The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

31 March 2005

New Liberal Talk Radio Ratings Released

Air America Hype Versus Reality

Which Side Will Prevail?



(April 18 Update Here)


A new batch of radio ratings have just been released, so how's liberal talk radio faring now?

Last month's Radio Equalizer report is still circulating around the Internet, including at Air America discussion sites, but new figures give an even more complete picture of its state of affairs. Here's a chance also to address some debate points from readers.

The liberal talk radio hype machine is even more sophisticated than a month ago, with near full control of radio industry trade publications, who dare not publish anything about the format's lack of ratings growth for fear of losing syndication advertising. On radio chat boards, every announced move is trumpeted, no matter how insignificant.

Credibility is becoming a big issue. At one site, Radio-Info.com, posters relentlessly plugging liberal syndicated programming are beginning to be taken to task over accuracy, but it's still largely mob rule for now. One poster has placed hundreds of messages on the site announcing liberal talk show launches.

The talking points memo distributed to this rabid pack of supporters must surely give these excuses for the lack of ratings: that it's still too new, that stations are still coming on line or that the next programming change will finally work wonders, because that's what's repeated in many places.

Air America now lists 51 mostly tiny affiliates, which is not very impressive after a full year of media attention, industry affection and trade publication hype. Many smaller conservative radio networks can boast twice that number and still not be taken very seriously by radio professionals.

There are dozens of syndicated talk program providers for conservative programming, sports and specialty shows. Many hundreds are available for stations to take and you never read about them in newspapers. Yet lots of them are carried on more stations than Air America.

And it isn't too new to measure, especially not in New York City, where WLIB's just-released numbers show, in the broadest audience measurement of adults 12+, that Air America's flagship station has declined to a tiny 1.1 share of the audience. There's a full year of data to look at now and the picture isn't pretty for lib talk.

This is below where the station stood a year ago with its previous Caribbean specialty format and a drop from a 1.2 share last month. In the Fall 2004 Arbitron survey, WLIB had a 1.4 share of the radio listening audience, so it is safe to say it's actually shrinking in popularity.

This figure gives WLIB a ranking of 24th place overall in the New York City metro area, a place that ought to be liberal radio-friendly. In Los Angeles, KTLK didn't show up in newly released numbers. More results will be released each day for the next week or so and once again we will update it here.

Another reason to spend a lot of time looking at New York City figures is that it's where Arbitron ratings data is the most accurate. That's due to the huge sample size used in the nation's largest radio market.

A big development since last month is the major hypefest surrounding the deal reached to bring Jerry Springer's radio show to 45 of Air America's affiliates. But Springer is still relatively untested in talk radio and won't rule out running for office in his native Ohio next year.

Why do "progressives" want to be associated with Springer, anyway? He's still doing his trashy TV show, how does this help their cause? How much credibility does he bring to radio?

Let's address some of the challenges made to my last piece on the subject:


Brian, why don't you mention that New York City's conservative talker WABC is also declining in the ratings?


It's true and I haven't heard a good theory as to what's going on at WABC to cause a full share audience drop in the last two months. But WABC has maintained big ratings in NYC for years and WLIB has yet to develop a significant, sustainable listenership. WABC's decline did not result in any gains for WLIB, so there's no dial-switching happening.

WABC might need to examine which particular conservative shows are working well and which ones need to be cancelled. Air America, however, has yet to deliver even one bona fide hit for WLIB.


Why do you use "liberal talk radio" and "Air America" as interchangeable terms? Don't you know that not all of the shows are syndicated by Air America?


It's true, there are a few other companies attempting to distribute leftist talk shows, but almost all of the stations are using at least some genuine Air America Radio content. In the media liberal talk radio is "Air America" so it will be here as well.


Why are stations still signing on to the format if there isn't any ratings growth?


There are a variety of reasons: to place free content on tiny, hard-to-program automated AM stations, to placate political opponents, to put placeholder formats on stations in advance of selling them, or to hear your own ideological viewpoints on the radio.



Why do you list 12+ ratings numbers, rather than targeted demographics?


First, we don't have access to more specific age group breakdowns, because they aren't released to the media. Second, from what has been leaked, they don't look any better than these broad audience measurements. Sales departments use the specific data, but for our purposes, looking at all listeners 12 and older provides the most accurate examination we can make of liberal talk radio performance.


Update:

Finally, somebody else in the media willing to speak the truth! John Mainelli, widely respected talk radio programmer, turned New York Post columnist, reviews the new HBO Air America documentary "Left of the Dial" and has this to say:


"Left of the Dial" has a fairy-tale finale — fresh financing, 50 affiliates, encouraging ratings — even if Kerry did lose the election, something many of Air America talkers are seen taking personally.

But since shooting stopped last December, massive media coverage has faded, ratings have sagged, record-industry exec Danny Goldberg took control — and Jerry Springer was just inked.


Mainelli is saying what many in the industry are thinking but won't say out loud. Since he isn't tied to a trade publication, Mainelli's in a better position to be honest about Air America's future.


Update: New ratings, just released, show that in Boston, Air America outlet WKOX shows no growth from last month with a tiny 0.6 share of the audience. Its simulcast partner is a no-show.

In San Diego, the much-hyped liberal talk station KLSD continues its ratings collapse, from a 2.3 to a 1.9 to a 1.6 audience share in brand new figures.

In Philadelphia, Air America affiliate WHAT-AM drops from a tiny 0.8 to a miniscule 0.6 overall audience share.

In Detroit, lib talker WTDW-AM is a no-show again. Even Canadian talk radio (Ontario's CKLW-AM) is doing better than Air America in Detroit!


March 31 update: Air America in deep trouble in San Francisco: a flat 1.0 share, tied for 25th place overall, no audience gain from last month and a small fraction of the audience KQKE's predecessor had on the same frequency, playing adult standards.

In Washington, DC: liberal outlet WWRC is not present in the latest figures with any measurable audience.

This data overall paints a very bleak picture of liberal talk radio's future. There wasn't one sign of growth, not a fraction of ratings point in any city and many were down from already anemic levels. It's time to start confronting the liberal talk radio hype machine head-on with the facts. I can't wait to see what their excuses are this time for this miserable performance.


In the meantime, Seattle-based writer Michael Hood has launched a talk radio blog, from his leftist perspective. It's very interesting to see his angle on these issues. Welcome to readers from Orbusmax, Michelle Malkin, and American Thinker!


Update: The Boston Globe has published a mess of a glowing piece on liberal talk radio's future that's so inaccurate, I think it should be retracted or at least corrected. It completely ignores ratings data from the last two monthly trends.

It even paints a rosy picture of Providence's WHJJ-AM, where a successful conservative station was flushed down the toilet in favor of Air America, with nightmarish results. Some industry leaders I respect greatly are, unfortunately, here defending it. Liberals are in denial about Air America's clear ratings failure:

Air America is about to get another marquee name. Starting tomorrow, the network will carry the radio show hosted by the trash-TV icon and former Cincinnati mayor, Jerry Springer.

''When you hear him on the radio, it's very intimate," said Jon Sinton, Air America's president of programming. ''We think he's right on the issues. He's heavily enough anti-Bush to be credible for our audience."

Asked to evaluate Air America on its first birthday, Sinton is effusive. ''It's a smashing success," he insists. ''It turns out that, in the words of Sally Field, people like us, they really like us."

'In theory, with the numbers [Schultz] is getting, there ought to be clearances on stations like WRKO and WTKK," (Scott) Fybush (Editor of NorthEast Radio Watch) said. Yet while Democracy Radio touts the fact that Schultz is on nearly 100 stations, his conservative counterparts Limbaugh and Hannity are on four to five times that many outlets.


I can tell you right now, based on the ratings, that adding Schultz would be suicidal for any of these major talk stations! The article adds the built-in liberal excuse that the Air America stations have small signals, therefore will have a difficult time generating numbers. Many conservative stations were built on small signals, such as San Francisco's KSFO and Seattle's KVI-AM.

The problem: with all the free publicity liberal talk radio has getting, such as today's Globe feature, there's no excuse for the lack of ratings. Conservative talk radio never received this type of glowing coverage, it's been attacked for years.

Update: Boston-area DJ Bob Nelson notes another glaring error in the Globe report: it's not true that the two local Air America stations are daytime-only operations! They are 24-7 radio stations. This story is full of holes from top to bottom.

Update: fresh numbers released show Denver's liberal KKZN-AM dropping to a tiny 1.1 share from a 1.3 for adults 12 and older. In the Fall it had a 1.6. It's now in 24th place for the Denver-Boulder metro area.

In Minneapolis: Air America affiliate KTNF-AM generates no ratings or ranking in just-released figures. Isn't this Al Franken's hometown?

Also: reader John Jensen brings to my attention another slanted, pro-Air America piece in today's Oregonian newspaper (no direct link):

But as it turns out, losing the election hasn't killed the progressive radio format, as many expected. In fact, just the opposite happened. "If Kerry had won, it would have hurt liberal talk radio, no question about it," says Michael Harrison, publisher of Talkers magazine, which covers the talk radio industry. "Liberal talk radio works when conservatives are in power. People like to gravitate toward something that's in their interest when the power is against them."

Too bad there isn't one piece of evidence to back up this statement that proponents have produced.

So far, not one increase we've been able to find for Air America, or liberal talk stations, in these ratings.


56 Comments:

  • Politics and commentary are one of my passions. Differing opinions and discussion of same hold a great interest for me. I listened to Air America online before it became available in the Seattle market and try it now from time to time on the radio. I can usually take about 5 minutes of it. The humor is sophomoric and one of the descriptive adjectives often used by at least one of the hosts to describe their political opponents is the alternate name for a hot water bottle. The tone of their hosts alternates between whine and asinine. Its numbers are falling because it can't justify its hype: it's not informative, it's not compelling, it's not intellectually challenging, it's not entertaining.

    By Anonymous redmarilyn, at 29 March, 2005 20:39  

  • >I can usually take about 5 >minutes of it. The humor is >sophomoric and one of the >descriptive adjectives often used >by at least one of the hosts to >describe their political >opponents is the alternate name >for a hot water bottle.

    Redmarilyn is very correct. Monologues about any topic, no matter how irrelevant to politics, always end with bashing of President Bush and Rush Limbaugh.

    I believe that signing Jerry Springer may be the start of an overhaul of the original Air America lineup and may also signal that the network will allow hosts to work outside of NYC. That should be good news for Randi Rhodes.

    BTW, Janeane Garofalo is set to star in a new comedy series about a single mom professional poker player so her days at AA may be numbered.

    Ira

    By Anonymous ira, at 30 March, 2005 11:47  

  • >I can usually take about 5 >minutes of it. The humor is >sophomoric and one of the >descriptive adjectives often used >by at least one of the hosts to >describe their political >opponents is the alternate name >for a hot water bottle.

    Redmarilyn is very correct. Monologues about any topic, no matter how irrelevant to politics, always end with bashing of President Bush and Rush Limbaugh.

    I believe that signing Jerry Springer may be the start of an overhaul of the original Air America lineup and may also signal that the network will allow hosts to work outside of NYC. That should be good news for Randi Rhodes.

    BTW, Janeane Garofalo is set to star in a new comedy series about a single mom professional poker player so her days at AA may be numbered.

    Ira

    By Anonymous ira, at 30 March, 2005 11:50  

  • >I can usually take about 5 >minutes of it. The humor is >sophomoric and one of the >descriptive adjectives often used >by at least one of the hosts to >describe their political >opponents is the alternate name >for a hot water bottle.

    Redmarilyn is very correct. Monologues about any topic, no matter how irrelevant to politics, always end with bashing of President Bush and Rush Limbaugh.

    I believe that signing Jerry Springer may be the start of an overhaul of the original Air America lineup and may also signal that the network will allow hosts to work outside of NYC. That should be good news for Randi Rhodes.

    BTW, Janeane Garofalo is set to star in a new comedy series about a single mom professional poker player so her days at AA may be numbered.

    Ira

    By Anonymous ira, at 30 March, 2005 11:52  

  • Thanks for the great comments. This may be what the liberals use as their excuse when Air America fails completely, probably later this year: that the company hired the wrong air talent.

    The problem is that at this point, what liberals remain that haven't yet been tried and failed?

    By Blogger Brian Maloney, at 31 March, 2005 00:45  

  • I wonder what the investors were thinking when Air America was launched. It's not in competition with conservative radio. Conservatives who listen to, say, Rush Limbaugh are not going to listen to Al Franken. They're conservatives. Al isn't going to appeal to them. Of course, the same applies to conservative radio, but conservative talk is doing just fine. So who's the real competition? NPR. Air America is competing with a government subsidised organization. NPR ain't gonna be driven from the airwaves. So what does Air America hope to accomplish?

    Anyway, NPR is at least intelligent. Most progressives are educated, or want to be seen as such, so NPR's highbrow tone appeals to them. Air America is trashy. It's not going to appeal to the NPR crowd.

    Lastly, the election is over and the giant zit of Bush hatred has popped. That was much of the novelty of Air America, and it's spent. What do they have to offer now?

    By Blogger John Lynch, at 31 March, 2005 07:05  

  • I used to work at a small AM Adult Contemporary station. Being located in Sanford, NC with 3000 watts of power, we could hardly be heard in the area covered by the Arbitron book for Raleigh-Durham. Nonetheless, with huge 100k powerhouse stations, several adult-contemporary direct competitors, and one of the most competitive radio markets in the country being our ratings competition, our little station still managed to pull in over 1 percent of the market and get listed.

    There we were, barely making it into the area, playing music on an AM station, and we could breal 1% of the market. This makes Air America look pretty darned pitiful.

    Of course, I credit our ratings success to a certain afternoon drive DJ who steadfastly refused to stick to the strict programming format.

    By Anonymous Lockjaw the Ogre, at 31 March, 2005 07:59  

  • I would like to know the total wattage of liberal/progressive radio versus conservatives. My guess is that as liberals like Ed Schultz talk about the stations they are adding; the wattage of these stations is insignificant compared to conservative radio. An example of this is right here in Minneapolis/St. Paul. The station carrying these shows, 950 AM barely reaches out 40 miles from its broadcast station. In addition, the air time you would expect sponsors to fill is almost completely public service announcements!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 31 March, 2005 09:04  

  • "Lastly, the election is over and the giant zit of Bush hatred has popped"

    Bwahahahahahahah!

    I'd like to add cbs,nbc,abc,pbs,cnn,cnbc,msnbc,nyt,wp,etc.. as competition for AA.

    By Blogger RUMPLEMINTZ, at 31 March, 2005 09:12  

  • Here in Houston we have a Pacifica outlet, as does NYC, Washington, the Bay Area and one other city (LA?) not including any syndication of this leftist network.

    I love the singer/songwriter music that is played on KPFT and so it occupies one of my pre-sets. The inane hard left talk shows such as the GLBT Hour or Go Vegan Texas are pretty amusing as well. Although I haven't listen to Air America, I would think that Pacifica already has most of the rather small liberal listner base.

    By Blogger Tex Critic, at 31 March, 2005 11:40  

  • I'm predominantly a righty, but a daily consumer of NPR who can appreciate a funny jibe at 'my side'. I tune in to Air America occasionally -- when I remember it's there -- and, like an earlier commenter, I can take about five minutes of it. It's profoundly uninsightful and criminally unfunny. I don't know what sort of true believer one would have to be to stick with it, but it ain't me.

    By Blogger S. Weasel, at 31 March, 2005 12:59  

  • Like all things lefty and socialist today, Air America was DOA. The body is a little stiff by now with these latest ratings.

    Llama

    By Anonymous Llama, at 31 March, 2005 13:28  

  • I think at heart the problem with AA is, other than their completely un-entertaining lineup, is that liberals just don't like to argue. And whether it's Rush or sports, talk radio is if nothing else, argument.

    By Anonymous Cyrano, at 31 March, 2005 13:47  

  • Good points about the failure of Air America, and the Globe article is truly a great example of liberal bias. Trying to put a shine on a sneaker--a sneaker with doo-doo on it, for that matter! In Boston, the latest ratings show only a small gain for one station that had been 0.0; as for the other AA affiliate, they went from half-decent ratings as a standards station to lower and lower...

    In BOSTON! Land of Democrats and liberals. And the two stations, wihle not being as strong as WRKO or WTKK, are not exactly weak either. It's not the weaker signals it's the weaker programming, and liberals refusing to debate.

    I loved it when Laura Ingraham had on someone from Lawyers Against the War and he refused to answer her question as to whether or not things were better with Saddam out of power. He wound up hanging up on her. Why don't conservatives try to call some of these liberal talk hosts and go mano-a-mano with them? (I bet they won't let us on, though)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 31 March, 2005 14:56  

  • Let's see: It is not funny. It is a hate-fest. It is an idiot-fest.

    Like redmarilyn, I can never take more than five minutes of it. About the same amount of time I can take listening to Michael Savage.

    By Blogger Don Miguel, at 31 March, 2005 15:04  

  • Brian;

    I must correct your use of the term "lib talk" to describe the offerings of Air America.The official name of the language of the Liberalus Moronicii is "Libberish". Please be more definitionally correct in the future.

    Ricardo

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 31 March, 2005 15:24  

  • I'm glad you pointed out the secrecy surrounding AAR's ratings. The station constantly calls the Bush administration "the most secretive" ever; yet, Indiana Jones couldn't find out how the individual AAR shows are doing.

    I live in NYC, and I've never been able to find out how AAR's morning show, or Randi Rhodes are doing.

    In addition, AAR has recently posted ads on public phones in NYC. The ads show various AAR hosts, but the caption says "Bushed." So, it appears that AAR is determined to ride the Bush hatred wave into oblivion.

    Brett

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 31 March, 2005 15:27  

  • Anything with Stuart Smalley in top billing simply has to suck, and contrary to the MSM, most people aren't entertained by the ranting of traitors, perverts, and commies.
    AA was indeed DOA, because it came along 10yrs too late.
    Before the internet, they may have gained some steam (as the MSM would have still footed the bill - but with no contradiction from us).

    NPR would be dead too if they weren't drawing our blood for sustenance.
    They're a pack of pseudo-intellectual hacks enjoying tenure on our dime - just like most of academia.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 31 March, 2005 17:09  

  • All Bush bashing, no substance... Err America.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 31 March, 2005 20:04  

  • Check out their affiliate list.
    West Palm Beach, FL - WJNO 1290 AM
    has Glenn Beck from 9am-11:30, Paul Harvey from 11:30am-12:00pm and Rush from 12:00pm - 3:00pm, (Rush's home town) then they start with Randi Rhodes at 3pm

    Can they really call them affiliates if it isn't all Air America, and isn't all liberal radio?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 31 March, 2005 20:11  

  • I worked in radio for years and 2 of my best friends have worked and still work at FMQB Magazine. (I am sure you know it)

    I know good radio analysis when I see it and this post was damn fine analysis. I enjoyed reading it.

    Air America is in the tank. One thing people don't realize that in some markets, Air America buys the airtime. I am sure you understand the implications of that, but let me add this for your other readers. Most syndicated shows are done on trade. That means, you get my show for free, just run my commercials and I'll leave you a few minutes to run your own to make money. Very few are like Rush and Hannity, who get fees from stations and still run their own spots. Air America, unlike those who give it away free and make what they can, has to not only cover their usual nut (payroll, etc), they have to cover the price to get on the air. It is a losing business formula. of course, since liberals don't understand how business works, anyone with half a brain should have known from day 1 that Air America was destined for failure.

    By Blogger Brian, at 31 March, 2005 20:46  

  • Hello everybody,

    I listen to KTLK in Los Angeles. Air America is finally back in L.A. Clearchannel, the station's owner, however, somehow feels the need to constantly interrupt AAR programming with Clippers basketball games (try contacting the station to complain, and good luck). They also feel compelled to play bizarre health supplement infomercials on the weekend (8 hours total).

    A lot of you sound as obsessed with AAR as I do, albeit for different reasons. It's only been around for a year. Give it a rest.
    Here in L.A. it's been around for a total of 3 months counting last spring, and now you never know when it's preempted.

    AAR cannot compete with NPR. For one thing, most liberals think AM radio is for the hayseed set, and haven't listened to it since they were kids. Also, NPR is a centrist news and fluff source. Just ask such conservative think tanks as The Cato Institute, The Heritage Foundation, The Manhattan Institute, and The Hoover Institution. Representatives from these organizations would not be welcomed on AAR because it's a LIBERAL network. NPR, on the other hand, because it's partially taxpayer funded, must kowtow to various factions of the Power Elite--even though somehow people still tend to think it's a liberal network. Maybe next to the Fox Opinion Channel it is, but what isn't?

    To the person from Texas, I also listen to KPFK (the fifth Pacifica affiliate). It's been on the FM dial blasting 114,000 watts since 1949--great station.

    Later

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 31 March, 2005 22:06  

  • Brian:

    Thanks for the additional information about affiliates being paid to run Air America.

    It's funny how defensive some of the liberals have become about its future, but I think anon. from L.A. (comment 22) is the most honest leftist in this debate.

    By Blogger Brian Maloney, at 31 March, 2005 23:40  

  • You righties are completely jealous. First, Air America wasn't supposed to last three months. Then it wouldn't last six months. Then, it wouldn't last a year. Now, it's that it won't last a year and a half.
    Your accuracy in predictions is hovering right around, oh, zero percent.
    See you same time, next year, on this blog, when we talk about Air America being on its second anniversary.

    By Blogger ari, at 31 March, 2005 23:49  

  • Air America is in the tank, according to an obscure blogger named Brian Maloney. Funny stuff, Brian. Don't quit your day job.
    First, you're completely forgetting one key variable in all these "dismal" ratings reports: their ratings in the 18-34 demo are TERRIFIC and that's all any syndicate is going to care about.
    Rush's ratings are the ones that are going WAY down, but you won't find that on this right wing blog.
    The fact is, Rush isn't being listened to anymore among young people, and his "base" older listenership is eroding at an alarming rate. WABC in New York is seeing a rapid decline in his overall numbers, while Air America is close to 3.5 in 18-34 numbers.
    So, do your homework a little better Brian.
    Air America's demise is your pipe dream, and it ain't happenin.' In fact, I'll make you a bet: your blog will vanish from the ether before Air America does.
    Is it a bet?????????

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 31 March, 2005 23:54  

  • Brian Maloney, a sad, bitter man who can't hold a job. Hates liberals because he doesn't have the smarts to be one. Would jump at the chance to get a job with Air America, but isn't funny or talented in the slightest, so that's out.
    Too bad you got fired in Seattle Brian. I know, it's all the liberals' fault.
    Enjoy your further descent into obscurity.
    And to all the other get-a-life wingnuts on this sad blog, Air America doesn't want you as a listener anyway. They don't want dumbed down, dull witted people who have no intellect.
    Those are the people over at Fox News.
    Air America already has made bitter bloggers like Maloney look like fools, on the air a year later and EXPANDING into other markets.
    Hey Brian: Losing business prospects don't EXPAND in the radio business, numbnuts.
    Air America will laugh all the way to the bank at predictions of its demise.
    Hope you can get a real job, Brian. Fox News can always use another useful idiot.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 01 April, 2005 00:05  

  • True that targeted age groups in the not released to the media , however someone like you who seems to be plugged into the radio waves surely has a friend in the buisness who would be happy to show you the arbitron book so that you can document the numbers of who is and isnt listening to "Air America".
    I can only say that since it isnt political season talk show dominated arenas are loosing a little listenership to other formats...music perhaps. I enjoy good political discussion, something that is NOT found on Air America and as Redmarilyn states they almost always end with Bush bashing, and how they(liberals ) are the only ones who think properly. this has to be a key reason as to the lack of listenership.Who likes to be told that if you do not agree with them that you are stupid, well other then that Clown Al "won't someone liten" Frankin.

    By Blogger CarpiJugulum, at 01 April, 2005 00:28  

  • True that targeted age groups in the not released to the media , however someone like you who seems to be plugged into the radio waves surely has a friend in the buisness who would be happy to show you the arbitron book so that you can document the numbers of who is and isnt listening to "Air America".
    I can only say that since it isnt political season talk show dominated arenas are loosing a little listenership to other formats...music perhaps. I enjoy good political discussion, something that is NOT found on Air America and as Redmarilyn states they almost always end with Bush bashing, and how they(liberals ) are the only ones who think properly. this has to be a key reason as to the lack of listenership.Who likes to be told that if you do not agree with them that you are stupid, well other then that Clown Al "won't someone liten" Frankin.

    By Blogger CarpiJugulum, at 01 April, 2005 00:28  

  • Surely you know someone at a radio stationwho would be happy to show you the actual demographic of age breakdown as to who doesn't listen to A.A.
    It being a non political year...(lack of elections) I feel is a valid reason as to why all talk radio in all markets is down some. Or maybe it is just because the line up for A.A. is so terrible and insulting...Al "won't someone listen please" Frankin, who always ends in a Bush bash, and the comment of how stupid are the conservatives/right/republicans/anyone who does not agree with him, could also be a large factor in the failure of Air America

    By Blogger CarpiJugulum, at 01 April, 2005 00:33  

  • Carpi:

    The numbers posted here provide the broadest available measurement of a radio station's audience: all adults 12 and older. To get breakdowns beyond that would require subscriptions to 51 Arbitron ratings books at an astronomical cost.

    Where we are seeing targeted age group breakdowns, adults 25-54 being the primary one, the ratings are remarkably similar.

    The poster that asserted that 18-34 numbers for Air America looked great didn't provide any examples for particular cities.

    It would be very unusual for AM stations to attract a large audience in that age group for any radio format. Even if you did show some numbers there, advertisers would be very reluctant because they don't view the AM band as a place to target young people.

    By Blogger Brian Maloney, at 01 April, 2005 00:39  

  • Explain this to me, if a kerry win would be death to AA then why is conservative radio dominating? According to their logic a Bush win would devastate conservative radio, truth is they just stink.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 01 April, 2005 10:24  

  • I did try to give it a fair shake...Randi Rhodes = Grating voice, interrupts her guests/callers in mid-sentence, excessive patting herself on the back and telling her listeners how great she is. Al Franken/Kathryn Whatshername = Nasal, whiny, smirky, sarcastic bloviating (Al) set to a hyena-like laugh track ( Kathryn's role). Sam Seder/Janeane Garofalo = this duo delivers a fevered sales pitch, always teetering on the edge of becoming a true rant, humorless, bitter, depressing. AAR = What's to like, regardless of your politics? And I'm in NYC, where NO ONE I know listens to it!

    By Blogger PM, at 01 April, 2005 11:02  

  • AA doesn't seem to understand that the primary reason conservative talk radio succeeds is because of the caller format - Hosts interact and argue with their audience. AA doesn't do that. When was the last time you heard AA take a call from a conservative listener and actually debate them? It doesn't happen because the caller always ends up shredding the arguments of the host. AA hosts never allow their discussions to be honestly debated - they only postulate and lecture on their own narrowminded and incorrect opinions - and the public does not find that stimulating or entertaining.
    I often tune over to Boulder's AA affiliate during commercial breaks on KOA (Rush Limbaugh) and KKNU (Michael Savage). Those 3-minute breaks are the most painful part of my commute. AA is so hard to listen to that I often find myself tuning back to the commercials. Seeing AA's recent dismal Arbitron showing in its primary market here in Colorado tells me that AA will soon be history. If they can't draw an audience in a city like Boulder (which is the Berkeley of the Rocky Mountains), they can't make it anywhere.

    By Anonymous PeteW, at 01 April, 2005 11:23  

  • >Air America will laugh all the way to the bank at predictions of its demise.

    Maybe the Bank of George Soros.

    We know from published reports that they have lost at least $43 million ($30 million at startup and a recent $13 transfusion). Including what is not known, the total losses are probably in the $80-$100 million range.

    It will be a long time before they use a deposit slip at any bank!

    >Brian Maloney, a sad, bitter man who can't hold a job. Hates liberals because he doesn't have the smarts to be one.

    >their ratings in the 18-34 demo are TERRIFIC and >that's all any syndicate is going to care about.

    Brian: Sounds like the e-mails I would receive whenever I wrote about AA. But as usual, no substance is included with the insults.

    By Anonymous ira, at 01 April, 2005 12:08  

  • >We know from published reports that they have lost at least $43 million ($30 million at startup and a recent $13 transfusion). Including what is not known, the total losses are probably in the $80-$100 million range.<
    Cite that source, Ira. So, you're saying that every single dime of investment money in AAR has been lost, that they haven't earned a single dime in advertising money to offset some of that????
    Wishful thinking on your part.
    Again, I'm on record: Air America will be around one year from now, on many more stations than it is now.
    Let's make a date to meet again on this blog a year from now to see whether that happens - if this blog still exists, that is.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 01 April, 2005 12:46  

  • Ira:

    The conversation remained civil here until this piece was linked at some radio message boards. Then the personal attacks began. This seemed to hit a raw nerve in Denver for some reason.

    That's a city where I would think Air America might have a fighting chance, since they invested heavily in a live and local morning show.

    Was told yesterday that Seattle's Air America station is gearing up for one or two local programs soon. The problem: who would you hire to fill the slots?

    Thanks again for your great essays on talk radio at www.chronwatch.com.

    By Blogger Brian Maloney, at 01 April, 2005 13:12  

  • Anon: Both the $30 million at startup and the recent $13 million infusion were widely reported by the media.

    But what about the months in between? My educated GUESS would be to double the reported $43 million.

    By Anonymous ira, at 01 April, 2005 15:35  

  • Here in San Diego, where I was surprised to see the 2+ ratings in your last entry, we have the two ranters of the extreme (Savage and Rhodes) firing blanks at the same time…

    I would like to publicly thank KCBQ and KOGO for Hugh Hewitt and Roger Hedgecock during the same evening drive time. The funniest pattern I have found is that I can never hear a Savage Rant because the ads coincide with those of Hewitt and Hedgecock. That means that I can turn to AA to get a Rhodes Rant every time… Hhhhmmmm, what does it mean when you can’t sell the same ad time as the competitors… Hhhhmmmmm… Even so, I have to agree with previous posters – I listen to a silly rant, get the flavor of the Left’s dialog, and return to commercials…

    Hey AA, let’s get another interview with George Palast or something… That guy is brilliant, influential, or maybe just crafty and smarmy – but that passes as intelligent commentary to the Left.

    I have and idea, maybe AA should hire some Congressional lobbyists and try to grab some of NPR’s government subsidy money. Let the taxpayer cover your expenses!!!

    By Blogger BoghRD, at 02 April, 2005 10:27  

  • I was actually looking forward to AAR, because I don't have many extreme liberals in my personal life, and I wanted to see for myself if they were as bad as right wing pundits made them out to be.

    After a year of exposure, I've come to the conclusion that they're aren't as bad, they're worse.

    They buy into every silly conspiracy theory that supports their wacky views, but there isn't enough evidence ever for them to believe anything that doesn't go their way.

    What really bothers me about liberals is their arrogance. God forbid you have the gall to disagree with one, you're immediately labeled as dumb, uneducated and a wingnut. Janeane Garafalo is a classic example, always referring to Bush supporters as emotionally immature and intellectually incurious. She's still screaming that Kerry won the election because of an discrepency in an exit poll.

    That bottom line is that liberals trumpet themselves as these higher beings but don't live up to their own billing.

    Brett

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 02 April, 2005 13:21  

  • After informing the Globe's corrections dept. about the Mark Jurkowitz article (claiming that WKOX and WXKS are sunrise to sunset only)
    I received the following:

    "Mr. Jurkowitz has tried listening to those two stations at night and they
    can barely be heard. The spokesman for the two stations, Joe Mazzei, told
    him it was accurate to say they had a sunrise to sunset license."

    Well then Jurkowitz should have worded it as "they have to change their
    direction or power down at sunset".

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 04 April, 2005 13:41  

  • This is so silly. I use to work in TV advertising. I can show you 100 stations that bomb in 12+, but do fantastic in 25-54. Their programming is geered towards the 25-54 not the 12+ so it makes NO difference to their advertisers what the 12+ did...THEY DON'T CARE. I would say just from experience in TV 75% of advertisers buy off the 25-54...so that should answer that point right there!!

    Of course he also makes the excuse that he does have the "full" numbers yet, and my guess is he will not post them if he does.


    And you talk about bias, this whole article is filled with it. The best example it "trash" TV host jerry springer. Instead of say "controversial" If that isn't biased word choice I don't know what it. But its typical for the right-wingers

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 06 April, 2005 01:49  

  • Its so sillt to look at 12+ when that isn't their target audience. Its like saying the spice channel did poorly in 12+...well duh

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 06 April, 2005 02:15  

  • If AAR is doing so great in the ratings, why the secrecy?

    Let's hear about how great they're doing among 25-54s.

    When AAR did well in its first quarter, the hosts weren't shy about running their mouths.

    Brett

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 06 April, 2005 15:57  

  • First of all they don't really talk about their ratings on the radio good or bad. The one thing about arbitron is that if you discuss your ratings on the air they threaten to pull them from your station

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 06 April, 2005 18:58  

  • I LOVE HOW YOU HAVEN"T UPDATED THE SITE WITH NEW NUMBERS!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11 April, 2005 23:21  

  • I'm not Maloney, I'll just play one on the Internet:

    Albequerque: KABQ - 1.4 (23rd in Market)
    Charleston, SC: WLTQ - 0.5 (23rd in market and a 75% drop in ratings since format change)
    Memphis: WWTQ - 1.6 (20th in Market)

    You can see why he didn't post anymore: it'd be more of the same!

    By Anonymous SaveFarris, at 18 April, 2005 12:02  

  • The Seattle market should be a virtual gimme for AA with its unlimited supply of liberal free thinkers.

    I pose the following question then :

    Why does AA (local AM 1090) in Seattle need to advertise for local advertisers to support them?

    I never hear that form of begging on KVI 570 AM or KTTH 770 AM!!!

    Also, AM 1090 does not provide local discussions with local hosts on local issues; LIKE THE GOVERNORS RACE!!!

    By Anonymous Jim From Port Orchard, at 18 April, 2005 14:29  

  • I have tried, really TRIED to give Air America a chance. I dialed it up on my XM radio and had to switch the station after 20 minutes when I felt myself becoming suicidal. I've never listened to anything before that was so stupid, hateful, inaccurate, ignorant, negative and just downright boring. What kind of cerebral blind spot must people have not to hear that for themselves? I missed 20 minutes of The Lone Ranger trying to give Air America a break. No good deed goes unpunished.

    By Blogger Lone Ranger, at 18 April, 2005 18:34  

  • Date: 3-31-05



    To:
    Robert Frank

    Wall Street Journal

    robert.frank@wsj.com



    From:
    Plinio Designori

    Magistor

    New Ruskin College

    PlinioDesignori@NewRuskinCollege.com



    Re.: And it will never stop, I will destroy Robert Frank’s life . . . it will never stop. --- Don Imus





    Now that you have started to learn the truth about Don Imus perhaps you can benefit from my experience.



    I invite you to visit NewRuskinCollege.com to learn how Don Imus used his influence to destroy my life. In a few weeks I will commit suicide in protest of Don Imus and the others who have oppressed me for these last fourteen years. (Yes, fourteen years. When he says it will never stop he means that it will never stop. He will use his influence and power to destroy your life.) It will not stop.



    Please understand that I too want to live. Even though I have been pushed to the very limits of society, oppressed, driven into poverty, still, in the morning, the sunrise is so beautiful my heart rejoices. As my time runs out the sun has been racing through the sky.



    Life has resolved itself into a granular or cellular structure. My alienation is now so complete that I no longer live in a world of isolated individuals, but they themselves have devolved into isolated moments in time. People appear in a bewildering array of personalities minute by minute, seemingly talking gibberish and no one else seems to notice.



    For example it started with me noticing intellectual inconsistencies. Tax shelters for the rich for example: The Gallo Brother’s Wine Institute or the Imus ranch. And of course Imus is so vain he does not see the larger issues. That anyone should question whether a wasted wizened old man and his young deranged wife should be allowed to shelter millions of dollars in an enterprise that would not exist except for our tax laws, never once occurs to him.



    Why shouldn’t we allow a degenerate old druggy to decide how our tax dollars are spent? It is futile to point out that the money thus sheltered means that the rest of the people will now have to pay more. And who are they? The ones with the lowest ability to raise their prices; the highest “propensity to spend.” But in this idiocy Imus is in no way exceptional. (Senate Finance Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) said: “In exchange for these very generous tax breaks, charitable assets should be going to those in need. More and more, we're seeing that some people view charities and charitable gifts as a chance to help themselves, not others. What's going on isn't a pretty picture in the harsh light.” Acknowledging that “our enforcement presence faded in the late 1990s,” (Boy! Did it! How about completely sold out and corrupted by the very corporate entities the IRS and the Senate were supposed to be overseeing? Would you say that Mr. Grassley? ) and "weak governance practices.”)



    Just recently “conservatives” who previously condemned “junk science” presented the obviously, and self admitted religiously biased, “doctors” culled from across the country, as representing “main stream scientific consensus” when they in fact knew that the consensus was just the opposite. It was an intellectual betrayal.



    One minute they say one thing then in the next breath they contradict themselves . . . And you may be thinking ‘Well, come on, everyone has their limitations, different perspectives, how do you go from this to the complete disintegration of reason . . . the impossibility of communication . . . utter hopelessness?’



    It is said that Ted Kaczynski was the subject of a psychological experiment when he was at Harvard. They wanted to find out what would happen to the subject if you deliberately denied everything. They found out. The survivors of the Soviet Prisons said that the worst of it was that they were housed with the lunatics, and diagnosed as being insane. After a while, they began to wonder . . .



    But this is what I am trying to tell you, this is my warning, this is what happens to you when they start in on you. First you will think, “coincidence.” You will receive a letter from your sister, or a friend, someone you trust absolutely. And then Imus will repeat a phrase from the letter word for word. Coincidence. Then Michael Weiner will start reading from a notebook that you have left at home, or on a car seat, or in a motel room. Then you editor will hand back a story you have written and tell you to rewrite it. But then driving home, only an hour later, someone else on the radio will talk about having to “rewrite” and how editors do not know how to tell reporters when they are in trouble and about to be fired.



    And right now you think: paranoia. Yes! Exactly! You will never know! Don’t you see? Once they start in on you, your wife? Can you trust your wife? Then what? A marriage counselor? Garrison Keillor? Rush Limbaugh? Your employer? Co-workers, for example? You go to lunch and when you get back to the office your brief case has been moved, opened? The secretary nods affirmatively to your co-worker’s questioning glance that you catch just out of the corner of your eye. They went through my briefcase? Then Imus reads something you emailed your editor.



    Right now you might think that there are limits. You may work for a prestigious newspaper, or you are well to do, you think you have friends, or perhaps you simply think that you live in a nation where the ‘rule of law’ is respected. Is that what you think?



    Or perhaps you are thinking that your colleagues, friends, family, or even just people generally, your fellow citizens, will not allow you to be targeted in this way. You may think, ‘This is America, there is justice.’ What you do not yet understand is that they will all join in. It will become a kind of game for them. This is what I meant about the granular structure of their personalities. They can not be trusted. They will betray you on questions of economics and medicine? If they will not accept an EEG or a CAT scan then how can you trust them on such trivial questions such as your oppression, the theft of your papers, etc. , etc.?



    Right now you think you can trust them. There is Truth. Justice? You trust in good faith. Take this letter as a warning: One, it will not stop, Two, no one will help you.



    Over the years many people have commented on my situation. They wanted me to know that they knew about Don Imus and Michael Weiner, Mrs. Jack Swanson, Ron Owens, Michael Krasney. Part of the game for them was that I should know that they knew. Do you see? They wanted me to know:



    “I have heard what you do to some of your listeners.” --- Senator Hatch, on the Imus Show



    “What are you going to do . . . hire an attorney? I’ve got the best attorneys in the country.” --- Don Imus



    “Drop a card on someone.” --- Chris Matthews



    “Let’s watch our metaphors.” --- Jim Leher



    “I hope you are ‘adjusting’ to your new life of ‘white collar crime’.” --- John McLaughlin



    “We better stop, I don’t want to get you into trouble.” --- Phillip Matier, S. F. Chronicle



    “No talent . . . you are lint.’ --- Bill O’Reilly



    “. . . so she can park her car in a red no parking zone.” --- unidentified Bay Area journalist.



    “Like the man said, ‘The mass media is a hydra headed monster.’ --- fat balding reporter for the Sacramento Bee, on KQED



    “Is Charles going to be around for a wile?” because “I want to call back and run a few things by Charles.” --- David Gregory on Imus, 04-13-04



    “His mother . . . she died? . . .” --- Scott Bobro, Farmers Insurance



    “taking baths.” --- Ron Owens



    “witches” --- Jim Dunbar and Ed Wygant



    “I love it when conservatives go after one another.”--- Bernie Ward



    “Colonial Motel suspect . . .” --- The San Rafael Police, police radio



    “Michael Krasney is on line three for you.” ---- AAA auto insurance



    Barbara Simpson explained that she has no sympathy for people “who keep journals and diaries . . . writing everything down. And then it gets stolen and made public. So? And so? So? What do you expect?” --- Barbara Simpson



    Last month Rush Limbaugh held up Mrs. Jack Swanson’s arm in a victory pose. (Mrs. Jack Swanson had tried to have Limbaugh fired from the Kansas City radio station they both worked at in the 1980’s. (She objected to his Femi-NAZIs. She was a liberal then. ))



    Good luck.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 19 April, 2005 00:51  

  • I'll post new information when it becomes available. Meanwhile, on my main page there are new talk radio items.

    By Blogger Brian Maloney, at 19 April, 2005 01:23  

  • I have listened to AAR since the first week (via online streaming, so I don't know if it counts in the ratings), and they are callers and guests on all the time who disagree with the hosts. If because they're not screaming at each other doesn't make it as compelling listening to some people... well, those people are just looking to get outraged rather than learn anything.

    I get my news from a wide range of sources, and it's obvous that each of AAR's hosts -- Franken, Rhodes, Malloy, Seder & Garafalo, et al -- deeply love America, and though their methods differ, share the primary goal to find and present the truth.

    Of course, the truth is often complex, ugly, and difficult to hear, so it's easy to understand why some people might have trouble listening to AAR for more than a few minutes.

    But, as Jefferson said (and I'm paraphrasing here), freedom and liberty depend on an informed electorate. It's literally our duty as citizens of a democracy to be informed. And the sad, scary truth is that the things many of our elected officials are currently doing to obtain and maintain power is not only reprehensible, but a direct threat to our American rights and freedoms.

    Whatever small effect AAR (and Pacifica, Shultz and Miller, et al) might be having to counteract that, I applaud.

    By Blogger theaverageman, at 28 April, 2005 14:59  

  • You ask:

    "Why do "progressives" want to be associated with Springer, anyway? He's still doing his trashy TV show, how does this help their cause? How much credibility does he bring to radio?"

    Since when is talk radio about credibility. What Springer brings is an audience of red staters. The same who watch his TV show. Springer is an intellegent guy, who knows his politics. Unlike the right wing gas bags, he engages people who have different viewpoints, with simple arguments that they'll understand.

    It's yet to be shown whether he'll have an impact on total audience, but he sure is bringing people to AAR who wouldn't have normally come.

    By Blogger Dick Tuck, at 06 May, 2005 12:10  

  • It took Rush Limbaugh 14 years to make it. Aside from the assistence given him by his gay lover, Norm Woodruff, to take over the Morton Downey Jr. spot in Sacramento, it took him 7 years in New York to get to his peak game.

    Yet, you sem to dismiss this, calling those of us who root for AAR to succeed "rabid". It's been one year since AAR went on the air. Most of its personalities are new to radio. They'll hit their stride and us "rabid" fans will continue to enjoy an alternative to the conservanazi blather.

    By Blogger Dick Tuck, at 06 May, 2005 12:26  

  • it seems that over a decade ago, Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes started FOX News to "hear their own ideological viewpoints on the radio."

    By Blogger Whazdat!, at 19 October, 2005 19:26  

  • Over a decade ago, Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes started FOX NEWS "to hear their own ideological viewpoints" on TV.

    By Blogger Whazdat!, at 19 October, 2005 19:31  

  • Hear we are almost a year later and Air America is on the air with more stations no less, and doing well. Looks like the reports of it's death were a bit off. Anyone care for some crow?

    By Blogger DaDeacon, at 27 February, 2006 16:40  

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