The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

31 May 2005

New Batch Of Radio Ratings Released

Time For New Excuses?

Liberals Flat, Others Mixed, Air America Owes Wages

(With June 2 Update: Atlanta, Charlotte, Miami)

Newly released Arbitron radio ratings bring some questions to mind, such as:

--- Will Air America's apologists finally come up with a fresh batch of excuses, after insisting more time was needed for it to catch on? Isn't that one getting stale?

--- Will some of the traditional talk stations, now showing audience declines, make changes soon?

The Radio Equalizer has been providing a monthly forum for discussing talk radio's national performance, broken down city-by-city and based on available data. There's been a consistent pattern of lackluster showings by liberal talk radio stations running Air America and other "progressive" programming.

This month's data, so far, has not provided any rays of hope for the leftist talk radio format.

Since our last report, network execs and local managers have become increasingly defiant about its future prospects, even as its failure becomes more clear.

Many management egos are on the line with this latest stab at providing an alternative to conservative talk radio. It doesn't look like they will give up easily.

But what is the thought process in a place like Providence, where once-strong conservative WHJJ-AM was destroyed after its switch to Air America programming? How does a situation like that play out? Does the format change, are managers fired, or do they hold out until the inevitable, sad end?

To the Radio Equalizer, most telling is the recent report that Al Franken has purchased a home in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, gearing up for a potential 2008 US Senate run. Franken's clearly making backup plans.

Liberals haven't been willing to concede any ground so far on the format's performance, repeating the same excuses and attacking the messengers (this one included). For the sake of credibility, it's time for some new ones. What will they cook up?

On a side note, Air America got another fresh dose of bad news today with this report, by reporter Dareh Gregorian, that fired host Lizz Winstead was seeking unpaid wages from the network:

A former Air America talk-show host claims the lefty radio network isn't very liberal with money.

In papers filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, Lizz Winstead says she was fired, then stiffed out of nearly $300,000.

The suit says Winstead, best known as co-creator of Comedy Central's "The Daily Show," started at AAR on Aug. 1, 2003, as "the first creative and third employee overall hired" and became its "principal developer" of programming and co-host of the show "Unfiltered."

The suit puts her salary at $250,000 a year but says AAR owner Piquant LLC owes her about $200,000 for on-air work from May 2004 to March 4, when she was fired.

She's suing for that $200,000 plus $83,333 in severance pay, $14,423.08 in unused vacation time and $5,960.55 that she says the network pocketed from her on-air ads for the Vermont Teddy Bear Company.

These are especially high wages for a co-host on a tiny radio network. The other perks are outrageous, as well. In these circumstances, with performance unproven, one would expect compensation of far less than half of this amount.

So far, conservative talk's results continue to be strong, with some exceptions. WABC in New York City hasn't recovered from its big recent drop and programming changes have yet to be announced. There were small declines in San Diego and Los Angeles as compared to last month's figures.

Here's a look at key markets:

#1 New York City:

WABC continues to be in trouble, down over a share since the Fall 2004 survey and slipping another tenth this month. It's still in eighth place overall for all listeners 12 and older.

WOR, still glued to horrible special-interest programming through much of its schedule, stubbornly refuses to enter radio's modern era. It is, however, giving WABC heartburn in the evenings, when it puts Michael Savage up against their weak lineup. It turned in a flat 21st place performance overall.

WLIB, Air America's flagship station, continues to show no growth, coming in at 24th place with no change in audience share. The station's inability to grow by even a measly tenth of a share must be frustrating to the corporate suits.

#2 Los Angeles:

KFI, the Southland's Limbaugh station, drops from a 4.6 to a 4.2, good for third place overall. Not a reason to panic. John and Ken continue to generate the lion's share of media attention in the market, jumping on hot stories and gaining attention.

Always struggling KABC continues its recent downward trend, turning in a 16th performance, with a 2.2 share of the audience. Last fall, it had a 2.9.

Liberal talker KTLK rose a tenth, from a 0.3 to a 0.4. That was good for second-to-last place, one notch above a tiny Spanish news-talker. New programming, including live, local talkers, isn't delivering ratings so far.

#3 Chicago:

WGN, where baseball is king, held steady in second place, but hasn't yet regained off-season ratings losses. Another month or two should fix that.

WLS, about to gain skilled, veteran programmer Kipper McGee, had a flat, fifth place showing. McGee should bring fresh energy into addressing some of the station's recent weaknesses. It's the Windy City's Rush station.

#17 San Diego:

KOGO-AM takes a half-share dip from recent highs, to a 4.8 share from a 5.3. Nothing to sound the alarm over, yet. This is the Limbaugh station in San Diego.

Rival KFMB-AM hasn't recovered from a massive recent ratings drop, which took it from a 4.8 to a 3.2. This is the Savage affiliate for the market. A lack of local programming has stalled this station.

Air America's KLSD-AM weighs in at a flat 1.6 share, no change since last month, but off the earlier high of 2.3. This is the station touted as lib talk's great hope, but it's in no danger of taking off, ever.

#18 Long Island:

WABC is especially weak here, falling to a 3.6 share, from a 5.1 in the fall, for eighth place.

WOR jumps from 2.6 to 3.1, good for 12th place, again showing where Savage has been a boost for the station.

WLIB rises from a 0.7 to a whopping 0.9. That's good for 29th place on Long Island.

Wednesday Updates:

#6 Philadelphia:

, Infinity's conservative talker, is flat with a 3.8 share, good for ninth place overall.

Liberal talker WHAT-AM slips slightly, down to a 0.6 from a 0.7, good for 26th place.

#10 Detroit:

ABC's WJR is as strong as ever, holding first place with a 6.1 share.

CHUM's Canadian talker CKLW registers a 0.5 share on the American side of the border.

WDTW, Air America affiliate, finally shows up in the ratings, but with a 0.5. So it's a neck-and-neck battle for the bottom of the ratings between an Ontario talk station and liberal talk.

Thursday Update:

#4 San Francisco:

held number one, as always, with a slight gain to a 6.8 share.

Conservative talker KSFO jumped from a 3.1 share to a 3.7, moving into sixth place. Ratings had recently been dropping, so this is a good turnaround.

Clear Channel's KNEW, meant to be a rival to KSFO, remains stalled in 23rd place.

Air America/ liberal talker KQKE actually drops, from a 1.0 to a 0.9, for a 28th ranking. This has to be very disappointing.

#9 Boston:

holds first place with a 7.3.

Conservative talker WRKO up slightly, from a 4.1 to a 4.3, for sixth place overall.

Conservative WTKK-FM turns in a flat performance and ranks 10th.

Air America's two Boston stations disappear from the radar screen, that's right, they are no-shows. Blame the signal quality all you want, but they were getting at least some ratings before. Even major free publicity from the Boston Globe didn't help one bit. Can't wait to hear the lame excuses. Bet the Globers won't be dwelling on this news.

#33 San Jose, Calif:

a strong first place.

KSFO in great shape, up from 3.7 to 4.0, so the conservative talker takes third place. Well done.

KQKE shows up with a 0.6. Must be quite a celebration at Air America headquarters.

#77 Monterey-Santa Cruz-Salinas:

In the Radio Equalizer's hometown, KGO holds fifth place.

Local talker KSCO gets a flat 1.1 share.

Conservative talkers KNEW of SF, KSFO of SF and Fresno's KMJ each get about a half share, hovering in the low end of the Monterey Bay rankings. This market still lacks a strong local talk station, fairly atypical in talk radio.

#8 Washington DC:

WMAL-AM continues to decline rapidly, even as other conservative stations had a good month, with gains in many cities. It's dropped from a 4.4 share in Fall 2004 to a 2.8 now, falling to 13th place overall. It's very likely that the 25-54 demographic will prove uglier. We'll just have to remind the Washington Post that this is station-specific, not a nationwide trend.

WJFK-FM drops slightly, coming in at 16th place.

Liberal talker WWRC shows up in last place (35th) with a 0.4.

#15 Phoenix:

In a market crowded with talk stations, conservative KFYI holds second place with a solid, half-share rise.

KTAR is in eighth place with a flat showing.

Air America's KXXT shows up in 24th place with a 0.9 share.

#27 Cincinnati:

Conservative WLW holds first place and surges, from a 9.9 to a 10.7 share.

So much for the Springer effect, because Air America's WCKY actually drops, from a 1.0 share to a 0.8. If you can't give your hometown station a boost, how do you expect to succeed across the country?

Think of the publicity he's had in Ohio over the radio show launch. Or the fact that he was once the mayor of Cincinnati. Or that he's by far the most famous figure in the Air America lineup.

All of this, and the ratings drop?

#5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Conservative mainstay WBAP continues its slide, a less severe version of what's happening at ABC sister station WMAL/Washington. It's now in 6th place, falling to a 4.4, from a 5.2 in the Fall 2004 survey.

The increasingly odd KRLD holds steady with a 2.1 share, for 19th place.

Conservative talker KLIF holds steady with a 1.5.

No sign of Air America's talker in the Metroplex ratings so far.

#16 Twin Cities:

WCCO, an Infinity "heritage" news-talker, drops from 8.6 to 7.9 holding 2nd place.

KSTP, conservative talker, holds steady with a 4.6, for 7th.

Air America's KTNF, shows small gain from 0.9 to a 1.1, for 18th place.

#21 Tampa-St Pete:

Despite having no competition, Clear Channel's WFLA continues to lose audience, with a 5.5 share, compared to a 7.3 in Fall 2004. It's now in fourth place.

#11 Atlanta:

Conservative powerhouse WSB holds first place with a 9.6 share.

WGST, Limbaugh's Atlanta station, in 16th, with a flat performance.

Air America affiliate WWAA shows up with a 0.5, for last place.

#12 Miami:

Spanish news-talker WAQI takes third place, but drops a bit, to a 4.8.

turns in a 2.4, same as last month and a continuation of recent losses.

Liberal talker WINZ has a flat 1.2 share.

#36 Charlotte:

Conservative WBT drops a full share and slips to second place.

Not much competition in Charlotte and no Air America station.

Many more updates coming Friday, including Seattle, after 5pm EDT. Check back here for your city.

Update: BizzyBlog thinks I'm overstating the stability of conservative talk, Tom thinks blogs are starting to cut into talk radio ratings overall. He also brings up other points which will be the subject of a longer piece here.

Welcome Michelle Malkin, Captain's Quarters, New York Times Readers' Opinions Online, Free Republic, Red State Rant, Viking Pundit, Crow On (Chicago radio discussion group), Orbusmax, Sean Hannity Discussion Forums, Ace Of Spades, RyanVOX, Haloscan, SIRIUS Backstage, Mad Mikey's Blog and Midwest Rightwingers readers!

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  • Brian,

    You've done an excellent job of covering Air America's underwhelming performance, but one thing I haven't seen (unless I've missed it) is any mention of the latest Air America ratings in Portland, Ore. Remember, KPOJ is the network's fair-haired boy, and is always mentioned when any interviewer asks for examples of Air America's success.

    Well, not so fast. The Winter 2005 Arbitron ratings for Portland show a second straight ratings slide for KPOJ-AM: Summer 2004 -- 4.0; Fall 2004 -- 3.7; Winter 2005 -- 3.3.

    The station also has slipped from seventh place in Summer '04 to 12th place in Winter 2005.

    So what does it say when Air America's pride and joy is losing steam?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 25 May, 2005 00:46  

  • 1. KFI has a signal that easily covers San Diego (and at all times of the day). Do the ratings measurements (or at least advertiser payments account for that)? By extension, what about stations that carry far at night? KFI is heard in SF at night. WTOP goes up the seaboard, etc.

    2. What about sports-talk? Do you consider that part of talk? How is it doing?

    3. What about Mexico stations? For instance the Mighty 690 or 91X (both from TJ, but clearly San Diego programming). Do they get surveyed, sampled?

    4. Where do you get your data? Is it on the web available to us?

    5. How about Atlanta? What is going on there? And Richmond?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 25 May, 2005 08:06  

  • Anon, thanks for the Portland info. I think we did mention it in last month's article.

    Ratings are released a few cities at a time each day. Keep coming back if you don't see yours.

    I agree, they based it all on the first ratings period in Portland. That was premature.

    By Blogger Brian Maloney, at 25 May, 2005 10:06  

  • TCO:

    Sports talk is hard to read. It usually doesn't generate huge ratings but can be big for revenues. That varies wildly from city to city. A lot depends of the strength of local teams.

    My data is available to the public at the blue links in the story.

    Atlanta and Richmond are both one-station talk monopolies, even if there is competition in both. The others are barely a factor. Richmond's WRVA rules the market, as does WSB in Atlanta.

    By Blogger Brian Maloney, at 25 May, 2005 10:09  

  • [Bart Simpson voice] Thanks man. [/Bart Simpson voice]

    How about the other questions? Radio is very interesting...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 25 May, 2005 12:08  

  • How much cash does AAR have left? It can't be too much, and I don't think investors are going to loosen the pursestrings as easily the third time around, not with with AAR's ratings and trend. $250K a year??? BTW Does Franken draw a salary?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 25 May, 2005 14:29  

  • Franken receives the most $$$-- a salary in the millions and the executives draw salaries in the hundreds of thousands...AAR is in debt like any start up would be, that is understandable...but it is frustrating to me that everyone gets paid so much considering that this venture was originally based on more than $$$ and they knew it would be a long haul. I feel that their desire for making so much $$ will ultimately be the reason why AAR did not get enough resources to stay afloat. ***FYI

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 25 May, 2005 15:01  

  • I'll be posting by signing ***FYI now because I can not figure out which password I used for my first FYI post ***FYI

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 25 May, 2005 15:03  

  • Are your numbers 12 plus or 25 to 54? No one looks at 12 Plus numbers unless you sell to old people. It's 25-54 and 35-64 that counts.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 25 May, 2005 15:09  

  • These are 12+ numbers, and industry people do use them, even if ad agencies don't.

    Each month, we've had that question come up. Looking at all listeners twelve and older is the broadest measurement of audience performance we have.

    Air America has failed to produce evidence that it's doing better in the 25-54 age demographic.

    When we do get evidence of audience growth in individual circumstances, we report it here as well.

    By Blogger Brian Maloney, at 25 May, 2005 15:23  

  • FYI:

    You are right on target, other syndicated hosts make very small base salaries to start, then see increases as affiliates are added.

    The larger the station that signs on to your program, the more you make. An LA or NY affilate would be worth big money, while a small town would add little or nothing to your salary.

    Nobody other than the Air America people can command these huge figures at sign-on.

    Clearly they're burning through large amounts of money. When a no-namer like Lizz Winstead could have been so overpaid, it gives a great deal of insight into the overall operation.

    By Blogger Brian Maloney, at 25 May, 2005 15:27  

  • TCO:

    Stations based in Canada or Mexico are rated just like any others. If they reach an American market and have listeners, they get ratings credit. This is an issue in San Diego, Detroit, Buffalo and a few other places.

    By Blogger Brian Maloney, at 25 May, 2005 15:29  

  • Just wanted to comment that KPOJ in Portland got rid of the filth-spewing rants of "morning sedition" in favor of a local guy who's name I can't remember. He's about as exciting as a lecture on how to get the most out of your weedeater but he's less offensive anyway. Wonder if that is any kind of shakeup or experimentation with format.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 25 May, 2005 16:32  

  • By Anonymous, at 2:29 PM

    About the investors--I don't know if this is the third time around going after them, but I do think that they will have trouble getting more money from investors.The pressure is on to get good paying adds, and that is not going well.

    Most of the investors so far were in this for the message, probably a priority over $$$. But, both the vehicle to deliver the message is at best flat (ratings)and just as important many "Independents", "Progressives" and "Liberals" are disappointed with the content of AAR.
    I am an "Independent" and feel that AAR has blown it, and if you check out the AAR blogs and forums, and look at the articles in "progressive and liberal" mags and websites, you will see that many feel the same. I find this all very unfortunate because I feel that there are too many voices out their that slant the facts to fit into their perspective, and AAR is now just part of the crowd. I was hoping that AAR would not be so angry or so black and white in its content.( this is why I like Brian maloney's blog, because I feel that he is open minded)

    So, I presume that many of AAR's investors see that both the message and the management are failing. This means that AAR has to find different types of investors, the ones that focus more on $$$. This I believe will be very hard.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 25 May, 2005 16:44  

  • Anonymous said...
    By Anonymous, at 2:29 PM

    --oops meant to sign this post of mine.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 25 May, 2005 16:47  

  • The 12+ numbers have some relevance. As they continually fall in the ratings, unless EVERY SINGLE former lister is outside 25-54, there's not much potential audience left. The law of averages says that at least some of the dropoff has come at the expense of 25-54. And AAR as of yet has not come forth with ANY sort of evidence to disprove the naysayers.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 25 May, 2005 16:54  

  • --Mike Malloy of AAR announced that management called him and told him to stop calling President Bush Dumb ( or something)--AAR audience understandably is mad, also mad about Jerry Springer and switching to XM for Serius. I mean, Rush could call Clinton anything he wanted too--why is AAR censoring??? I'd say $$$$

    Example FROM THE AAR BLOG:
    And this Explains the Exclusive XM deal. get Mike Malloy off Sirius when he is live and stick him Tape Delay late at night. where people can't hear him.

    Danny Goldberg and AAR managment are the Dumb Bastards for Screwing the Sirius Subscribers and selling out AAR to XM/Clear Channel that butchers the line up go and check out both XM and the Local Clear Channels line up and you will see they don't air the full line up. in fact some stations only Air That Borring blow hard Franken. listening to Franken gets on my nerves the guy is an A bigger idiot then Rush Limbow and Bill Riley.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 25 May, 2005 18:21  

  • oops that is FYI again who just posted.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 25 May, 2005 18:21  

  • More from AAR Blog (message board)---from FYI, so Brian is Springer helping out the ratings?

    As a big time fan of Unfiltered, I was very upset when the show was disbanded in favor of Jerry Springer, who I am not particularly fond of (to put it mildly).
    I understand the argument that AAR put Springer on to try and capture new listeners in the midwest, but I'm wondering if that strategy has worked.
    Does anyone know whether or not the ratings have improved since the arrival of Springer?

    This post has been edited by frayednot: Today, 08:33 AM

    AAR putting Jerry $pringer on to attract listeners from the Midwest is an insult to people in the Midwest.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 25 May, 2005 18:27  

  • Looks like Franken and Rhodes are going to Plan B: Force stations to carry AAR programming. They're appearing at a forum trying to get the 'Broadcasting Fairness Doctrine' reinstated. Something Rhodes harps about ad infinitum on her show. The doctrine forced broadcasters to air opposing views.

    (if this *were* reinstated I'd love to see CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS, and rest of the MSM adhere to it :-)

    David Brock to Appear at Forum to Discuss the State of the Media. Panel includes Rhodes and Franken:

    By Blogger Lidsville, at 25 May, 2005 21:20  

  • This press release is hilarious:

    Plan B Technologies Advertises with Randi Rhodes on Air America

    Here's a link to the Plan B website:

    Not sure that deal warranted a press release :-)

    By Blogger Lidsville, at 25 May, 2005 21:25  

  • Want to see something funny?

    Try going to

    See what pops up. Not obscene, don't worry.

    By Blogger Brian Maloney, at 25 May, 2005 22:25  

  • As for Springer, most AA stations have only recently added him.

    Only a few talkers have had him on long enough to make any kind of assessment and we don't have the hourly ratings breakdowns we need to make that determination.

    By Blogger Brian Maloney, at 25 May, 2005 22:37  

  • Small World Department:

    My wife tells me she knew Air America host Rachel Maddow in high school, serving with her in student government.

    I didn't know this.

    By Blogger Brian Maloney, at 25 May, 2005 22:56  

  • Not defending AAR but I'd like to make a SoCal observation.
    I live in Orange County which is between both LA and San Diego and I've tried tuning in these AAR stations from multiple locations and at various times. Upshot: their signals are ridiculously weak, virtually unlistenable from any distance at all. May explain somewhat why their ratings are so low. Considering how many progressives reside in Calif., if they had the power and range of a KFI, perhaps story might be different.
    btw: I haven't heard enough AAR to pass judgement but not impressed with the little I've heard so far.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 26 May, 2005 00:24  

  • Air America likes to talk about adding stations, but the key question, of course, is what kind of stations. For instance, one affiliate, KCAA in Loma Linda, California, has only 1,400 watts. Its signal is so weak that the station has resorted to posting this message on its Website:
    "Many of our listeners have expressed the desire to hear KCAA while travelling outside the station's listening area. In the process of working on solutions, we discovered that some of our listeners already enjoy KCAA in their automobiles, homes, and businesses in full fidelity with no interference. All it takes is a cell phone with unlimited internet access. With this wireless service, you can instantly hear KCAA's high quality internet stream in your automobile wherever you travel."

    Can you believe it? KCAA's signal is so puny that management is actually advising people to try listening with their cell phones! How pathetic is that?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 26 May, 2005 00:43  

  • Re: The comment (by another Anonymous) regarding what would happen if Air America stations in California had more power. It might make some difference, but perhaps not much. Note that KTLK in Los Angeles has 50,000 watts, yet still manages to score only a 0.4 rating in the latest Arbitrons.

    Similarly, WCKY in Cincinnati also has 50,000 watts, but does only slightly better, with a 1.0 share. And that's only half of the ratings the same station got with an oldies format in Summer 2004.

    So ... draw your own conclusions.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 26 May, 2005 01:04  

  • Make that Spring 2004 for WCKY's 2.0 ratings. The Summer 2004 share was 1.5 -- still better than the station's current ratings with Air America.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 26 May, 2005 01:10  

  • Here in Los Angeles since liberal KTLK started on AM 1150, I have seen exactly one billboard promoting it, and heard absolutely no buzz regarding the station.

    In contrast, I see bumper stickers every day for the leftist Pacifica station KPFK, and if I miss a day of Larry Elder (KABC), Dennis Prager (KRLA) or John and Ken (KFI) I can nearly always find someone to fill me in. The publicity-free launch of KTLK seems to have been very poorly executed.

    I've liked KABC for years, but less so since Hannity and Bill O'Reilly came on. We can already get their stuff on TV, and they are OK...but still its kind of annoying. It seems as if KABC doesnt care enough to develop a full lineup of original programming and is filling time with what's easy to obtain.

    Mike in L.A.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 26 May, 2005 02:25  

  • Brian--I'm guessing you're referring to the 12+ Boston ratings for AAR, which are on Neither WKOX or WXKS show up at all! Even a rimshotter from Nashua NH (WFNQ-FM with a new "Frank" format) shows up, but not the 2 "prog. talk" stations.

    I don't know what the 25-54 ratings for the Boston market are; I believe they're only given to Arb. subscribers and are not posted on the Web. Am guessing they don't show up there, either.

    I still say WKOX and WXKS can do well with their signals in the Boston area though admittedly it can be a bit weaker in the suburbs. As for promotion, there aren't too many newspaper ads or billboards BUT many stories in the Globe and Herald (each devoted several articles to Stephanie Miller when she visited), and if you're a political junkie on the Left, how can you NOT know that Air America is around? The question is, do they bother to listen?

    There's talk about this on the radio-info board. One station owner, who seems to be a liberal, said on there that one reason for this is that AAR programming is simply lousy.--Bob Nelson

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 27 May, 2005 02:40  

  • What's with this obsession with trying to beat down AAR? You can't let the opposition have any voice at all? If they are doing as badly as you say, why are you so concerned with kicking them down even further? Are you that afraid of them? Are you afraid that they are showing the world what the extreme right wing is all about? That you are cowards and low-lifes?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 27 May, 2005 14:10  

  • To answer the question above: I simply don't like be BS'd by AAR cheerleaders. I could care less whether or not they succeed, but I do take offense when the liberal media incessantly sings their praises without facts or opposing views. I don't think thats fair.

    By Blogger Lidsville, at 27 May, 2005 15:26  

  • No, part of it is schadenfraude, the practice of taking delight in the miseries of others. After liberal-controlled media (especially on TV & in papers) went too far, in came conservative talk radio/Net/publishing to give US a voice. (And had it not been for
    Reagan repealing the Fairness
    Doctrine, it wouldn't exist at all!)

    The libs have tried various talk hosts but have yet to find their "Rush". People like me just have to laugh when we see something like Air America get tons of mainstream media hype, but it fails to deliver. For example, the website for Boston's Air America stations contains a puff piece for them...but where were similar pieces about conservative hosts?

    One Boston-area radio station owner (not Air America) who is definitely on the liberal side politically came out and said AAR is failing because of poor programming. Sure, let the libs have their talk radio but from what I've hear, Air America ain't it.

    PS--I hear _callers_ of all political stripes voice opinions on conservative shows, but liberal shows seem to just be an amen corner for the Left. No conflict/debate= yawn.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 28 May, 2005 03:22  

  • oops, I mean the website for Boston's Air America contains a puff piece from TV (WBZ-TV 4, CBS)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 28 May, 2005 12:23  

  • I don't have any problem with a variety of viewpoints in talk radio. I have been a part of several stations that had both liberals and conservatives in the lineup.

    At the last station I was a token conservative and I enjoyed getting lots of liberal callers, something that doesn't happen on all-right stations.

    But when that station took a harder left turn, ratings plunged.

    With AAR, the other poster is right, it's an issue of asserting success dishonestly. The liberal media's constant cheerleading, as pointed out above, just isn't to be believed.

    I took great delight in pointing out what happened in Boston, where the Boston's Globe's full page hype did nothing for the two local stations, which actually fell so low in the ratings that they didn't even chart this month.

    By Blogger Brian Maloney, at 28 May, 2005 12:26  

  • I'm told the city links above have been changed and no longer work. I'm not sure why.

    To get around this, simply go to and click on the "ratings" tab.

    By Blogger Brian Maloney, at 28 May, 2005 12:28  

  • Providence ratings have been withheld from the public, by the way, so it will be two months before we get an update on WHJJ's continuing slide.

    By Blogger Brian Maloney, at 28 May, 2005 12:29  

  • Regarding this comment: "What's with this obsession with trying to beat down AAR? You can't let the opposition have any voice at all? ... Are you afraid that they are showing the world what the extreme right wing is all about?"

    To the contrary, we're enjoying Air America's ratings debacle because it's showing the world what the LEFT wing is all about. For decades, liberals have owned the airwaves and claimed they represented mainstream America.

    Well ... now the truth is coming out. As the ratings reveal, YOU'RE the extremists, and we're the mainstream. You can't even compete on a level playing field without involuntary taxpayer assistance (see "NPR").

    That's why we're enjoying it. Get it now?

    P.S. It's not up to conservatives to "let" the opposition have a voice. It's up to liberals to find a voice that succeeds in a competitive environment.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 28 May, 2005 15:17  

  • I did not even know Air America was on in SF. I might have to listen to a show or two for comedic relief.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 29 May, 2005 01:26  

  • Some theories behind WABC decilne:
    The Yankees moved from WABC to WCBS, and probably took quite a few listeners with them.
    New York and New Jersey just made it illegal to use a cell phone when driving, which makes it much much harder to participate in WABC's style of call-in talk radio.
    Sean Hannity, on WABC, was local in New York City until he went national recently. I think his new national-oriented format reduces interest for New York City viewers.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 29 May, 2005 07:45  

  • I heard a talk host on WRKO named Jay Diamond who's a liberal but he seems entertaining and it sounded like listeners of all political views called in (the guest was a socialist who feels that the "public" should take over the top 500 corporations in the US, etc.) Not all libtalk is bad but what I've heard of Air America is pretty lame, and it shows in the ratings.--Bob Nelson

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 30 May, 2005 00:50  

  • I love to see you righties squirm. Have you heard of Randi Rhodes? Everyone loves to talk about Franken but the real threat to the corporate owned right wing media is Randi. Did you know that Randi beat Rush in his home town? Do you realize that Rush tried to force clear channel not to carry her show? I smell panic. Also notice you don't mention the record breaking live streaming numbers AAR has acheived. This is the tipping point. Conservative talk has peaked.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 30 May, 2005 04:47  

  • I work in (music) radio and have seen the inside of many Arbitron books through the years. I want to make it clear that if a station is a no show 12+ there is a 0% chance that they show up in specific demos such as 25-54. There seems to be a misconception that 12+ and 25-54 are two different universes. In reality, the various demos make up the 12+.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 30 May, 2005 05:01  

  • Have you heard of Randi Rhodes? Everyone loves to talk about Franken but the real threat to the corporate owned right wing media is Randi. Did you know that Randi beat Rush in his home town?

    By Anonymous, at 4:47 AM

    That's the problem. No one has heard of Randi Rhodes. The argument she constantly makes, and that you parrot, that she beat Rush in his home town is ridiculous. West Palm Beach is the 60-something size market in the country. Now that Randi is in the #1 market, New York, which, incidently, is Randi's hometown, she's nowhere.

    Randi is simply not a big time talent. She needs to go back to the minor leagues.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 30 May, 2005 07:59  

  • Bri,

    What gives with WMAL? When I lived in DC 20 years ago, people used to say that DC was unlike any other town radio-wise, because of the dominance of WMAL. I think it was even dominant over FM. It had local shows like Harden&Weaver and Trumble&Core that seemed to hit a very Washingtonian slant. And were pretty apolitical or at least centrist. Now it is all syndicated stuff. Is DC no longer a one of a kind radio town?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 30 May, 2005 09:41  

  • Randi Rhodes is a talentless hack. It's obvious she does ZERO pre-show prep from the amount of mis-information she spews. btw: I have yet to see a single *ARBITRON* rating that supports this notion that she beat Rush in West Palm Beach. Do you have a link to support that claim? I won't hold my breath. I think Rhodes is heading back to AAA, I think Garofalo and Franken are also looking at 'Plan B' as well. They know AAR is a farce and getting another round of financing for piss poor content isn't going to be easy.

    By Blogger Lidsville, at 30 May, 2005 11:01  

  • I have several responses to these comments:

    1. "I love to see you righties squirm."

    Great -- let us know the first time it happens. Right now the only squirming that's going on is in our abdomens ... because we're laughing so hard at Air America's ratings.

    2. "Did you know that Randi beat Rush in his home town?"
    Here's what I think our lefty friend is talking about -- this 2003 article: "She hosts the top-rated show on her station [in Palm Beach County, Florida], pulling better numbers than even Rush Limbaugh, whose program airs directly before hers every day."

    But that article is two years old, and even if it happened ... ummm ... they're only talking about PALM BEACH COUNTY, FLORIDA! That's not exactly the same as beating Rush in New York, and it's not the same as beating Rush on a consistent basis. It's more akin to being the tallest building in Topeka.

    Plus, it's a major stretch to call Palm Beach his "home town." He only lives there now -- Limbaugh's hometown is Cape Girardeau, Missouri, as even CBS News realizes:

    Finally, Talkers Magazine pegs Rush's audience at 14.75 million, yet, amazingly, I can't find Randi on there anywhere, even among the hosts with 1 million listeners.

    3. "Do you realize that Rush tried to force clear channel not to carry her show?"

    This looks to be just a rumor, and an old rumor at that. Here's where it apparently came from: an interview in which Randi Rhodes says, "I have actually heard that Rush has said that he would take his show elsewhere if they did anything with mine."

    Well, hearsay is hardly proof ... but in any case, Rhodes has her show now on Clear Channel, and the last I heard, Rush was still on Clear Channel stations, too. So that's a total non-issue in 2005.

    4. "I smell panic."

    ... probably coming from the Air America headquarters after the latest Arbitrons. Have you noticed that Randi isn't exactly beating Rush in cities all over America? So I hardly think Limbaugh is losing any sleep.

    5. "Also notice you don't mention the record breaking live streaming numbers AAR has acheived. This is the tipping point."

    Oh, really? And your source for that claim would be ...?

    6. "Conservative talk has peaked."

    Ah, I get it ... that must be why Talkers magazine said Limbaugh had 14.5 million listeners in 2002, yet has 14.75 million listeners today ... and that Sean Hannity's total has gone from 10.5 million to 13 million in the same amount of time ... errrr, RIGHT???

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 30 May, 2005 13:39  

  • More moonbat radio: WTOU 1350 in Akron, OH, dumped Fox Sports for prog. talk, but NOT AA. Stephanie Miller, Ed Schulz, and Thom Hartmann yes; Franken, Rhodes, no. Another (weak) station in town, WJMP, runs that.
    Is there enough demand for one moonbat station in the Rubber City, let alone two? Supposedly stations that run progressive talk (and get anemic ratings) have found that non-AA hosts get a bigger following...well, still pretty low-rated compared to conservatalk, though.--Bob Nelson

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 31 May, 2005 13:16  

  • Re: Anonymous poster who began with "I have several responses to these comments" and then followed with 6 lengthy points----

    you need to get a life!!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 01 June, 2005 15:58  

  • "..Franken but the real threat to the corporate owned right wing media is Randi.."

    This quote is hilarious! I guess the poster doesn't realize who pays (or doesn't pay) Randi's bills....You guessed it CORPORATIONS!! Now you tell me what corporation is going to continue to advertise on a radio station that targets the anarchist, anti-capitalist, pierced tongued atheists that tune into AAR? It's a losing business model: You get listeners that hate the fact you make your money from "Corporate America", they will sooner boycott the advertisers than support them. Its just a matter of time before Soros (or whomever is throwing their money away) gives up.

    By Blogger Lidsville, at 01 June, 2005 22:27  

  • Hmm? No competition in Tampa? Maybe WFLA needs a liberal counterpart to raise interest in talk radio again.

    Actually, they do have a competitor of sorts, WWBA. This station runs Tony Snow, Neal Boortz, O' Reilly, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage, Laura Ingraham, and Alan Colmes. All of these nationally known personalities disappear into a black hole in Tampa. WFLA clobbers all of them, including Hannity, who is on live but gets annihilated by their semi-local host who doubles as a top-40 morning show guy. In other words, he smashes Hannity in the ratings on his "night" job. Ouch!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 02 June, 2005 17:02  

  • "Actually, they do have a competitor of sorts, WWBA."

    WFLA 5.5
    WWBA 1.5

    WFLA Is whupping WWBA.

    By Blogger Lidsville, at 02 June, 2005 18:55  

  • WFLA Has Rush Limbaugh, that's why their ratings are through the roof.

    By Blogger Lidsville, at 02 June, 2005 20:58  

  • I would like just one example of Air America "disinformation". Every thing the likes of Rush Limbaugh says is disinformation. What do you people have in your water to make you support politics that go against your own best interests?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 03 June, 2005 05:37  

  • The latest numbers show Air America holding steady at 1.2 overall, while WABC continues to slide. In Miami, they added on .1. In Denver, they're holding steady, while the right wing talk dropped 1.4 points. In LA, AAR is up a touch and the right wing talk is down .4.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 03 June, 2005 08:35  

  • What Brian doesn't seem to understand is that political talk radio had an overall decline after the election. Air America is going to do fine. It's a new format, that has never been tried in any serious way, and they're continuing to grow.

    I just noticed they held steady in San Diego, while KOGO declined a half a point. WLIB is also up in the New York suburbs. In Nassau/Suffolk county, WLIB is up .2, while WABC dropped .2.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 03 June, 2005 08:53  

  • Brian said, "These are 12+ numbers, and industry people do use them, even if ad agencies don't."

    That's nonsense. Idustry people use the demographics. The industry uses target demographics for the same reason advertisers do, since industry people have the same goal as advertisers. Industry people are also interested in how timeslots are doing. The only people who use the 12+ numbers are those who won't pay for the Arbitron book.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 03 June, 2005 09:03  

  • From NRO website

    June 02, 2005, 9:45 a.m.
    Franken Correction

    This statement, which appeared in Ned Rice's “The Drudgery Report,” contains errors: "As opposed to Air America, whose Al Franken-hosted morning show currently draws fewer listeners in New York City than its predecessor on the dial: a veritable ratings juggernaut of all-Caribbean music and chit-chat.

    The Al Franken show is on from Noon-3 PM on WLIB/1190 AM. It is not Air America’s morning show.

    The Al Franken show did draw in more listeners in NYC than its predecessor, Caribbean music on 1190 AM: in the Winter 2005 Arbitron Audience Listening Estimates, The Al Franken Show had a cumulative weekly audience of 189,600 25-54 Adults, compared to Winter 2004 when WLIB had a “cume” audience of 150,300 during the same time. Expressed as a percentage share of average quarter listeners among 25-54 year old adults, The Al Franken Show beat the previous incarnation of WLIB 2.0-1.3.

    Jaime Horn
    Air America Radio
    New York, N.Y. 10011

    We stand corrected and apologize for the error. — Ed.

    * * *

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 03 June, 2005 12:53  

  • "Re: Anonymous poster who began with 'I have several responses to these comments' and then followed with 6 lengthy points----

    you need to get a life!!!"

    Wow, thanks for that insightful comment. Next time, try taking aim at my points instead of me personally. It's what's technically known as "debating."

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 04 June, 2005 04:39  

  • "The Al Franken Show beat the previous incarnation of WLIB 2.0-1.3."

    Yeah, but the fact remains that the overall 12-plus ratings for WLIB are 1.2, compared to the 1.3 that the station garnered when it still had a Caribbean format.

    Plus, how pathetic is it when the New York-based flagship station of a national talk radio network has to go around trying to prove "We are TOO more popular than steel drums! We are! We are! Well, ummm ... actually we aren't ... but Al Franken is, at least ... "

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 04 June, 2005 04:44  

  • Wow, thanks for that insightful comment. Next time, try taking aim at my points instead of me personally. It's what's technically known as "debating."

    By Anonymous, at 4:39 AM

    ---I agree with your point here. I appreciated that detailed post of yours.***FYI

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 06 June, 2005 14:53  

  • Not a single AAR Host on the top talk radio hosts list:

    By Blogger Lidsville, at 06 June, 2005 23:06  

  • Looks like KUMU-AM, the Air America affiliate in Honolulu, has fallen off the charts. The latest Arbitrons, which dip as far down as a 0.6 share, don't list KUMU at all -- and 0.6 is the last measurable rating I have for KUMU.

    So ... I can only conclude that yet another Air America station is losing listeners.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 07 June, 2005 03:45  

  • This just in: The ratings for Air America's Memphis affiliate have plummeted. Check it out:

    Fall 2004 ............. 1.7
    Winter 2005 ......... 1.3
    Spring 2005 P. 1 .... 0.7

    That's a nearly 50 percent drop in one ratings period. And get this: The Christian talk station, WCRV, pulled a 1.4 share -- TWICE as high as Air America's!

    Looks like in Memphis, ratings have left the building.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 08 June, 2005 19:37  

  • Why does everyone here seem to care so much about Air America so much? What, if we lose AAR we're all going to become Conservatives?

    Get real.

    Hope you all enjoy your Arbitron masturbation. Get a life.

    By Blogger John Blanco, at 09 June, 2005 09:34  

  • > Now you tell me what corporation is going to continue to advertise on a radio station that targets the anarchist, anti-capitalist, pierced tongued atheists that tune into AAR?

    HAHAH...oh, you're so close! Sadly, the reason why Hannity makes 20 mil a year and liberals make peanute is just that, CORPORATIONS! Get a clue! Hannity, Limbaugh and all of them care more about business than about people.

    > It's a losing business model: You get listeners that hate the fact you make your money from "Corporate America"

    Who you talking about? I love my liberal radio just fine, thank you.

    > they will sooner boycott the advertisers than support them.

    Yes, I will stop my food shopping and clothes buying!!!! HAHAHAH...what, what will we boycott?

    The only boycott I remember is O'Reilly's Pepsi boycott. Hell-o.

    > Its just a matter of time before Soros (or whomever is throwing their money away) gives up.

    Yeah, you guys love Soros don't ya? Ya hate a rich liberal. ATTACK ATTACK! WAKE UP!!!!! You're being brainwashed to go against your own best interests.

    You get poorer, they get richer. And you keep supporting it.

    When you get older, you'll realize how much of a jerk you are.

    By Blogger John Blanco, at 09 June, 2005 09:41  

  • To the poster above:

    Maybe you should move to North Korea? They seem to have the EXACT economical system you're looking for! While you reside in the USA you should realize that coporations EMPLOY people and communism was a complete and utter failure, just like AAR.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 09 June, 2005 13:23  

  • Why do you give this unemployed prick any semblance of crediibility..this alleged conservative is probablyi on welfare....something conservatheives supposedely loathe...

    AAr and other libs will do just fine in the new market...just be patient and dont let this jerk make you think things are bad

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10 June, 2005 04:31  

  • "Hope you all enjoy your Arbitron masturbation. Get a life." -- John Blanco

    You'd enjoy Arbitron too if Air America were succeeding. But it's not, so instead of asking yourself WHY it's not succeeding -- and why, for instance, liberal talk radio can't even gain a listening audience in San Francisco, for crying out loud -- you take juvenile potshots at the system that measures ratings.

    Which is a bit like losing the Super Bowl and bad-mouthing the $10-an-hour guy who controls the scoreboard.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 13 June, 2005 17:31  

  • I disagree that rating problems imply Air America's values don't match the mainstream or that there is no place for liberal ideas on the radio.

    First of all, we are now in an "off" election year, and post-election ratings for political talk radio is expected to be soft.

    Second, Air America is not a rant-fest like Limbaugh, Hannity or O'Reilly programming. So, reasoned discussions have a little less flair than the outrageous lies coming from the right-wing shows. Franken's show, in particular, is mostly about debunking right-wing media with facts or unedited cllips rather than direct personal attacks. (Sure, there are some, but Franken at least tries to temper them with some humor).

    The far right-wing media is acting like government mouth-pieces (FOX might as well change its name to TASS). Therefore, I think Air America serves a vital interest in getting out the opposing points of view. With the voting in this country near 50-50, there is a need for more balance in the radio industry, but difficult to achieve with a near monopoly on the right.

    Air America needs to find a way to get more energy in the programming, without stooping to the tabloid tactics on the right.

    By Blogger David Diano, at 16 June, 2005 14:53  

  • Here's my take on AAR:

    1. first of all, they hired a CEO with NO radio experience or apparently no HR experience either. In less than three months he already caused his first lawsuit (nice going, Danny boy) with mishandling Liz's termination.

    2. Then, to make things worse, he brings on a new "talent" (Springer) who is known to people in one of two lights: a circus ringleader who choreographed ridiculous trash TV that appealed to (exploited?) the lowest common denominator of TV audiences; or an outspoken far left mouthpiece. When someone says "Jerry Springer" to you, which of the above is the first thing you think of? And by the way, have you listened to him? I find it very hard since he over enunciates, repeats each sentence at least twice, and has too strong a regionalised accent.

    3. If the new CEO's hiring was to use his talent contacts, why is Springer the best he can do? Why didn't they grab Ed Schultz? Why aren't known liberals like Bill Maher, Pres. Clinton or Alec Baldwin being heard on this network? These are Tier One personalities that can really attract large audiences and get the message heard.

    4. Their stations are the worst signals in their respective markets. This was simply a great move by Clear Channel (and a few others) to test the format without having to make any investment, and to actually generate more $ for the signal than they were getting before.

    5. WABC in NY had a huge book last Fall because they spent millions in promotion. Their current drop in ratings is simply the post downcurve of that promotion...speaking of which, if AAR really wanted to make a pop on the ratings, the Spring survey (mid April - May), which just concluded, is where they should've been spending heavily in key markets. I don't know about you, but I didn't see any billboards, print, or TV ads in my market.

    Conclusion: AAR has decided to do it "their way" and disregard any of the proven pathways and methods to successfully grow a radio network. Too bad...they really could've been somebody one day...a real contender...(sigh)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 29 June, 2005 08:07  

  • AAR came up on satellite radio in most of the markets and they didn’t have a station here in Dallas. Even though they got a station few months ago, I have yet to listen to it. I got myself XM at the time AAR came out and very pleased with it and going to listen to AAR on XM and stream it at work in the future.
    Are people like myself showing up on any ratings system?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 20 July, 2005 12:47  

  • This blog is just so indicative of what insecure and ill-informed little bullies come from the conservative right-wing. If Air America Radio is such a piddling little speck, why even bother discussing it? If Brian Maloney was honest, which is definitely not a characteristic of a conservative today, he would make an attempt to give out the raw numbers of listeners attracted to Air America programming on a daily basis - listeners coming from so many other sources than the on-air signal of the affilliates that the network has lined up. Most listeners stream the signal, either from Air America itself, or from various afflliates who offer the programming at various times. Then there is pod-casting. And satellite. Just like all conservative rhetoric, it is based on obfuscation of facts and flim-flam. The tenor of this blog and Brian Maloney conveys the wishful thinking of those whose world of delusion would collapse if a whiff of truth were to enter, as the conservative mentality seeks to marginalize then eliminate from their ersatz reality anyone or anything who would prick their pathetic little self-centered ideological bubble. Keyword: prick

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 30 July, 2005 02:07  

  • Uh oh! I think some liberal feelings have been hurt.

    It's a shame they are so desperate to see liberal talk radio to succeed can't see AAR for the farce it's been. To be honest, I'd like to see it actually compete so we could finally pull the plug on NPR. And Al Gore's TV station is just around the corner guys -- take heart.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 31 July, 2005 21:00  

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