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2 comments | Friday, December 07, 2007

I haven't done all the x's and o's but it kind of seems like there is a conspiracy against liberal/progressive radio. Why is the money with conservative radio? No one has ever explained adequately to me why progressive radio is not profitable (even in the same ballpark as conservative radio dollar wise). It's sad that the pigman (Rush Limbaugh) and other filth is what is called 'talk radio', when there are many talented people like Mike Malloy, Randi Rhodes, and Thom Hartmann who don't get the same notoriety; but based upon their talent/intelligence deserve it.


Blogger Fetiche said...

Sponsorship money follows the audience. The audience for conservative talk radio is many times the size of the audience for liberal talk radio. If you knew the first thing about marketing, you wouldn't have had to wonder.

Why does conservative talk radio draw so many more listeners and callers than liberal talk radio? Maybe liberal talk radio isn't very entertaining. People don't listen to the radio to be indoctrinated; they want to be entertained.

But liberal opinon still dominates the big newspapers and television networks, so maybe you shouldn't feel too left out.

7:57 PM

Blogger Rich said...

Sorry, but the above poster has no idea what he is talking about... take a look at the polls, people are NOT overwhelmingly Conservative, its much deeper and more complicated than that!

But it made sense that political talk would grow up as primarily a preserve of conservatives. When talk radio started in the early 1960s, the U.S. was still in the fading shadow of McCarthyism; it was still dangerous to be associated with left-leaning politics, while conservative, staunchly anti-Communist views were always safe. American broadcasting predating Joe McCarthy had a tradition of tolerance for even extreme right-wing views. Radio haters, racists and redbaiters such as Father Charles Coughlin, Gerald L.K. Smith and Walter Winchell were thriving on U.S. airwaves well before talk radio or the blacklists were established. (The blacklist was finally shut down in 1962 by a landmark lawsuit brought by radio host John Henry Faulk, a folksy populist who was blacklisted in 1957.)

By the late 1980s, when the Fairness Doctrine was abolished, a variety of other factors contributed to the explosion of talk radio in general, and conservative talk in particular. As musical programming fled to higher-fidelity FM signals, AM programmers were left with schedules to fill. At the same time, improvements in satellite technology and cheaper 800-number telephone lines were making national call-in shows more feasible (“Talk Radio Culture,” EllenHume.com).

This confluence of factors created opportunities, and conservative talk radio, which was already going strong locally across the country, took advantage of them. (Limbaugh, who’d been getting good ratings on Sacramento’s KFBK, was just one of many conservative talk hosts who benefited; in 1988, he moved to New York to launch the syndicated show from WABC that brought him to national attention.)

Far from an isolated phenomenon, talk radio’s preference for conservative over progressive commentary is a bias that plays out throughout American corporate media. On broadcast and cable news alike, progressive voices are routinely excluded while the right debates the center (Extra!, 9–10/04).

And the industry isn’t exactly coy in its preference for the right over the left. In 2003 the trade magazine Ad Age (10/13/03) explained why Al Gore, who had intended to launch a liberal cable news outlet, was instead planning to create a channel aimed at a “more aware, younger, hipper audience.” Ad Age quoted an “insider” who advised Gore: “Liberal TV is dead on arrival. . . . You just can’t do it.” (see Extra!, 11–12/03.)

In 2004, Viacom CEO Sumner Redstone candidly explained why, while he admired Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, he was compelled to support George W. Bush: “A Republican administration is better for media companies than a Democratic one” (Extra!, 2/05).

The lesson for liberal talk radio advocates is that commercial political talk radio going back five decades favors corporate-friendly conservatives and generally shuns left-of-center hosts, Fairness Doctrine or no. That history, and persistent corporate bias, weigh heavily against progressive talk ever becoming the equal of its conservative counterpart. That doesn’t mean that the small foothold that Air America and other progressive radio enterprises such as Jones Media have established can’t be improved upon. But progressive talk advocates need to know what they’re up against.

from http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=3144

8:25 PM


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