The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

09 July 2005

Talk Radio, Blogosphere After London

Balancing London, Other News

Toughest Call: When To Move On

When stories as big as London's first break, it's obvious you'll cover nothing else. The topic picks you, rather than the usual other way around.

unionjack.jpgYesterday, I asked WRKO/Boston morning hosts Peter Blute and Scott Allen Miller whether they'd even considered discussing another issue on Friday's show. Their answer: a definite no.

During my fill-in for Talk Radio Network's Tammy Bruce, it seemed unthinkable to mention anything else, with the exception of persistent and ultimately unfounded Supreme Court rumors regarding Chief Justice William Rehnquist's resignation plans.

But what about this weekend? That's where it gets trickier, not just for talk radio, but for the blogosphere as well.

It seems appropriate to cover other stories today, with an eye on the latest London developments, but the financial and other specialty programs on talk radio today just don't fit the ongoing public mood.

At times like this, these shows need to be removed from station schedules, but since they're often placed there by sales departments, program directors are usually stuck with this weekend garbage.

Major blogs have begun to mix up the topics somewhat, getting to unfinished business that was buried in an avalanche of terrorism news.

I was hoping for a longer Aruba break, but it's already back on the AP wire and television news.

Michelle Malkin took up talk radio's defense today, where it's under attack by a Washington state judge's radical get-conservative-hosts ruling. Scroll down to see my previous articles on the subject.

She adds a Seattle Times editorial to the mix, while today, I-912's gas tax repeal-backers claim to have enough signatures to get the issue on Washington state's ballot.

Other coverage today on Malkin's site includes stories related to London and the G8 Summit, where protestors clashed in San Francisco, and that Tony Blair's approval rating shot up 17 points after the attacks.

After my initial talk radio criticism on Thursday, where I felt too many local hosts kept to their holidays rather than returning to work, it seemed to redeem itself on Friday. Some did cancel breaks, while others were in far-flung locales, where it was simply impossible to host a talk show.

One major flap did erupt in Atlanta, however, as market leader WSB cut to Sean Hannity an hour earlier than usual on Thursday, a sound programming move. Meanwhile, ratings-challenged WGST ditched Rush Limbaugh entirely, running Braves baseball instead.

It doesn't take a lot of programming experience to know that when terrorists hit hard, baseball takes a back seat. It's customary for news-talk stations to temporarily drop sports coverage on major news days. Who do you think captured Thursday's ratings?

BBCAlso today, at the superb Biased BBC site, reports are that network coverage has begun to return to normal today, down to the PC language customary for the Beeb. I'll be writing more about this later.

Plus, talk radio reporter Perry M Simon with his insightful account of monitoring BBC Radio Five as Broadcasting House was being evacuated. Many American hosts have been interviewed on that station in the past, myself in 1997, so it hits home especially. It's hard enough to do the job properly in the best of circumstances, this adds a particular level of extreme stress to the job.


  • I need my weekend fill of Kim Kommando, In the Garden, and Grilling on the Barby.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10 July, 2005 02:54  

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