborhood activists or bloggers who really know what the eff is going on in town? BO JONES WERE YOU EVER LISTENING????

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