Today was a sad day for political conservatives in Cincinnati. Salem Broadcasting's lineup of conservative talk shows met its end on 1160 AM WBOB. In its place appeared a tiresome lineup of eclectic oldies songs (a format labeled "10,000 oldies," which sounds like a form of torture that John McCain should investigate), as if this market needed yet another weak AM signal playing bland nostalgia.
It seems that in September 2005 Salem traded its two Cincinnati stations, WBOB and WTSJ, plus $6.7 million, in exchange for a high-powered outlet in Detroit, a much larger market. The new owner of the Cincinnati stations is John Yinger of the Christian Broadcasting System. He likes WTSJ for Christian stuff, but apparently doesn't care much for the distinctiveness of WBOB's format.
The Salem talk format on WBOB featured such luminaries as Bill Bennett, Michael Medved, and Hugh Hewitt. The talk was well informed, civil, thoughtful but still edgy. It was everything that talk radio should be and none of what its opponents caricature it to be.
And now it's gone from this market, unless you've got satellite or are at the computer with streaming audio.
This whole affair reminds us all too much of the sad demise of WNOP. Once the hippest jazz station in any locale, it was sold to Sacred Heart Radio, which now broadcasts Roman Catholic programming on the signal.
Why does this WBOB's death remind us of WNOP's? Because good taste seems to have a short life on Cincinnati's airwaves. Michael Medved is gone, but Jerry Springer will live forever.