New 1510 talk format to launch next Monday

Donna Halper
Tue Jun 3 12:05:35 EDT 2014

On 6/3/2014 7:36 AM, Bob Nelson wrote:
> Not sure how much money they can make via national or local advertising, or
> maybe they have deep pockets somehow.
Several things hurt national advertising on all political talk formats.  
One was the boycott of Rush Limbaugh (which emerged after his brutal 
four day insult-fest when he called then-graduate student Sandra Fluke 
vile names repeatedly, and made assertions about her sex life that were 
not only untrue but had nothing to do with what she had actually said 
during her testimony about the Affordable Care Act).  While it is 
convenient for some to blame "liberals" for Limbaugh's loss of ad 
dollars, the truth is the format was already shedding money long before 
the Sandra Fluke incident.  Advertisers hate controversy.  Even if their 
corporate parents sincerely agree with the views of the host, 
controversy is bad for business, and a number of long-time advertisers 
dumped Limbaugh and never came back.  The other factor hurting political 
talk is its failure to grow a younger audience.  Conservatives dominate 
(95% of all talk show hosts are right-wing conservatives) but the median 
age of their listeners is close to 70 years old, and overwhelmingly 
white and male. The only talk format that has gotten anyone under 70 is 
sports-talk, and Boston has had far too many stations doing that format.

I always was upset that Clear Channel didn't give progressive talk a 
fair shot-- back in 2005/06, they put it on the air here with a local 
staff of ONE (a very nice guy who was also the music director for Kiss 
108 and thus had little if any time to do anything for the progressive 
talker) and did not promote it at all.  Truth be told, since most 
listeners to political talk tend to be conservative, it probably wasn't 
going to get big numbers.  But individual talkers have done well 
nationally; both Ed Schultz (who recently gave up his radio show to 
concentrate more on the web and on his TV show) and Stephanie Miller 
have turned a profit for nearly a decade. And I've never understood why 
Thom Hartmann-- a thoughtful progressive and a very good host who has 
both liberal and conservative guests on his show-- has not been put back 
on the air in Boston.  That said, I can't imagine the new 1510 doing any 
better than its other recent incarnations.

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