Monday, July 02, 2007

Talk Radio: the Next Liberal Target?

During and before the 1970s AM radio was king. Then came FM, with its better fidelity and greater transmission range, and AM stations found themselves with fewer and fewer listeners. Looking for some programming to make AM viable again, oldies stations developed to play old music, and the talk radio concept took hold. Today, talk programming is a major force in radio, with hundreds of radio stations now featuring talk programming of one sort or another. In the category of current events/politics, listeners have shown a clear preference for conservative programming; the marketplace has spoken.

Although there are successful programs in individual markets, liberal/progressive talk radio has generally failed to attract listeners in sufficient numbers, with the most recent and most glaring failure being the terrible showing of Air America, which has recently been saved from bankruptcy by Stephen Green, a New York real estate investor. Despite liberals’ and progressives’ best efforts, conservatives dominate talk radio, and that is okay, since this dominance evolved as a matter of listener preference, the free choice of the audience. And since the major newspapers and networks are left leaning, conservative-dominated talk radio helps to provide balance.

However, liberals and progressives are not content with their dominance of the mainstream media, they want half of the talk radio pie, too. But rather than try to develop programming that attracts listeners, they prefer to do through legislative fiat what they have been unable to do in an open marketplace.

Liberals are trying to shame conservatives into giving up what they have won through producing a product that the listening public wants, and assert that conservatives are afraid to have balance in talk radio, and insisting that the public deserves balance in talk radio.

But they conveniently gloss over the fact that they have had ample opportunity to earn a significant share of talk radio’s audience, but have failed miserably because the audience doesn’t like what they are selling.

That should be a plain enough message, even for liberals/progressives.

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