There are a couple of things going on in this Huffington Post article, and a downright awful understanding of how radio works as a business is only a part of it.
“It was a business decision,” John Campanario, host of the LGBT talk forum Out And About and a digital marketing executive for the station, told GBM News. “The antics of people like [right-wing talk show hosts] Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity have put advertisers off talk radio, across the spectrum. This is happening nationally.”
The “antics” the Left will always point to in this regard include (and are most often referring to) the Sandra Fluke incident. While Cumulus, who at times seems to dislike money and wants to split the baby, claimed that loses suffered that year were due to Rush, Premiere, Rush’s distributor, acknowledges he’s back to pre-scandal levels. And Hannity, as Neal Boortz likes to say, is a boy scout. What on earth kind of controversy has he caused to lose major advertisers?
So, is it the Sandra Fluke controversy that would cause a New York liberal talk station to switch formats? Doesn’t seem to be the case. And since the Huffington Post can’t prove that, they switch attacks in the next chunk of the story, quoting an op-ed piece by the station’s morning drive time anchor.
The biggest pressures squeezing liberal talk radio are commercial ones. Deregulation of the airwaves allowed conglomerates like Clear Channel to borrow billions from Wall Street and begin buying up stations by the hundreds. Saddled with debt, Clear Channel has ruthlessly standardized its 840 stations and squeezed each for maximum profit. That meant eliminating progressive talk from its stations in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Portland.
So… it’s Wall Street’s fault. It’s the corporations’ fault. These are attacks as baselessly repeated as any other liberal attack meant to hide their own failures. But, before they can try to justify that point, they switch points again.
A 2007 report from the Center for American Progress and Free Press also pointed to the lack of diversity among radio station owners as a reason that conservative talk radio has been so dominant.
“Quantitative analysis conducted by Free Press of all 10,506 licensed commercial radio stations reveals that stations owned by women, minorities, or local owners are statistically less likely to air conservative hosts or shows,” wrote the authors. “In contrast, stations controlled by group owners — those with stations in multiple markets or more than three stations in a single market — were statistically more likely to air conservative talk.”
I’d like to point out, firstly, that “American Progress” is not going to be a balanced organization, whatever it’s referring to. But, the larger point here is that, as predictably as the sun is going to rise and force me to go to work on a damn Saturday, we get to the “diversity” issue. These guys have now pulled out all their cards, laid them on the table and looked us dead in the eye, challenging us to defy them.
So, challenge accepted.
Have you ever listened to a damn liberal talk show? Whine and whine and whine and moan and grumble. For hours on end. No one at all seems to be looking at these guys and saying “Uh… this is a business built on entertainment.” They whine about how unfair the world is, and then they scream into their microphones “ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!” even though Ed Schultz is nowhere near in shape enough to fight in the Coliseum.
It’s because these guys on the radio have forgotten to have a sense of humor. They’ve forgotten they are supposed to entertain. They try to win by tossing out old and worn ideas, and ideas are not something they are typically good with.
Remarkably, when they don’t get high ratings, they turn to conservatives, businesses and race issues and use those to blame their shortcomings. Liberals are entertaining in Hollywood. Not so much behind their microphones or news desks.
Of course, there are “conservative” failures, too. Mike Huckabee tried to provide what was essentially the right-wing NPR – boring, “non-controversial” talk that he established solely to detract from Limbaugh. Had he not mercifully pulled the plug to run for the 2016 presidency, he would certainly be watching his talk show limp toward is grave.