Skip to comments.Talk Radio Gets Angrier as its Revenues Drop
Posted on 08/07/2009 8:48:32 AM PDT by DanZanRyu
Conservative talk radio has never been more angry and extreme than today. You might think thats a response to the Obama presidency. But even more, conservative talkers are responding to a collapse in advertising revenues.
According to Scott Fybush, the proprietor of North East Radio Watch, talk radio has lost 30-40% of its ad revenues over the past two years.
Further, in an interview with a talk radio trade publication, Talkers Magazine, late last year, Talk Radio Networks CEO Mark Masters said: 2008 will be known as the year that weak syndicated programs began dying off in droves, adding that it has only just begun.
In this environment, radio hosts believe that anger is their only path to survival. If youre not the most extreme person on the radio or making the most outrageous headlines, says Fybush, there is going to be some portion of the base that is going to ignore you and move onto someone who is more extreme.
One of the most civil voices in talk radio, Michael Medved, explains the economic pressure upon the industry. He told NewMajority: In this [economic] environment, you have something of a push to be outrageous, to be on the fringe, because what youre desperately competing for is P-1 listeners [those who tune in most frequently]. The percentage of people on the fringe who are P-1s is quite high, he explained. As a result, talk radio hosts are feeling more pressure than usual to yell harder, scream louder, and insult further. Talk shows are fighting for an ever- smaller pie, [which means that] youve got to be even louder about it because youre trying to get the attention of an ever-smaller niche, said Medved.
All these factors exacerbate the existing negative tendencies of conservative news talk radio. Michael Harrison, editor of Talkers Magazine, notes that news talk radio has traditionally been a street medium [that employs] the language and emotions and attitudes that one would hear on the street, by the fence, in the schoolyard. Of course, schoolyard emotions evoke schoolyard results: a downwards descent into name-calling and fringe politics. Talk radios fascination with the birther movement is the logical end point.
As conservative politics attempts to reach out and rebuild, the incentives for conservative radio hosts point in exactly the opposite direction. The fact of the matter is that the survival of news talk radio depends on ratings and revenue, not on getting people elected, or even on bring right, says Harrison. If the economy worsens, expect more venom on your AM dial.
...WLS on the internet, all they play are PSA spots during their commercials...
Internet play of a broadcast station often has contractual rules governing the airing of commercial spots over the internet. A lot of times there will be only PSA’s or just some anonymous music. But still, yes, ad revenue is down all over the dial, AM and FM.
I like Medved too, but he does have a little of the McCain/Graham syndrome, which is a taste for being stroked by the conservative movement’s enemies from time to time.
“Sales of Snapple fell drastically because it’s such a mediocre product that we, and no doubt others, bought it just because it sponsored Limbaugh’s three hours”
I haven’t seen Snapple in ages; I didn’t even know it was still around.
I don’t dismiss the reports of add revenue being down. I do dismiss some of the reasons that people attribute for it. I do dismiss some of the supposed fixes for it.
I don’t think he’s a sell-out. I do think he’s a person who isn’t quite in sync with Conservatism. He’s much too comfortable with the go along to get along concept IMO. He just sees it that way, and I think that’s flawed logic. I can’t listen to his show.
Every time the right gets fired up, Medvid thinks they loose respect by launching. I’m sorry, but I think that’s a milk-toast’s attitude. If something is worth fighting for, sometimes you’ll be forced to fight for it.
Well, that's not exactly how it happened. Snapple was a private company when it advertised on Rush. Then it sold out to Quaker Oats for $1.7 Billion or so (later to lose $1.4B when it sold Snapple for $0.3B). Quaker Oats decided that advertising on Rush and Howard Stern didn't fit their corporate image.
I expect it was more of a corporate/business stupidity than it was political, or they might have kept Howard Stern. It takes real business ignorance to buy what was much more of a good advertising campaign than a good product and kill the advertising campaign.
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