|Image from source, Politically Illustrated|
While I confess that I'm excerpting and linking to the article below mostly to justify running the accompanying cartoon, I do have thoughts about why talk radio is more than 90% conservative. And my thoughts for the most part do not align with the writer (who has used a headline that doesn't have much to do with his article).
I've been a talk radio listener for quite a while, and a left-wing talk radio listener since 2004, when Air America Radio debuted. I had to listen on my computer at work, since there is no liberal station in Las Vegas. There are at least two conservative stations though, and there have been (and still may be) more of them I haven't sampled. At least two of them were--at least until recently--actually run on both AM and FM, making four right there. This is not due to the political makeup of the Las Vegas valley or of Clark County, both of which are the most liberal areas of the state. It's not due to the availability of hosts, who manage to fill the schedule in some other cities. What is it due to?
I honestly don't know, but it it isn't entertainment value, as the writer below contends. The Stephanie Miller Show is uproariously funny most days, and quite entertaining. The Randi Rhodes Show would be entertaining to most liberals (at least those who don't have an aversion to strong New York accents). Thom Hartmann can be a bit cerebral, but his debates with bona fide conservatives are fascinating. But if you're like most people, you don't know who any of those people are. Air America went out of business a couple years ago, and the remaining active liberal hosts are thus at the mercy of station programmers. Station programmers who want talk radio go for conservative hosts by and large. Sometimes putting Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity on more than one station at the same time.
If this were solely a ratings game, I'd get it. But it's not. In those areas where left-wing talk has managed to get a foothold, many times they've been replaced by formats that perform worse. Stephanie Miller beats Laura Ingraham when put head-to-head, and yet Ingraham is on many more (and higher power) stations. The writer below says that Limbaugh and Glenn Beck are endlessly entertaining. Okay, but how does he explain Michael Weiner Savage (certifiable) or Mark Levine (worst voice in radio)? The B-list, C-list, D-list and Z-list right-wing talkers far outnumber the A-list left-wing roster. They can't all be doing well in the ratings. There are just far too many of them, and they're all operating from virtually the same talking points!
I do agree with the writer though, that the right-wing talk radio listener prefers to have his own beliefs echoed, likes to get stirred up with the latest faux outrage, and is largely unencumbered by concern about fact-based radio hosts.
A Moment of Silence: Should the Fairness Doctrine Be Revived to Prevent Polarization in Politics?
The question was particularly intriguing considering its source: the host of a progressive radio show in Central California.
In terms of audience size, the canyon between right and left on radio’s political spectrum is huge. Top conservatives – Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck and Michael Savage – reach a combined audience of roughly 50 million listeners a week. The most successful liberal talk hosts, such as Ed Schultz and Randi Rhodes, each pull about 3 million weekly. . .
Read more at: Politically Illustrated