Herald: Where have you gone Air America

David Tomm nostaticatall@charter.net
Mon Sep 18 03:38:21 EDT 2006

It's no big surprise that Peter Smythe (WTKK) and Jason Wolfe (WRKO) 
weigh in negatively against progressive talk.  Of course, both of them 
would love to have the consistent 25-54 numbers that WBUR has.  It's 
not "liberal talk" per se, but that's where the pool of potential 
liberal talk listeners currently resides.  Why would these listeners 
switch from a dominant FM frequency that is (in theory) commercial free 
to a noisy AM signal and have to endure four long spot breaks every 

If this is a "conservative country" as Smythe suggests, why isn't 
ultra-conservative talker WTTT doing better?  Maybe it's because they 
have a low-powered AM signal, or maybe it's the all satellite fed 
lineup they have.  It could be the lack of  promotion by Salem, or 
possibly the strong ideological bent of the hosts.  Or it could just be 
that the potential audience has other, more established places to go 
for the format that have better signals.  Funny, you can apply the same 
reasoning to WKOX/WXKS.

This isn't to say that AAR doesn't have issues, they do.  But if they 
do go belly up that does not mean that "liberal talk" is dead.  As 
Donna mentions, other syndicators are finding success marketing 
left-leaning talk shows.  There are plenty of success stories in the 
format.  However, the successful stations have competitive signals and 
at least some local hosts, particularly in the drives.

When Rush started out, he was on 5K fringe AM stations and it took him 
awhile to get established.  Once his show moved to some of the 50K 
blowtorch AM's, it took off.  The same thing needs to happen to liberal 
talkers.  It isn't about ideology.  It's about market penetration.  It 
hasn't gotten there yet and it's still very early in the game.

--Dave Tomm
"Mike Thomas"

On Sep 18, 2006, at 2:47 AM, Donna Halper wrote:

> At 01:57 AM 9/18/2006, Bob Nelson wrote:
>> "...The nation hasn't turned its ears to you." In the heart of Kennedy
>> Country, AAR hasn't really made a dent.
>> http://business.bostonherald.com/businessNews/view.bg?articleid=158055
> Given how the Herald leans Republican, I am not surprised that they 
> would feel negatively about progressive talk-- at least the author 
> tried to be fair and did mention the horrible signal the Boston 
> affiliate has-- I can't even hear it in Quincy... but again, the 
> format really is doing just fine in some cities, and the Jones Radio 
> Network folks (like Ed Schultz and Stephanie Miller, as well as Thom 
> Hartmann, who I believe is part Jones and part AAR)  are actually 
> gaining audience, according to Talkers magazine.  Like him or not, Ed 
> Schultz is now the #9 most listened to talk show host in the country, 
> with more than 2.5 million listeners a week. Air America has a 
> horrible business model and has been very poorly run.  I've offered to 
> consult 'em, but alas, my phone ain't ringing... Still, it took Rush 
> Limbaugh nearly 6 years to become popular, and AAR is still fairly 
> new.  Will they survive?  I can't say.  But already certain 
> progressive talkers are finding niches in a number of cities.  Time 
> will tell if the format has staying power, but personally, I think 
> it's good for democracy to have both sides of current issues 
> discussed.

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