The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

19 January 2006

Al Franken's Worst Quote Ever?


Plus: Ratings Claims Questioned

From the Billings Outpost, here's an Al Franken quote to quite possibly top them all:

Quote of the week

“Right now, money is being stolen, and that is killing our soldiers. That makes me furious. I’m very sad about where my country is going, and I love my country.”

- Author/comedian Al Franken, talking about the Iraqi Coalition Provisional Authority in a live Air America radio program broadcast last Friday in Missoula.

Quote of the week? How about year, at least?

How is Franken able to roam the country and pretend the Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club scandal, where $875,000 of taxpayer grants were instead diverted to the liberal radio network, didn't actually happen?

Al, isn't it time to finally admit that money was in fact stolen from inner-city schoolchildren to pay your salaries and expenses? Why didn't that make you furious?

Since Missoula's largely a liberal college town, it's yet another safe haven for Franken to hide from the truth.

Many are writing the Radio Equalizer about Air America's recent claims of major ratings success in New York City. Meanwhile, an columnist, Cory Deitz, has a great way of cutting through the crap:

Some portion of the outcome of any Arbitron rating report can almost always be finessed to position a station or program in a positive light.

This is just part of the Radio business and how it creates value from its programming for sales or promotional purposes.

In a press release, Air America Radio has chosen to highlight some specific demographics and has also chosen to contrast particular programs against specific competitors - which is its prerogative.

I don't say this to diminish any claims, but I would be remiss to not point out that the data below is a sliver of a larger pie and simply what Air America Radio has chosen to release to the press.

During the Fall ratings period, Air America Radio says its flagship station, WLIB/1190 AM made gains with various shows.

Specifically - in Men, 25-54 (3 - 7 p.m.) - “The Randi Rhodes Show,” received a 3.3 Share against WABC’s Sean Hannity, who received a 3.0 share. (Hannity's program airs from 3-6 p.m.)

In New York, Al Franken is heard Noon until 3 p.m. on WLIB and Bill O'Reilly's show airs 2 - 4 p.m on WOR so they actually only go head-to-head for one hour. But, during that overlapping hour of 2 - 3 p.m., "The Al Franken Show" pulled in a 2.3 share of Persons 12+ where O’Reilly earned a 2.1. Also, in adults 25-54 during the same period, Franken had a 2.3 share and O’Reilly a 0.8.

Thanks, Corey, for shedding light on the truth here.

In Randi's case, that's a narrow demographic being used, men 25-54. As for WOR, I would never blame any individual host for their performance on what is overall a badly mismanaged radio station.

In addition, other than in San Diego, Air America's national outlook has been very weak in ratings released so far, especially poor in Los Angeles. As Deitz points out, they aren't releasing any of those numbers, are they?

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Thurston Franken by David A Lunde for the Radio Equalizer


  • Brian,
    I agree that ratings can always be massaged, but you fail to acknowledge that the men 25-54 demo is considered THE KEY DEMO among advertisers. True for TV as well.

    By Blogger Justin, at 19 January, 2006 07:27  

  • WOR (We're Oldster Radio) is a dead dog of a station in NYC that WLIB still couldn't manage to beat. Now that Bob Grant is gone, WOR is gonna tank, big time. If Air Idiot doesn't meet or beat them by the end of the Summer, they are totally hapless.

    By Blogger TC, at 19 January, 2006 08:52  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Mr. Kite, at 19 January, 2006 10:25  

  • He cuts through the crap by emphasising what AAR said? Rhodes is beating Hannity and Franken is beating O'Liar. Isn't that what the AAR press release was saying?

    I particularly like that when Franken and O'Liar go head-to-head, Franken triples the awful falafel in the all-important adult 25-54 demo.

    By Blogger Mr. Kite, at 19 January, 2006 10:57  

  • I agree WOR is definitely going to tank (save for the O'Reilly slot) and all those old Bob Grant listeneners are now going to turn to WABC. Just the other day, Hannity had Bob Grant on as a guest and a lot of callers were saying the only thing that ever kept them from tuning to Hannity was that they were loyal to Grant. Now, according to them, WABC would be their station of choice.

    Even if there was a modicum of truth behind any of the claims that AAR is ahead of Hannity in any category (which I still don't buy), there will no longer be any statistic, no matter how deep they drill that will show AAR ahead in any category.

    WOR's loss is strictly WABC's gain. Now, imagine Bob Grant decides not to retire and joins the WABC team? Something he didn't dismiss after several half-joking comments from callers and Hannity. I don't know what time slot, but it would be a ratings coup for the top talk station in town.

    Meanwhile, the only way AAR can barely manage to creep up the ratings are when other stations are shooting themselves in the foot.

    By Blogger Dr. T, at 19 January, 2006 11:56  

  • hay,Brien!! the ratings for news/talk radio WPRO in providence RI went down a 5.0 to a 4.1, at the end of the summer thay pushed beck Michael Savage (10-1)and gave Sean hannity the 7-10 slot. now you writh the rest of the story Hannity is not SAVAGE you red diper doper baby!!!!!!!!!!!!

    By Blogger savagefan, at 19 January, 2006 14:27  

  • how is 'LIB doing in the evenings against levin or savage

    By Blogger savagefan, at 19 January, 2006 14:31  

  • i saw the evenings ratings in n.y. and i'm glad to tell you(savagefan)that sam seder beats the hell out of savage.i'm not lying!!

    By Blogger joe, at 19 January, 2006 19:15  

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    By Blogger Lidsville, at 19 January, 2006 20:01  

  • Why do these AAR fans continue to tout numbers but offer no proof to back them up?? The ratings are available here for free:

    just click the 'Ratings' tab and enter the market you want. AAR is doing terrible. Now if you've got a link PROVING otherwise please post it. I won't hold my breath.

    By Blogger Lidsville, at 19 January, 2006 20:02  

  • OK - here's a little primer in how radio ratings work.

    The "free" ratings you cite at are the "top line" 12+ numbers. That means that it's an aggregate of all the demographics that are surveyed by Arbitron. Those are the only ratings available to the general public, but since they are so broad they are really not useful for selling or determining how well a specific daypart is doing.

    Arbitron ( is in fact a business, and sells access to its more detailed surveys to advertisers, radio stations, and anyone else who wishes to buy them. In order to publish or claim the more detailed information, you need to be an Arbitron subscriber, and its actually a violation of their agreements to post entire surveys publically. Note the disclaimer at the bottom of the R&R page:

    May not be quoted or reproduced without prior written permission from Arbitron.

    A right Arbitron subscribers DO have is to tout ratings successes in Press Releases for their individual stations and shows.

    If AAR, for example, were to post inaccurate information, they would be sued by Arbitron. In fact, any attempt to meddle with the survey process results in notations in future surveys and posting of ratings "below the line" - meaning that they don't show up in regular rankings - something that can have a seriously adverse effect on future sales.

    Therefore - the Press Release on the AAR site is in fact proof. If you need more - consult Corey Dietz's comments, which in fact confirm the press release. Feel free to call or email Arbitron if you need additional info.

    To move on to what Maloney said "Ratings Claims Questioned" - where is the question? "Ratings Claims Confirmed" or even "Ratings Claimed Qualified" make more sense.

    Randi is in fact beating Hannity in the "money demo" targeted by the majority of advertisers: Men 25-54. Al is in fact beating O'Reilly 12+ and totally destroying him Adults 25-54. Neither of these facts are disputed in Dietz's column and in fact both are confirmed explicitly.

    I'd expect Maloney, someone purporting to be an expert on radio, to know how radio ratings work - so he's either displaying incredible ignorance or flagrantly obfuscating the truth.

    By Blogger Lyin' Baloney, at 20 January, 2006 14:30  

  • A few phone calls later, I've got a couple of interesting tidbits.

    1) AAR's Los Angeles affiliate, KTLK, has been having a series of transmitter issues resulting in the station being all but unlistenable in the majority of the metro. Clear Channel, the owner of said affiliate, didn't comment on the problem when I asked them.

    Despite this fact, AAR did have some gains there - certainly nothing as dramatic as in NYC, but Randi was up, and morning drive was up a bit in LA.

    2) AAR has finally gotten itself established and ready to grow in Washington, DC. The ratings aren't great yet, but it's a start.

    "WWRC... ...finally registered a pulse" - it's not the most positive light, but it still represents forward progress.

    AAR had modest gains in certain dayparts and demos in San Francisco and Detroit, extraordinary gains almost across the board in San Diego, and did quite well in Santa Barbara. There were other success stories in smaller markets as well.

    Generally speaking, it appears that AAR is in fact growing, not fading away as Maloney claims.

    If you want to verify this info - call the stations (contact info to be had at - or call AAR's contact number on You won't find it on the web for reasons explained in the previous post.

    By Blogger Lyin' Baloney, at 20 January, 2006 14:53  

  • Thanks for confirming what air america is saying. they're making progress all the time. why aren't falafel boy and sean vanity pounded those libs into dust? and by the way brian-- you still can't get a talk show?

    By Blogger dagwitan, at 20 January, 2006 19:17  

  • MEMPHIS, Tenn., Jan. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- As Arbitron continues to release radio ratings from the recently completed Fall 2005 survey period, affiliates of Air America, the progressive radio network, which launched behind one of the most heralded promotional pushes in radio history are showing continuing signs of listener erosion.

    Full story here:

    By Blogger Lidsville, at 21 January, 2006 21:58  

  • Thanks you, but IRN's bitchiness and sour grapes were already posted about.

    By Blogger Mr. Kite, at 21 January, 2006 22:51  

  • These libs are so damn funny. They can offer no proof, and tout vapor ratings that can't be proved. It's like saying "AAR is leading in the ratings among left handed, 18-22 year old, transgender, eskimos". The numbers are here:

    They rate all the stations *equally* and AAR is at the bottom of the heap in nearly EVERY market. Spin that.

    By Blogger Lidsville, at 22 January, 2006 08:43  

  • Are you retarded or something?
    "left handed, 18-22 year old, transgender, eskimos" is not the same as "adults 25-54" and "men 25-54." Those are the most important demos. And whether you like it or not, Franken/Rhodes are beating Hannity/O'Liar in New York as well as other markets.

    By Blogger Mr. Kite, at 22 January, 2006 10:25  

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