Howie Carr elected to Radio Hall of Fame
Mon Jul 21 13:19:37 EDT 2008
David writes, "Most of these talkers from the "glory days" of WRKO plied
their craft before the abolition of the Fairness Doctrine. The hosts had a
variety of opinions on the issues of the day--some more progressive, others
more conservative. They really reflected the views of most mainstream
listeners, and all viewpoints were at least tolerated most of the time."
IMO, I don't think the Fairness Doctrine has nearly as much to do with the
current sad state of talk radio as does the un-localizing effect of
syndication (regardless of whether it's more due to the available technology
or the economics of a consolidated radio landscape) and the over-consulting
of the format which reduced the role of the caller to a one-minute entity,
the topics to dumbed-down "for it or agin it stuff", and the role of guests
to what callers used to be...informative sidebars to the host.
Whether it was the busing crisis of the mid '70s, a fight to keep New
Braintree from absorbing a maximum security prison in the mid '80s or Mass.
legislator pay raises and local tax questions over the years, the days of
talk radio as an instrument of local importance and political action is
over. And it's a chame because in the world of blogging and such, there's
no one "moderator" that makes a connection with everyone and anyone willing
to listen and learn about something.
David also writes, "As a result, talk radio today appeals primarily to older
white males which is (surprise!) the strongest demographic of the Republican
Party. In an industry which is constantly looking for younger and
increasingly more diverse demographics, talk radio has become a dinosaur."
Talk radio's primary demo was "55 to petrified" since FM tuners became
universally available. When the consultants cobbled together the formula of
what they thought would work with younger demos, their answer was make the
topics more "USA Today" and less "New York Times". Don't get into things
in-depth. Think back to the early 1990's...did you hear ANYBODY talking
in-depth about the savings and loan crisis? Do you think ANY mainstream
talker will address the current financial/real estate meltdown in detail,
other than perhaps specialty weekend shows?
The only folks who have some of the elements of real talk still in place are
at NPR. This goes to David's point of the economics of only being abel to
afford one local host at a station like RKO.
Maybe I'll procure the tapes of the great talk hosts of the 60's, 70's and
80's and stream them as a Classic Talk Station". I bet it would be quite
informative and entertaining...some ot it quite prophetic too. :-)
----- Original Message -----
From: "David Tomm" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "Bill O'Neill" <email@example.com>
Cc: "Alan Tolz" <firstname.lastname@example.org>; "Dave in Boston"
Sent: Monday, July 21, 2008 11:50 AM
Subject: Re: Howie Carr elected to Radio Hall of Fame
> Most of these talkers from the "glory days" of WRKO plied their craft
> before the abolition of the Fairness Doctrine. The hosts had a variety
> of opinions on the issues of the day--some more progressive, others more
> conservative. They really reflected the views of most mainstream
> listeners, and all viewpoints were at least tolerated most of the time.
> Since the Fairness Doctrine was abolished and the subsequent rise of Rush
> Limbaugh, talk radio has morphed into a bastion of hard right,
> neo-conservative "thought" with no room for differing opinions or
> respectful debate. If a moderate or liberal caller makes it to the air
> and makes a fair or interesting point, they are shouted down, ridiculed
> or both. All the hosts in talk radio today are pretty much Rush clones,
> which is why there are few "stars" in the genre besides Rush himself.
> Oh, and before you say Sean Hannity, can someone tell me which station in
> Boston airs his program? If you like RNC talking points parroted to you
> and cheap namecalling of political opponents, then today's talk radio is
> for you. For the rest of us, not so much.
> As a result, talk radio today appeals primarily to older white males
> which is (surprise!) the strongest demographic of the Republican Party.
> In an industry which is constantly looking for younger and increasingly
> more diverse demographics, talk radio has become a dinosaur. Because of
> talk radio's anemic billing, most stations can't afford to have more than
> one local host, if any at all. Syndicated offerings are limited--they
> all sound the same. Same viewpoints and prejudices from host to host.
> Predictable. Yawn.
> Despite having Howie, Rush and the Red Sox, WRKO's billings lag far
> behind their 55+ padded ratings. They have one of the worst power ratios
> in the market. If 680 wasn't sister stations with wildly successful
> WEEI, and low overhead WMKK, which outbills WRKO despite having no
> airstaff and a minimal marketing budget, they'd be all- brokered or
> all-Spanish by now.
> At this point in the game I don't think bringing back the Fairness
> Doctrine would help the demographically challenged talk radio genre.
> The industry needs to make the move back toward the center on it's own.
> Most importantly, it has to return to local hosts and issues. All points
> of view need to be heard, including moderates, liberals and even (gasp!)
> minorities. If that happens, it can return to the "glory days" of the
> 80's. The next generation of talk radio will not appeal to current
> listeners of the right wing noise machine, but that's precisely the
> point. It needs to get younger, more tolerant and most importantly, more
> Dave Tomm
> "Mike Thomas"
> On Jul 20, 2008, at 7:02 PM, Bill O'Neill wrote:
>> Alan Tolz wrote:
>>> While that would be an all-star lineup, I don't think they were ever
>>> all on RKO at the same time. I think David left before Gene Burns came
>>> in. Jerry and David were back to back in late 1981 through 1982-83,
>> That may be the case in terms of timeline, but what remains is the fact
>> that what we no longer have is "Boston talk radio" that we can be proud
>> of anymore. Not to disparage all of the talent who are there and doing
>> their best, however, there were talkers who truly broke ground both for
>> radio and for Boston in that process. Am I wrong?
More information about the Boston-Radio-Interest