The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

20 April 2005

San Francisco: Jerry Springer Bumps 'Morning Sedition'

Liberal Radio's Answer?

Plan B For "Progressive" Talk Programmers

Liberal readers have been on my case to make distinctions between "Air America" and "progressive" talk shows owned by others, including Clear Channel's Premiere Networks.

As they implored me not to lump them together, I argued "liberal talk" is synonymous with the term "Air America", due to
Franken & Co.'s mountains of free publicity.

I just couldn't figure out the big deal, what difference does it make?

Now, Clear Channel and Air America are both claiming the next big hope, the one that will finally get lib talk in high gear: Jerry Springer.

And look at the "progressive" earthquake that just shook San Francisco:

(All Access Radio Industry Trade Publication- Perry Simon- 19 April 2005)

CLEAR CHANNEL progressive Talk WKQE (960 AM THE QUAKE)/SAN FRANCISCO is swapping out AIR AMERICA's "THE MORNING SEDITION" in the 6a-9a slot for "SPRINGER ON THE RADIO," CLEAR CHANNEL's own syndicated liberal offering featuring JERRY SPRINGER. Look for the change to occur on MONDAY (4/25).

Said QUAKE PD KEN KOHL, "This is the JERRY SPRINGER that voters in CINCINNATI have known since his days in Democratic politics. He's instantly engaging; listeners will embrace his political and entertainment credibility very quickly. JERRY knows his stuff and he presents smart and compelling arguments."

At first glance, it looks like something that isn't huge news, one liberal show replacing another.

Actually, it's significant: an admission that Air America's morning drive offering, in radio's most important time slot, is a failure, one that must be dumped for the likes of Jerry Springer.

The left may argue that it's a case of Clear Channel wanting its own offerings on stations it controls. Sometimes that might fly, but in this twist, Air America now lists Springer as one of its own shows.

If "Morning Sedition" was a success, there's no way it would have been removed from San Francisco's KQKE. Ratings have stunk so far in the Bay Area.

I'll snuff out a lame liberal argument here: yes, "Morning Sedition" runs from 6-9am ET, meaning it has to be delayed for the Pacific Time Zone, to run in morning drive. Many successful talk programs, however, run on tape in major cities. That's not an issue if listeners want it.

Another will be that conservative stations also make programming changes, so what's the difference? Yes, but many right-leaning shows succeeded over the years, while the much-touted Air America has yet to score a hit show. They're still searching for that ever-elusive audience.

They set themselves up for this type of criticism, not only Air America itself, but its tireless boosters and apologists, who said the initial lineup would beat conservative radio once and for all. When numbers were presented here that countered that fantasy, the response was anger and rookie-league ratings conspiracy theories.

The very high-profile San Francisco move means radio programmers (Mr. Kohl is a very experienced one, by the way) are already burning through liberal offerings, trying to find one that will work.

What's been done so far, Air America's lineup, obviously hasn't. Now liberal stations look to Plan B.

B's not a good plan, though, when sleazy Jerry Springer is the replacement.

Here's the key: what bona fide audience demand is there for a Springer radio show? Were hysterical crowds clamoring to hear him host talk shows? Springer's own site lists a whopping six stations after three months. If he hasn't updated it, that's his problem, not mine.

Conservatives haven't been pounding on Jerry, assuming they don't need to, as Springer defeats himself with his disgusting television track record.

But why not question, loudly, for what reason leftists are happy to promote this man's "progressive" radio career?

Liberal talk radio is now back to where it was in the nineties: repeatedly trying out lefty hosts that would fail, hoping to make one finally stick. There was Alan Dershowitz, then Bernie Ward, Jim Hightower and Jerry Brown. Now it's simply a matter of adding new names to the list of casualties.

Last time, attempts at lib talk died out because they ran out of people to sacrifice, this looks to be a rerun.

Also: Raleigh News & Observer references my Air America piece in Al Franken article.


  • AAR is spinning it the same way they spun the fact that they got kicked off Sirius sattelite radio: "XM Inks Exclusive Air America Deal" when the headline could just have well read: "Air America Radio to depart Sirius satellite radio for XM" as it does in this story:

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 20 April, 2005 10:04  

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