The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

21 February 2006

Ed Schultz, Fargo, Seattle, Denver, Grand Forks


Liberal Host Ed Schultz Lashes Out In AP Story

What's it take to keep a liberal talk show host happy?

For syndicated talker Ed Schultz, it might mean a move out of the town that got his career off the ground: Fargo, North Dakota.

In an AP story published in the Grand Forks Herald, "Big Eddie" comes off sounding like a real sorehead, lashing out at the local station that dared to cancel him:

Broadcasting from studios at KFGO and in Washington, D.C, he is heard on about 100 stations now, but KFGO dropped his program from its afternoon lineup last month.

"It was classless," Schultz said. "I don't deserve to be treated like that after making them millions of dollars."

Jeff Hoberg, market manager for KFGO and the rest of Clear Channel's Fargo stations, said Clear Channel has a policy of not commenting on personnel moves.

"It's 'he said' and 'she said,' and quite frankly, Ed knows all the reasons we chose to replace his national show," Hoberg said.

At the time Schultz's show was dropped, Hoberg said the political content of the show had nothing to do with the decision and that the station wanted to make a push for more local programming.

Which, by the way, is exactly what the station has done: move toward programming that discusses issues more relevant to people in Fargo-Moorhead.

Is there a political issue involved? Since Schultz began essentially as a local conservative host, it's possible his perfectly-timed (just as liberal syndication was being established) leftward move may have alienated North Dakota and Minnesota fans used to hearing a very different viewpoint.

He wasn't done whining, according to the AP:

Schultz said he is considering a move of his home base for another reason - better access to a satellite uplink.

"One of the things that has really hurt our growth in the last year is I've turned down about 50 appearances on Fox, on NBC, on all these talking-head shows because I can't get uplink capability in (Fargo)," he said.

"We've got offers from a number of markets to move the show," Schultz said. "Denver would like us. Miami would really like us. Seattle is very interested."

Schultz said it would cost about $250,000 to set up his own studio in Fargo, which is not feasible.

What Schultz isn't saying: Denver and Seattle house the studios and offices of JonesMediaAmerica. For his national syndication, it handles all of the business aspects. From either city, he could do his show for free.

How is Fargo to blame for this?

And did he really turn down 50 cable appearances? That's hard to verify. If it's that important, Jones should spring for the uplink facility.

Adding to the story's weirdness factor, some interesting personality insight:

"We may have outgrown Fargo, but I don't want to come off brash by saying that," Schultz said. "I know how that will look in print: 'Bigheaded Eddie.' That's not the case. The logistic issues of it, we may have outgrown Fargo."

So he realizes how it will look, but has the outburst anyway?

Why all the
anger, then?

Maybe Sore Eddie needs a reality check. Compared to his past life as a local host in Fargo, probably lucky to make $40,000 annually, look at him now:

--- Said to be clearing $350,000 a year, quite high considering his limited number of affiliates and audience reach, Schultz may also have Democrat Party backing (other liberal shows generally don't).

--- Eddie was lucky enough to steer clear of Air America and could very well survive its potential demise.

--- Among the glut of liberal radio talk shows, his is the closest to succeeding that "progressives" may ever see. Not a reason for bitterness.

For all of us, Big Eddie's outburst provides a lesson: rather than wasting energy on petty, unimportant gripes, sometimes it's best to step back and grasp the big picture.

Thanks for your continued Radio Equalizer support, via Amazon orders that begin with clicks here, regardless of what you ultimately order! In the spotlight: Robert Ferrigno's exciting new thriller Prayers for the Assassin: A Novel. Read the transcript of Hugh Hewitt's interview with Ferrigno here.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Page Rank Checker

Powered by Blogger