Help Ask an Atheist Make the Transition to Radio November 26, 2010

Help Ask an Atheist Make the Transition to Radio

Ask an Atheist” is a cable access TV show in Seattle where viewers can call in and ask questions to a panel of local atheists.

Unfortunately, the TV station itself is going off the air at the end of 2010.

The show won’t go down with it, though. It will move over to the radio at KLAY 1180AM.

In order to obtain the seed money for the first few episodes, the crew is holding a benefit comedy show (featuring local freethinkers) at the Tacoma Comedy Club on Thursday, December 9th.

Tickets are $20 and you’d be helping keep the atheist message on the airwaves. Plus, stand-up comedy is always entertaining to see live 🙂 Consider helping the group out if you’re in the area!

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  • Wow, thanks for the support Hemant!

  • this is totally cool. but i can’t help it: i have to ask- is there not *one* woman or one person of color they can find to sit on the panel? it’s different when it’s a radio or internet show and people can’t see the pictures. i understand the area, and diversity it still developing there. but for people like me? any time i see anything about anything, and it’s four white guys who at the very least emulate heteronormative culture in the visual sense? i make a moue.

  • Richard P.

    any time i see anything about anything, and it’s four white guys who at the very least emulate heteronormative culture in the visual sense? i make a moue.

    Holy shit! Is that ever racist.
    Talk about pre-judging.

    Why do people always jump to make race and gender a central focus.
    Maybe it’s just four guys who got an idea, put it together and made it work.
    What I wonder is why aren’t they’re woman and people of color that are so concerned with race and color not doing more to help the problem? Start your own show, have your own conferences and invite us, show up to the ones thrown, I bet if all of a sudden a hundred color people, or a hundred women, or a hundred colored women showed up to the conferences, they would always be invited in with open arms. Maybe the reason we have huge meeting with old white guys is because few of the other demographics show up.

    So many people whining about how things should be done but not doing anything. Almost as useful as praying.
    Funny you don’t see Hemant whining about it, why? Because he’s contributing to the solution, not focusing on the problem.
    (Sorry for being an ass)
    Other than that I hope these guys succeed.

  • Steve

    There are many people on that show. The composition of the panel varies. I can’t recall any people of color, but there are several women.

    They have a channel on YouTube where you can easily see it.

  • Lynn

    I am a member of Seattle Atheists and it’s as diverse as about all the other Atheist groups out there.

    And I would love to support these guys, but frankly — Tacoma?

  • Bob

    AM Radio? Really? Reaches maybe 10 people. Why bother with an AM radio station? The whole world, literally, is available to them on the internet, why be so limited to radio?

    When was the last time you sat around waiting for a radio show to come on? The only AM radio I have is in the car…I guess it still works, brings back memories of listening to AM radio decades ago. Ah yes, 5 minutes of show and 10 minutes of advertising.

  • Hey,

    Thanks for the big promotion, Hemant! I’m a huge fan of the blog.

    The four guys who appear in the video — me included — are the creators of the show. I pitched the idea of an atheist-centric cable access show to the local atheist community over a year ago, and these are the gentleman who came to help from the beginning. It’s as simple as that. This isn’t a panel, it’s simply the show’s four creators.


    As for Tacoma, we picked it because it’s the best radio option we have. KLAY 1180 AM is small and privately owned and will give us the greatest degree of creative freedom and the only affordable timeslots around. There’s no Seattle option that gives us anything nearly as good as KLAY.

    And even if you folks don’t live in the Seattle area, please don’t think you can’t help. We’re also asking for donations from anyone who likes our show and would like to see it continue.

  • Bob – I can understand how AM radio might not make sense to some people, but the public access options in Seattle are woefully limited. After all, we are not willingly switching to AM radio, we had to find a new medium because SCAN is being forced closed due to budget cuts.

    Also, we felt that it was important to do something other than a web-based show. There are literally thousands of internet videos about atheism out there and, as with a lot of niche interests online, they tend to be paid attention to predominantly by people who are already interested in the topic. One of the goals of our producers has always been to try to reach out to people who might otherwise never be exposed to a conversation with an openly atheist person. Given that we really don’t have a public access option that’s viable for us, I think radio is a great way to continue the show.

  • Actually, AM radio is big. It’s just that people like us — lefty NPR types — don’t listen to it. Millions of others do.

    AM radio also offers us the best chance to reach theists and get great callers, who are not likely to hear us otherwise. We are stepping into “enemy territory,” so to speak. The fact that the station programming we’re on skews Right is only going to make our show all the more relevant.

    And millions of people “wait for a radio show” every day, AM talk especially. Again, just because you don’t listen to it, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist.

    And yes, the internet is huge, but with countless atheist podcasts out there, we’d get lost in the white noise. We’ve gotten the attention we’ve gotten so far because we broadcasted over the airwaves and because we took live calls.

    The atheist corner of the internet is a great place, but only atheists and the rare theist internet gunslingers ever tread there. Our show has always aimed at reaching outside of the choir and being heard by people who disagree with us.

    We’ve always had an internet presence, and that presence has always been 90%+ made up of atheists. We don’t want a “ditto head” preach to the choir show.

    We want to challenge misconceptions about atheism and atheists. And we want to reach folks who aren’t internet debaters.

    While we’re making this move through necessity, we think we have the potential to reach more people through AM radio than we did through public access television.

  • Korinthian

    I don’t know anything about this show, but have you guys done the obvious and started a youtube channel? It’d be good to have material available online as well to spread the message (it’s how The Atheist Experience went from state-wide to world-wide).

  • Steve
  • Holy shit! Is that ever racist.
    Talk about pre-judging.

    i’m talking about inclusion, not racism. it’s not that i instantly disbelieve or suspect what white people say just because they’re white, that would be racist and i don’t do that. but it’s like the picture that made the rounds on some political blogs a while back, of about 10 or so old, white senators and the former, white president signing an “historic” bill that reduced access to reproductive services for women, esp poor women and women of color. the disconnect just jumps out at people like me. i’d say the same if this pic had been of four japanese women or four latin transexuals. it’s about inclusion: a movement is more powerful when it includes everyone. we debated the “problem” of atheism and the whiteness of the leadership of the “movement” a while back on this blog, and my comment is in the same vein.

    you’re familiar with the concept “that just looks bad?” even when whatever it is in question is actually good? well, same deal here. image matters, and this image gave me the instant impression i shared in my first comment. i guess maybe you’re used to seeing only white folks, but i’m not and i prefer important topics like atheism to be represented by a wide range of people, not just one kind.

  • Chicago,

    I hope you’ll actually check our show out before making some sort of judgment of us. The four creators of the show happen to be white males, because when I announced the desire to start a show like this, these are the only people who initially had an interest in it. That’s it.

    As for diversity, of the three special guests we’ve had on the show so far, two were women and two were LGBT. One, Kate Fahr, has joined our regular host rotation.

    This coming week, we’re doing an episode of the show on the atheist visibility movement in Latin America, filmed live entirely in Spanish. A couple months ago, I did a lengthy interview with Greta Christina for the show, on the topic of comparisons between the LGBT and atheist movements.

    We also have an open invitation to Jenn McCreight to guest on the show — which she’s accepted, but the scheduled haven’t matched up yet.

    And for the record, if four Japanese women or four latin transexuals had been calling for the creation of an atheist call-in show, I would have been the first to volunteer. We really need to get our voice heard in media.

    Please do check out our show and don’t judge us before you do. You said that you commented based on an initial impression. Remember that often our initial impressions can be wrong, and give us a look before deciding that we’re racially and sexually uninclusive.

  • Sam


    I could talk about how I really doubt, based on evidence, that you would complain if it were four Japanese individuals or transgendered folks on the screen. Or, I could complain about your assumption that all white people have the same outlook, economic and class distinctions. Or, should I pithily apologize for being white and wanting to do a TV show, and not waiting to fill some invisible race card to start?

    Rather, I think I will assume that you’re one of those Chicagoans who can’t really enjoy something until they’ve got something to complain about. I hope you enjoy the work we do once you check us out, and I hope you’ll enjoy our future work on the radio.


    P.S. Ask me how I know about complaining Chicagoans!

  • Richard P.

    “that just looks bad?”

    I guess it does if all you see is the color of skin and the gender, and fail to see the contribution they are trying to make.

    But I guess it’s your story, so you can tell it anyway you want.

  • Richard P.

    P.S. Ask me how I know about complaining Chicagoans!

    Oh!~ I so want to know this.
    How do you know about complaining Chicagoans?

  • Chad

    Sam’s a former Chicagoan.

  • Sam

    Chad *almost* stole my thunder, but my point was that I am a former Complaining Chicagoan.

    And for the record– it’s just that I moved.


  • Richard P.

    That’s it? well I hoping for more. Some sorted story of one kind or another.

    About 20 of years ago I hitchhiked from Saskatoon SK. to Chicago. I spent 6 weeks in working with a commune called Jesus People USA serving the homeless meals. Six weeks was all I could take. I hitchhiked back to Canada, and have to say I never felt happier leaving a place than I did then. We served about 150 people twice a day. There was an enormous amount of whining then too.
    Hmmm….I wonder if there still around?

  • I was sleeping in my car in Chicago once and was woken up by a woman with the most amazing voice yelling “LORD A’ MIGHTY! LOOKA THAT HOOPDIE-MOBILE!” I popped up to see what she was talking about and scared the hell out of her since she was, in fact, talking about my very own car/bed. She was right though, that car was more rust than anything. 🙂

    Also, I have a vagina and work on the show. I don’t know if that matters at this point, but it’s true.

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