New 1510 talk format to launch next Monday
Tue Jun 3 14:42:13 EDT 2014
On 6/3/2014 1:57 PM, Bob Nelson wrote:
> It may not have been much promotion, but when WXKS and WKOX started the
> progressive talk, there were some billboards (Clear Channel ones probably)
> for it,
> however briefly. and also some newspaper articles in the Globe, etc. As I
> noted at the time, WKOX/WXKS didn't have a daily local talk host, though
> Jeff Santos got some hours on Sundays. (When CC tried Rush Radio, by
> comparison, Jeff Katz and Jay Severin were hired for AM and PM drive.
> During my trip to New Orleans, I noted WRNO "Rush Radio" on FM had former
> WRKO host John "Ozone" Osterlind on, afternoons. He's still there.)
Unlike Bob, I'm only going to say this once... <g>
We have yet to see - and will likely never see - a truly fair fight
between a "progressive" talker and a "conservative" talker.
The unifying thread that links nearly every successful "conservative"
talk station - and that is almost uniformly missing from every
unsuccessful talker, on any side of the political spectrum - is
The class of stations that became initially successful on the back of
Rush Limbaugh started with a massive head start: they were stations that
enjoyed both the signal and heritage advantages that came from 60 or 70
years of name recognition in their communities. WGAN, WGIR, WTAG, WPRO,
WHYN, WELI, WTIC, WGY...and the list goes on from coast to coast. Every
last one of those stations does fairly well (even with an aging
audience) not just because of the syndicated conservative talkers they
carry in middays and evenings, but because of the local news and talk
and sports that they wrap around those syndicated shows. With decades of
heritage to work from, many of those stations (like my local WHAM here
in Rochester) have managed to maintain the illusion of being "THE voice
of...wherever" even as they've slashed those local staffs to shreds. (I
believe the WHAM newsroom is down to two fulltimers, a handful of
part-timers, news audio from former sister WHAM-TV and a bunch of
anchors from WSYR and WGY).
Nobody in the industry is eager to do the research that would prove it,
for obvious reasons, but I'm reasonably convinced at this point that the
WHAMs and WOWOs and KFBKs of the world succeed these days as much in
spite of Rush and Hannity and Savage, as because of them.
Now here's the challenge: name even one "progressive" talk station
that's been able to launch with that same advantage. You can't, because
nobody has ever tried one, in large part because conservative talk
showed up first and took hold at the vast majority of those heritage AMs.
Probably the closest we've come in a quarter-century of the modern talk
format has been WTDY in Madison, which had some degree of full-service
heritage and formatics when it went leftward, and KPOJ in Portland,
which revived a long-dead callsign and tried to inject some localism.
But those are weak-tea comparisons - WTDY never had the name recognition
in town that the heritage AM, WIBA, enjoyed, and it fell victim to
in-format competition from WIBA's Clear Channel sister, WXXM. For its
part, KPOJ always played second fiddle to the real local heritage AM,
KEX, even within the Clear Channel cluster there.
It bears noting that it's not just "progressive" talk that has uniformly
failed when put on second- and third-tier stations with no heritage or
stationality. Look at the failure of Rush Radio/Talk 1200 in Boston, or
WWIQ in Philadelphia, or at the sub-1.0 numbers that Salem's talkers
pull in most major markets (in some cases despite a fairly robust local
effort and a heritage set of calls, such as WIND in Chicago.)
We know that even now, conservative talk is a successful, money-making
venture...IF it is able to benefit from attaching itself to the "host"
of a well-established local heritage radio station. And we know that
neither conservative nor progressive talk does well on its own without
that "host." Did I just accidentally compare political talk radio to a
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