Photo by Carl Wolfson

Photo by Carl Wolfson

KEEPING OREGON BEAUTIFUL – AND BLUE!

 Intelligent and stimulating radio!

Intelligent and stimulating radio!

In 2007, concerned about the political, economic and social direction of the country, Carl shifted his focus from stand-up comedy to radio.

He was hired by KPOJ program director, Mike Dirkx, one of the most respected and knowledgeable managers in the radio business.  And he never forgot Mike’s maxim:  “Be interesting, entertaining and relevant!”

Carl covered national politics and conducted in-depth interviews with A-list guests (Alan Greenspan, Paul Krugman, Maya Angelou), progressive legends (Howard Zinn, Gloria Steinem, Noam Chomsky) and conservative counter-punchers (Grover Norquist, Frank Luntz, Pat Buchanan).

He connected Oregon listeners with nearly all of their elected officials (he and his favorite guest, Congressman Peter DeFazio, could talk for hours about politics and policy) and provided a daily platform for hundreds of local organizations, from Columbia Riverkeeper to Jobs With Justice to Basic Rights Oregon. 

 Carl’s radio mentor, Mike Dirkx

Carl’s radio mentor, Mike Dirkx

Carl was not interested in empty slogans; he did not turn discussions of heath care into ridiculous rants about “death panels.”  He – and his listeners – were interested in exploring issues and solutions with authors, thinkers, scientists, independent writers, national journalists (from the New York Times, The Atlantic, Mother Jones, ProPublica) and local reporters (from Willamette Week, The Mercury, Street Roots, The Skanner).

And, the show was fun!  Carl had an energetic, but friendly style with callers and guests – and was playful when appropriate.  His quick wit was matched by his talented co-hosts, Christine Alexander (KPOJ) and Margie Boule (KPAM).  He was blessed with hard-working and very funny producers, Paul Pimentel (KPOJ), JD Stewart (KXRY) and Michael Herrington (KPAM).  Popular comedic segments included Friday’s “Weasel of the Week.”

Carl’s passion on air was clearly politics and history.  His roster of guests included documentarian Ken Burns, and historians such as Jill Lepore, Michael Beschloss, Kenneth Davis, and Kerry Tymchuk, executive director of the Oregon Historical Society.

 On air, Carl helped to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for SOLVE, Komen Race for the Cure, Operation Santa (holiday help for veterans) and dozens of worthy causes.

On air, Carl helped to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for SOLVE, Komen Race for the Cure, Operation Santa (holiday help for veterans) and dozens of worthy causes.

His “Day in History” focused on events and facts little known to most Americans.  How many people know about the Wilmington, NC, Insurrection of 1898 – perhaps the only coup in U.S. history?  Or that two Muslim men from Syria, Abe Doumar and Ernest Hamwi, invented the ice cream cone at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis?  Or that Helen Keller was an ardent socialist?

How many Portlanders know about Vanport (1942 to 1948), its ugly history of segregation, and its legacy in defining the city’s racial makeup?

Each broadcast offered multiple opportunities – for both host and listener – to learn and grow and be empowered to achieve a more just, healthy, and progressive future.

Kari Chisholm, publisher of Blue Oregon, stated that the show was instrumental in building the state’s solid Democratic majority.

Carl is forever grateful for his 10 years behind the microphone.  He thanks his legion of loyal listeners and scores of sponsors, most notably Eyes on Broadway, Morel Ink, Tom Dwyer Automotive, and Liberty Coin & Currency.

“There are days when it is hard to be a Portland liberal.

“After six years of hosting Carl in the Morning on KPOJ, Clear Channel flipped the format from progressive talk to syndicated sports. I drove home, depressed. I closed the garage door, kept the car running and decided to end it.

“Then after 20 minutes, I realized: I have an electric car!”

 XRAY staffers and on-air contributors Ryan Streur and Katie Bush

XRAY staffers and on-air contributors Ryan Streur and Katie Bush


Timeline

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 Heidi, Carl, Thom, and Paul

Heidi, Carl, Thom, and Paul

February 24, 2007 – November 9, 2012

On KPOJ, the “Plymouth Rock of Progressive Talk,” Carl co-hosted the morning show with Thom Hartmann and Heidi Tauber (“a little THC in the morning”).  Later, Carl co-hosted with the brilliant Christine Alexander (“Carl and Christine”) and eventually took the helm, as the show became “Carl in the Morning.”

1,365 shows
Produced by Paul Pimentel

 

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January 21, 2013 – March 10, 2014

After Clear Channel flipped KPOJ’s format to syndicated sports, causing seismic outrage in Portland (read about it here and here and here), “Carl in the Morning” returned via Internet radio.

265 shows
Produced by JD Stewart

 

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 Carl, Cardboard Sarah, and JD

Carl, Cardboard Sarah, and JD

March 19, 2014 – February 15, 2016

In 2014, Carl helped launch Portland’s independent station, FM 107.1 KXRY, by moving “Carl in the Morning” from the Internet back to terrestrial radio.

457 shows
Produced by JD Stewart

 

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 Carl, Margie, Michael, and Oso

Carl, Margie, Michael, and Oso

October 26, 2016 - March 6, 2017

“Mark and Dave,” which aired on KEX and KPAM, was one of Portland’s most loved radio shows.  Following the death of Dave Anderson and Mark Mason’s move back to KEX, Carl teamed up with Portland icon Margie Boule to cover afternoon drive for KPAM. “Margie and Carl” was a popular mix of news, sports, pop culture, and everything Portland!

87 shows
Produced by Michael Herrington

 

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Best of Portland 2012 - Best Wireless Wit

The universe of talk-radio hosts is peopled by some of the most ill-informed and unpleasant scolds anywhere. So it’s Portland’s amazing good fortune to have Carl Wolfson (“Carl in the Morning,” KPOJ 620-AM, 6-9 am weekdays). For starters, he’s actually funny. But that’s to be expected, as Wolfson moonlights as a stand-up comedian. What sets him apart, way apart, are two qualities you’d ordinarily expect from your fellow human, but practically never encounter on the AM dial. First, Wolfson does his homework—day in and day out. If he’s interviewing the author of a book, he’s read at least a good chunk of it the night before and is well-versed in relevant material. If it’s the director of a play, he’s been to the theater. And if it’s a politician (Wolfson shines during election season), no matter what the ballot measure or candidate, he’s grounded in what the race is about. Second, Wolfson is respectful. Guests don’t feel dirty or abused after he’s interviewed them—though the questions they’re asked are anything but softballs. And he’s got those great commercials from Tom Dwyer to back him up.

RICHARD MEEKER, Willamette Week