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Progressive Politics on Talk Radio

Jun. 6, 2017
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Mike Crute, owner of WWRD 1510AM and host of "The Devil's Advocates"

Long ago, talk radio wasn’t synonymous with right-wing diatribes. Restoring balance on the airwaves (and via podcasts) motivates Mike Crute’s recent purchase of WRRD 1510 AM as a medium for his talk show, “The Devil’s Advocates,” with co-host Dominic Salvia.

 

Why do you call it “Devil’s Advocates”?

We envisioned a show with passionate political debate among ideologically different hosts and guests. We launched in Madison in the midst of the Scott Walker recall in early spring 2012. Dominic and I have a similar a sense of humor, a 25-year history as former college roommates, and the shared philosophy that the arguments are never personal, only politics.

I bought WRRD 1510 AM, in response to IHeart Media, our former host station and local production partner in Madison, giving us a 10-day notice that they were flipping the successful Progressive Mic 92.1 FM format to music, on the day Donald Trump was elected president.

Our show had already signed a national syndication contract, effective Jan. 2, 2017. We had a loyal local Wisconsin audience we could no longer reach and an obligation to produce, but no studio to produce our new national show. We launched “The Devil’s Advocates” with no Wisconsin affiliate in a rental studio for the first month of our syndication.

When we only played in Madison, we always led “The Devil’s Advocates” show with Wisconsin politics. Now we do two hours of Trump for 18 markets with a mix of other relevant national politics between 3-5 p.m. CT. We then do a Wisconsin “happy hour” beginning at 5, focusing on Wisconsin callers and politics.

As a station owner, I am able to allow others to expand upon my vision as well. Earl Ingram Jr. hosts our morning show between 6-8 a.m. weekdays. Earl does more Milwaukee-centric politics, long-form interviews, and has insights into the African American community that I do not.

 

What else are you airing?

We have the nationally syndicated, progressive favorites—Stephanie Miller Show 8-11 a.m. and the Thom Hartmann Show 11 a.m.-2 p.m. I am also hosting “Wisconsin News Hour,” afternoons between 2-3 p.m., doing more Wisconsin-centric politics and interviews as a lead-in to “The Devil’s Advocates.”

 

What’s your goal?

My goal for the station is commercial success. This is a business, and I have everything I own at risk or collateralized to pull off the financing. My family is taking a huge risk. I need some local businesses to take a leap of faith with me and become sponsors.

My ultimate goal is to change the politics in the state of Wisconsin. That starts by appealing to a broader segment of audience, finding appeal with more than just the political left, influencing politically independent Wisconsinites by presenting facts first, not partisanship. You will know if we are succeeding if Republican turnout in Waukesha County declines 5-10% in 2018.

 

Do you sense a hunger for what you’re doing?

WRRD 1510 AM is Wisconsin’s only independent radio voice. WISN, WTMJ pander to political conservatives in southeastern Wisconsin, propping up Scott Walker and Donald Trump with their support. The vast majority of Wisconsinites do not support Trump and many see that Walker’s policies favor his wealthy campaign contributors over the rest of us.

WRRD is about trying to change the future of Wisconsin and America; this is my contribution. Please join us in the resistance. WRRD is Wisconsin’s Resistance Radio.

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