The importance of local talk radio

Bob Nelson
Fri Nov 21 13:04:34 EST 2008

I hadn't heard of Collins before, though I knew of Santos as he had been given a chance to do
Sunday afternoons on WXKS/WKOX. (Not exactly the best time slot--why not a DAILY local show?--
with a lot of people around here concentrating on the Patriots, etc. at that time!)

The owners of WWZN said when they took over that they wanted to give ethnic programming a shot
(read: brokered time), and they have also had such things as an Irish music show on Sunday
nights (not sure if it's still on) and Brother Stair's warnings of the End Times overnight.

I don't know if a right wing benefactor is paying for the airtime. For all I know it could
be a certain Senator whose wife is a ketchup heiress (ha)

The "righties" are either paranoid about losing Rush, or a silly little thing like a loss
of Freedom of Speech/Freedom of the Press; the government stepping in to regulate political
content on radio. What's crazy around here is the fact that while liberal talk radio
hasn't had much luck, the GOP is even worse off (thus the "does talk radio matter?"
discussion). Would it be "fair" to ensure that 5 of our U.S. Congressmen be Republicans?
Of course not; people vote for whom they like. It's the same with radio (though of
course the argument is "program directors aren't giving us a chance!" Clear Channel
did...though they were tight-fisted with their budget and didn't put daily local
hosts on.)

I should mention, though, that there actually are some voices from the left on here, even
on the "big" stations. Or at least they're to the loft on some issues.
WTKK's syndicated Phil Hendrie is a guy who may be to
the right on some issues but he's clearly "progressive" on others such as gay rights
(he even airs on the progressive talk station in L.A.). Other shows may have moderate
or liberal hosts, but it's the Carrs, Grahams, Severins, Reas, et al, who get the
most attention. But, as I've pointed out before, Leveille is no conservative. WBZ isn't
exactly a 100 watt signal!

But again, local is the key. One or two LOCAL hosts to go with all the syndie. Don't
make the mistake CC did with WKOX and WXKS, and also the mistake Salem did with
the former WTTT 1150 (though I think they did try Don Feder briefly?)

WWZN 1510 could well pick up the left leaning audience as well as younger people
who may tilt left, while older listeners and those on the Right (whether
social or fiscal conservatives) have preferred the other stations in town.
A reminder of course that not everyone is hard-left or hard-right. I've given
the Dennis Miller quote about "not having a problem with Larry marrying Steve,
but I would have a problem if an Islamofascist firebombed their wedding". The
so-called South Park Republicans (liberal/moderate on some issue, conservative
on most) are also out there and maybe Miller (Dennis, not Steph) falls into
their category.

If liberal-leaning talk shows are well done, more power to them (I have heard
the likes of Steph Miller, Alan Colmes, Michael Jackson, and Jay Marvin
and they weren't bad) but I wouldn't want the government to force them onto
the airwaves.

Some station owners are saying "we don't want to have to run liberal talk
because our ratings will suffer". Then libtalkers, do some good shows;
program directors, give them a shot. But I don't want "We're From The
Government And We're Here To Help You" to regulate program content.
Freedom of speech/freedom of the press, even on "the public's airwaves".


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