EsPRSS-o Interviews Brian Bahouth

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   Cannabis Radio News



Tell us about the show!

Cannabis Radio News began as something that a small group of us couldn’t resist. With changes in laws in Washington state and Colorado, cannabis kept coming up as a news item. It really is an inexhaustible story, and we looked at it as a focus with a rich news future in the U.S. and elsewhere.

Also, this is more than just a show about legalization of marijuana. This is an important distinction. We’re not ‘Stoner Radio’, it’s not Cheech & Chong, not a stereotype at all. Cannabis is an important issue in every state of the union, so it should be talked about, not just in niche community radio but also on mainstream public radio.  We want to break stereotypes.

Our emphasis is to bear witness to this story. We really work to get leading stakeholders and bear witness to what’s going on, and that’s the extent of our advocacy. It’s important to us that this is a news product that meets the production and editorial standards of an NPR affiliate. This is why we’re on PRSS. This is where we want to be, and our news warrants it.

The show is five minutes long, once a week. It’s released Thursday evenings because we hope to see airplay on Friday, on the weekends and early the next week. It may only be five minutes, but we pack a lot of well-written, well-produced information in that time.

We’re a terrestrial radio product but we’re competitive in the online milieu as well. We offer extended interviews and information sources on our website. The weekly broadcast is only five minutes, so we can only feature a thoughtful excerpt of the interviews we do, but those quotes represent potentially hours of interviews, which people can access on our site. Our goal is to provide an omnibus show, with the top stories and the top stakeholders.


What is the format?

It’s really a discrete show. I host it, and it has very consistent themes in and out. It’s a highly produced five minutes, bringing in quotes from the interviews we conduct during the week. We very deliberately set it for five minutes.  It’s not an hour or half an hour, it’s not a huge commitment, and it’s very versatile. I’ve worked at many stations over the years, and we wanted this to be flexible enough to fit into a local news magazine, into music programming, and into automation systems using the NPR clock. So we really thought out the five minute thing, and our online presentation compliments that very well. We work those two together to have a good online presence in addition to our terrestrial radio presence.


When did the show begin?

We are five weeks old today (August 20, 2014). We’re in more markets than I know, based on web traffic coming from certain areas without explanation. We’re thrilled with the response online and in social media. And within the larger cannabis community, we’re seeing that this is something that marijuana activists want. They want this information to get to everyone and not just a rare piece on CNN or other news outlet. Our show is a great way for a station to report the underreported.

This positive reaction is interesting and heartening because there’s nothing else like it out there. In community radio, there is long tradition of cannabis-themed shows, and they tend to be longer format. But this is one that is particularly formatted for public radio so we hope to gain some traction there.


How is it funded?

We are working on a small grant through KVMR in Nevada City, California, our station. We have enough money to produce 104 shows, which is two years’ worth, and our goal is to be competitive for grants to make the show self-sustaining. Thanks to KVMR and the community, we’re able to do this.


Why should a station be interested in taking this show?

Our show is timely and well produced and versatile. Marijuana and marijuana laws are an important issue in every state and municipality, and our show focuses on how communities and individuals deal with these issues in rapidly changing times and present it in a way that fits with the public media ethos. This is programming that listeners will talk about and support.  We’re a responsible and thoughtful addition to any program grid. And our T-shirts make productive fund-drive premiums.


How many stations are currently airing it?

Six, as far as we know, including our home station, KVMR.


How can stations get the show?

We would love all stations to get it through PRSS. It will be there every week on Thursday at 21:00 hours. It’s also available for download on our website. So it’s easy to get. If any programmer has a question, if there are concerns, if a station is on the fence, give us a call, write an email and we’ll answer any questions. We’d love to be on your station.