The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

29 July 2007

WBAL Radio, Baltimore, Rush Limbaugh


Rush-Dumping Proves Disastrous For Baltimore Talker

If a listener research project's results recommended jumping off a cliff, would you do it?

In a way, that's the mistake made by Baltimore's WBAL- AM, which foolishly purged Rush Limbaugh from its schedule just over a year ago. Outright handing the talk titan to 'BAL's competitor, the longtime market leader immediately began a ratings slide that shows no signs of easing up.

Instead of first place, where it previously resided, the station has fallen to sixth in new ratings released on Friday. From a 6.9 market share for listeners 12 and older a year ago, it has dropped to a 4.5. WCBM- AM, which happily accepted Rush's show, has climbed from 2.7 to 3.3 during the same period.

Did we call this one, or what?

When WBAL lost its rights to air Baltimore Orioles games, Rush's show could have cushioned the blow, but management instead made this ill-fated decision:

As experienced broadcasters, with over 50-years of collective experience, our instincts have been moving us to change. But, rather than just make such an important decision on “a gut feeling,” we recently commissioned a major research project. Considerable time and effort went into researching what radio listeners in our area want.

Ouch! Where were the research subjects found, inside Nancy Pelosi's congressional office?

Along with the ratings decline, two of the station's major local personalities have called it quits and are leaving the area for San Diego and Colorado.

In WBAL's current disarray, there's an important lesson: never, ever make programming decisions based on research alone. While it can be an important tool, it's also a great way to end up right over the cliff.

FOR Boston- area talk radio updates, see our other site.

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  • Good call, Brian. You nailed it.

    And some of the comments by the folks about the demise of conservative talk radio were way off-base, as usual.

    By Blogger The Benson Report, at 29 July, 2007 20:14  

  • Much better Benson. We will make a legitimate hack out of you yet.

    By Blogger elmonica, at 29 July, 2007 21:18  

  • Ah, yes! It's foolish to dismiss our Talk Titan Rushbo!

    Despite the fact that his major advertisers ought to be Depends and Geritol.

    Fact is, I bet more of his listeners die everyday than new ones are added because of his geriatric demographic.

    Funny thing is that Bush, with his pointless wars in the Mideast and his totalitarian surveillance programs has completely turned the younger demographic against the Repbulicans.

    Enjoy your grapes while you can, Brian. They're withering on the vine.

    By Blogger John, at 30 July, 2007 03:43  

  • Great story. I just read the comments from 2006, namely some jerkwad tagged "liberal outlaw."

    Despite all your warnings, he had the unfortunate liberal tendency of assuming he's the brightest person in the blog room. Based on zero evidence.

    Too funny.

    By Blogger Jack Bauer, at 31 July, 2007 14:32  

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