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?

Blasts Dem Rival Over Death Penalty Flip-Flop

Mitt Returns Fire

Says Tom Reilly Pandering To Liberals

Republican Massacusetts Governor Mitt Romney is finally starting to fight fire with fire, shooting back at shameless Attorney General Tom Reilly.

Democrat Reilly, who wants the governorship so badly he can taste it, has been blasting Mitt's death penalty proposal and relative lack of accomplishments so far as governor.

Romney returned fire by noting that Reilly has been a longtime death penalty supporter, switching only now, in order to curry favor with liberals. Will Democrats really go for Reilly, or will they see through his fakery and select someone else, such as former Clinton Administration official Deval Patrick?

Could somebody please explain how Romney could ever get anything done with a legislature full of Democrats? Even a Dem governor might not fare much better, as there are many factions on Beacon Hill.

Romney has little to lose by pounding on opponents. It makes him look stronger, the Dems aren't giving him any help on legislative issues anyway and Reilly isn't going to stop going after him anytime soon.

A more aggressive Romney could boost his own fortunes significantly.

Reilly's flip-flops are noted here:

(Boston Herald- Kimberly Atkins- 30 April 2005)

Gov. Mitt Romney fired back at Democrat Tom Reilly for mocking his death penalty bill, charging the attorney general with currying political favor with liberals to mount a run for governor.
``I'm afraid the real reason that the attorney general has backed away from his long-term support of the death penalty is he's facing a more liberal opponent in the primary,'' Romney said.
Reilly, a likely gubernatorial candidate, shot back, calling the bill a ``red herring'' Romney is using to divert attention from his poor track record.
``What we have here is another clear example of a governor who cannot get things done and who has his priorities seriously out of whack,'' Reilly said. ``This is not a political game.''
While stressing his support for the death penalty - even admitting that he would sign the bill if he were governor and it reached his desk - Reilly said Romney's focus was not on crime prevention, but national agenda-setting.

Neutral Position Called Unacceptable

Gay Workers Strongarm Microsoft

Insist On Political Agenda Conformity

Days after news reports suggesting a Seattle pastor pressured Microsoft into adopting a neutral stance on gay rights legislation in Olympia, an employee group wants to strongarm Bill Gates into political action.

The Seattle Times reports that GLEAM, Microsoft's gay and lesbian employees group, is furious with the company for staying out of the political fray.

Bill Gates, however, insists Microsoft decided earler this year to stay out of all issues unrelated to business. Imagine that!

It's not as though Microsoft has ever been good at poltical lobbying, anyway, its track record stinks.

We're talking about protesting a company's political inaction, not for actually taking a position they oppose.

Will the company cave? You betcha, faster than the barista can pour your latte. Liberal conformity is mandatory in King County, Washington.

Get a load of some of their demands:

(Seattle Times- Brier Dudley- 30 April 2005)

GLEAM — an organization of gay and lesbian employees at Microsoft — yesterday called on Chief Executive Steve Ballmer to act sooner. It laid out a series of steps for the company "to achieve the goals that you have outlined in the past."

"Our company values are clearly documented and our internal policies against discrimination are unquestioned," the letter said. "Because of our long-standing support for anti-discrimination legislation, the withdrawal of support from HB1515 was a shock.

"We are deeply concerned about the way the decision was made, the failure to anticipate its impact, and our inability to quickly repair the damage once it had become evident. This shook our trust in executive management, and has left us feeling abandoned, depressed, and embarrassed for Microsoft."

Ballmer was asked to affirm Microsoft's support for the legislation, acknowledge this year's neutral stance was a mistake and reaffirm the company's commitment to diversity. The group also asked him to communicate this position to employees, hold a diversity-awareness event for employees and hold mandatory awareness workshops for management on gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues.

Stolen Washington Governor's Race Heats Up

Voting Felons: 648

GOP's Challenge Gets Boost, Dems Have Strange Response

(Saturday Update)

Is King County now making the GOP's case for throwing out the disputed 2004 Washington state gubernatorial election? That's what party chairman Chris Vance correctly concludes.

Instead of merely blaming the race they stole on partisan Republicans, Democrats must now contend with King County's move to prosecute 648 felons who were illegally registered.

How do you spin your way out of that?

For starters, you can attempt to claim that not enough of them actually voted, that they didn't vote for Gregoire, or any number of excuses partisan hacks get paid to produce.

The wild card is determining what a Chelan County judge might be willing to accept as valid, legal arguments, versus what might go right out the window.

As the case takes twists and turns, it can be mighty confusing, but reports today in daily newspapers across the state of Washington cannot be good news for the Dems.

Orbusmax has all the latest headlines on this case, Sound Politics has in-depth coverage necessary for understanding this mess and we will keep you posted here as things develop.

Coverage from the Seattle Times and Post-Intelligencer has several other revelations today:

(Seattle Post-Intelligencer- Gregory Roberts- 29 April 2005)

Working from lists provided to them in the aftermath of the troubled 2004 election, King County prosecutors have identified 648 felons illegally registered to vote, officials said yesterday.

Illegal votes from felons play a central role in the Republican Party's legal attack on the election of Democrat Christine Gregoire as governor in November. Gregoire edged Republican Dino Rossi by 129 votes after a hand recount of more than 2.8 million ballots, and the GOP is suing to set aside that result in a trial starting May 23 in Wenatchee.

"The government is making our case for us," state Republican chairman Chris Vance said.

(Seattle Times- 29 April 2005- Keith Ervin)

Yesterday's announcement brings to 648 the number of challenges filed by King County prosecutors, based on lists of voters who appeared to be felons whose civil rights had not been restored. The lists were produced separately by the state Republican Party and The Seattle Times.

A hearing will be scheduled before elections director Dean Logan. Logan has already canceled the registrations of 191 felons and is preparing rulings on 345 others who have undergone hearings.

Illegal voting by felons in November is one of the irregularities cited by Republican gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi in his lawsuit challenging Democrat Christine Gregoire's election victory. Gregoire beat Rossi by 129 votes in a manual recount, reversing Rossi's wins in two earlier machine counts.

In related matters:

• King County election workers have found another valid absentee ballot that wasn't counted in the November governor's election. It brings the number of uncounted ballots to 95.

The ballot was found during a "random review" of empty absentee-ballot envelopes, Logan reported in an April 22 memorandum to County Executive Ron Sims and County Council members.

• Pierce County reported that it found 14 uncounted absentee ballots during a recent search of records and had found 50 other ballots shortly after completion of the manual recount in December.

Update: Now, Democrats have launched a major counteroffensive, accusing Republicans of "cherry picking" voting felons from liberal areas and ignoring them in conservative areas. Republicans deny it, saying most of the convicts it found voting were in the Puget Sound area.

Next, Dems trip themselves up, by discounting the GOP's claim that it can't demonstrate, based on statistical analysis, that Western Washington felons would have mostly voted for Gregoire, yet Democrats have no problem insisting Eastern Washington criminals were certain to have picked Republican Rossi.

Democrats should have thought this through before launching their attack. Postman correctly devotes much of his story to this head-scratcher, but it's hard to imagine what the thinking was on the donkey side of the aisle.

This begs for a GOP ad campaign pointing out the two faces of the Democrat Party! Dem Chairman Berendt can't keep his position straight from one day to the next?

(Seattle Times- David Postman- 30 April 2005)

To press their case, Democrats are replicating Republican moves they've criticized and that they argue in court should be disallowed.

As evidence that a felon voted illegally, Democrats used county voter-crediting information that, when used by Republicans, they said was "inherently unreliable to prove that a ballot was given to an individual, marked by the individual, cast by the individual, and counted by election officials."

Democrats have also criticized Republicans for naming alleged felons without fully vetting the names, saying the exposure violates "common decency."

But yesterday Democrats filed court papers that included a list of 432 people they say "appear to be felons who voted" though the party's investigation is continuing.

And to show that their felons offset voting by Republicans' felons, Democrats will rely on a methodology that they say should be disallowed in the court case.

Republicans have proposed using a statistical analysis to apportion illegal votes by the same percentage as legal votes. For example, if Gregoire won 60 percent of the votes in a given precinct, Republicans say the court should assume that 60 percent of any illegal votes in that precinct were cast for her.

Two academic experts hired by Republicans say their calculations using that method show Rossi would win.

In court papers, Democrats call that "speculative attribution" and "based on chance." Berendt yesterday called it "guessing."

29 April 2005

Canadian Liberals in Ontario Freefall

It Just Keeps Getting Worse

How Much Longer Can Paul Martin Hang On?

I just can't imagine what it must be like for American liberals at this point.

First, they (mostly) lose control of this country's government, now their sacred utopia known as Canada is poised to slip from their hands and into Conservative Party control.

Each day the news gets a little bit worse for Prime Minister Paul Martin's scandal-plagued Liberal Party: a shocking new poll shows a major erosion of support in their traditional suburban Toronto strongholds.

The Globe and Mail reports Liberal support has fallen since last year's election by 10 full percentage points in typically sure-bet ridings (parliamentary districts) of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).

While last June they enjoyed a comfortable 51% support level over other parties in the GTA, it's now at 41%, with the Conservative Party of Canada now reaching 35%.

To be that close in normally unshakable Liberal areas is shocking.

Think of it this way: imagine if House districts in Massachusetts were suddenly in play for Republicans and you get the idea.

Some of the swing areas are said to be going more Tory by the minute, as fed up Canadians, gear up to dump their corrupt leadership.

We've been following developments from several Canadian bloggers, including Brent Colbert, who is now a candidate for the Tory nomination from one of the Ontario ridings in question, Halton, as well as from CIVITATENSIS and Small Dead Animals.

Additionally, Washington state blogger Josef of Josef's Public Journal has ties to Ontario and is following the Canadian situation carefully from the Northwest. Be sure to monitor his site for the latest.

We'll continue to keep you posted from here as well.

(Globe and Mail- 28 April 2005- Jeff Gray)

With a 10-point slide, coupled with increases for the Conservatives and the NDP, the Liberals become vulnerable in GTA ridings that they won by narrow margins last year, he said.

Tory and NDP strategists said the results suggest that an election, if held soon, could cost the Liberals as many as a dozen seats or more in the GTA.

"That picks up a whole ton of ridings, and puts them right on the very edge," said Peter Van Loan, the Conservative MP for York-Simcoe and the party's national caucus campaign chairman.

Mr. Van Loan said the poll suggests his party could pick up six to eight seats automatically, especially in the so-called 905 belt that once provided the bedrock of support for Mike Harris's provincial Conservatives. Another half dozen, he said, would be too close to call.

Looking just at the 905 region, the poll puts the Liberals and the Conservatives in a virtual tie, with Liberal support at 41 per cent and the Conservatives at 39 per cent. The New Democrats were far behind at 16 per cent.

Mr. Van Loan said Tory sights were set on what he said were winnable 905 ridings such as Halton, Burlington, Oakville, Whitby-Oshawa and Pickering-Ajax.

28 April 2005

'South Park Conservatives' Author Questioned On Numbers

Franken: Ratings Not Available!

Testy On-Air Exchange With Brian C. Anderson

During a testy, but polite, interview with 'South Park Conservatives' author Brian C. Anderson, Air America host Al Franken asserted that radio ratings aren't available to the public!

That apparently was Franken's way of deflecting unpleasant questions about Air America's recent poor performance. It was likely also to suggest that Anderson was using incorrect, or outright phony, data!

I heard from Anderson a few minutes ago, he says the Radio Equalizer was cited as a source for ratings information (thought it seemed like a lot of liberals were crawling around here today).

Anderson mentioned some specific figures, from various cities, which seemed to catch Franken off-guard.

Remember, our pieces regarding radio ratings are carefully detailed, with links back to actual Arbitron data available at radio industry trade sites.

How could Franken not be aware that radio ratings are in fact available to the public? Has he not ever seen them in the New York Daily News, Boston Globe, Chicago Sun-Times, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, or the dozens of other papers in large cities that publish them on a regular basis?

And is it really possible that Franken never reviews industry trade websites, even though they fawn all over him, nearly every day?

Also, how did he not realize that Anderson would surely bring up this white-hot topic during the show?

Franken actually asserted that Anderson was wrong, that he couldn't possibly know how Air America was doing, because the data is a secret!

He's either delusional, or was afraid of the subject and needed a way to change it, quickly.

Anderson felt that contrary to how some other liberal hosts might behave, Franken treated him professionally, but was deflective at times.

Franken faulted Anderson for asserting that Air America broadcasts anti-American material. After what Randi Rhodes pulled on the air yesterday, with her simulated shooting of the President, isn't the case closed on this issue?

He also cited the instance of Rhodes claiming that the country is no better led today than if it were half-slave and half-free, which to Anderson, borders on Anti-Americanism.

Should conservatives such as Anderson bother to appear on other liberal talk shows? That's a subject of internal debate among radio and political types. Franken let Anderson get a word in edgewise, I'm not sure some of the others would be as accommodating.

Watch here for updates soon.

Update: Michelle Malkin, using her superior investigation skills, tracks down a web link to the audio of the show.

How can Franken really expect us to believe he's never heard of Radio & Records, All Access, RadioDailyNews, Inside Radio, or any of the other trades that publish ratings? He's in the business, these mags are probably stuffed in their mailboxes and sitting on the coffee tables in the office lounge.

A verbatim excerpt from Malkin's site:

Anderson: Listen Al, it's finally there for anybody to see. They can just check out the Arbitron ratings and uh...

Franken: Well they can't because they're they're the Arbitron ratings aren't public.

Anderson: No, they are. The quarterly ratings are public. You can look at them on this Radio Equalizer blog. He's posting them.

Perhaps Why These Press Conferences Are Rare

What's The Point?

Bush Gives A Rare Primetime Q&A Session

George W. Bush will certainly be seen in history's eyes as one of America's best-ever presidents, but it may never be clear why he subjects himself to a setting where he's not especially comfortable.

A full primetime press conference doesn't capture W at his best, as he's forced to answer the typically asinine questions, we've all come to expect.

These loaded queries are intended to get Bush to admit he's made some kind of mistake, or that he's contributed to a problem. Fair to ask occasionally, but when he's repeatedly pressed with these loaded questions, one wonders why he agrees to do them at all.

Funny how Americans are radically shifting how they get their news, but guess what? The correspondents in the room are overwhelmingly from the old, stale media, the one the public has largely abandoned.


President Bush speaks during a news conference in the East Room of the White House today. "Social Security worked fine during the last century, but the math has changed," the president said.

This pack of increasingly angry and bitter ratings-challenged outcasts would love to have the opportunity to trip Bush up on nearly any issue to create a huge, embarrassing headline. That's more true than ever during primetime hours, it doesn't get better than 8pm, for making a splash.

Can we blame Bush for high petrol prices? Let's give it a whirl. Can we repeat untrue charges against Bolton for all to hear? Sure, we can do that.

If the point was to overcome Democrat naysayers on Social Security reform, then why not incorporate it into an address to the American people? Is it because the networks won't carry it?

Then look for a way around it. Ever hear of the blogosphere, Mr. President?

Update: Screaming Drudge headline says Bush was bumped anyway for the likes of Paris Hilton and Donald Trump.

Gunshot Warning Has Secret Service Concerned


Over Presidential Threat, Air America Host Again in Hot Water

Did Randi Rhodes threaten
the President again? Was it real, or another desperate stunt to gain attention for a failing network?

While Matt Drudge has splashed the latest incident in huge type, some readers will note this is at least the second time Rhodes has allowed something like this on the airwaves.

According to his report:

Government officials are reviewing a skit which aired on the network Monday evening -- a skit featuring an apparent gunshot warning to the president!

The announcer: "A spoiled child is telling us our Social Security isn't safe anymore, so he is going to fix it for us. Well, here's your answer, you ungrateful whelp: [audio sound of 4 gunshots being fired.] Just try it, you little bastard. [audio of gun being cocked]."

Last year, Rhodes did something similar and while opinions differed on what exactly she said and meant, there's no question she's been crossing the line.

And Radio Equalizer readers will be familiar with another matter, involving a extreme-left Seattle talk show host, who last year demanded on-air the President be executed. He denied the entire matter, but threatened a lawsuit after being confronted with tapes of the broadcast.

I was also able to obtain a recording of the show, where he did in fact make the remarks, but faced no reprimand over the incident. In fact, he was rewarded with an additional hour, he's now heard four full hours nightly.

The host, KIRO's Mike Webb, is a former co-worker with a long history of litigation threats against any and all critics. He has been successful at keeping the Seattle media from exposing his behavior, by outbullying opponents.

That seems to be an effective strategy for career survival, even when ratings haven't held up: have your attorney send another threatening letter.

The obvious: why the double standard? Would conservative hosts ever be allowed to threaten the President, whether directly or indirectly?

For all of the fuss over indecency, I believe that inciting violent acts against Bush, whether one supports him or not, is a more serious matter.

So far the Secret Service has not taken action against Rhodes or Webb, but that may yet change, if they determine things are getting out of hand.

Do you know of other hosts who have made similar remarks and gotten away with them? Three documented incidents does begin to show a trend, but if there have been others, the Radio Equalizer needs to know.

Update: Air America, in a release, is denying Drudge's report. This from Radio and Records:

"We are not under investigation from the Secret Service," said Sinton. "We regret that a produced comedy bit that was in bad taste slipped through our normal vetting process. We do acknowledge that it was an internal error and internal discipline will be enforced.” No word on just what actions might be taken against Rhodes or any other AAR employees who were involved in the incident.

If this is true, then why isn't the Secret Service investigating these repeated instances? The security incident involving the White House today should serve as a reminder that the last thing we want to do is allow radio hosts to incite, or encourage, violence against the President just because they don't like him.

Is this going to require a large number of telephone calls to the Secret Service?

Update: Drudge reports White House calling skit "very inappropriate and over the line." Rhodes apparently apologizes on the air for "lame attempt at humor."

Was my original premise correct? With the way Rhodes is featuring it on her website, it looks like a publicity grab. It worked, but is it the right kind of ink? Will advertisers want to be a part of this show?

: Now the New York Post's John Mainelli reports the Secret Service is investigating the incident:

Secret Service spokesperson Lorie Lewis told The Post that "if we determine that questions need to be asked, we will attempt to get them answered, but at this point we have not made any inquiries to anyone connected with the show."

During Dan Quayle's vice-presidency, ex-WABC lefty Lynn Samuels was investigated by the Secret Service for saying "Too bad it can't happen here" while discussing a vice-presidential candidate getting beaten up in South America.

"There are very few things that you absolutely, positively cannot do on the radio," she said, "and pretending to shoot the president is right up there at the top."

: Meanwhile radio trades are covering for Rhodes, the way they have for hosts in previous incidents. Here's the Radio and Records version:

The Air America Radio host opened her show on Wednesday with an apology for airing a pre-recorded comedy skit earlier this week that some have argued advocated shooting President Bush. Although she noted upfront that the bit originated from AAR's New York studios and she told listeners that she had "no control" over its content, Rhodes nevertheless took responsibility for its airing during her program. "I didn't think it was funny at all," said Rhodes. "And I apologize to the President of the United States and anyone else who didn't like it."

From where did "some have argued" emerge in this story? I haven't heard anyone try to maintain that this was actually about something else, including Rhodes and Air America! Why do the radio trades cover for these people?

Answer: they rely on advertising from Air America and other syndication networks to stay afloat.

Radio and Records has not retracted, or updated, the incorrect assertion from Air America that it was not under Secret Service scrutiny. As you've seen above, they are being investigated. Nice to have apologists, isn't it?

2006 update: after being charged with insurance fraud, Webb was fired from KIRO-AM.

Americans Demand Answers

LA Billboard Ignites Fury

Television Station Proclaims "Los Angeles, Mexico"

Sadly, this photo is real, not the Photoshop fake I hoped it would turn out to be:

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

(Photo Credit: Ali-Pac- Check This Site For Many More Important Details)

The blogosphere has been going nuts over this for a couple of days now, a fantastic effort led by Michelle Malkin and many others, now the LA Times has followed suit with their own piece:

(Los Angeles Times- 27 April 2005- Anna Gorman and Susana Enriquez)

New billboards advertising a Spanish-language newscast on KRCA-TV Channel 62 were intended as an attention-grabber for its core audience, but instead have struck a nerve with activists seeking to curb illegal immigration.

The billboards show two cable newscasters sitting in front of the downtown skyline, with "Los Angeles, CA" printed above. The "CA" is crossed out, and "Mexico" is stamped alongside in bright red letters. Underneath are the Spanish words, "Tu ciudad. Tu equipo." — Your city. Your team.

The beauty is that the KRCA-TV suits responsible for this campaign have energized Americans like never before, into finally standing up to the increasingly overt effort to take American states, for Mexico.

Worse, from the same LA Times piece, is the station's unbelievable response:

Executive Vice President Lenard Liberman said Noticias 62 was a popular news program in Los Angeles and noted that people of Mexican descent made up a large portion of the city.

"We tell the story behind L.A.., and we tell the story behind Mexico," he said. "If they find that offensive, I'm sorry. But you just have to drive around L.A. to know that this is a Hispanic city."

How do the various other groups, together making up a sizable percentage of the area's population, feel about that comment? Liberman would have been better off saying nothing, than pouring salt on the wounds.

Based on his rationale, it wouldn't be strange to also see Boston, Ireland or Providence, Portugal billboards for their respective TV stations? Or New Bedford, Cabo Verde? Miami, Cuba? San Jose, Vietnam?

The latest news is that activists are working on an advertiser pressure campaign to lobby any company that dares to buy spots on KRCA-TV's overtly anti-American newscasts. It's discussed here.

I have a feeling this is going to get much bigger in coming days. The billboard confirms the darkest fears of many Californians and this image will be hard to forget.

27 April 2005

A Surprising New Media Opponent

No Blogs Allowed!

Matt Drudge's Strange Blogosphere Opposition

Boy, am I setting myself up for charges of hypocrisy, here at the Radio Equalizer!

First, I go after Michael Savage for his nonstop attacks on Fox News, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and Matt Drudge, now I have my own beef with the latter.

Of course, the issue with Savage has been his relentless lambasting of conservatives, for the high crime of not promoting his new book enough.

Doesn't the 100 times an hour Savage mentions the title on his show satisfy its promotional requirements (by the way, I do still listen, in case you're wondering)?

I've enjoyed reading the Drudge Report as much as anyone and when my Seattle radio station firing made national news last September, Drudge had a prominently-placed link to the AP story near the top of the page, for almost three days.

So I've had nothing to complain about.

I've been wondering for a long time, however, about one thing: why no blogs at the Drudge Report? He doesn't link to them down below and rarely references them in top headlines or his own reports.

There have only been a few exceptions to this that I've witnessed so far. Rathergate comes to mind as one.

Why? The Washington Post gets him to spill the beans:

(Washington Post- Howard Kurtz- 25 April 2005)

As he approaches his 10th anniversary as an online clearinghouse for forthcoming news stories, unreleased books, tabloid yarns, Hollywood chatter and unconfirmed, sometimes bogus, rumors, Drudge, 38, is now treated more as an amusing diversion than a threat to journalistic integrity. The white-hot debate these days is over the role of bloggers, whom Drudge says dismissively he doesn't bother reading.

Has the quirky kid from Takoma Park become an appendage of the media establishment he once tormented, a '90s relic eclipsed by smarter and more provocative online writers?

Drudge complains about new sites that are "all glib, all mockery." He grumbles about "the hideous pace" of Internet news and says "the big boys" -- the big newspapers whose scoops he used to pilfer -- are "becoming more competitive" with faster online reports. And, he admits, "I probably am taking myself more seriously than 10 years ago."

Isn't this peculiar, of all the people to dismiss blogs, it's Internet pioneer Matt Drudge?

At a time when even stuffy newspapers sometimes feature blog links, CBS staffers have them and most of the mainstream media has been forced to admit they exist, the big holdout is the guy who took them all on first?

Is there anything that makes less sense? Is he threatened by the blogosphere? What about the enormous amount of traffic sent to his site every day through blog referrals?

It's funny, because many people reach my site through regional news or radio trade sites that can slightly resemble Drudge: Orbusmax, RadioDailyNews and CapeCodToday, for example.

These guys are not afraid of blogs, they have whole sections for them.

How's this for irony: the LA Times admits the Radio Equalizer exists (even if it takes a few tries to get the name right), but Matt Drudge won't? Now I'm really starting to sound like Savage!

I hope I wasn't the only one that noticed Drudge's strange statement. Will others ask him what's going on here?

Okay, so I'm a hypocrite, go ahead and say it!

26 April 2005

More New York City Ratings Fallout


Nuggets And Gems From Mainelli's New York Post Column

Has Don Imus had his day in the sun? Have Michael Savage and Janeane Garofalo (now there's a combo!) taken a bite out of WABC's ratings?

A number of interesting revelations about talk radio performance in New York have emerged from highly respected New York Post radio columnist John Mainelli.

In it, he reveals how Don Imus has seen a 50% audience decline over the past ten years, down 25% since last fall. Is it time to hang up the headphones?

Funny that Mainelli mentions him, because I noticed some new Imus brand products at the local Stop & Shop yesterday and was very curious as to how well they were selling.

This will fuel speculation in Boston, as to how much longer Imus can expect to hold down the morning slot at WTKK-FM, where drivetime is, nearly everywhere else, reserved for local hosts.

Imus has never done well outside of the Northeast. It's always been hard to find him on the West Coast. In Seattle, for instance, he was relegated to a small Everett station, until even they cancelled the show.

Mainelli then sheds light on WABC's recent huge slide in the ratings, down a full share since Arbitron's Fall, 2004 survey. A big issue is at night, where WABC is underperforming with Laura Ingraham and John Batchelor.

WOR, with Michael Savage and WLIB, with Janeane Garofalo are eating into WABC (kind of a strange thing to say- who's winning the audience, conservative Savage or liberal Garofalo?).

Batchelor's WABC show is the odd duck, sounding more at home on NPR, than commercial talk radio. He doesn't take calls and while syndicated, it's heard in just a few places. It reminds me of a radio version of "Nightline". I expect it won't be around much longer.

WABC also recently dropped live and local overnight talk, going instead with "Coast to Coast" and perhaps that hasn't been well received, either.

Another key point, backing up mine: even with WABC's big drop, Air America's WLIB went nowhere (save Garofalo's faint signs of life), with WABC beating it 3-to-1.

(New York Post- John Mainelli- 26 April 2005)

April 26, 2005 -- DON Imus, who dominated New York radio in the pre-Howard Stern era, has hit the ratings skids.

For the first time, Imus came dangerously close to dropping out of the Top 20 in Arbitron quarterly ratings released yesterday.

Now tied for No. 17, Imus was in the top 10 in New York radio just five year ago.

But radio's original bad boy lost a stunning 25 percent of his audience between last fall and winter — his lowest ratings yet and about half the listeners he had 10 years ago.

"The kind of guests Imus interviews shows he's one of the most influential people on radio and, of course, TV as well," Chernoff said, referring to Imus' MSNBC simulcast.

Imus frequently boasts — correctly — that his show is a big reason WFAN ranks among the nation's top-billing radio stations. As long as that keeps up, his job is secure.

* Conservative talker WABC plunged after the election but still beats liberal challenger WLIB 3-to-1.

* Night-owl personalities Michael Savage and Lionel (on WOR) and Janeane Garofalo (on WLIB) seem to have swiped listeners from WABC's Laura Ingraham-John Batchelor combo.

Update: David Hinckley has more, including specific NYC breakdowns, here. Nothing here that helps Air America, either.

25 April 2005

More Good Stuff

Check These Out

--- Red State Rant looks at the AP's slanted coverage of American prison populations.

--- Bizzyblog, a new addition to the RadioEqualizer blogroll, has a great piece on Business Week magazine's coverage of the future of blogging.

--- Raven at And Rightly So! (another addition), has an interesting discussion on survivors of botched abortions.

--- At GOPBloggers, news of 40 Saudis being arrested for possession of Christian materials (illegal in the repressive Kingdom).

--- At Orbusmax, the Oregon Legislature wants to confiscate for the state unused gift cards dormant for three years or more.

Talk Host Again Unhappy

He's At It Again!

Reports: Michael Savage Again Tears Into Fox, Conservatives

"Aren't you just upset with Michael Savage for not always parroting the Republican party line?"

That's a sample of the responses received when I recently wrote about Michael Savage's on-air tirades against conservatives, including Fox News, Matt Drudge, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and others.

I've never expected Savage to stay in synch with partisan talking points, he never has, I don't either, so that's not the issue. If the differences were on matters of principle, that would be fine and even interesting to hear.

Instead, Savage's recent beefs have been with those who won't put him on their shows. But why should they? When did he last invite any of them on his program?

Since they know it's all going to be about his book promotion anyway, what's in it for them?

It's amazing, because I've been monitoring him closely this past week and it seemed like his mood had improved sharply, along with so-far impressive book sales. He drifts too far off of the news topics these days, however, as though he's bored with them.

To be this angry, this soon after the book's well-received release, is troubling:

(All Access- Perry Simon- 25 April 2005)

TALK RADIO NETWORK's MICHAEL SAVAGE is complaining that he has been "banned" from FOX NEWS CHANNEL after calling BILL O'REILLY a "Leper-Con who poses as a conservative" and SEAN HANNITY a "Republican bootlicker" on his radio show, reports the NEW YORK POST's PAGE SIX.

SAVAGE says that the four appearances from which he's been recently bumped came because O'REILLY and HANNITY are "jealous of my audience and are trying to silence me because they do not want the competition." SAVAGE has a new book on the market; responding to the complaints from SAVAGE and others from CATHOLIC LEAGUE Pres. BILL DONOHUE, a FOX spokesman told the POST that "one (SAVAGE) is a well-known hater, and the other (DONOHUE) is a notorious publicity hound. We congratulate them on their successful attention-grabbing efforts."

(New York Post- Page Six- 25 April 2005)

April 25, 2005
-- RABID radio host Michael Savage is whining that he has been banned from the Fox News Channel after he dissed Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity.

The controversial conservative — who was fired by MSNBC in 2003 after referring to a caller to his show as "a sodomite" who should "get AIDS and die" — recently burned more bridges by calling O'Reilly a "Leper-Con who poses as a conservative" and Hannity "another Republican bootlicker who began as a Rush [Limbaugh] understudy" on his "Savage Nation" radio show.

Savage claims that he's been bumped off four scheduled appearances on Fox News Channel in the wake of his caustic comments.

What Savage doesn't mention, is that Fox and the other networks always overbook guests and bump liberally, as news breaks. Even major national figures sometimes get the shaft. He must know this by now.

If they really didn't want him on Fox News, they wouldn't book him in the first place.

Stay tuned for updates.

'Daggers In His Eyes'

Kerry Demanding Loyalty

Angry With Hill-Supporting Dems

Could John Kerry really be this delusional?

The Bay State senator is said to be demanding loyalty from fellow Dems in the chamber and giving Hillary supporters the business.

And papers, including the Boston Herald and New York Post, are having a field day reporting on this apparent internal conflict.

Senator Mark Dayton (D-Minn), is said to be one of the senators reamed by his majesty, after daring to profess public support for Clinton. While Dayton's people are busy spinning these reports, it's given the press two days of fodder and no doubt talk radio will jump on it today, as well.

This rare, behind-the-scenes insight into internal goings-on, indicates the Dems aren't nearly as unified as one might be led to believe.

Hardest to understand is how Kerry really thinks he's a contender for the 2008 Democrat nomination against Clinton. Maybe Al Gore needs to have a frank chat with the junior senator from Massachusetts.

(Boston Herald- 24 April 2005- Andrew Miga)

WASHINGTON - The rivalry between John Kerry and Hillary Rodham Clinton turned testy last week when the failed presidential candidate angrily chewed out a fellow senator for touting the former first lady as the next American president.
Kerry had ``daggers in his eyes'' when he approached Minneapolis Sen. Mark Dayton (D-Minn.) about an April 9 fund-raising dinner at which Dayton introduced Clinton as ``the next great president of the United States,'' according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

``What are you doing endorsing my 2008 presidential opponent?'' Dayton recalled Kerry as saying - a recollection denied by the Kerry camp.
But an adviser for Kerry said it was just a miscommunication.
``Respectfully, some wires must have gotten crossed in retelling the story of the friendliest joshing on the Senate floor,'' said Kerry senior adviser David Wade.

Sen. John Kerry is fuming over a fellow senator touting Hillary Rodham Clinton as the next American president. (Boston Herald library photo)

Dayton was traveling in California yesterday and was unavailable for comment.
Wade insisted the two men, both hockey players, were ribbing each other about skating together in a pickup game when Kerry visits Minnesota.
``If Sen. Kerry had anything in his eyes, it was hockey sticks,'' said Wade. ``These two longtime friends laughed about hitting the ice in Minnesota later this year.''

Conditions Deteriorating Since Tyrant Stole Election

America Ignores Zimbabwe

While 'African Tears' Author Reports From The Scene

Sure, we've had a couple of very busy news weeks, but is there any reason to completely ignore the rapidly deteriorating conditions in Zimbabwe, where dictator Robert Mugabe recently stole another election?

The opposition party was so fearful for their lives, it took weeks to admit the obvious in public, that South African observers who declared the elections "free and fair" were partners in crime with Mugabe.

South Africa's ANC regime has looked the other way at serious abuses in Zimbabwe for selfish political reasons.

Underground sites have been able to spread news of Zimbabwe's troubles abroad at great risk to their own personal safety. Zimbabwean Cathy Buckle, an author, keeps freedom-lovers in America and around the world in touch with events in the country here.

Her letters from home have become particularly urgent:

Saturday 23rd April 2005

Dear Family and Friends,

Things have deteriorating noticeably in Zimbabwe in the three weeks since the ruling party declared they had won the elections. Prices have shot up, basic foodstuffs are becoming harder and harder to find and the fuel supply is sporadic.

Water from taps has become a luxury and the state owned television this week gave us a long story to explain that as winter approaches electricity cuts are going to be regular occurrences.

This week the MDC finally gave up their prolonged diplomatic game and openly declared that the South Africans were not honest brokers in mediating in the Zimbabwean crisis. They said that it was now apparent that the South African stance of "Quiet Diplomacy" was in a reality just a "package of lies and pretence."

The statement of this sad fact and an end to the nonsensical diplomatic pretence, comes as a relief to Zimbabweans. We had watched with shock and disgust the line taken by the SABC TV news presenter reporting from Zimbabwe during the election period and few people believed they had remained impartial.

Zimbabweans feel so utterly betrayed by our African neighbours and at least now the talk has become straightforward and to the point. By all accounts there are probably less than 20 or 30 000 white people left in Zimbabwe and it is matter of continental shame that our regional neighbours cannot and will not see the suffering of 11 million ordinary people but choose to keep on and on hiding behind the now 25 year old "colonialist" scapegoat

What's it going to take to get the American media back on this issue?

London's papers have never given up raising awareness of the crisis, but in the US, it's rare to see much coverage.

American Blogs For Zimbabwe Freedom partners are P Scott Cummins, Tim Goddard and Josef's Public Journal.

24 April 2005

What $15,000 Will Buy

What's A Star Worth?

Seacrest On 'Walk Of Fame' Has Some Scratching Heads

Yes, a bit different than the usual found at the Radio Equalizer, but I couldn't help but wonder a few days ago, at the sight of Ryan Seacrest's Hollywood Walk of Fame star unveiling: huh?

I thought stars were reserved for screen legends, sitcom stars, that sort of thing. And much, much later in life, or even posthumously. Isn't a long, distinguished career necessary, before being considered for it?

Between his radio work and American Idol hosting, it's hard to make the case for where Seacrest has earned one yet, if ever.

By the way, that's one happy agent of his, sitting pretty, on Seattle's Alki Beach!

I'd forgotten all about this item, in the midst of things that matter in this world, until I stumbled upon a discussion about it here.

As it turns out, like Hollywood itself, the star's prestige has taken a mighty drop over the years. It doesn't take much more than money to get one now: $15,000, to be exact.

If the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce runs out of "stars" for its walk, there goes the budget, so standards had to be lowered over the years.

So now it's a simple matter of shelling out the money and sending tapes of performances for a committee to review. They refuse to reveal what percentage of applicants each year are approved. If you don't get it the first year, your application and fee roll over to the next.

At an interesting site called Reality Blurred, Andy Dehnart delves into the gory details.

Now back to real news.

Network's Hecklers Planted At Tory Rally

BBC Caught Redhanded

New Election Row Creates Fury

Is there a news network in the world looking more pathetic these days than the hopelessly biased BBC?

First they call Jamaica, looking for Bob Marley (he died in 1981), now they're caught redhanded trying to meddle in Britain's upcoming election, by planting phony hecklers in the audience to taunt Conservative Leader Michael Howard.

Anybody know where Dan Rather was around that time?

Shouting "Michael Howard is a liar" and "you can only trust Tony Blair", the phony demonstators were later revealed as plants, with furious Tory leaders rightly demanding apologies and more.

You'd think the Beeb would have learned from the heat they took over their horrible Iraq coverage and sexed-up dossier scandal which became a major governmental focus of attention, but it's clear nothing has changed.

Worse, viewers are forced to pay an annual fee per television, to support this kind of BBC rubbish!

It's hard to imagine a bigger breach of journalistic ethics than this: a news network attempts to create a fake election story by planting rabblerousers? What a sad state of affairs for the news business.

This is the last thing Tony Blair needs, he has a comfortable four-point lead in most polls and every indication has been the Tories would be unable to make up the difference in time for upcoming national elections.

With this kind of incident, could swing voters conclude that Labour is in bed with the BBC again and switch sides on election day, in disgust?

It's clearly the kind of race where all Labour needs to do is stay out of trouble to win handily. Oops, too late now! It's bound to create a certain amount of sympathy for the Conservatives and Michael Howard, at a time when it's badly needed.

It's the lamest political stunt since former San Francisco Mayor Frank Jordan took a naked shower with two FM morning show rock jocks.

(Sunday Telegraph- 24 April 2005- Patrick Hennessy)

The BBC was last night plunged into a damaging general election row after it admitted equipping three hecklers with microphones and sending them into a campaign meeting addressed by Michael Howard, the Conservative leader.

Michael Howard addresses the crowds in Horwich
Michael Howard addresses the crowds in Horwich (Telegraph Photo)

The Tories have made an official protest after the hecklers, who were given the microphones by producers, were caught at a party event in the North West last week.

Guy Black, the party's head of communications, wrote in a letter to Helen Boaden, the BBC's director of news, that the hecklers began shouting slogans that were "distracting and clearly hostile to the Conservative Party".

These included "Michael Howard is a liar", "You can't trust the Tories" and "You can only trust Tony Blair".

Mr Black's strongly-worded letter accused the BBC of staging the event "to generate a false news story and dramatise coverage. . . intended to embarrass or ridicule the leader of the Conservative Party". The letter said that BBC staff were guilty of "serious misconduct".

At least one of the hecklers was seen again at a Tory event in the North East, Mr Black added.

Beats Spring Cleaning

Weekend Blog Reading

--- Michelle Malkin has the amazing account of public schoolchildren, terribly confused by a principal's strange, PC reworking of the Pledge of Allegiance.

--- Lance at Red State Rant reports on the watering down of the now-more-enlightened Cookie Monster. Why hasn't Cookie Crisp cereal been banned?

--- Mass Right reveals what happens when Boston's liberal bureaucracy rips itself off.

--- Isn't It Rich ponders whether five-year-olds should really be hauled off in handcuffs by the police.

--- Mark Noonan at GOP Bloggers marvels at how quickly six terrorists have been captured.

--- Michael King has the latest on the return of Superman, at Ramblings' Journal.

--- Matt at Rosenblog on the colourful nature of British Columbia's upcoming elections:

The Sex Party is just the tip of the iceberg. In British Columbia's May 17 elections, candidates are also running from the Marijuana Party; the Work Less Party (motto, "Alarm Clocks Kill Dreams"); and the Annexation Party, which wants BC to become the 51st U.S. state. There are 45 parties registered with BC Elections in all.

Sorry, Matt, but the Annexation Party will have to settle for being the 50th US State, as Washington state would prefer to join Canada (in many ways, it already has).

--- P Scott Cummins has the latest on his important work monitoring the political situation in Uganda. Call him Our Man in Africa.

--- Liberal Congressman Bill Delahunt is no match for his Cape Codder constituents, who want to know why he's so two-faced when it comes to energy policy (probably doesn't want to offend his friend Teddy). The scoop at WindFarmBlog.

And of course, for Northwest and National news, it's Orbusmax, Cape Cod Today for happenings in SE Mass., and RadioDailyNews for industry updates and commentaries.

23 April 2005

Liberal Radio Execs Hopping Mad

Talk Radio's War Of Words

'South Park Conservatives' Author Attacked Over Op-Ed

(Fresh Air America Ratings Data: Monday Evening, April 25)

The oldest trick in radio's book is manipulating ratings to support wild claims about audience sizes.

That's precisely what I've been accused of by the left since starting this debate over Air America's performance several months ago. But I was ready for it, because I know how the game works, having worked in radio.

That's why I stuck to the broadest, fairest, most complete yardstick for gauging liberal talk radio's performance: Arbitron's Monday-Sunday 6am-midnight figures for persons 12 and older.

Another was that, because 12+ data is available to the public with links, there'd be no way to refute the facts at hand.

Sure enough, however, liberals weren't happy, they wanted to make vague claims not supported by data, that specific breakdowns would tell a different story.

To this day, I've never seen them provide real, factual information, to back up contentions that liberal talk was experiencing significant audience growth.

This site conceded from the beginning, that Air America was doing well in Portland, Oregon and later revealed Seattle's affiliate beat KIRO to take third place among talk stations in the market for adults aged 25-54 during the 10am-3pm time slot.

Beyond that, there isn't a shred of evidence, backed by original Arbitron data they are willing to supply, that shows where these programs are performing anywhere else in America.

If they have it, pass it along to us for examination.

Countering the liberal talk radio hype machine was my goal in kicking off this debate with a January piece in WorldNetDaily.

Earlier this week, South Park Conservatives author Brian C. Anderson wrote an op-ed essay for the LA Times, which referenced my work.

In Saturday's edition of the paper, liberal programmers, including Air America CEO Danny Goldberg and KTLK/ Los Angeles programmer John Quinlain, fight back.

I'm sure they won't mind if we reprint their letters here, followed by my analysis:

(LA Times Letters, 23 April 2005)

Re "Why the Liberals Can't Keep Air America From Spiraling In," Commentary, April 18: Brian Anderson's attack on Air America Radio is petulant and inaccurate, an indication that conservatives are having a hard time dealing with a robust alternative to the monopoly they had on talk radio since the 1980s.

Regardless of how much Anderson and his ilk whistle past the graveyard, there is a large and growing audience for liberal talk. Every one of the original stations that picked up Air America has experienced dramatic increases in ratings. Our audience more than quadrupled what it was just nine months ago. We are on in 53 markets, including 16 of the top 20.

A recent study by the independent Paragon Media showed that in markets where we are on the air, the names Al Franken and Air America have a greater familiarity than any other talk-radio names except Rush Limbaugh. Our Internet stream reaches 1.3 million separate listeners a week, more than any conservative show. Is Air America having an impact? Ask Tom DeLay.

Danny Goldberg
CEO, Air America Radio
New York

Goldberg keeps his rebuttal vague enough for breathing room. Audience growth of 400%? There's another old radio trick: sure, from their tiny starting point, Air America probably has grown that much.

But that isn't impressive to anyone in radio.

And Paragon Media, far from "independent", is a consulting firm with major radio corporations and others as clients.

One customer, listed on Paragon's web site, is Jones Radio Networks, which is involved in the syndication of Ed Schultz and other liberal talk programming. Not a shock, then, to see the glowing report on liberal talk's future.

Isn't it funny when Goldberg boasts of Franken's high public familiarity? Could "Saturday Night Live" or his books have anything to do with that?

If Air America's public awareness factor is indeed just below Limbaugh's, that's understandable, given the huge amount of publicity it's generated in the last year. Doesn't that mean, then, that ratings ought to be higher than we've seen?

Next, KTLK-AM/ Los Angeles General Manager John Quinlan gets nasty:

Anderson's negative rant was a reckless manipulation of facts and a large dose of truth stretching.

It is not fair to compare conservative pundit Bill Bennett's talk show's success with that of Air America. There are several hundred conservative talk stations across the U.S., and for Bennett, an established name in conservative circles, to land on 124 of them is not that big a deal.

For Air America programming to be heard on any radio station, that station must first take the significant step of changing its format. Stations have switched from all-Caribbean formats (WLIB in New York) or all-sports (KTLK in L.A.) or nostalgia (KQKE in San Francisco) to carry the Air America programming.

Anderson wrote: "In the liberal meccas of San Francisco and Los Angeles, Air America is doing lousier still." The truth is in San Francisco KQKE AM has been on the air only six months and has shown steady increases in a market with the some of the strongest talk radio competition.

In L.A., KTLK AM has not been on the air for a full ratings period, thus making the "lousy" claim a bit premature.

The truth is, like it or not, Air America and Progressive Talk radio are here, they are flourishing and this is only the beginning.

John Quinlan
Station Manager, KTLK

Quinlan's off his rocker to say it's a big deal to switch a station's format, particularly on AM, when listeners know it happens frequently, all over the country.

AM stations have few format options left, one reason why Air America has found the stations it does have: they're hard up for programming of any kind.

The point about Bill Bennett, one I originally made, was that he found twice as many stations in his first year and you didn't hear about it. Air America's launch warranted some of the coverage received, but liberal media types have showered it with roses and love notes, from coast to coast.

Quinlan's letter doesn't back up these ratings claims with facts, which may lead to chuckling in San Francisco, where rival radio operators aren't exactly worried about KQKE's future prospects.

So far, there's been no growth that we can find for Air America in San Francisco. Remember, our source is Radio and Records Magazine and we documented everything here at the time of the releases.

The Radio Equalizer has been able to obtain the full version of Quinlan's letter, which the LA Times edited down (perhaps they had trouble getting his assertions verified?):

Re: "Why The Liberals Can't Keep Air America From Spiraling In" by Brian C. Anderson April 18: Mr. Anderson's negative rant sounded like every other conservative commentator or radio talk show host. That is, reckless manipulation of facts and a large dose of truth stretching.

First, it is not fair to compare conservative pundit Bill Bennett's talk show's success with that of Air America. There are several hundred conservative talk stations across the United States and for Bennett, an established name in conservative circles, to land on 124 of them, is not that big a deal.

In order for Air America programming to be heard on any radio station, that station must first take the significant step of changing its format. Stations have switched from all-Caribbean formats (WLIB in NY) or all-sports (KTLK in LA) or nostalgia (KQKE in SF) in order to carry the Air America programming.

Getting more than 50 radio stations to change everything they broadcast, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for the opportunity to carry Air America's programming is far more substantial an accomplishment than getting 124 right-wing radio stations to switch out one three-hour conservative talk show for another.

Anderson goes on to write, "In the liberal meccas of San Francisco and Los Angeles, Air America is doing lousier still." This statement is false. The truth is, in San Francisco KQKE AM has only been on the air six months and has shown steady increases in a market with the some of the strongest talk radio competition. In Los Angeles KTLK AM has not even been on the air for a full ratings period, thus making the "lousy" claim just a bit premature.

While Mr. Anderson used certain markets selectively in an attempt to support his point, he neglected to mention several cities where the format has shown great success: Portland's KPOJ AM had growth of 1000% in audience share, in conservative San Diego KLSD AM went up 73% and Denver's KKZN AM was up 300% all in the first full ratings periods. Other markets with similar success include: Boston, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, Sacramento and Columbus.

For more than a year Air America has endured right-wingers predicting that the format will fail. The truth is, like it or not, Air America and Progressive Talk radio are here, they are flourishing and this is only the beginning.

John Quinlan
Station Manager
KTLK 1150 AM
L.A.'s Air America Affiliate

What I believe Quinlan is doing, is using Air America's first full book ratings data from markets such as San Diego and leaving out the monthly trends released since.

Also, he's not indicating dayparts, age groups, or gender division. Some of the other listed cities haven't shown any ratings for Air America, meaning no measurable audience.

We know ratings for KABL/San Francisco's adult standards format were much higher on the frequency than for Air America's KQKE. It's hard to imagine asserting anything else honestly.

And sure, we'll give him more time for KTLK, new ratings are coming out next week, we'll see what shakes out.

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