The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

28 August 2006

Huffington Post, Steve Young, Liberal Talk Radio


To Explain Libtalk's Failure, 'Progressives' Blame Network

Coming this time from a Huffington Post contributor, a fresh batch of excuses for Air America Radio's failure to succeed has now emerged.

We've recently been following this emerging trend and expect to see a great deal more of it in coming weeks. That's because a lot is on the line for the left, since Air America was widely touted as the network that could success- fully take on conservative talk's biggest stars.

Of course, asserts Steve Young, it couldn't be that the public simply doesn't want liberal talk radio. Instead, Air America's management and air talent should share the blame, he says.

But that conveniently leaves out the significant number of lefties who have tried and failed at syndicated talk radio, years before Air America even came into being: Jerry Brown, Alan Dershowitz, Mario Cuomo, Bernie Ward and many others come to mind.

Young is an author and television writer who apparently hosted his own program on Air America's low- rated Los Angeles affiliate KTLK-AM at one point.

By simply parroting conservative radio's on- air tactics, he claims, so- called "progressive" listeners have found Air America's programming insulting, rather than entertaining.

One problem: can Young give us some idea of exactly where the network's hosts have copied the styles of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity? To your Radio Equalizer, the programming resembles NPR far more than that of KFI or WABC.

And, in a real attempt to give his piece credibility, Young disarmingly starts off by "agreeing" with Bill O'Reilly:

If you listen to Bill O'Reilly, liberal talk radio, especially in the guise of Air America, is on the ropes. Has no idea what it's doing. An utter failure. Ready to go under.

If you've ever read anything I've written, even my children's novels, I don't believe I've ever agreed with anything O'Reilly has said or written...till now.

Bill may have a point.

No, liberal talk is not ready to go under, though if they don't reassess their approach soon, finding a signal strong enough to hear a broadcast past the stations's parking lot may soon be in the offing.

And in backing the erratic, Courtney Love-esque Randi Rhodes, Young quickly loses credibility:

The only successful one who doesn't do it with comedy is Air America's Randi Rhodes, but Rhodes is so well-read and radio-hardened, that her arguments far surpass the bloviator test. Simply, she doesn't bullshit her audience.

Steve, get real: Randi has a team of writers to keep her "well- read", yet she still can't seem to maintain her train of thought through an entire point. Franken's performance, however, does not seem to warrant the same praise, according to Young.

And after making many excuses for the network's weak performance, he does appear to hold out a slight bit of hope for Air America:

Let's hope that Air America changes will bring on those who know how to be smart and funny on the radio. There are those in waiting that might be ready to step in. I mean, besides me.

There's plenty of comedy talent out there, but satire isn't enough. A sense of how
you come across on radio is needed too. Funny can't be taught. Radio comes with experience. Air America, as well as local stations need to bring on the funny people and show them how radio can work for them. At the same time, programmers and station managers must be willing to learn all talk radio is not the same, least of all, liberal talk. It doesn't mean there is no room for serious discussion, or partisan cheerleading, but let's give the liberal audience some credit for being more than pablum munchers. If we don't they soon won't care what you're serving up. They won't be there to listen.

This is actually a common mistake in the radio industry: the perception that conservative talk radio succeeds because it makes its listeners laugh. Actually, it's more about an energetic and entertaining delivery, combined with a compelling sense of what matters to the listenership. Liberal hosts can't seem to put together these crucial elements.

Here, Young falls off the edge of a cliff. How could "progressives" have such a strange view of themselves?

Liberal listeners don't want an ideological hole drilled into their skulls. They just aren't angry enough to buy that. They're political weakness is they're willingness to be analytical. Being analytical necessitates taking both sides into account.

Right wing radio's success comes from angrily demonizing the other side as completely utterly uneffective. Liberal radio needs to be far more innovative to draw their audience.

Since so- called "progressives" aren't about to admit that their viewpoints are unpopular with the public, we'll watch to see how clever the excuses for libtalk's failure become in the weeks and months ahead.

ELSEWHERE: Ever wonder where Hitchcock got the idea for The Birds? Beyond a 1952 short story, the real incident occurred during August, 1961.

And at Hot Air, a big score: video of the outrageous Emmy / Conan / plane crash skit.

Thanks for your continued and vital Radio Equalizer support, via Amazon orders that begin with clicks here, regardless of what you ultimately order!

The Fool: David A Lunde for the Radio Equalizer


  • Steve Young (HuffPo contributor) will to have to watch his backside. The lefties are going to persecute him, just like the netroots and Ned Lament did with Lieberman.

    It is enjoyable to see the increasing division amongst the AAR viewers/supporters. How many more months before the NY Times eats crow and admits the AAR experiment was a failure?

    By Blogger The Benson Report, at 28 August, 2006 05:10  

  • i think it is funny that you said that progressive views just aren't supported by the public. then i suppose the 12 percentage point gap in the polls of voters who would rather see dems in Congress than repubs is because people think democrats are sexier?

    By Blogger hardcore conservative genious, at 28 August, 2006 11:20  

  • The new Republican mantra per Katherine Harris:

    "If you're not electing Christians, then in essence you are going to legislate sin,".

    By Blogger none, at 28 August, 2006 13:09  

  • First, HCG? Walk into a bar... any bar, and run that poll you're quoting up the poll.

    Back to the matter at hand: Who the hell is this dweeby Steve Young biatch? And is there a dollar level that let's you pimp your ride at Zsa Zsa's "HuffPo" shack?

    Because I'll pay serious jack just for the fun of it.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 28 August, 2006 13:43  

  • your theory tham people do not want progressie talk, does not hold water Maloney. Schultz gets good ratings, Miller as well, in addition to Hartman, and Rhodes, who used to beat Limbaugh on a monthly basis (pre Air America). NPR(arguably liberal) has ratings that rival Hannity and Limbaugh, in many markets. You can find the non-commercial ratings for yourself, thery don't list them in normal books. Air America's problem, they are on mostly rim shot, tiny stations, that constantly flip formats, from sports to leased time to religion to Air America. Give me a f*cking break Maloney. Your not fooling me or anyone else with a 1.8th of a brain. See you at the klan rally hosted by Horowitz in Florida, I hear Coulter, Hannity and Ingram are going to be there. $5000 for 2 for a weekend of right wing hate. I can hardly wait!!!! Horowitz a Jewish nazi, I love the guy. George Soros George Soros, George Soros!!!!!
    LISTEN FOR LIB RADIO DONE RIGHT, no phone calls, no sound clips even! Bare bones and entertaining!
    tonight on 10PM - midnight(EST), EVIL LIBERAL PROPAGANDA NETWORK, cracking right wing skulls (figure of speech of corse).

    The ultimate Hack from Satan Island!!! Rock on!!! Anarchy!!!!

    By Blogger Minister of Propaganda, at 28 August, 2006 19:16  

  • Blow it out your ass, hate mongering freaks of nature. November is just around the corner, people don't want liberal talk huh? Well they definatly want a Democratic congress and maybe a senate too!!!
    Tune in tonight 10PM- MID EST, for kick butt liberal talk!!! Homegrown, without the wonders of phone calls and sound clips, we kick right wing pale white ass!!
    hey T.C
    Anarchy!! Baby!!! rock on!!! Will you ever grow up??
    This board is always good for a free plug and a laugh. Most people who hit it up, are liberals anyway, here for a laugh!!

    By Blogger Minister of Propaganda, at 28 August, 2006 19:22  

  • Of course, were Elmonica intellectually honest, he would tell us that Katherine Harris is formally opposed within the national GOP, that Karl Rove won't give her the time of day, and that the NRSC head, Elizabeth Dole, tried to get others to run against her (including Joe Scarborough) *.

    Next, HCG - I presume he is going off of the, and the top of the list is the notoriously GOP-friendly Newsweek poll (/sarcasm), of 8/24-25/2006, showing a 50-38-12 lead for the donks - of registered voters. Not likely voters or actual voters, but registered voters. Using registered voters can practically guarantee a chance to provide a spin-worthy result.

    Now, if the HCG has an actual link to back up his assertion, that would be different, and would merit attention.

    By Blogger SierraSpartan, at 28 August, 2006 19:34  

  • >>Blow it out your ass, hate mongering freaks of nature.

    Vulgarity, name calling. Check.

    >>Well they definatly want a Democratic congress and maybe a senate too!!!

    Poor spelling and capitalization.
    Uh huh.

    >>we kick right wing pale white ass!!


    >>Anarchy!! Baby!!! rock on!!!

    Exclamation point overuse.

    Congratulations! You've passed the liberal ID test! Some points taken off, however, for lack of a "Bush
    is Hitler" mention. :)

    By Blogger raccoonradio, at 29 August, 2006 05:20  

  • MOP,

    I simply will not believe your statement that Randi Rhodes "used to beat Limbaugh on a monthly basis". Care to put up some numbers (with a source listed) to prove me wrong?

    Air America's problem, they are on mostly rim shot, tiny stations, that constantly flip formats, from sports to leased time to religion to Air America.

    That would probably have to do with the fact that in most existing markets, AA can't break a 2 rating. Would you waste a 50KW AM station on a 2 (or less, sometimes much less) rating? Or worse, a class C FM station? I doubt it.

    By Blogger Snowed In, at 29 August, 2006 14:39  

  • The summer ratings for NYC for WLIB are 1.1 (21 August 06)

    That's with a decent signal. I'm curious to see what the "Fall" ratings will be.

    Now here in Dallas, where they have a weaker signal they only manage to get a .4 (24 August 06)

    In Seattle, a stronghold, they've managed a 2.0 (25 August 06)

    In Portland the good news is that AAR manages a 3.5 - the bad news is that's down from 4.1 (but the date's 27 July 06 so that may change)

    San Francisco with a nice solid signal at 960 am manages to hang on to a .8 share (23 August 06).

    Overall, I'd say it's lack of talent that's failing AAR more than lack of signal.

    By Blogger Lokki, at 29 August, 2006 19:05  

  • Lokki,

    Your stealing Maloney's thunder.

    By Blogger none, at 29 August, 2006 19:26  

  • Randi's a great talk show host.

    She's always on point, and does her own thorough research.

    And what's wrong with Courtney Love, anyway?

    You neocons better watch out, or she WILL off Limbaugh, and make it look like an accident!

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 29 August, 2006 21:23  

  • You neocons better watch out, or she WILL off Limbaugh, and make it look like an accident!

    And that's supposed to make me respect her as a talk show host???

    By Blogger Snowed In, at 29 August, 2006 21:28  

  • Good God, I was referring to Courtney Love....

    Incidentally, what IS the median age of the typical neocon talk radio listener?

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 30 August, 2006 00:53  

  • Here's a fun question:

    Could (Will?) Randi Rhodes get another job in Radio if (When) Air America folds?

    What about Sam Sedar? Is he employable?

    Franken is not a question - everyone agrees (left and right, I think) that he's terrible and that his future lies in 'comedy' (sic) or politics.

    By Blogger Lokki, at 30 August, 2006 12:07  

  • J.D
    Every last generic congressional poll shows the Democrats winning, not just Newswek, goto pollingreport and see for yourself. America is not a Limbaugh crazed nation, only in your fantasy world, induced by hours of radio pollution.

    Snowed in: indeed in palm Beach Rhodes beat the drug addled, cigar chomping, 4 times divorced (yet claims to be a family values Republican) for many years, before A.A radio. He was crying over it so badly, he was demanding Rhodes be moved to another time slot, as both stations were clear channel (I believe).
    Lokki: Considering Rhodes has been in radio for many years, from rock D.J to talk show host , way before A.A, she will land another job. Lokki A.A is not folding, get used to it, you creepy fascist. Rhodes will be on the radio for a long time, guess you are not a radio geek, like I'm, she has years of experience, not a newbie, like Sedar.

    By Blogger Minister of Propaganda, at 30 August, 2006 12:37  

  • MOP,

    Got a source for the "Rush crying" portion of the story? Somehow I doubt Rush cares so much about one market. (By the way, how do her ratings compare against Rush's in their other common radio markets?)

    For that matter, where are the numbers for which I asked? All I was able to find was a Washington Post fluff piece on Ms. Rhodes, which states that her show had higher 25-54 ratings and eventually "was West Palm's No. 1 talk show". Given the leanings of the Washington Post, I would think they would happily report if Rush was demanding that Ms. Rhodes be moved because he was that insecure about his ratings. But guess what: what they actually said was that when her show was at its apex, it followed Mr. Limbaugh's on the same station.

    So, you'll understand if I don't take everything you say at face value.

    By Blogger Snowed In, at 30 August, 2006 13:25  

  • Good God, I was referring to Courtney Love....

    Pronoun trouble.

    Okay, then do please explain why Courtney Love would care about Rush Limbaugh.

    By Blogger Snowed In, at 30 August, 2006 13:28  

  • Please "wikipedia" Kurt Cobain, and connect the dots for yourself.

    My guess regarding Randi, Mike Malloy, Seder, and all other hosts that will eventually be escorted off what is fast becoming "Air AIPAC" is that they will probably wind up on one of the satellite networks.

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 01 September, 2006 00:33  

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