New 1510 talk format to launch next Monday

Bob Nelson
Tue Jun 3 14:53:53 EDT 2014

WRKO is a good example of a station that had a long news-talk heritage (and
decades of music before that), though later cut the _local_ staff to go
with a news service from outside...

What about prog. talk on 1520 WWKB Buffalo (now sports)? Was that a well
known station (a rare example) running prog talk, complete with news/sports
etc.? Would WHJJ have qualified; it tried Air America but later went
conservative talk. WMPS 680 in Memphis tried prog talk too, but it only
lasted a couple years, though I don't know if that station was a well
known, longtime outfit there.

On Tue, Jun 3, 2014 at 2:42 PM, Scott Fybush <> wrote:

> 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 "stationality."
> 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 parasite?

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