HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » Let me explain how Rush g...
Introducing Discussionist: A new forum by the creators of DU

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 12:03 PM

Let me explain how Rush got to be so powerful on the AM radio dial and why it is highly

unlikely to happen again...

Back in the 1980's, the law of the land restricted the number of radio and television stations one person or company could own in any given market. It was called Duopoly and that kept the local airwaves competitive.

But when cable TV moved into the picture, everything changed.

Suddenly, the small businesses in these small and medium sized markets could now afford to advertise on Cable. Am radio which was a way to make a decent living for the owner/operator, lost a ton of ad money to the cable companies.

Rush, or whoever was working with him at the time, saw an opportunity to get his show off a few stations and into hundreds by offering all these struggling mom and pop radio stations a chance to stay in the business. His EIB network worked like this, they would syndicate for free and allow the local station to place a certain amount of ads during his show.

Rush had several national accounts from places like Snapple which was struggling to get a toehold in the US soft drink industry. So he would make his money off of the national accounts.

At the local level, the owner could run those three hours without having to pay a DJ. They hired kids who wanted to be in radio to stay in the booth so that if anything happened with the signal, they could switch over to live radio.

Everybody wins in this scenario. Rush makes money and increases his reach with little to no cost. The local owner doesn't have to pay an on air talent and the local advertisers liked the idea of being on a national radio show even though the signal was beamed in.

By the end of the 80's, Rush had built such a large following that he could go into the larger markets and sell his show to the struggling AM radio stations.

That's how it started and Rush pushed to make it a one shot deal by lobbying to get rid of those restrictions on market ownership percentages and poof, all those mom and pop radio station were quickly snapped up by companies like Clear Channel.

That is why this kind of stuff cannot happen again. Large media conglomerations own most of those AM radio stations across the country and the only way to get programming on to those stations is to go through the big corps.

Now I am sure there are hundreds of little radio stations out there in small to medium sized markets that are still hanging on, but that means you would have to go to each and everyone and try and sell your format.

No one has done that because it is a monumental task to first ID the stations and then convince a local business person who probably belongs to the local Chamber of Commerce to put progressive talk shows on their station.

Good luck with that.

To me, I think continuing to build a presence on the web is the way to go because that is where our core market resides and it is a lot cheaper to break into.

22 replies, 1941 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 22 replies Author Time Post
Reply Let me explain how Rush got to be so powerful on the AM radio dial and why it is highly (Original post)
WCGreen Nov 2012 OP
haikugal Nov 2012 #1
WCGreen Nov 2012 #3
haikugal Nov 2012 #7
WCGreen Nov 2012 #8
haikugal Nov 2012 #17
HiPointDem Nov 2012 #20
WCGreen Nov 2012 #22
CaliforniaPeggy Nov 2012 #2
Agnosticsherbet Nov 2012 #4
WCGreen Nov 2012 #5
WCGreen Nov 2012 #6
EmeraldCityGrl Nov 2012 #9
WCGreen Nov 2012 #10
EmeraldCityGrl Nov 2012 #12
haikugal Nov 2012 #18
KharmaTrain Nov 2012 #11
WCGreen Nov 2012 #13
KharmaTrain Nov 2012 #14
WCGreen Nov 2012 #16
MiddleFingerMom Nov 2012 #15
haikugal Nov 2012 #19
ProudProgressiveNow Nov 2012 #21

Response to WCGreen (Original post)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 12:13 PM

1. I used to like to listen

to progressive talk on the radio but can't find anything but conservative talk, or religious talk....it's discouraging. When I want to hear progressive talk I go to Currant or MSNBC or podcasts of Democracy Now, Bluegirl etc. Even NPR (which I keep on the dial in my car) is full of BS these days. I know we can get around it but we need to change this in my opinion. I don't have Sirius radio anymore but when I did there wasn't much for progressives there either.

Good topic great information and well written. Thanks.

I'd rec if I could!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to haikugal (Reply #1)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 12:21 PM

3. It's really hard to see how this would all change back.

It's been this way for 2 decades now and the big companies are making tons of money and won't go down without a prolonged and very expensive fight.

BTW, I worked for a guy who owned a couple of radio stations in Fort Wayne. One of the executives was trying to raise money to buy a station in Toledo before the restrictions were lifted. No one who knew what was coming would invest.

Getting advertising would be next to impossible since the big guys on the block owned by Clear Channel, Sinclair and the other media conglomerates would simply cut their rates to starve the new guy out of the market. They deep enough pockets to do just that.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to WCGreen (Reply #3)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 05:31 PM

7. What about the FCC

Could we reinstitute the laws and break the big companies up do you think? Like Glass Stegall for radio? Sorry if it's a stupid question but I like to listen to the radio in the barn when I'm working too. I hate the way AM is now. Thanks.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to haikugal (Reply #7)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 05:54 PM

8. No, they never will go back....

There still are some restrictions on how much of the airwaves any one entity can own in a defined market, but broadcast radio is slowly withering on the vine.

I don't think the people in DC see any political gain in trying to break the de facto monopolies.

Advertising is shifting away from broadcast radio. It's just the facts.

There is a lot of overhead involved in broadcasting radio. They just can't compete with all the other outlets that people can turn too for information and entertainment.

When the population of 50 plus moves more and more off the viable target markets, there is no reason to keep those licenses. When that happens, the value of the radio station will drop and then there might be some movement toward a pirate radio situation.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to WCGreen (Reply #8)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 01:39 AM

17. I'm sorry to hear that...but...

I appreciate you sharing your knowledge and I like the sound of a pirate radio station! Thanks.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to WCGreen (Reply #8)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 01:57 AM

20. i'm wondering why a pirate station wouldn't have the same overhead problem as a regular one.

 

other than salaries, the costs would seem similar.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HiPointDem (Reply #20)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 08:44 AM

22. Used technology....

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to WCGreen (Original post)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 12:13 PM

2. This is a fascinating look back into our history.

I knew parts of this, but not all of it, and not laid out this clearly.

I wish there were some way to get rid of Rush. He is a cancer on our airwaves, and many folks are being poisoned by his diatribes.

K&R

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to WCGreen (Original post)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 12:24 PM

4. AM radio is a technology of the past.

Really, how many people spend a lot of time listening to AM radio, even in the car.

Along with the logistics of getting something on the air, there is the fact that the listener base is likely older.

Actually, I did a survey of radio stations in San Diego this morning, and found that a huge majority here are Spanish Speaking. Of the rest, most are sports shows or music.

Web presence of something like a smart phone ap that provides talk or music or both. I am sure that already exists.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Agnosticsherbet (Reply #4)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 12:27 PM

5. That is the way to go...

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to WCGreen (Original post)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 05:11 PM

6. Kick

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to WCGreen (Original post)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 05:57 PM

9. Here's a little story.

I sat in the exclusive audience in Las Vegas of The NAB ( National Association of Broadcasters) about five rows from
the stage and listened to Reagan ( Nancy a couple feet away ready to step in) as he spoke to the industry. Deregulation
was about to change the industry and all the Mom and Pop owners were excited about getting rich, and all the larger
groups were licking their chops at the windfall Reagan was going to make happen. I sat around and watched station
managers from around the country applauding what would soon be their own demise.

Meanwhile back in Sacramento, CA. a radio group was grooming a little know conservative talk radio jock named Rush
Limbaugh. The Republicon party was grooming him to be their #1 propaganda machine. The station Mgr. prided himself
on being the guy who "discovered this great "talent" naively unaware he was a pawn in a strategy that went high up
in the party.

Several months later I attended a b-day party for one of these naive talent makers. There were rumors all night of a guest
appearance and b-day surprise for the birthday boy. This was a fairly casual gathering. Later in the evening a limo showed
up with a tuxedo wearing Rush with a very young, very attractive blonde woman. Rush was in the process of divorcing
the wife that had been there for the lean years.

The blonde woman was left ignored and sat alone in the corner of one of the rooms while Rush took in all the bullshit
praise and ego boosting crap he thrived on. I went over, sat next to her and started a conversation. We spoke for quite
a while and without any prompting she tells me she a hired escort...LOL! We talked a little about the business she was in
a frankly she was the most interesting person there.

Rush Limbaugh is a Republicon propaganda machine. He sold his soul to the devil years ago and I imagine for all his wealth
he is a miserable, insecure, pathetic human being.


Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to EmeraldCityGrl (Reply #9)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 06:04 PM

10. Great addition to the thread....

Thanks for sharing.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to WCGreen (Reply #10)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 06:27 PM

12. You are very welcome.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to EmeraldCityGrl (Reply #9)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 01:43 AM

18. Love this...Thanks for sharing that story with us...LOL

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to WCGreen (Original post)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 06:23 PM

11. Well Stated...

...and here's some more perspective from one who was there at the beginning of rushbo, Edward McLaughlin and "EIB".

You are right that his show was developed as a cheap alternative to local programming. By the late 80s music radio on AM was in its final days and stations looked for new programming that was cheap. Enter rushbo and hate talk. The rise of cheap satellite time made it possible to distribute his show inexpensively...thus is was offered to stations for nothing. Stations no longer needed local talent...just plug into the bird and the station owner could save a lot of money. But that was only one part of the story...

Deregulation in the 90s led to relaxing of ownership rules that led to a feeding frenzy of large corporations buying up properties right and left. Radio license began real estate...and prices on stations skyrocketed. To recoup the expense (much of it floated on loans) staffs were slashed further and more satellite programming filled the void. Computerized automation replaced the few remaining "board operators" so that stations could be put on auto pilot most of the day...running nothing but satellite talk.

Yes...the rise of cable and its competition for local news and advertising dollars hurt radio but so did the corporatization of the industry that destroyed local content and destroyed the industry's "farm system" of talent and creativity. The industry began to gentrify...relying on the same old voices reaching out to a smaller and smaller audience.

The real slide began when the economy collapsed and the artificially high station values began to collapse. Revenues reached a peak in 2000 and have been in a steady decline ever since. Add to that stations losing upwards of 75% of their "stick" or property value and you have an industry that's in dire straits. It deregulated itself into irrelevance.

The rise of the internet has been a great new medium and "equalizer" to the poor offering of most commercial stations. The radio industry has long ignored or tried to stifle this new medium and now are behind the 8 ball as more people turn to their computers and smartphones to listen and less and less to the radio. In the near future critical mass will be achieved with the new generation of internet systems in cars..."old" radio's last bastion.

The past election cycle showed how political...especially right wing hate radio has become a liability. The corporates were hoping some of that massive wall of money being thrown at TV would go their way. Instead they got little to nothing...one rushpublican operative was quoted as saying "why should be buy advertising when these stations advertise for us 24/7 for free". There are some in the rushpublican party who are blaming hate radio as costing them the election...pushing the party too far off the abyss...the "Conservative Entertainment Complex". This battle of the snake and mongoose are about to begin...and its only going to divide and diminish both sides further.

Give it time...change is happening...the halcyon days of hate radio have passed. Internet radio offers a lot of diversity and the chance for anyone with the dedication and a little technical skill to build their own station. We'll see if all these voices enhance the discussion or further muddle it...

Cheers...

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to KharmaTrain (Reply #11)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 06:36 PM

13. Thanks for the input. I have a couple of clients that worked for radio stations here in Cleveland..

they had some really great years when Clear Channel came in the took control of six stations within a year.

One consolidation came in it was game over.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to WCGreen (Reply #13)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 06:46 PM

14. A Sad Resource Squandred...

I worked in "Full Service" radio in the 80s...I programmed a station that featured a mix of local talk, news and sports. We worked hard to connect with the community and the station made a lot of money. Today that station has few listeners or advertisers...totally gutted of talent and its spirit. It deregulated itself into irrelevance.

In August '88 I was part of a station that was one of rushbo's original affiliates and got to actually interview Oxy-boy. I got a look at the inside of what would become the "EIB" machine. It was highly partisan...sold as a "hot hits" talk format...that old-fashioned "full service" was dull and boring and they were gonna spice things up...and spice it up they did. Credit where credit's due...rushbo and his people knew the market and created not only their own niche but a full media machine. I didn't like a lot of what I saw at the time and headed in another direction...a move I'm grateful I made.

Next year should be an interesting one. Bain/Cheap Channel will have to face dealing with a $15 billion dollar debt. Bain bought Cheap Channel in '07 (right as Willard was amping up his '08 run) and now that his political life is over, I suspect Bain will go ahead with what they do best...cannibalize! We're seeing talk station being switched to sports to try to fatten up poor revenues and avoid the controversy that keeps many advertisers away. Look for a lot of ugly days ahead for this once vibrant biz in the year ahead. I'm glad I can be a spectator...

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to KharmaTrain (Reply #14)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 07:20 PM

16. It's going to be brutal...

I worked at a religious station here in Cleveland and a top 30 station in Fort Wayne. The station I was trying to be a part of was in Toledo. I was driving back and forth from Cleveland to Fort Wayne and took a wrong turn into a car. That made it harder to drive those miles every other week and I gravitated out of radio and back into politics.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to WCGreen (Original post)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 07:01 PM

15. These folks could answer a LOT of questions about VERY progressive stations...

.
.
.
... all across the country. They're tightly connected with the Grassroots Radio Coalition -- a
fantastic group that I've always had trouble finding contact info for.
.
There's contact info in the "About Us" tab.
.
.
http://www.prometheusradio.org/node/125
.
.
.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to MiddleFingerMom (Reply #15)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 01:55 AM

19. Thanks for the link....

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to MiddleFingerMom (Reply #15)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 08:30 AM

21. Thanks 2..

for the link..

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread