The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

30 June 2005

Seattle Radio Ratings Released

Shakeup In Seattle

Rush-less Conservatives Win, Baseball Boost, Denver News

One of the more interesting results of the Arbitron Spring 2005 Phase II ratings has emerged in Seattle, where a news-talk shake-up is underway.

A seasonal Mariners baseball surge explains part of it, but there are larger trends at work, as well.

The ongoing conservative talk war between KVI and Limbaugh affiliate KTTH, has seen the former take the lead, despite lacking Rush's golden EIB microphone.

As mentioned here previously, the difference is simple: KVI has overcome the show's departure to KTTH by correctly emphasizing local talk shows, while the latter has failed to retool the lineup.

While KVI rose from a 2.5 to a 2.9, KTTH held at a 2.7, a recent low and down from a peak of 3.8 set last summer.

The lesson? That the days of simply coasting on Limbaugh's success are over. While Rush still has a huge following, he can no longer hold up a station on his own. Nor should this be expected of El Rushbo.

This reflects a trend we've seen in other cities, from New York, to Chicago, Dallas and Washington, where Limbaugh stations saw big ratings drops.

Does it mean he's less popular? I don't believe so. Most of the other cases involve ABC stations, which are in limbo, while they wait to be sold off by Disney.

KVI has a major revenue advantage as well, because local shows have more advertising spots per hour, as well as hosts making endorsements and live appearances at area businesses.

Strong sales departments know these opportunities more than offset on-air salaries.

Since news station KOMO-AM grabbed the Mariners coverage from longtime affiliate KIRO several years ago, the former has seen seasonal surges, while the latter has slowly, but steadily declined.

KOMO's problems are two-fold: their news coverage has never quite been strong enough to take over the market and the Mariners have performed unevenly in the last few seasons.

KIRO, however, made things much easier for KOMO and others, through a series of ill-fated programming moves, resulting in fresh all-time lows.

These drops can't be explained by baseball alone, since KIRO held up fairly well against KOMO in the first couple of seasons.

The station gutted its news coverage, dropping the afternoon drive program and added market-untested talkers that didn't catch fire with the local audience.

Most importantly, franchise host Dave Ross was uprooted from his longtime 9am-noon home and moved to afternoons. That has him competing directly with baseball broadcasts on KOMO.

KIRO fell to a 3.7 from a 4.3 last month against a high of 5.0 last fall. Until recently, the station always lead the market in first place. Now, it's ranked ninth overall, its lowest ever.

Since it dropped more than KOMO rose, baseball just can't account for the problem.

Meanwhile, Air America's KPTK rose a tenth, from a 1.3 to a 1.4. Infinity has delayed adding local talkers, something that needs to change immediately, if the station could ever hope to take off.

--- In Denver, former KIRO Program Director Kris Olinger had a good day, with two of the talk stations she now oversees experiencing increases.

Mega-talker KOA rose from a 5.3 to a 5.7, to take third. It features Rush Limbaugh and Rockies baseball. KHOW, with a less-clear image, fell from a 3.1 to a 2.8.

Air America execs might want to talk to Olinger, because her lib talker chalked one of the only real nationwide gains this month. "Progressive" KKZN rose from 1.6 to a 2.0, for 20th place.

How did it happen? First, high-profile liberal host Jay Marvin was lured back to Denver from Chicago to take the morning program.

Second, KKZN has been actively marketed, with promotional events in the area.

Bottom line: it's being run more like the conservative talkers, less like quirky, weird Air America.

Fair disclosures: I formerly worked for both KIRO and KVI at different times. Kris Olinger was my former manager. Ratings data from Radio and Records.

ABC Removes Politically Loaded Show

Never To Air

ABC Yanks Biased "Welcome" Before Debut

ABC's politically loaded "Welcome To The Neighborhood" has been cancelled before even a single episode could air, according to the Drudge Report and Washington Post.

Set to debut July 10, it's been entirely removed from ABC's site, as if it never existed!

The ill-conceived reality show, previously covered in-depth at the Radio Equalizer, put three white families in a position to select their new neighbor.

Since the candidates were all ethnic minorities, gays, or tattoo fanatics, while the residents were conservative and Christian, the show's political agenda was clear: make the right look like bigots.

From now-removed promotional material at ABC's website:

The Bellamys
Mr. Bellamy is a staunch Republican and would challenge any potential neighbors with politically different views. But the three Bellamy kids would welcome new neighbors who are different. (ABC)

Did the network cave in to pressure from liberals, upset over federal Fair Housing Act violations, conservatives ticked off about stereotypical portrayals of white Republicans as racist bigots, or both?

In Thursday's Washington Post story, the focus is on the leftist battle against the show, with one mention of the conservative Family Research Council's objection to the portrayals of Christians as intolerant.

According to the report, ABC made this statement:

"Welcome to the Neighborhood" demonstrates what happens when people are forced to "confront preconceived notions of what makes a good neighbor," the network said.

"However, the fact that true change only happens over time made the episodic nature of this series challenging, and given the sensitivity of the subject matter in early episodes we have decided not to air the series at this time."

If there's any doubt which side won over ABC, match the above network statement to AP television writer Lynn Elber's additional details of objections from gay and lesbian organization GLAAD:

In the early episodes, one man makes a crack about the number of children piling out of the Hispanic family's car and displays of affection between the gay men provoke disgust.

The series' producers had said it was intended to promote a healthy and open debate about prejudice and people's fear of differences.

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, after viewing the series, expressed strong concerns.

While it ultimately carries a valuable message about diversity and acceptance, those watching the first episodes could be left thinking discrimination is "not that big a deal," GLAAD spokesman Damon Romine said Wednesday.

"Regardless of how things turn out at the end of the last show, it's dangerous to let intolerance and bigotry go unchallenged for weeks at a time," he said, adding that GLAAD hopes a revised version might air.

Before ABC announced its decision, the Family Research Council said it was worried evangelicals would be made to appear judgmental and foolish.

Yes, the conservative side of the issue rated just a single line in the Post/AP story.

Yet it wasn't just the FRC showing concern from the right. After Michelle Malkin's Sunday link to the Radio Equalizer story, others jumped on the topic.

On Monday, I spent an hour of airtime while filling in on WPRO/Providence, lambasting ABC's decision to go ahead with the show. Few callers took issue, many instead expressed disgust with the network.

Did conservative groups get a chance to watch review copies of the program, or was that an exclusive GLAAD perk? That might answer my previous question as to why the lefties seemed to be weeks ahead of us.

How about asking the Post to add this: that "Welcome" strongly suggested the average white family is hopelessly bigoted and in need of a reality show cure.

Why shouldn't conservatives, Republicans and Christians resent this program?

Never addressed by ABC: whether network execs ever considered how it would be perceived by viewers, both left and right.

Welcome Michelle Malkin, Orbusmax, California Conservative and Free Republic readers!

Update: BizzyBlog expands on recent network programming bias issues here.

28 June 2005

Politicians Fight For Talk Radio Gigs

Ego Versus Public Service

Plus, Owners Try To Offload Stations, Ratings Updates

As veteran talk radio programmers are increasingly shown the door, replaced by salespeople, music jocks and others, a lot of institutional knowledge is disappearing with them.

The sad result: many mistakes we thought would never be made again in talk radio are returning.

Using rock DJ's as hosts, with light, fluffy cue-card "topics", that's one 1990s disaster that seems to making a comeback, like a rerun of a previous Asian flu viral strain.

Some talk managers are reportedly under pressure to schedule these airheads because one company's talk programming VP has decreed it to be the new format trend.

Forget all of those unpleasant news topics and controversial opinions, let's do "light talk".

It's also a great way of undermining conservative talk radio, without having to switch to low-rated liberal programming.

We went through this before and it bombed.

Even worse, is something I've been noticing in recent weeks: a return to using sitting or ex-politicians as talk hosts.

Only occasionally can a decent one be found, some are good for a show or two, most are terrible.

Somehow, elected officials including mayors, council members and others, got the idea that talk hosting is the next logical step after losing a race, retiring, or being convicted on corruption charges.

Where did that mentality come from? A lot of it is ego, but what's the station's excuse?

In Seattle, an unpopular liberal councilmember loses her seat after an ethics scandal and wishy-washy leadership, so what happens next?

She gets an inkling to host talk shows and sure enough, there's a station dumb enough to give her airtime. The result was the worst possible talk radio.

Now in Oregon, a state representative is so eager to host talk shows, he didn't even wait for his term to end or to resign, he jumped right in.

From the
Salem Statesman-Journal comes a report that Republican Rep. Jeff Kropf missed a key school-funding vote because he was busy filling in this week for KXL host Lars Larsen. The ego boost was more important than the public duties he was elected to execute.

Reportedly, Kropf already hosts a weekend show on the station. What are sitting politicians doing on the air in any capacity other than as guests?

Elsewhere in radio, it's becoming clearer that major radio companies are looking to offload major stations before values decline further. Here's
a report on ABC's probable station sale, from today's Radio Ink:

The company's 71 stations are valued at between $2.6 billion and $3.6 billion, according to the Merrill report, which also cited the attractiveness to suitors based on its prime key markets. "The station group should be relatively attractive to bidders due to its strong position in key markets such as New York (three stations), Los Angeles (four stations) and Washington, D.C. (three stations)," the firm wrote. Likely bidders for Disney's radio assets include a host of midsized radio station groups including Emmis, Citadel, Cox and Entercom.

It isn't just ABC trying to exit the radio business- other major players such as Susquehanna, Citadel and Infinity (CBS) are also looking to sell off all or part of their broadcasting assets. Many of ABC's talk radio stations, including WABC, WMAL, WLS and KABC have shown significant ratings declines this year.

More ratings have been released, for Phoenix, Dallas and other cities:

--- In Dallas, ABC's WBAP slides further, to a 4.1 overall rating, down from a 5.2 peak last fall. WBAP is the Rush station for the Metroplex, but seems to be falling in tandem with the company's other talkers in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington.

Fading KRLD, facing an ongoing identity crisis, holds steady with a 2.2 and 17th place, while KLIF comes in even with a 1.5.
KRLD held its position only because of an evening audience surge for Rangers baseball broadcasts, while its increasingly bizarre talk programming (consumer talk, lite talk, etc.) plunges.

Still no sign of Air America's station in the DFW ratings.

All of the Dallas talkers lost good chunks of their audience in May, according to specific breakouts for that month (the numbers above reflect a rolling three-month trend). WBAP's numerical drop was the biggest.

--- In Phoenix, Clear Channel's conservative KFYI surged higher, with a 5.9 rating, for a strong first place. Competitor KTAR, which recently changed hands, held to 10th place with flat numbers.

Air America's KXXT fell from a 0.9 to a 0.7.

--- In St Louis, baseball brought higher ratings for market leader KMOX, while the competition stayed out of sight and didn't grow. Go to Mike Anderson's St Louis Media Info & News for more here. This is a great site, by the way for general media issues beyond St. Louis.

More to come, including Seattle later in the week. Ratings data from Radio & Records.

Blog Link Action: June 27-28

Links And Updates

--- Welcome to the new readers who heard me on WPRO/Providence today. Nice to have a chance to talk with you!

--- Heard blogger
LaShawn Barber do a great job on WRKO/Boston's Pundit Review program last night. She's clear and articulate, just as effective speaking or writing. Today she has a post about Gitmo's real torturers.

--- Today, the
Sacramento Bee disclosed that it could not locate 43 people used in Diana Greigo Erwin's columns over the course of 12 years.

The liberal writer resigned earlier this year,
I covered it here. Greigo Erwin frequently told heartbreaking tales of poor, disadvantaged people suffering due to an uncaring public and budget-slashing Republicans. Apparently they didn't exist. Some corner of her mind contains a justification for these falsehoods, what a dark and scary place that must be.

--- Thanks to Michelle Malkin for being alert on the "Welcome to the Neighborhood" reality show disgrace discussed below. Michelle is consistently ahead of the curve on many issues. Red State Rant wonders why more conservatives aren't ready for battle on this outrage.

--- Ratings posts will resume Tuesday evening, with a number of additional big cities reporting this week.

--- Please continue to support our advertisers, at the RadioEqualizer and the other blogs you visit. That's what's keeping this whole ship afloat!

--- A new Day By Day cartoon at
Ramblings' Journal.

PoliBlog's Steven Taylor discovers his inner moderate.

Rich explores flag burning and Ten Commandments issues.

--- Wade
got a response from Sen. Durbin. Sort of.

--- Could XM Sat Radio
have a role for Homeland Security?

--- Liberals are
having a field day with Rabbi Daniel Lapin.

--- Mover Mike
goes in-depth on economic and business fallout from the US Supreme Court's Kelo decision.

--- Are the Clintons using Billy Graham?
Blogs Against Hillary has the story.

Josef says there are more King County, WA voting scandals to sort out.

--- Boy is
mASS BACKWARDS on the rise, it's one of the best on Second Amendment issues.

--- A recent discovery:
Real Debate Wisconsin. Have you ever been there? Really enjoyed visiting the state last year, great time of year to check it out.

--- Is PBS worth it?
Pajama Jihad explores.

CapeCodLiving explores land, spending and local taxation, past and present. Amazing how the issues are the same, centuries later.

--- Have you been to
Regime Change Iran yet?

26 June 2005

New ABC Reality Show Attacking Conservatives, Christians?

ABC's Agenda Backfires

Will White, Republican Families Choose Minority Neighbors?

(Update: program has been cancelled! Story here)

ABC's attempt at the ultimate in political correctness for a new reality show, has instead hilariously backfired, with furious lefty groups busy denouncing it.

Conservatives and Christians will have just as much to worry about, when "Welcome To The Neighborhood" premieres on July 10, the latest attempt at squeezing the last drop from reality television's sour lemon.

For some reason, the right has been relatively asleep on this, while liberals raise a ruckus. Yet, it's hard to remember when a primetime entertainment series offering was this politically loaded.

In it, three white families in Austin, Texas, one Republican, one Christian and the other merely "opinionated", get to choose which of another group will win a neighboring house and become permanent residents.

The catch: most of the families competing for the home are ethnic minorities, as well as a gay couple and another with lots of tattoos.

The idea that white families would never choose ethnic minorities, gays or weirdos without prodding from ABC producers, forms the premise of this sorry offering.

Why should ABC limit bias and indoctrination to the nightly news, when primetime is ready for the taking?

In the show's promotional materials, found here, the head of the Republican family is portrayed as unhappy about the prospect of Democrats moving onto his street, to the point where he would openly challenge them.

Sure enough, the Christian family wants the new neighbors to share their religious views, reinforcing a liberal perception that people of faith are intolerant of other beliefs.

The Bellamys
Mr. Bellamy is a staunch Republican and would challenge any potential neighbors with politically different views. But the three Bellamy kids would welcome new neighbors who are different. (ABC)

In case the 2 x 4 beating you over the head doesn't hammer the politically loaded points home, a trick is thrown into the mix: the tattooed family happens to be made up of committed Republicans.

I suppose you can guess where this is going: the white, conservative, Christian families are forced to confront their bigotry, that even freaks can be fellow GOP supporters.

Hey, maybe that black family wouldn't be so bad, either, they hope you'll think.

And to think you didn't want them in your neighborhood?

Liberal groups, primarily made of housing advocates, find the show's premise to be racist, because neighbors are allowed to choose who moves in, with a great deal of emphasis placed on ethnicity, homosexuality and politics.

They say that because the show is "real", allowing a home to be awarded based on votes from neighbors is not only discriminatory, but illegal under federal fair housing laws.

The National Fair Housing Alliance has been particularly vocal, contacting the media both in Texas and around the country.

It's the kind of show white liberals in LA and New York develop, hoping for a good pat on the back from civil rights groups, plus a big guilt release.

Too bad the activists hate it.

Funny how the producers claim to be breaking down stereotypes, when in fact it's obvious to everyone on the left and right, they've done more to reinforce them than anything on television in years.

ABC execs are on the defensive this weekend, but holding firm that it will air as scheduled. Here's what they say the program is trying to accomplish:

...with every encounter with these families, the opinionated neighbors' pre-conceived assumptions and prejudices are also chipped away, and they learn that, while on the outside we may appear different, deep inside we share many common bonds. The judges find themselves learning to see people, not stereotypes.

The three neighborhood families who will be judging the competing families all love their quiet, picturesque community and are used to a certain kind of neighbor -- one who looks and thinks just like them. It will be up to this watchful group to decide who should move into the dream house next door and who should be sent packing.

Sounds like the kind of recycled UC-Santa Cruz leftist dogma I remember from my time on campus.

"Welcome" appears to commit another crime, that of lecturing, talking down to Americans who've heard all of this before.

The Radio Equalizer hopes conservatives will raise just as much of a stink about the program as have liberals. Can we allow an elitist television network to portray us as racist, intolerant bigots, cured of our hate only by a televised re-education camp?

Welcome Michelle Malkin readers.

25 June 2005

Radio Equalizer Broadcast Alert

Ocean State Warning

If you're in New England, catch me filling in for Steve Kass on
WPRO Providence, from 9am-noon Monday. WPRO is heard in Rhode Island, Southeast and Central MA plus parts of CT (otherwise known as Foxwoods-land).

24 June 2005

New Ratings, Anyone?

More Audience Erosion

Conservative Boston Talkers Strong, Air America Flat

(Updated For The Weekend, Scroll To Bottom For Latest)

Is the recent talk radio listenership dropoff continuing?

We now have ratings figures representing a number of cities, for the three-month period of March, April and May. Earlier hints of audience decay have now become apparent in many places.

Indications are for a sustained, rocky period for talk radio. Exceptions are emerging, most notably in Boston, where conservative talk radio is gaining strength.

In New York, talk radio has been in a serious state of decline, while in Washington DC, a slight comeback for the largest talker may not be enough to avoid changes.

While the Radio Equalizer takes care to avoid industry jargon, it should be noted that these figures represent the latest rolling average of three monthly trends. Officially, it's known as Phase II of the Spring 2005 Arbitron Ratings Survey.

The full Spring 2005 Arbitron "book" will be revealed next month and it's one of the two most important releases of the year. Interim monthly trends like this one are known for being volatile.

Air America's flagship station, WLIB in New York City, is still stuck in first gear. It turned in an essentially flat performance in the broadest audience measurement gauge, moving up from a 1.2 to a 1.3 share. That tiny change is considered statistically insignificant.

That result was good for 24th place overall.

With 14 months of data, it's fair to say WLIB has had its chance to break out of the bottom of the pack. But it just isn't happening.

WABC saw more losses, as issues unique to the station and market, continue to hurt it. Falling to a sad 11th place overall, it has now lost market share for nearly three straight quarters. Next month's final data will allow us to remove "nearly" from the previous sentence.

In terms of 12+ audience share, WABC is now down to a miserable 3.2 share, from a 4.5 peak last autumn.

Michael Savage has helped otherwise-moribund, antique WOR take a bite out of WABC's evening ratings. Meanwhile, there are bigger programming issues the station has failed to address in recent months, with painful results.

We don't yet have breakdowns by daypart to see exactly where the damage is greatest, but there's simply no doubt that WABC must do a radical rethink of much of its schedule.

More specific data should emerge later in the week.

The party line continues to blame a post-election decline in listener interest, but I don't buy the excuse. Solid air talent would understand how to keep the audience interested.

One mistake seems to be going with syndicated programming from 10pm to 5am, a recent development for WABC and a peculiar move for the nation's largest city. These overall ratings figures are only for 6am-midnight, however, so it's hard to believe this is the main problem.

Many stations around the country have held on well since November, while several ABC talkers, such as WABC, WMAL/Washington and WBAP/Dallas have shown declines. WMAL's losses are so significant, the station's future could be at stake, if changes aren't made soon.

On Long Island, a smaller and less significant radio market, WABC actually gained some ground, as did WLIB. Arbitron data for the market, ranked eighteenth in size, tends to swing wildly from month to month.

Meanwhile, a liberal talk-formatted radio station in Alaska has agreed to a union-sponsored bailout, in order to keep it from folding. According to Perry M Simon, talk radio reporter for industry publication All Access:

A union local has purchased a liberal talk station in ANCHORAGE, according to the ANCHORAGE DAILY NEWS, which reports that the INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF ELECTRICAL WORKERS Local 1547 is paying $160,000 to buy KUDO-A from CHINOOK CONCERT BROADCASTERS.

The station has struggled financially and has been asking listeners for donations to stay afloat; the union's newly-formed IBEW INVESTMENTS will buy the station and will put another $340,000 into the station over the next three years for improvements and programming.

Get a load of this, from the Anchorage Daily News story:

Several International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1547 board members had been interested in buying a station for years, said Gary Brooks, the local's business manager and financial secretary.

About a year ago, when the most recent board started looking again, KUDO started up.

"It was good to see someone else was exploring the same thing," starting a station with a liberal bent, Brooks said.

The idea for the new format started in McClear's mind, he said, when he heard Alaska politicians comment that it was hard to talk about taxes because if they did, they would be shouted down by Anchorage right-wing talk show hosts.

So, the station with founded with a tax-hiking agenda in mind? No wonder it couldn't make any money- what businesses would want to be associated with that kind of bent?

Can you imagine the stink liberals would raise if conservative talkers were to be bailed out this way? Would you want your union dues earmarked for a proven financial sinkhole?

What reason would the IBEW have to purchase the station, other than to promote a left-wing ideology?

I hope the rank-and-file members pay attention to where their money is going, this looks like a great way to drain the pension fund.

Tuesday Evening:

In Los Angeles, conservative KFI took a slight dip, from a 4.2 to a 4.0 and slipped to fifth place from third. Long-adrift KABC registered another anemic 2.2 share, ranking 16th.

KFI continues to lead the market by taking up causes, such as the flap over the anti-American Mexican billboards, that caused great controversy nationwide. Instead of merely reacting to the news, hosts such as John and Ken create it, generating publicity for the station.

Liberal talker KTLK took 39th place, still hovering near rock bottom, but rising slightly from a 0.4 to a 0.6. It's now slightly beating the Southland's Persian-language station.

Baseball was king for Chicago's news-talk WGN, which sees an annual seasonal ratings surge. It rose from a 5.4 to a 6.4, good for a solid first place.

ABC's WLS took a tumble, falling to eighth place, from a 4.1 to a 3.7. Last year, the station peaked at a 4.4. With top-notch programming hire Kipper McGee now in charge, look for positive changes, coming soon.

McGee will have his work cut out for him, but the staff is excited to finally have an advocate for solid radio in the programming chair.

New Air America affiliate WCPT hasn't yet shown up in the Chicagoland figures, but's it too soon to make a determination.

San Diego's conservative KOGO takes another small hit, from a 4.8 to a 4.5, down from a 5.3 peak earlier this year. It's still in third place and there's no reason for any real alarm here, the station is still leading the market.

Where there is a full-blown emergency is with rival KFMB-AM. The station seems to be digging in its heels as it bleeds to death. Programming needs to be reviewed urgently. Its owner, Midwest TV, is not talk radio savvy.

It's now in 11th place, with a 3.0 share. Last year, it had a 4.8.

With excellent local talker Rick Roberts, the station did well for a brief period, but an unwillingness to add live, local hosts is killing KFMB. Hope the money saved was worth the severe damage.

Air America/ liberal station KLSD, widely touted as evidence San Diego was turning liberal, is still stuck with a 1.6 and 24th place. It hasn't budged in three months.

In Milwaukee, talker WTMJ continues to dominate, with a 8.4 rating and a lock on first place. Clear Channel's rival WISN is also strong, rising from a 4.2 to a 4.4, good for eighth.

Wednesday Evening:

In Philadelphia, a huge market with little talk radio variety, saw Infinity's WPHT drop again, from a 3.8 to a 3.3. It peaked last summer with a 4.3. The company cut back on local talk some time back and seems to be paying the price. Last November's election isn't a factor in the drop, the highest ratings were recorded months earlier.

Liberal talker WHAT-AM fell from a 0.6 to a 0.5, now just four notches from last place, in 27th overall.

Detroit's conservative WJR slipped from a 6.1 to a 5.4, falling to second place. The biggest losses are consistently coming from ABC's news/talk stations.

Clear Channel's liberal talker WDTW turned in a flat 0.5 share, for 27th place. At least it's now beating Canadian talker CKLW-AM in the Motor City, even if only by 0.1 share.

Thursday Evening:

San Francisco's KGO held first place with virtually no change: a 6.7 overall share.

Conservative talker KSFO turned in similar numbers to last month, but rose to fourth place, with a 3.8 share. It seems to be on a recent upswing. Sean Hannity is featured in afternoons on this ABC station.

Would-be KSFO rival KNEW continues to fail, with a 1.4 overall rating and 21st place. It was meant to be a vehicle for Rush Limbaugh, but he re-signed with KSFO, leaving KNEW with next to nothing. Michael Savage holds down afternoons on the Clear Channel talker.

This flat overall result hides even weaker 25-54 and May ratings breakouts. Sources say little attention is now being paid to the station by management, as they've all but given up, without Rush coming on board.

Air America's KQKE rises slightly, but stays within its recent range. It went from a 1.0 in winter, to a 0.9 last month, to a 1.1 now. KGO would have to be destroyed by a typhoon before KQKE could ever hope to gain much of a foothold in the Bay Area.

Boston's two conservative talkers saw strength this month. A major advertising campaign, including outdoor billboards that were hard to miss on I-93 and elsewhere, boosted WRKO's fortunes. It rose from a 4.3 to a 4.7, good for 6th place. It's Boston's Limbaugh outlet.

FM talker WTKK also scored gains, rising to 8th place, from a 3.7 to a 4.0 share. Heavy marketing has long been a part of the station's strategy.

That's an 8.7 combined conservative talk share for Boston, wow!

News-talk market leader WBZ, with a heavy emphasis on the former, took a hit this time. It fell from 7.3 to a 6.8, but retained first place. Cutbacks in the talk product and the passing of market legend David Brudnoy late last year, may be hurting the station slightly. Brudnoy, by the way, was conservative.

Air America has two stations in the Hub market. After falling to a 0.0 share last month, Franken talker WKOX-AM returns with a 0.1, good for last place in Beantown. Its sister station generated a 0.3, for a combined 0.4 liberal talk rating. Thanks to Boston's Bob Nelson for the corrected information.

In San Jose, California, KGO fell from a 7.2 to a 6.8 but kept first place, KSFO was flat and in sixth, KNEW was damaged further, falling to a 1.0 from a 1.4, while Air America's KQKE rose slightly to a 0.8, good for 33rd.

San Jose is an "embedded market", meaning it's measured both on its own and as part of the San Francisco Bay Area ratings. It's a fairly unusual situation.

Weekend Update:

Washington's WMAL rebounded slightly this month, but the damage has been so severe recently, changes are still mandatory. It came in 13th, with a 3.2.

That's an improvement, but the station's still bleeding badly. As recently as a year ago, it was always at least in the top five. According to DCRTV, an excellent Beltway media site, WMAL's morning show ranked a sorry 19th in the revenue-critical 25-54 age group.

Fred Grandy, former congressman and "Love Boat" star, was initially thought to be a great fit for the morning drive program, but something doesn't seem to be clicking with listeners, or perhaps there are bigger station issues.

The bulk of a station's ad dollars come from those early hours, so the sales department must be screaming in agony.

It doesn't seem to be getting much better through the rest of the day, either. Will the station take action before it's too late?

Have you heard WMAL recently? What do you think is the problem?

Infinity's WJFK-FM is no longer much of a factor in DC, coming in with a 2.3, down from a 2.6 last month and 2.9 in the Winter 2005 Arbitron Survey.

Air America's WWRC takes last place in the market, with a 0.3, down from a 0.4 last month.

Watch for updates each weeknight. Many cities will report figures Monday through Thursday this week. Watch for Dallas, Seattle, Denver, St. Louis and many more big cities. We'll have it all here.

23 June 2005

Janeane Garofalo Attacks Conservative Males

Conservative Men 'Immature'

Is Garofalo One To Talk? Plus, Franken's Deadly Praise

Is there a weekly contest at Air America to see which host can make the most asinine public statements?

Perhaps there's a chart in the breakroom where each silly press outburst gets a happy face sticker next to the person's name?

DSC00738-6.jpgHere's a typically "mature" item from Garofalo's blog, with National Review editor Jonah Goldberg as the turkey.

Between Al Franken's recent rambling, room-clearing speech in New York, to the over-the-line Bush bashing (and potentially threatening) performances from Randi Rhodes, self-destructive behavior seems worn like a badge of honor at Air America.

Even Air America President Gary Krantz recently got into the act.

Janeane Garofalo must be feeling way behind, because it appears to be catch-up time, based on an interview in today's Winston-Salem Journal.

While much of the story focuses on Garofalo's admissions her film and television career is now largely stalled, she manages to take a shot at middle-aged conservative males, the population segment divide-and-conquer liberals love to hate most:

When the network made its debut in March 2004, Garofalo said she endured a barrage of insults from the right. "At first, it was shocking to found out people your dad's age are as immature as guys you knew in junior high," she said. "But I'm used to it now."

Yes, brash, crude, obnoxious Janeane Garofalo wants us to believe she's a victim of middle-aged conservative males, not only evil, but immature to boot.

Somehow, while previously surrounded only by calm, enlightened, well-centered liberals, she never encountered these cavemen. Once on the air, an army of boorish, childish right-wing men came out of the woodwork to attack the poor, defenseless talk show host.

Now feminists can rejoice that Janeane has grown strong enough to take on the Evil White Republican Male threat.

untitled 13If this photo, also from Janeane Garofalo's site, doesn't represent junior-high level humor, what does?

I've yet to encounter a Garofalo interview where she doesn't take the opportunity to whine about some perceived unfairness in her life. Hasn't she had quite a lot of career opportunites?

While she indicates she had a good run in the nineties, Garofalo feels age discrimination, at 40, is working against her now.

That's despite a new TV movie and a recently-taped sitcom pilot about a professional female poker player, that wasn't picked up by the network.

Maybe the network felt not enough immature right-wing males would be interested.

Meanwhile, has Al Franken
discovered how to fire his deadliest weapon, otherwise known as praise?

I'm not sure if New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is quite sure what to do with these comments in today's New York Post:

"I like some of what Bloomberg's done," Franken said of the Republican mayor. "I like his appointment of [Schools Chancellor] Joel Klein. I have no major problem [with Bloomberg]. I don't."

That's certainly not something Bloomberg's Democratic opponents want to hear.

They've been trying for months to portray the mayor as a patsy of Republican leaders in Albany and Washington.

Remarkably, Franken also had kind words for Bloomberg's most notable failure, the controversial plan to build a West Side football stadium.

"I don't even know if the stadium was a horrible idea," Franken told The Post's Carl Campanile. "I wasn't [against it] because I wanted the Olympics."

This story neglects to mention how much this plays into the GOP's hands, where the mayor's long been accused of being a Republican-in-name-only (RINO).

Al, you've finally found your most effective attack method: complimenting people to death!

Welcome Ace Of Spades, Orbusmax and Free Republic readers!

22 June 2005

Romney Looks For 2008 Strategy

Fore-get The Budget!

Romney Looks To Boost Image, Dems Play Cape Golf

It can't be easy being Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney these days.

While he works overtime trying to bolster his "ineffective governor" rap, the real villains are playing golf on Cape Cod!

Perhaps Romney expected too much in taking the Bay State's reins, how much could he really accomplish, given a hostile one-party legislature? They routinely override his vetoes and can pronounce his proposals dead on arrival, if they wish.

House Majority Leader Rep. John Rogers (D-Norwood) chomps on a cigar at Hyannis Golf Club yesterday. (Boston Herald Staff photo by Mark Garfinkel)

It's not exactly a launching pad for the presidency. If he wishes to be viable for 2008, he must first provide examples of where he's brought reform to the commonwealth.

His profile-raising strategy is to push for a new health insurance system, but it's hard to believe this will improve his stature. From the Boston Herald's Andrew Miga in the Washington Bureau:

But it is doubtful Romney's new health care proposal will flesh out his policy credentials - or boost his national profile.

``Almost nobody pays any attention to those kinds of specific policies,'' said professor Earl Black of Rice University, an expert on Southern politics.

Black added he expects Romney will stumble trying to convince conservative voters who dominate GOP presidential primaries that he's a true right-wing believer.

``There's no natural base for Romney,'' Black said. ``It will be very difficult for a Massachusetts governor to either raise enough money or find enough support in the modern Republican Party. I just don't see it.''

Romney may be courting GOP conservatives as he eyes the White House, but his health-care plan sounded as though it was lifted from the liberal Democratic playbook, and was praised by Bay State Sen. Edward M. Kennedy.

(Additional coverage in the Cape Cod Times, here)

Romney's in an impossible situation: there's no way to please the national GOP base, without ticking off Bay State Democrats, which he needs on board for any reform plans.

Meanwhile, Democrat legislative critics played hooky from work, with a key budget deadline approaching. Why stare at the Sacred Cod, when you can play golf on Cape Cod?

From the Boston Herald's Dave Wedge:

Despite a looming deadline to finish the state budget, nearly a dozen lawmakers played hooky from work yesterday, hitting the links on sunny Cape Cod for a political pal's charity golf tournament.

House Majority Leader Rep. John Rogers (D-Norwood) was among those who tossed aside boring budget work for the day to work on their handicaps at Hyannis Golf Club. Rogers puffed cigars in a cart with Rep. John F. Quinn (D-New Bedford) while playing in the tournament organized by Rep. Demetrius Atsalis (D-Barnstable).

Among the players were at least seven leaders of House committees.

The midweek golf outing drew fire from Republicans, who slammed Democratic lawmakers for shirking their duties while the budget is due on Gov. Mitt Romney's desk July 1.

``It seems the only way we're going to get a state budget is if we turn the State House lawn into a putting green,'' said Massachusetts GOP Executive Director Tim O'Brien. ``The budget is due in eight days, and cities and towns are waiting for this money.''

Several more representatives were supposed to play yesterday but did not show up, including Speaker of the House Salvatore DiMasi (D-Boston), who was captured by a TV news crew playing golf Monday afternoon in Marblehead with Senate President Robert E. Travaglini (D-Boston).

While the unfinished state budget sat back at the State House, the parade of representatives at the Hyannis public course began at 9 a.m. sharp, with several reps taking trips to the driving range, putting on sunblock and lacing up their golf shoes.

20 June 2005

Air America's New Outrageous Claims

Is Frankenitis Contagious?

Could Be Time To Quarantine Air America's Headquarters

We've heard some pretty outrageous claims made about Air America's programming in recent months: that it was available to 60% of Americans via radio, that liberal (including non-Air America) talk shows have grown faster than Rush did in his first year.

And we were lectured on the "fact" that radio ratings weren't available to the public, therefore we couldn't possibly know whether the network was performing well, or not.

But all of those gems, with room-clearing speeches thrown in for good measure, came from one mouth: Al Franken's (the Rush comparisons have also been made by other hosts).

So imagine the Radio Equalizer's surprise to find equally over-the-top statements made not by Stuart Smalley, but Air America Radio President Gary Krantz, instead.

Is Frankenitis a contagious affliction? If so, it's time to bring the vaccine to AA headquarters.

An Arizona Republic article by Peter Corbett on Air America's progress, tied to a Randi Rhodes visit to the state, contains some of the most unreal claims yet made about the network's performance.

They include unsubstantiated claims of a large Air America audience and incorrect characterizations of ratings performance in one key city.

Let's pick this story apart line-by-line:

Air America has succeeded in creating a buzz about its liberal format and the idea that talk radio should have different points of view, (Michael) Harrison (of Talkers Magazine) said.

However, it's too early to tell if Air America and other liberal-radio enterprises that have emerged in the past few years are financially viable, he said.

No problem here, yes, they get a lot of press, sure, there's still a snowball's chance they might survive.

Air America struggled financially last summer after its launch in March 2004. But the
New York Times observed this week that the network is gaining traction.

Did the Times really say that? Yes, here:

Mr. Franken continues to hedge his bets, partly because Air America seems to be gaining some traction.

"I am not sure that I am running yet," he said, sitting in the concert hall's green room before his appearance. "Part of the calculus is where the radio show goes. I don't want to leave them in the lurch."

Sure enough, there it is in the Times, but there isn't a single shred of evidence to back up the statement! How is it gaining traction? Not a word of explanation.

Now back to the Arizona Republic story:

And it did not hurt that Talkers magazine gave Franken its Freedom of Speech award earlier this month.

Actually, it did hurt Franken, he looked like a fool. Didn't this news reach Arizona?

Gary Krantz, president of New York-based Air America, said the network is financially stable and revenue is growing.

Air America has grown to 64 from 15 affiliates. The liberal talk network is in 18 of the nation's top 20 radio markets and has increased its audience by 265 percent to more than 3 million people, he said.

WOW, here's where Frankenitis takes over! Mr. Krantz, have you been in for a check-up recently? Let's take this step by step:

1. Even if Air America's in 18 of 20 top markets, the stations are tiny and the ratings smaller. What's the significance of this number?

2. Do the 64 affiliates carry ALL of Air America's programming, or just parts of it, even a single show?

3. From where did they get their "three million listeners" claim? From their butts, as Franken likes to say?

Given that not one AAR host ranks in the top 25 for national listenership, how is this possible?

Would they care to back this up with real data for this site, as well as the others in the media who have repeatedly asked for this information? Sixty-four stations with tiny or zero ratings, plus the online listenership, can't possibly equal anywhere near that figure.

That includes Portland, Ore., where Air America is the top-rated talk-radio station in the market.

In the broadest ratings measurement of all listeners twelve and older, as published in Radio and Records, Portland's KPOJ ranks as the number three talk station, behind two conservative outlets. And, they were down in the most recent figures.

I was tempted to blame the Arizona Republic reporter for the huge problems in this story, but I'm not sure it would be fair.

After all, who can expect him to know he's being fed a load of you-know-what? And he did accurately quote the New York Times, as it slobbered all over Franken at an event.

Today, a new radio ratings roll-out begins with New York City, we'll have the latest here after 5pm EDT. As other cities see their data released later in the week, it will be updated.

Air America had better hope for some real improvement this month, because at some point, even the liberal media might discover they're not doing so terribly well.

(Welcome Little Green Footballs, Orbusmax, Free Republic and other new readers.)

Bill Press Tries To Launch Syndicated Radio Program


Former "Crossfire" Host Not Burning Up Radio Dial

It's a sure sign of industry saturation: with liberal talk radio now the flavor of the month (despite the lack of results), every Progressive Peter or Socialist Sally who's ever walked a precinct, waved a sign, or run for town council, seems ready to kick off a syndicated talk program.

Announcements of new efforts, some by relatively unknown people, now seem to emerge ever more frequently.

We saw this in the early days of conservative radio's explosive growth period, where a large number of unqualified and uninteresting people, got national talk shows. Soon enough, however, the riff-raff was weeded out and they became distant memories.

One far better-known lefty, though, seems to be having an awfully tough time getting his national offering off the ground. Why is Bill Press facing so much resistance?

So far, only one station, in Akron, Ohio, is carrying "The Bill Press Show". Soon, SIRIUS will be picking it up for their left-wing talk channel (which will help only slightly), but otherwise, there are no takers.

According to reports, Press actually uses local identifiers such as station call letters, in a frank admission it's only heard there. From where is he broadcasting, though? Washington, Los Angeles, or did he relocate to Akron (which seems highly unlikely)?

One could argue that his program is too new to face judgment, with less than a month on the air so far, but with the kind of background Press has, it's a very bad sign.

With an extensive background in television and radio, Press has been in the business for decades.

He joined KABC-TV in 1980, ran the California Democratic Party from 1993-1996 and had stints on KABC radio, KFI, and WMAL/Washington as a talk host and news commentator. Recently he's worked as a fill-in host at KGO in San Francisco.

On television, he's known for CNN's "Crossfire" debate program as well as other shows on that network and at MSNBC. His columns appear weekly at WorldNetDaily as well.

He's been just about everywhere in the last three decades, that's exactly why the Radio Equalizer isn't willing to cut Press any slack.

Since syndicated radio programs spend months in the planning stages, usually a significant behind-the-scenes effort is made to secure stations for a major new national offering, especially when the host has major name recognition.

With that lead time, and the increasing number of liberal talk stations signing on this year, there's simply no way of justifying a "Bill Press Show" with this obvious lack of demand.

It would have been reasonable to expect at least a dozen stations on board for day one, with several more by now. Given Bill's extensive background, I think that's a pretty minimal requirement.

So, who exactly is behind the program? That's not easy to ascertain.

Press serves on the board of Democracy Radio, which recently sold the "Ed Schultz Show" to a former Clear Channel executive. Indications are that they're now developing his show. But there's no information on their site about it.

If it were a politician without radio experience launching a new show, it would make sense to test the waters in Akron first, before rolling out nationally.

With Press, however, you have a guy who's used to doing this every day for many years. There's no reason not to go all-out from the start.

That leaves a strong sense stations are simply choosing not to pick up his show. Radio industry observers, especially the liberal talk cheerleading squad, have been wondering aloud as to what's going on with the program.

Who would carry it? The morning slot chosen for Press is already claimed by other syndicated liberals, so where would he fit, unless run tape-delayed?

Only a few cities have more than one liberal talk station, leaving Press and the other newbies to fight for table scraps, unless they can force out other programming. That's known as competition, something foreign to the leftist ideology.

What's the verdict on his hosting abilities? Mixed: on radio, he hasn't fared particularly well, especially in Washington.

He seems to have had more staying power on cable news channels, however, even if some of his programs, like CNN's "Spin Room" were short-lived. I thought he did a decent job representing the liberal viewpoint on "Crossfire". Others disagreed.

Radio insiders tell me there have been problems during fill-in stints getting Press to jump on hot, breaking news stories, where he instead rambles on with boring topics. This inflexibility has been a source of frustration to producers and station managers.

For the new program, Press has embraced one of liberal talk's most annoying recent habits, hiring a co-host or sidekick. Christy Harvey of the Center For American Progress serves that role on "The Bill Press Show".

Since he's been on the air for years, why does he need this on-air crutch? Other liberal hosts have them because they lack radio broadcasting experience. What's his excuse?

How well things go from here is anyone's guess. Democracy Radio could very well stick with Press for the long run, but they can't force stations to carry him.

How quickly liberal talk radio has gone from few offerings, to a full-scale glut. Bill Press has fairly high name recognition levels, if he can't get his project off the ground, what will that mean for the other liberal aspirants?

Update: an Akron-based radio news reporter/anchor that I've known for many years, has been following the Press situation closely, including email conversations with him.

He says Press is indeed broadcasting from studios in Washington, even if listeners get the impression he's in Akron, given the local references. In addition, he's listened extensively and feels the show sounds rough around the edges.

I disagree with the idea Press is using Akron for "dress rehersals" while he gears up for a big national show. If he's not a local Akron host, then obviously, the show is available to any station that wants it. But they aren't grabbing it.

Word's been out in the industry about its syndication for quite some time. Press is a seasoned broadcast veteran, so there's no need for a lengthy trial run. None of this holds water when it comes to someone with the experience that Bill Press has accumulated.

I do see one way out of radio oblivion for him: if he impresses Clear Channel, they could bump more of the remaining Air America programming on their stations, opting for Bill instead for the early morning shift. So far, they haven't indicated this would happen.

(Welcome TVNewser and DCRTV readers)

18 June 2005

Updates On Recent Key Stories


A Scoff, A Smile, An Invisible Man

A number of interesting updates on recent stories covered here:

--- Alan Colmes wisely took the opportunity to question Bill Clinton on future talk radio plans, according to Radio & Records and All Access today. Clinton scoffed a bit, pouring some cold water on recent reports, but left the door open for a potential program.

Previous Radio Equalizer piece here

Here's Perry M Simon's All Access report:

If his comments to ALAN COLMES on FOX NEWS RADIO THURSDAY night are any indication, the former President won't be heard as a radio host any time soon.

Countering rumors fed by his close friend HARRY THOMASON in comments to BUSINESS WEEK that CLINTON had discussed a talk radio role with CLEAR CHANNEL, CLINTON said he loves radio but "I think I should do things that I can do because I was president that nobody else can do."

While he said he doesn't really want to do a talk show, he did not explicitly say he would never do a radio show, nor did he deny that he or his representatives may have talked to CLEAR CHANNEL.

It's obvious Clear Channel would kill to have Clinton and that major FOBs are behind the idea. He's the one guy that can save the liberal format before it goes under for good.

It's probably a matter of winning over Bill, which could take a bit longer. I don't think talks would have taken place without Bubba's approval.

Clinton must see the risk involved, it's a lot of work and he might not succeed. But radio industry people I heard from this week thought he could potentially do well.

--- Meanwhile, with a smile, Senator Ted Kennedy (D-insert island joke here), said Friday that everything is grand between his ex-wife and the kids. Oh wait, I think he meant to say he'll charge them a grand a day to stay at his Cape cottage.

Previous Radio Equalizer piece here

From the Boston Herald's Andrew Miga:

WASHINGTON - U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy said yesterday he is ``very hopeful'' the recent legal settlement involving his former wife, Joan, will pave the way to a fuller reconciliation among estranged family members.

``I know they love each other very much and this has been a very trying and difficult time,'' Kennedy said during an interview in his Senate office.

``I'm very hopeful that they can return to a very normal, happy and loving existence,'' he said.

The Bay State's senior senator said he expected family members would be able to take another step toward restoring harmony later this summer when they gather at the Kennedy compound in Hyannisport on vacation.

Kennedy said his former wife would be visiting with their three adult children then.

``She's planning to be up at the Cape in August,'' he said. ``They always spend time with her there then. I know I'm planning to see her during that period of time.''

Joan Bennett Kennedy, 68, who has battled alcoholism in recent years, fought her children's efforts to take legal control of her affairs during the past year.

Under a legal settlement reached last Friday, an independent attorney was named as her guardian ad litem, her Cape Cod estate was taken off the market and she vowed to address her alcohol problem.

--- Who knew you could be on television and somehow become invisible? That's the sad reality for Tucker Carlson's new MSNBC show (what's it called again?) that debuted Monday.

Ratings have slid to rock bottom after a decent first day fueled by the Jackson verdict, immediately becoming the lowest-rated cable talk show and weighing down MSNBC's lineup.

Thursday, 82,000 people switched away from MSNBC when Tucker's show began and 75,000 tuned in once it was over. That left only about 200,000 people watching any part of his hour.

With new MSNBC management pouring everything into this offering, expect it to stick around for at least a short while, even if ratings stall at these Dennis Miller-like levels.

Previous Radio Equalizer piece here

Update: liberals and others showering Carlson with praise, even if faint, for being fair and letting people speak. But is it entertaining, will people watch it? One cable news site thinks it might need two years or more to catch on, which was the case with O'Reilly originally, but Tucker's had shows before, what's going to be different this time?

Thanks again for visiting the Radio Equalizer, exciting developments are right around the corner! In the meantime, if you like what you're seeing, please support the advertisers in the right hand column, that's what keeps this effort going.

Do you have tips?

17 June 2005

Corrie Parents Fundraising For Palestinians

Agenda Becomes Clear

No Doubt Where Rachel Corrie's Parents Stand Now

The frustrating story of Evergreen State College student Rachel Corrie, who was killed in Gaza after stepping in front of an Israeli bulldozer, is one that continues to ignite passions on both sides.

Two years after her sad death, Corrie's parents have left no doubt as to their real agenda- working for the Palestinian cause. Is this really the best way to honor their daughter's memory?

First, background on this complicated tale, including personal memories:

Just minutes before air on March 16, 2003, Corrie's story hit the newswire, so I scrapped my entire program and ran with it. The phone lines were jammed immediately, which is a bit unusual for a breaking story, as listeners normally take time to absorb the news.

Sometimes, initial reactions turn out to be emotional and therefore premature, but all of us seemed to wonder how a naive college student could be tricked into giving her life for such a dubious cause.

For Washington state residents, though, it's never a big surprise when something like this happens, simply mention Evergreen State College, an ultra-radical campus where students are routinely duped into taking up foreign causes. It's a wonderful recruiting ground for radical socialists from the International Solidarity Movement, which sent Corrie to Gaza.

Corrie's death seemed especially wasteful, as she simply had no business interjecting herself into the Israeli-Palestinian issue, especially in such a confrontational way. Stepping in front of a bulldozer in the process of tearing down homes is not smart protesting.

None of us could have predicted when this story first broke, that emotions over it would continue to run so high, even two years later. At the time, I received hate mail and liberal blogger flak when my statements on Corrie and Evergreen were quoted in Oregonian and Seattle Times stories.

It's never really disappeared from the news since. In April, her story was turned into an anti-Israel play that debuted in London. And, earlier this year, Corrie's parents sued Caterpillar, because they manufactured the bulldozer that killed her.

Corrie has become the ultimate leftist martyr, both here and abroad, as an example of someone who wasn't afraid to take on "zionism" and imperialism.

The circumstances of her death are still in dispute, with the Israeli government declaring it an accident, while her parents think they were responsible for a deliberate attack on their daughter.

Now, they've taken it beyond the Caterpillar suit, to full-blown support for the Palestinian cause. According to an AP report, the Corries will be actively raising money for Palestinian families, on a multi-city tour:

More than two years later, Craig and Cindy Corrie say they are trying to carry on their daughter's work.

In a bid to raise money to rebuild the bulldozed house and others nearby, the Corries have started a seven-state tour with Khaled and Samah Nasrallah - one of two Palestinian families who lived in the house Rachel died protecting.

On Friday, the tour comes to Rachel's hometown of Olympia - where black and white photos of her with the word "Peacemaker" hang from cafe windows and where a scholarship has been created in her name at her alma mater, The Evergreen State College.

While they considered themselves socially involved - they had participated in a protest for the impending Iraq war just the day before her death - Cindy Corrie said they had never considered themselves political activists.

They travel the country to talk about their daughter and her social causes, and the Corries have taken an active role in Palestinian issues. About a year ago, they joined up with The Rebuilding Alliance, an organization that helps rebuild Palestinian homes and schools.

In March, the Corries sued Caterpillar Inc., the company that made the bulldozer that ran over their daughter, arguing that Caterpillar violated international and state law by providing specially designed bulldozers to Israeli Defense Forces, knowing the machines would be used to demolish homes and endanger people.

The Corries are also pursuing separate claims in Israel against the state of Israel, the Israeli Defense Ministry and the Israeli Defense Forces.

Israel has characterized the International Solidarity Movement, the group Rachel Corrie was working with when she was killed, as meddlers whose activism in some cases has amounted to abetting terrorism.

"I think she just made bad decisions for herself," said Keren Bar-nir, with the American Zionist Movement in New York. "I think it's based on really extreme groups persuading people. The kids these days are so disillusioned."

Corrie's mother said her daughter was neither misguided nor misled.

Although news of Rachel's death was largely overshadowed by the beginning of the war in Iraq, the story of her death endures. A Google search on her name gets nearly 175,000 hits. Most of the sites are sympathetic, but some castigate her as un-American and show a photo of her burning a mock American flag surrounded by Palestinian schoolchildren.

Cindy says that picture has been used to demonize Rachel.

Certainly, there's no doubt we don't understand the pain that Corrie's parents have endured. Losing a child, particularly at 23, must be more difficult than anyone could imagine.

How they've chosen to honor Rachel, however, is questionable. Why take up the same fringe causes that got her killed, working with people not willing to die for the movement, to let her become the martyr instead?

And suing the bulldozer company gives them all the credibility of Michael Jackson's accuser's mother or the Wendy's chili finger lady. Why give the public a reason to question your motives?

Remembering a lost daughter is one thing, but this is commemorating stupidity with more of the same.

16 June 2005

Blog Links For 16 June 2005

Blogs Of Note

--- Michelle Malkin has a better idea for commencement addresses: use the Jobs approach.

--- LaShawn takes on death culturists post-autopsy.

--- Viking Pundit: Hooters Air from a stolen business plan?

--- North Korea aiding Iran? Intelligence Watch has it.

--- Jim Miller has another reason not to trust newspapers and takes on the Seattle Weekly.

--- Cape Media Watch's Jack Coleman continues to apply pressure to the Cape Cod Times over the Cape Wind Project and political polling.

--- PoliBlog has the details of Hillary's SC straw poll win.

--- Matt thinks an opportunity was missed to teach the UN a lesson, at BlogsForBush.

--- Weekend Pundit, open seven days a week, tackles the myth of declining incomes.

--- Jennifer gets the last laugh, at UrbanGrounds.

--- How much did TV dads earn in their day? Somebody calculated it, Doug Petch has it.

--- New updates at Blogs For Condi.

--- RatBastardCEO sure knows how to make money!

--- RightFromLeft thinks W is finally getting tough with the Dems and wants to hear more.

--- RedStateRant concurs.

--- RhymesWithRight covers the controversy over a lynching resolution.

--- P Scott Cummins is doing an amazing job covering political turmoil in Uganda.

--- Tucker's ratings sink further, TVNewser has all of the cable numbers.

Thanks again for visiting the Radio Equalizer, feel free to leave comments below and please support our advertisers in the right-hand sidebar, they keep this site going.

Clinton Talk Show Discussions Confirmed

Move Over, Franken!

Could A Bill Clinton Radio Talk Show Debut Soon?

Will former President Bill Clinton soon take to the nation's airwaves?

This potentially earth-shattering radio industry announcement was buried in a lengthy Business Week report on the future of Clear Channel Communications, America's largest station owner and program syndicator.

Bill ClintonReporter Tom Lowry was able to get confirmation to back up speculation that Bubba himself might be the next liberal talk radio offering for the company's stations.

Bill Clinton has consistently turned down talk show offers in the past. BBC library photo, 2002.

For reasons unknown, the report so far has been virtually ignored by the rest of the media, even the radio trade press, save one new All Access report (note new updates below).

In the past, Clinton has turned down many offers to host both radio and television talk programs, which began before he even left office. NBC and CBS both courted him aggressively with TV show proposals in 2000, using prominent FOB's (Friends Of Bill) as lobbyists.

A brief exception was made in 2003, to appear with Bob Dole on "60 Minutes" for a point-counterpoint debate segment, that wasn't well received by viewers.

But he always left the door open for the right future opportunity. From a 2002 BBC report:

In an interview on the CNN show Larry King Live, Clinton said he would not be hosting a chat show in the near future, but did not rule it out completely.

"Maybe some time later in my life I'd like to do it," said the 56-year-old. "It would be intriguing to me because I like to talk to people."

However, he added that he would have to give up too many of his current commitments to take on such a job.

"You have to be here every day, and a lot of the work I do requires me to travel," Clinton said.

"I really believe I should always spend more than half my time on public service, so I just don't see how I can do it."

Clear Channel is using NBC's previously unsuccessful approach, utilizing Hollywood friend Harry Thomason in an undefined go-between role, but perhaps the timing is different now, or maybe Clinton's priorities have recently changed.

Clinton has always craved public attention, perhaps he isn't getting enough these days? What about his recent health concern, has that left him with a need to finish his "to-do" list?

Where in the past Bill turned down public offers for talk show positions, this time, his people have been conducting private talks with Clear Channel execs. That would appear to suggest more interest on his part, or they wouldn't be taking place.

And, it's Thomason himself indicating that a deal is likely, not something that would not be done in public without Bill's official seal of approval.

The new report raises many questions and provides a few answers, about liberal talk's future path, as well as what appeal it might have for Clinton himself.

For one, it gives us a clue as to why Clear Channel has so stubbornly hung on to the idea of liberal talk radio, even as stations report lackluster, or even zero ratings presence.

Obviously, the company is looking at obtaining what it sees as a virtual nuclear weapon, as conventional firepower misses its target.

Instantly, everything Air America is doing will be obliterated and Al Franken will cease to exist in the eyes of the liberal mainstream media.

Now, they'll have a Clinton show to tout endlessly, while Clear Channel will be able to put together an entire lineup of "progressive" talk shows, none of which will originate from Air America's studios.

What's in it for Bill? Other than another chance to take the spotlight, as so much attention is focused instead on Hillary's presidential ambitions, it's actually a fairly risky undertaking.

What if he isn't any good? A big question is whether Bill Clinton has the potential to be entertaining. His book was ridiculously long and he was never known for speechmaking brevity, either.

Can he deliver an interesting and compelling program, while listening to callers and having the agility to discuss a wide range of breaking news and developing stories? Most ex-politicians can't, that's why they fail in talk radio.

If Clinton crashed and burned, like other liberals, wouldn't that be quite an ego bruising? What both parties are obviously counting on, correctly, is that a huge curiousity factor would bolster initial ratings results. If he turns out to be any good, enough of that audience could remain, giving him staying power.

When would a Clinton radio show kick off? So far, Thomason isn't specific about a date, saying, "There's definitely a place for the former President on radio at some point," according to the Business Week report.

Remember that in the past, Clinton shot down talk show proposals outright, so clearly something's in the works this time.

Get ready for liberal talk's nuclear weapon. If Clinton tries and fails, however, it should signal a permanent end to their constant effort to counter conservative talk radio.

10am Update : John Mainelli of the New York Post now has a story on this, citing the same Business Week report.

Mainelli tried to get more details on the report, but Clinton's office hasn't yet returned calls. Mainelli says Clear Channel's refusing comment and industry folks are telling him Clinton could potentially be heard after Rush, a move I find doubtful. The leak is so far confined to FOBs.

The Radio Equalizer can't imagine Clinton being featured on Limbaugh stations, it's obvious his program would be designed to bolster the company's liberal talk outlets.

Update: Some talk shows discussed this today, including Glenn Beck's.

Meanwhile, a news/talk program director from a big southern city told me this afternoon, "I think Clinton is the one guy who would transcend right/left radio and work on any news/talk station. He'd get ratings alone on marquee value."

15 June 2005

Bow-Tied Analyst Has Yet Another TV Talk Show

All Tuckered Out

Do Viewers Really Want More Tucker Carlson?

From the universe of annoying liberal habits, here are two that consistently jump off the page:

--- When our viewpoints are intentionally misrepresented, to suit their cartoonish horns-on-heads images of conservatives.

--- When they use their still-considerable mainstream media muscle to hire phony, weak, or otherwise ineffective "conservatives" for radio, television and newspaper gigs, in order to make our side look foolish.

That likely explains how lightweight pundit Tucker Carlson has landed yet another TV talk show, this time on MSNBC, after a troubled background that includes failed CNN and PBS programs.

What kind of audience demand will Carlson generate now, that he couldn't get before?


Carlson's MSNBC debut was boosted by the
Jackson verdict,
read just hours earlier.
from TV Newser.

I'm clearly not the only one wondering how he jumps to new networks and programs every time the last one bombs. Just check out what conservatives have to say on Free Republic's discussion boards, it isn't pretty.

When writing about Tucker previously, I noted his intelligence and superb writing talent, consistently thoughtful and well-reasoned.

On television, however, it's a different story. He's just never had the authoritative, commanding presence, necessary to be a credible host. Nor is he entertaining.

The New York Post's Adam Buckman challenged his thin skin for performance-related criticism:

WHEN I interviewed Tucker Carlson on the phone last week, I was fully dressed.

If this surprised him, he didn't let on. I expected him to be stunned. His opinion of TV critics is so low that he once described us, in a book he wrote, as "hack journalists who spend their days in a darkened room eating ice cream in their undershorts in front of the tube."

So what if we do? I wondered. What's it to him?

I'll tell you what the problem is, Mr. Buckman, it's that he can't handle the heat. Too bad it's not a good business for sensitive people.

There's really no reason to put him on television, save one: he's an ineffective, quasi-conservative placeholder that leftist news programmers can be sure won't threaten their media dominance.

Worse, Carlson and MSNBC honcho Rick Kaplan, took bad advice and made the new program, "The Situation" a mellow, non-confrontational, "talk lite" affair, where everybody gets their say, even if everyone else falls asleep.

Is it really because of Tucker's soul-searching over "Crossfire", that he felt was too nasty, or is it set up this way to protect him?

situation2.jpgLogo for Carlson's new show (from TV Newser)

More suspicious is the addition of two sidekicks, one a liberal extremist and the other a fuzzy conservative, like Carlson. Sixteen people tested for the positions.

Air America host Rachel Maddow, who must have at least 12 or 13 listeners during her 5am-6am program, is the liberal, while (supposed) political consultant Jay Severin functions as the conservative.

Maddow, a lesbian activist from Castro Valley, Calif., grew up in the eighties around big-haired Motley Crue fans in bitchin' Camaros, while the East Bay community was still a blue-collar white enclave.

She was "out" before her classmates had any concept of the term.

Later, she was a Rhodes Scholar, strangely deciding to move into NPR radio production, an odd choice, given her educational background.

Not too many radio people, on or off-air, have doctorates from Oxford.

Of course, there's a good reason: higher education has no bearing on a person's ability to generate audience appeal. This is the entertainment business.

WTKK-FM's Severin, on the other hand, is a controversial figure in Boston radio circles, not for what he says on the air, but from where he's saying it: while never mentioned on-air, he actually broadcasts from home in enemy territory, New York's Long Island.

In Boston, that's unforgivable.

Recently, rival talker WRKO has been poking fun at this daily, dishonest omission of fact, in promotional advertising.

Severin often describes himself as a political consultant, but doubt has been cast on that, as well. Would he care to provide a recent list of clients? That would clear the confusion up in a jiffy.

Wouldn't it be more accurate to list Jay as a talk radio host? Is there some reason not to?

What, if anything, Maddow and Severin can offer Carlson is unclear.

In broadcasting, there's a term for this kind of program setup, it's called having a crutch (two of them here). It suggests the host can't carry the program alone.

To the Radio Equalizer, what sets off the alarm bells, is when early praise emerges from certain liberals, who feel Tucker is "raising the level of cable TV discourse", i.e., being boring.

They're the same sort of love letters Sen. McCain receives daily from the left.

Carlson received a gift from the heavens for his Monday evening debut, with the Jackson not-guilty verdict having been handed down just hours earlier.

Cable news channels, MSNBC included, had tremendous ratings spikes that hadn't even begun to calm down by the time his new program debuted.

You don't get better first-day luck than that and the ratings weren't half bad as a result. According to TV Newser:

The premiere of The Situation with Tucker Carlson averaged 177,000 viewers in the 25-54 demo that MSNBC covets. The show averaged 452,000 total viewers, compared to 1.7 million for CNN and FNC. But the show's ratings were up significantly from May 2005's 9pm averages for the network...

Not bad for the first night, but let's see where this goes in the next few weeks, when the summer doldrums are in full swing and there are no celebrity verdicts to provide ratings surges.

In the Radio Equalizer's view, the future of cable talk is in the high-energy, rough-around-the-edges displays from CNBC's Jim Cramer and Nancy Grace of Headline News, not CNN/PBS retreads like Carlson.

Update: Drudge says Carlson ratings down about 50% for second night of show:

TUESDAY 06/14/05

FOX O'REILLY 2,722,000
FOX HAN/COLMES 2,016,000
FOX GRETA 1,864,000
FOX S SMITH 1,563,000
CNN LARRY KING 1,277,000
CNN P ZAHN 718,000
CNN A COOPER 618,000

Drudge Report figures

Not a good showing, considering all of the recent promotional attention, plus no carryover benefit from Jackson ratings spike on Monday. Is a quick exit possible?

Page Rank Checker

Powered by Blogger