The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

30 April 2005

Finally, The Truth On Air America

The Last Honest Newspaper?

Others Still Fawning Over Liberal Talk Format

It's getting harder to find fair and insightful radio coverage in American newspapers these days, that is, if they cover the broadcast medium at all.

Across the country, though, we've seen one fawning report after another on the prospects for so-called "progressive" talk radio. The lousy ratings, which have been chronicled here at the Radio Equalizer, haven't put a cap on the glowing coverage.

Even as the most damning of ratings results were emerging for liberal talk stations, the Boston Globe was singing the praises of Stephanie Miller, still with the approach that it's a format with a bright future. Too bad the facts were in the way.

Other papers, too numerous to mention, went the other way and didn't say a word about the poor performances.

That's why this report, from the Cincinnati Post's Rick Bird, is so refreshingly honest:

(Cincinnati Post- Rick Bird- 29 April 2005)

(hat tip: Ira Simmons,

Jerry Springer may be a king of all media, but not in his adopted hometown just yet.

Springer's new talk show on WCKY-AM (1530) was barely a blip on the ratings radar in the winter Arbitron ratings book released Thursday covering the January-to-March listening period. It is the first ratings glimpse at how Springer's show and the new liberal talk format is doing in the Greater Cincinnati market.

Springer's 9 a.m.-noon show, which debuted in January, drew a mere 1.6 share among total listeners, ranking just 15th in the time period among area radio shows out of 30 stations rated.

Still, it was the most listened to show on WCKY during the period, which may not be saying much, as the station limped off to a slow start with its new liberal talk format.

Cincinnati Clear Channel owners switched the station to a progressive talk format in January, dropping its oldies music programming.

In total listeners, WCKY had a 1.0 share and ranked 19th in the market. In fact, that is what the station scored in the fall rating period when it was an oldies' station - and it is actually down from a 1.3 share in the same listening period a year ago.

Clearly, the talk format, which also features the liberal Air America programming from Al Franken (noon- 3 p.m.) and "progressive populist" Ed Schultz, syndicated by Democracy Radio, in afternoon drive (3 -6 p.m.) did not take the city by storm.

"The radio station isn't performing as good as I'd like to see it," said Darryl Parks,operations manager for Clear Channel's four Cincinnati AM stations(WCKY, WKRC, WLW, WSAI).

"But it's the first (ratings) book and you have to wait a good six months to get a real trend on it. I'm not discouraged by it. AM audiences take a long time to build."

Perennial news/talk leader WLW again led the ratings pack in total audience with a 9.9 share. That was down from the last fall ratings period, but up from a year ago.

This story was stunning for several reasons, not the least of which was the manager's admission that things weren't looking good so far, a first I've seen anywhere, even if he uses the "more time needed" excuse.

Nobody ever says conservative shows "need more time" in print, do they?

Plus, as this reporter understands, Ohio is Springer's home turf. He shouldn't need a year to prove himself there, he's known in the Buckeye State's political realm, as well as for the horrible TV show.

One would expect ratings almost immediately for Jerry in Ohio, if not in other places. His name recognition is as big as one can get.

And, there was a blaze of publicity there on his radio arrival, that should have fueled an immediate surge, no doubt what station management was anticipating.

So far, Springer's site lists a whopping seven stations, whether more will choose to carry him is unclear at this time.

I still can't figure out why Springer was thought to be a savior for liberal talk in the first place. Wasn't his reputation a bit on the tarnished side?


Post a Comment

<< Home

Page Rank Checker

Powered by Blogger