The atheist radio program “Freethought Radio” has been axed in Madison, Wis., the victim of a format change.
In its place? Twenty-four hours a day of Christmas music.
It’s like getting run over by reindeer.
“The Freedom From Religion Foundation’s radio show has been unceremoniously yanked off the air locally,” says the group’s press release, released Nov. 11.
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According to its website, the nonprofit group has more than 23,500 members and acts as a voice for free thought — atheism, agnosticism, skepticism.
The radio program, which has been around for a decade and is hosted by husband-and-wife team Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker, was canceled by the Madison radio station formerly known as Progressive Talk The Mic 92.1.
Gaylor says in the statement that the couple learned the news in the Wisconsin State Journal newspaper “that Progressive Talk had been banished forthwith on 92.1 FM and replaced with around-the-clock Christmas music!
“It’s not exactly the appropriate vehicle for Freethought Radio now.”
The Mic, also known as 92.1 WXXM-FM, is now called 92.1 Best FM, and is broadcasting holiday music all day.
“We’re excited to spread cheer throughout the community with popular holiday music on WXXM,” Keith Bratel, market president for iHeartMedia Madison, said in a statement.
The State Journal reported last week that Christmas music began playing on the day after the election on the formerly left-leaning, all-talk radio station.
“The sudden switch came as Democrats were still absorbing Donald Trump’s stunning presidential election victory just hours earlier, when many were hoping to find solace in like-minded hosts and guests,” the newspaper wrote.
A few of the station’s radio hosts, thrown for a loop by the format change, will continue to stream their shows online.
Gaylor and Barker, co-presidents of the Madison-based state/church watchdog group, won’t go off the air.
Their show also broadcasts in Janesville, Wis., and in cities in Michigan, Missouri, New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, Texas and Alberta, Canada. With a “stay tuned” to their Madison listeners, they’re looking for a way to continue there, too.
No word on what the radio station will play after the holidays.