Progressive radio personality Ben Wikler is convinced his left-leaning views will thrive on the web. So he’s taking his daily radio show online — and he’s bringing his friend and mentor, Sen. Al Franken, along for the first on-demand ready episode.
Wikler will promote his new show, "The Good Fight," from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday at The 201 Bar (201 Massachusetts Ave. NE) during an invitation-only preview party. Franken is scheduled to attend the kickoff festivities, along with Anna Galland, executive director of MoveOn.org’s Civic Action program.
MoveOn, which also sponsored Wikler's previous show, "The Flaming Sword of Justice," is banking on the Franken alumnus — he served as lead researcher on Franken’s media-bashing tome, "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them," and also served as a producer and writer for the Minnesota Democrat’s eponymous Air America show — to shake up political talk.
Per Wikler, the first installment of the revamped program — "We're moving a lot more towards 'This American Life,'" he said, citing the Holy Grail of public affairs broadcasting — will be available both by subscription and in the iTunes store on Thursday.
Wikler is excited about shifting to a podcast-based format, estimating that breaking free from the confines of the daily grind will allow for longer interviews, the interweaving of more comedy bits and better all-around radio. "'The Flaming Sword' was a blunt instrument," he said of the program originally launched in 2012 from his Brooklyn apartment. "What people will hear at 'The Good Fight' is a more finely crafted precision instrument for the delight, inspiration and activation of our audience."
One new segment will be "The Win Report," a weekly roundup of progressive campaigns from around the country — or as Wikler described them, the "behind-the-slingshot views of David vs. Goliath stories." Some of those snippets will come directly from MoveOn-sourced reports, though Wikler said he plans to feature independently gathered content ("stories about people who are changing the world") as well.
Getting the public involved, though, remains paramount.
"We will be doing live shows in the future," Wikler pledged. And he’s very interested in getting feedback from listeners about which way to grow next.
"I think phase one is to take the Internet by storm," he suggested. "Once we’ve found our core audience, we’ll work with them to figure a way forward in terms of syndication."