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Mon Feb 11, 2013, 08:56 AM

An Insider's View of the Progressive Talk Radio Devolution

Sadly more and more people are losing their local Progressive talk outlets and here's an excellent perspective from a 40-year talk radio vet...


http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/14355-an-insiders-view-of-the-progressive-talk-radio-devolution


As an independent progressive and 40-year radio veteran, I'm sorry to report that heroic efforts over the past ten years to build a national radio presence for progressives and Democrats seem to have reached a critical turning point. With the recent loss of key AM outlets in Portland, Seattle and Detroit, the progressive talk format no longer enjoys national coverage, which in turn threatens the financial viability of the syndicated programs hosted by Stephanie Miller, Thom Hartmann, Ed Schultz, Randi Rhodes, Mike Malloy, Bill Press and Norman Goldman.

Since the rise of Rush Limbaugh and the shift of hundreds of radio stations to wall-to-wall conservative talk in the 1990s, progressives have faced a decidedly uphill battle. In my experience, most station owners and managers have a strong bias to the right, and with a few exceptions, the rest just look for the easiest way to make maximum profit.

It's no accident that Limbaugh was recruited for the heavily market-researched model that was labelled "non-guested confrontation talk radio" after Reagan's Federal Communications Commission (FCC) lifted the Fairness Doctrine in 1987. Clinton's 1996 Telecommunications Act removed ownership limits that led to rapid consolidation and the troublesome concentration of control by national operators we see today. Three companies control almost all of the talk radio stations with competitive signals in the major markets: Clear Channel, CBS and Cumulus.

In my view, we have reached a major crisis due to right-wing bias in talk radio. This right-wing tilt has an obvious impact on our politics and culture. But President Obama, his FCC appointees and most members of Congress - including all but a handful of Democrats - are indifferent. Sadly, it seems that most listeners are indifferent, too.


A lot of good food for thought here...

Discuss...

46 replies, 2252 views

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Arrow 46 replies Author Time Post
Reply An Insider's View of the Progressive Talk Radio Devolution (Original post)
KharmaTrain Feb 2013 OP
mucifer Feb 2013 #1
libtodeath Feb 2013 #2
KharmaTrain Feb 2013 #3
LWolf Feb 2013 #4
KharmaTrain Feb 2013 #6
LWolf Feb 2013 #8
KharmaTrain Feb 2013 #12
nadinbrzezinski Feb 2013 #13
LWolf Feb 2013 #15
deutsey Feb 2013 #19
LWolf Feb 2013 #21
lexx21 Feb 2013 #5
KharmaTrain Feb 2013 #7
CTyankee Feb 2013 #18
KharmaTrain Feb 2013 #22
CTyankee Feb 2013 #23
Overseas Feb 2013 #9
NNN0LHI Feb 2013 #10
KharmaTrain Feb 2013 #11
Egalitarian Thug Feb 2013 #14
titaniumsalute Feb 2013 #16
mac56 Feb 2013 #17
KharmaTrain Feb 2013 #20
Yavin4 Feb 2013 #24
KharmaTrain Feb 2013 #25
jollyreaper2112 Feb 2013 #29
KharmaTrain Feb 2013 #32
jollyreaper2112 Feb 2013 #34
Yavin4 Feb 2013 #31
KharmaTrain Feb 2013 #35
jollyreaper2112 Feb 2013 #43
Courtesy Flush Feb 2013 #26
Laelth Feb 2013 #27
jollyreaper2112 Feb 2013 #28
KharmaTrain Feb 2013 #30
jollyreaper2112 Feb 2013 #33
KharmaTrain Feb 2013 #42
jollyreaper2112 Feb 2013 #45
TuxedoKat Feb 2013 #37
jollyreaper2112 Feb 2013 #44
TuxedoKat Feb 2013 #46
no_hypocrisy Feb 2013 #36
KharmaTrain Feb 2013 #38
Ganja Ninja Feb 2013 #39
KharmaTrain Feb 2013 #40
Guy Whitey Corngood Feb 2013 #41

Response to KharmaTrain (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 08:59 AM

1. Hopefully, more people are listening online and podcasting. In Chicago

we are lucky that WCPT is independently owned by a liberal.

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Response to KharmaTrain (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 08:59 AM

2. Why do we allow private profits to be taken from public airwaves?

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Response to libtodeath (Reply #2)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 09:04 AM

3. Cause It Actually Did Some Good Once...

...it motivated companies like RCA to develop television in the 30s and then a Ted Turner to use satellite technology (launched by the government) and the digital "revolution" we're a part of. It's the lack of competition and access that has destroyed the "public airwaves"...deregulation in the 90s ruined what was left of the good the public airwaves served.

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Response to KharmaTrain (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 09:09 AM

4. I've never listened to talk radio.

Right or left.

Way back in the late 80s (?) somebody said something to me about Limbaugh and I listened. Once. For about 15 minutes. That was enough. I've had to listen to some of Glenn Beck, because he's a favorite of a custodial worker in my building, who has him on when I get there, earlier than everyone else. He told me that he "doesn't have time to research all this stuff, so he trusts Beck to do it for him." He also races around in the early mornings talking about the latest Obama conspiracies. I've never pretended to be a fan of Obama, but at least my reasons don't come from radio and email nut-case propaganda. I've done more debunking about Obama to this nut at work than I've ever done criticizing him.

I've just never understood why anyone would want to listen to people expressing opinions in a format controlled for the "host's" bias. I don't know why anyone treats a media host like some kind of expert whose opinions are more legitimate than anyone else's. It's always seemed to me that people listen to talk radio, not to learn anything, or to engage in honest debate, but to reinforce their own bias, whatever that may be.

The whole thing has always seemed, to me, like a vehicle for spreading propaganda of one kind or another. It doesn't really matter which "side" is doing the spreading. Still, it seems like way too many people depend on radio and tv talking heads to inform their opinions.

That's why I opposed lifting the fairness doctrine in 1987, and I opposed removing ownership limits in 1996. I support re-regulating.



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Response to LWolf (Reply #4)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 09:21 AM

6. Radio As A Companion...

While it seems antiquated now, there are still people who listen to the radio as their "friend". The voices become their daily companions and with it comes opinions and personality. In the "olden" days this was used by disc jockeys to bond with their teenage listeners or the morning "zoo" guys who seem to pop up on every FM station.

The rise of hate radio came at a time when AM radio was dying and the only listeners were those who were 50 plus. Those who designed the "format" knew what audience they were reaching...one of the last loyal ones as everyone else was turning over to FM stations. I worked in the biz during these days and saw how destructive "deregulation" was for the future of the medium and moved onto bigger and better things.

The fairness doctrine would had done nothing about what hate radio turned into. It was meant to prevent stations from allowing only one candidate to advertise...or on public affairs programs that the stations were mandated to air. Today those rules have been washed away with "deregulation"...talk is considered "entertainment" and thus would have not been affected by the fairness doctrine. That's a major reason rushbo still refers to himself as an "entertainer"...

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Response to KharmaTrain (Reply #6)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 08:37 AM

8. Good points.

What WOULD help regulate talk radio away from hate, away from idiots dispensing "truth?"

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Response to LWolf (Reply #8)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 10:08 AM

12. The Marketplace...And It's Happening...

We run on a slippery slope when we start to regulate the medium. I'm all for reinstituting the old ownership rules as I've long felt the problem wasn't speech as it is access with only a handful of corporates dominating what we see and hear.

Hate radio is dying, fortunately, due to its own hubris. It finally became so acidic it became toxic to most advertisers and this is taking a toll on not just hate stations but the few Progressive talk stations as well. Call it collateral damage.

The problem with "the truth" is who says it and who believes it. For those who dial up hate, they believe all that is said to be truth. The way to counter has and always is with more information...the internet has been a great equalizer to the effect of hate radio. Note the improvement in Democratic chances since 2004...the rise of the internet has a lot to do with Democratic victories.

Cheers...

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Response to LWolf (Reply #4)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 10:12 AM

13. Steph miller is funny

As in comedy.

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Response to nadinbrzezinski (Reply #13)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 08:17 AM

15. I've heard that.

Part of it is this:

I spend all day long dealing with large groups of middle schoolers, and listening to them talk, and talk, and talk...when I'm not at work, there's always someone, family or friend, waiting for me to be done with my 10-12 hours at work so I can listen to them.

When I finally don't have to listen to anyone, I'm not going to turn on the tv or radio to find someone to listen to, lol.

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Response to LWolf (Reply #4)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 09:00 AM

19. Not really into talk radio, either, because it does seem like propaganda to me, too

I do listen online to KPFA in California, which is a leftwing news/music station...the first successful listener-supported radio station in America.

As informative and invaluable as most programs on KPFA are to me, the station and its network, Pacifica, are often consumed by the typical lefty infighting that seems to go hand-in-hand with progressive politics/movements. Frustrating.

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Response to deutsey (Reply #19)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 09:06 AM

21. I have attended fundraisers

for the closest community radio station, which doesn't have a signal strong enough to get here at home. I've listened to it online while working on other things. Sort of. I tend to have a pretty single minded focus, so having it on while I'm focused on something else isn't really listening. I know I liked the pieces about local events and people, and some of the music.

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Response to KharmaTrain (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 09:17 AM

5. I wonder if it's generational?

The first rule of marketing says you have to go where your customers are. Most of the old guard, who make up the bulk of Fox and Rush's audience grew up with or never left AM radio. They were quite happy with it.

I began to be disenchanted with it sometime before I was a teen because, well, they didn't play music. It was all talk, talk, talk. There was one Rock/Pop station here in the 60s that most people enjoyed, but I don't know what happened to it after about 1970 (I was 8).

AM to me was also the SPORTS band. My Dad and brother would bond over basketball play by play. And I'm not into sports, then or now.

By the early 70s there was the new shiny AOR station on the new fancy FM band. I loved it. It was right up my alley and I was the right age for it too. Whole album sides of David Bowie, Yes, Pink Floyd. A whole new world opened up for me. I didn't have to listen to the talk station.

Needless to say, I haven't listened to AM since then. I'm 50 now. Even during Air America, I thought, why are they going back to AM? You're asking your audience to go to a band they experienced decades ago as scratchy, temperamental dial-fiddly.

Most progressives are familiar with and comfortable with technology. I am. I am quite happy with podcasting, sat TV, even low band FM. I understand the idea of wanting more progressive media, I just don't understand the retrograde format.

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Response to lexx21 (Reply #5)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 09:23 AM

7. Very Much So...

...more and more data is showing that radio has lost the under 40 audience. Many have moved to other medium...podcasts, internet radio, satellite. Radio no longer breaks the "hits"...and its inability to embrace new technology is akin to the recording industry's problems.

Welcome to Du...

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Response to KharmaTrain (Reply #7)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 08:49 AM

18. I think Rush embodies the old white male demographic that is failing to elect

Republicans in presidential elections. They are a dying breed in terms of their demographic presence. The newer technology is the technology of the new demographic in terms of elections . They're not listening to the radio for political talk. They have other outlets and frankly, other priorities. The important thing is how they vote, ultimately.

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Response to CTyankee (Reply #18)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 09:08 AM

22. The Challenge Is Staying Up With The Changes...

...the rushpublicans tend to fight the last election and have been flatfooted the past several election cycles. Hate radio and Faux noise had a profound impact during the late 90s...all Monica, all the time and then carrying water for Rove and Dubya. It was new and novel and the Democrats...and especially those of us on the left side of things...were slow to respond. Mike Malloy called it the "numbing" of the electorate...making political talk and TV so toxic that many people turned away. It wasn't until the rise of the "netroots" that our side began to find a voice and way to network and was used to very positive effect last November. The rushpublicans thought non-stop TV commercials and fear mongering would bring back that "old magic"...it failed miserably.

Careful about writing off demographics. Some of us from the 60s and 70s thought there was no way any intelligent and "hip" person could ever support a Nixon or Raygun. Thus one can never sit back...

Cheers...

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Response to KharmaTrain (Reply #22)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 09:14 AM

23. Oh, yes. I remember well what happened to reproductive rights after Roe. We thought

it was settled law. Over and done.

But I have also seen another phenomenon here: the resurfacing of reproductive rights after the "demise" of reproductive rights. Just a couple ofyears ago republicans were hooting about how the public says they are "pro-life" in polls. But just a few months ago, keeping abortion legal polled at 70%! That takes into effect the demograhic of younger women, better educated voters of both sexes and frankly, economic need. So it is truly a mixed bag as it sorts itself out over time...

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Response to KharmaTrain (Original post)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 09:15 AM

9. I love progressive talk. Wish Democrats funded it more. Now I have Tune In app and online.

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Response to KharmaTrain (Original post)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 09:40 AM

10. Remember Alan Berg, KharmaTrain?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Berg

Didn't mean to hijack your thread. I just never hear about him any more and figured if anyone would recall him it would be you.

Thanks for the insiders view.

Cheers ...

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Response to NNN0LHI (Reply #10)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 10:02 AM

11. Sure Do...

...his brother worked in Chicago for many years. IRC someone was working on a movie about his murder. The man was a canary in a coal mine.

Cheers...

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Response to KharmaTrain (Original post)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 01:59 PM

14. Read between the lines. This was not devolution, it was suicide. Limpball's backers were

 

committed to pushing a philosophy and an agenda to change the nation. Err America et. al. were committed to pushing a party with no agenda beyond getting elected.

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Response to KharmaTrain (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 08:37 AM

16. Thanks Kharma

Always good to hear from a fellow radio head like myself. A few tidbits for my few cents on the topic.

Progressive Talk Radio was never going to work. The biggest reason, like mentioned earlier in the thread, is most radio is owned or operated by big business, conservative managers. Both their personal taste in talk radio coupled with their perceived knowledge of how to sell it gave them no desire to put Progressive talk on the local radio stations.

However, some did put it on the air. After a year or so many would claim no one is listening to it and would change the format. If you dig a little deeper there's fairly easy explanations. First, many Progressive stations were on lower power, directional AM radio stations. Many of these stations didn't cover the entire radio market meaning many people couldn't even tune it in if they wanted to listen. Second, many of these stations were significantly reduced power at sundown through sunrise which happens to numerous AM stations. This is to protect larger AM stations and the overall band from crowding at night. This isn't good, especially half of the year when it is dark from 5PM to 7AM. Third, most radio operators don't bother with ANY marketing. Even if you have a powerful signal and decent programming, you MUST invite people to the party.

So Progressive talk was basically fucked from the beginning. Other problems from the start was that Air America simply tried a very very bad business model of brokering (buying air time) on numerous mediocre to bad AM radio stations. They spent a fortune trying to create a 24 hour radio network overnight. They quickly went into the red and never recovered. Various hosts spread out and went to other networks creating gaps in listening for fans trying to be loyal.

THE GOOD NEWS on a few fronts. 1. Hate talk radio (Rush, Hannity, Levin, Beck) is really having a very bad time right now regarding both ratings and revenue. The Sandra Fluke deal started a firestorm of advertisers pulling the plug on network talk radio. A friend of mine at a Radio National Rep firm told me that at one time Limbaugh's revenue had dropped by 50%. That is an insane drop. 2. Not only have advertisers started to flee but the overall ratings have also dropped significantly for right-wing talk radio. This past fall Arbitron ratings was very bad for the network talkers overall. I can't post sources due to Arbitron's copyright rules but as a former Arb employee I get a lot of info shared.

The other good news is that we DO have other avenues of receiving our progressive talk radio. 1. I have Sirius/XM and listen to Alex Bennett, Randi Rhodes, Thom Hartman. 2. You can also stream all of these shows on the internet. 3. Podcasts of these shows are also available.

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Response to titaniumsalute (Reply #16)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 08:41 AM

17. Another radio head says, great post.

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Response to titaniumsalute (Reply #16)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 09:00 AM

20. Very Well Stated...

You hit on many things that I had hit on here in my many diatribes about the medium I once loved and watched it "deregulate" itself to hell. My friend, Peter B., who wrote the article brings a very unique perspective as he has fought for 40 years to keep liberal and progressive talk radio alive despite an industry consumed with greed and rife with mismanagement. The irony is the people who are supposed to "fix" radio's problems are the ones who created them in the first place.

As you state, Progressive talk was always at a big competitive advantage...on poor signals and with little to no promotion. People weren't invited to the party...they just stumbled in. The documentary "Left Of The Dial" is an excellent chronicle of the problems Air America and Progressive talk encountered...and still does.

While the right wing still dominates the dying AM dial...the halcyon days are long past. "Political" talk is becoming economically toxic and hard-pressed and debt ridden corporates are dumping the format...either changing formats to sports or something "safe" or shutting the station off altogether (like they did in Detroit). The major corporates continue to "downsize" their antiquated properties and are hamstrung by their size and debt to get a foothold in the new digital mediums. And that's what's both promising and encouraging.

While the wingnuts have their old AM radios, our side has made very effective use of the internet. I tend to see the turnaround of the Democratic party to the "Dean revolution" in '04 and the growth of the netroots that we're familiar with today. Satellite and Internet radio continue to grow. I always enjoy saying that you're probably closer to an internet radio signal these days than a "terrestrial" one. The tipping point is rapidly approaching when internet systems become standard equipment in cars.

Thanks for your insights...

Cheers...

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Response to KharmaTrain (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 09:21 AM

24. The Future is Podcasts. No Corporate Overlord. Little or No Advertising.

Hosts can say anything they want and have on any guest that they want. You can syndicate all of the podcasts and blogs into one package and sell them. For example, you could buy Marc Maron, Stephanie Miller, a NY Times digital subscription, etc. all in one package for one fee.

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Response to Yavin4 (Reply #24)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 09:28 AM

25. Subscriptions Aren't Cutting It...

I agree that Podcasts are part of radio's future...just like "on demand" has become popular with television viewers. People will always want to hear a live voice with local weather, the school lunch menu or which bands are coming to town.

The problem with subscriptions is that people are used to listening to radio for free...and few podcasts make money. They need some kind of advertising or underwriting to make it free and available to the largest audience as possible...

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Response to KharmaTrain (Reply #25)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 09:58 AM

29. Consider the overhead

Any kind of corporate structure involves a lot of overhead, a lot of people who need to eat. How many are essential to the process?

We're seeing this argument in electronic print. Working writers will tell you that there's trade-offs for self-publishing on Amazon vs. using a traditional publisher. The trads take some of the work off your plate for a fee. If you do it yourself, you're a one-man shop. Trent Reznor went back to a label for his last album. But there are many others who relish the complete freedom.

I think that there's certainly a case to be made for the role of a publisher but there's too much bloat, just like I appreciate the idea of health care but think our current system is FUBAR, way too expensive.

So no, podcasts don't make a lot of money but when you're not having to pay out 95% of your earnings as tribute, you don't need to make as much. I don't know what the breakdown is for, say, a radio show but I know on albums you were paying $17.50 and the band only got 50 cents of that.

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Response to jollyreaper2112 (Reply #29)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 10:08 AM

32. It Is A Tricky Balance...

I work with a bunch of very talented podcasters...mostly for the love of doing these shows as finding advertising and/or subscribers is difficult at this time. It's a combination of a bad economy and the newness of the medium. Radio was sold on abstracts...ratings extrapolated a small sampling of listeners to represent thousands or millions of people. Stations could use these estimates (and that's what radio ratings still are) to say a program or station was reaching a far greater audience than what it really was. Podcasts and Internet radio allow you to have a specific listener count...and IMO we're getting a far greater picture of whose really listening out here. The market will adjust in time....hopefully we can hold out in the meantime.

Internet radio and podcasts are a great equalizer...you don't need millions of dollars for a license, transmitter site and other operating expenses...all you need is some software, creativity and an internet connection. Eventually there'll be a "shakeout" as someone will find a way to make good money with their venture and the wheels of technology will move again...

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Response to KharmaTrain (Reply #32)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 10:13 AM

34. TWIT is the one that impresses me

This Week in Tech, flagship for a whole set of shows now. That's Leo Laporte. He and a crew of on-air talent were working at Tech TV. It got bought out and the whole format changed, they were out on the street. He's put together his own internet broadcast network and, more importantly, is making money.

I can't find the quote but there was an investor at the beginning of the broadcast industry who'd dismissed the whole notion because he couldn't see how you could charge a fee for it. Advertising itself always struck me as faith-based because it was hard to truly measure the numbers, you had to believe in it with faith like a child. Internet broadcasting strips away the marketing BS and gives hard numbers.

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Response to KharmaTrain (Reply #25)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 10:06 AM

31. The profit is in one subscription to multiple podcasts, blogs, live streaming, etc.

No one is going to pay for an individual podcast, but they will pay for multiple podcasts, blogs, live streaming events, etc. for one low price. You can also offer local weather, local news, traffic, etc. as a live stream. You could also offer live events like Stephanie Miller's road show or a chat with Rachel Maddow.

The best/most interesting stuff is in podcasts, not radio.

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Response to Yavin4 (Reply #31)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 10:20 AM

35. I Agree...

I've been involved with live streaming and podcasting for over 15 years (started with Realaudio). Variety and diversity is the way things will work out in the future...we're just not there yet. The tipping point is when internet access if available in cars...

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Response to KharmaTrain (Reply #35)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 03:55 PM

43. technically it's here

I can do it via my smartphone. It's still beyond the price range of post people. But this plays into the Digital Divide.

http://billmoyers.com/episode/full-show-who%E2%80%99s-widening-america%E2%80%99s-digital-divide/

Listened to this one on podcast. By definition, podcasts are cachable. I could listen on the road even using an ipod touch.

Anyway, if we can break the big media control, we could see a lot more bandwidth opened up and for a lower price.

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Response to KharmaTrain (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 09:34 AM

26. I don't want talk radio

Sorry, but I listened to talk radio in the 80's. Give me a podcast.

This is the future, and progressives act like it. We're not scanning the AM dial.

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Response to KharmaTrain (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 09:39 AM

27. Yet another reason that I will never forgive Bill Clinton.

The Telecommunications Act of 1996.

A singularly vile piece of legislation signed by a Democratic President.

-Laelth

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Response to KharmaTrain (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 09:50 AM

28. Who even listens to terrestrial radio anymore?

Lump me in with the people who say this is the demographic shift. I can't even imagine how youth-oriented stations remain on the market these days.

People do tend to just not add new to their routines as they get older. They know the brands they like, the routine that suits them, and many aren't likely to explore. This is the coffee I drink in the morning, the station I listen to for news, the beer I drink at night, etc.

I've shifted exclusively to listening to pod media. Digital music, podcasts, audiobooks, pandora, my commercial exposure is virtually nil. I could even remove the pandora commercials with money if I want.

I get the concern about there not being much of a liberal presence on radio but, taken from another perspective, that's like complaining that there's not much of a presence of Premium Brand X in the low-end swill market occupied by brands worse than the big-name macro-brews. Of course, not. This is beer sold to people who want to get drunk, who aren't paying for flavor.

Case in point, my dad wanted me to listen to Coast to Coast. I love fortean stuff but from a skeptic's perspective. He even bought me a subscription. 1, their app is shit. 2, they're completely credulous concerning the loopiest fringe shit. 3, there's too much dross. It's an old media format. Contrast that with http://www.skeptic.com/podcasts/monstertalk/. Plenty of monsters and fortean material but with a skeptical approach. Coast to Coast is looney wingerville. There's no explicit politics on Monster Talk but there is, of course, a bias towards informed skepticism.

I think we'll always have radio because it's such a dirt-cheap means of distribution and everyone and his brother can afford a cheap radio. Everyone has one in their car. But it's going to be the swill beer version of media, the stuff people default to when they can't afford better. It's catfood for broke, old retirees, you know?

I think we'll always have old, conservative cranks but by the time I get to be that age I'll be complaining about my fellows listening to winger podcasts, not winger radio.

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Response to jollyreaper2112 (Reply #28)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 10:00 AM

30. Radio Destroyed It's "Farm System"...

I'm convinced the days of terrestrial radio are winding down. They won't vanish altogether for a while as internet systems aren't as nearly as reliable as terrestrial radio in weather and other emergencies (especially when the power goes out). There will also be those who can't afford or don't want to bother with internet subscriptions and technology, but those numbers are small compared to the market overall.

Radio's biggest problem is a talent drain...20 plus years of corporate downsizing and greed has driven the most creative communicators and programmers out of the business. Many are working with podcasts or internet radio and a big reason those mediums are attracting a larger and more diverse audience. If you want to hear the newest hits you don't turn to the radio anymore...it's on ITunes or Spotify...and now with internet radios in smartphones and in cars, listening habits will change accordingly...

Cheers...

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Response to KharmaTrain (Reply #30)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 10:09 AM

33. exactly what I'm getting at

What's very interesting is looking at brands that should be interchangable. Soda is soda. Cigs are cigs. Shaving cream is shaving cream. But look at the brands that had national dominance that have gone away. It's not like people aren't using the products anymore.

Thing is, for radio, I think it probably served the interersts of the corporate masters. I have a short-term theory of business that explains things. Normal people want to build for posterity. They like the idea of buidling to last. But consider the greedy fuck running the company. He's 40. He's aiming to retire by 60. He'll be cashed out by then, money moved to other investments. If he hollows out the business and leaves a smoking, gutted shell, why should he give a fuck about that? So if he can maximize the profits by running it into the ground, where's the problem with that, you goddamn hippie? Get a bath and a job!

In other words, what makes you think they don't know what they're doing? Same with the fossil fuel guys. They're not stupid. They know they're poisoning the world. But if their actions mean the wheels come off in 30 years and they're dead in 20, where's the problem? "My boy, you're mistaking me for someone who cares."

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Response to jollyreaper2112 (Reply #33)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 02:43 PM

42. A Victim Of The Mallifcation Of America...

In the 80s I was operating a AM radio station that focused on local news and events and made a lot of money. A vast majority of our advertisers were local retailers...the food store, car dealers, banks and department stores. All were locally owned and had a long relationship with the station. In the late 80s many of those businesses were bought out or had to close their doors as they faced competition from newly opened malls. Their advertising people preferred to buy on networks and television...they had little use for local radio. This happened in small towns all across the country.

Next came "deregulation" that made it more lucrative for a local owner to sell their station than to try to compete against a corporate who owned not just one but all of your competitors. The feeding frenzy of station buying led to the huge debts that Cumulus and Cheap Channel and facing today and that are dragging down the rest of the industry.

No...these guys running the biz aren't stupid...they're selfish and short-sighted...

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Response to KharmaTrain (Reply #42)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 04:01 PM

45. ugh

I see this with the local downtown revitalization projects. It mimics the form of normal downtowns but all of the stores are national chains.

The worst part is nobody even percieves there's a problem. It's like talking to people who commute for an hour and chauffer their kids everywhere and you talk about the problem of cars and sprawl and get a dumb look.

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Response to jollyreaper2112 (Reply #28)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 01:54 PM

37. Thanks for the link

I'm going to check out their podcasts. I used to like C2C, but as you mention George's credulousness drives me crazy -- that and the ring wingers he has on regularly, even though he says he stays apolitical.

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Response to TuxedoKat (Reply #37)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 03:59 PM

44. good for you

I think you'll really enjoy it.

I'm also a fan of Weird Things, Caustic Soda and Horsetrack Hooligans. Hooligans is basically your friends at the bar riffing on random shit. Caustic Soda does a theme each week covering things interesting and outre. It's more educational than might be good for you. Weird Things explores strange news and random musings of the hosts. I have Moyers on the short list as well.

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Response to jollyreaper2112 (Reply #44)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 09:52 PM

46. Thanks!

I just checked out the websites for all the above named places too. I think I will have to listen to some of those Caustic Soda podcasts -- the list has some interesting titles.

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Response to KharmaTrain (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 01:35 PM

36. NYC

Shows have dwindled, but there is some progressive talk radio.

In 2000, WEVD (a radio station created to honor Eugene Victor Debs) had a line-up of 4-5 progressive shows on AM. WABC had Rush, but it also had Lynn Samuels. WWOR had Jay Diamond. And of course, there was Pacifica Radio at WBAI on the FM dial.

Today, WBAI is struggling to be viable. WEVD was sold by the Forward to Disney and ABC Network who recently sold it to a Spanish language station. WWRL has a local morning show, Ed Schultz, Thom Hartmann, and Randi. WABC is all syndicated RW talk (with the exception of Imus who only believes in Imus). WWOR is mostly syndicated RW conservative talk. No independent stations with even one progressive show.

Compared to RW stations:
WABC
WWOR
WNYM (Hasbrouk Heights, NJ)(Salem Broadcasting)

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Reply #36)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 01:55 PM

38. WWRL...

...is still airing Progressive talk in New York. They have Randi Rhodes (who we no longer get in Chicago), Tom Hartmann and Ed Schultz.

I know WBAI is struggling...it always has, but I'm a big fan of Pacifica and grateful they're still hanging in there...it's not a pretty picture trying to fundraise these days.

WOR is now...or soon will be owned by Cheap Channel who will probably move rushbo and vanity over from WABC...who is getting rid of Premiere talk shows and replacing them with their own hate spewers (Mike Hucklenutz).

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Response to KharmaTrain (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 01:58 PM

39. It's not just a problem for the Liberal Talk format.

It's pretty much killing every other format too.

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Response to Ganja Ninja (Reply #39)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 02:04 PM

40. Collateral Damage...

...hate radio has long played a "can-you-top-this" game of "hosts" coming up with the most outlandish CTs, lies and personal attacks. The envelope kept being pushed until, finally, advertisers (prompted by a well organized boycott) began to back away from the toxicity. Unfortunately it has hurt Progressive talk as there are many advertisers who spent on both sides. The bad economy hasn't helped as well as radio's own self-inflicted greed that has driven listeners and talented people away. It's a slow, lingering death...

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Response to KharmaTrain (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 02:25 PM

41. Air America really fucked things up. It's a damn shame. I don't watch TV but listen to talk radio

every day. "Keep it lit!"

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