Marijuana-themed radio has been accessible on the Internet for several years now, with more live shows and podcasts launching all the time. But in the world of “real radio” aka terrestrial radio (where competition is kept to a minimum and most of the audience is trapped in their cars), there has been little in the way of marijuana programming.
But as the saying goes, everything has to start somewhere. (Is that a saying? If not, we’ll pretend it is.) The Nuglife Radio Show hosted by Medicinal Mike broadcasts on the FM airwaves in Southern California, landing big guests and well-known advertisers. As far as stations go, in April KHIG 1580 AM in Colorado Springs, Colorado, shook the legal cannabis world in the Rocky Mountains by debuting an all-weed talk format; a month later it was off the AM dial and broadcasting exclusively online.
The newest entry into the world of terrestrial marijuana radio is bringing some heavy firepower with it. “Smokin’ 94.1” is a FM station in Denver, Colorado, the #19 market in the US. They play mostly music with 4:20 newsbreaks and copious references to sweet Mary Jane, but weekday mornings are anchored by the nationally syndicated powerhouse “Bubba The Love Sponge Show.” Bubba is the 25th most influential host in America according to Talkers Magazine and is notorious in the industry for legendary fines, multiple trips to court and being the man hand-picked by Howard Stern to host afternoons when The King of All Media went to satellite radio.
Smokin’ 94.1 changed from a sports format, as did KHIG before it. Legal recreational cannabis in Colorado has opened the door for many businesses to advertise on terrestrial radio, something they have never been able to do before. And in radio, format (usually) follows money.
One day, marijuana radio will be commonplace; after all, stoners love music. As of now, a few pioneers test the waters to find out some of what works and what doesn’t. As radio moves more toward the Internet in the coming decades, there will be no end to the variety of programming available. But for now, terrestrial radio still rules the road, and Mary Jane will have her pace in it.
Don't forget to tune in to Joe Klare's own podcast at stonerjesus.net!