The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

20 August 2008

MSNBC Changes Reaffirm Lack Of Network Leadership


Ratings Speak Louder Than Fawning Press Coverage

Almost as soon as it was announced that Air America's Rachel Maddow would be taking over for Dan Abrams in cable prime time, your Radio Equalizer began to receive emails. Would this site rant and rave simply because a leftist television network has replaced one "progressive" with another?

In the past, we haven't been afraid to counter some of Maddow's Franken-esque glowing press coverage, calling attention to her lack of experience and other shortcomings. Your Radio Equalizer believes she's absorbed a bit too much of this praise, which could lead to yet another cable talk personality flame-out.

This time, however, we're not worked up over the move itself. Read on to find out why.

According to the New York Times, Maddow's insertion into the lineup is part of MSNBC's umpteenth "shakeup". In addition, we've learned from an industry source that Rachel had recently shopped her tapes to rivals and made a surprisingly determined effort to land a position at the supposedly-evil FOX News Channel! How well would this have gone over with the HuffPo/ DailyKos crowd?

From the New York Times piece:

The addition of Ms. Maddow as a prime-time host had been expected for some time. Only a month ago Mr. Griffin said she was at the top of the list to get a program at the network and was likely to secure one soon.

MSNBC has put heavy emphasis this year on presidential election coverage (it has given itself the tag line “The Place for Politics”), and it has turned to Ms. Maddow frequently both as a guest and as a substitute for its most popular host, Keith Olbermann. Mr. Olbermann’s emergence as the signature personality on MSNBC has led to its unofficial rebranding as the liberal alternative to Fox News, which is dominated by conservative hosts like Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity.

MSNBC has been known to be seeking a way to capitalize to a greater degree on Mr. Olbermann’s popularity. A program with Ms. Maddow as host will almost certainly be a closer ideological fit with Mr. Olbermann’s.

It's more than simply "capitalizing" on Olbermann's supposed popularity, as the man himself has actually taken credit for the move:

On his Daily Kos blog today, Keith Olbermann is taking some of the credit for Rachel Maddow getting her own show at 9pmET. "Let me answer the key questions in advance," he writes:

4) Yes, I had something to do with it.

5) Yes, you had something to do with it.

An insider tells TVNewser, "This is further proof that Keith Olbermann really does run MSNBC."

But Olbermann's "popularity" is only in theory, as is MSNBC's. Don't believe us? Take a look at Nielsen data released just yesterday, where it ranks a mere twenty-seventh in primetime cable overall, while rival FOX News Channel takes second, just behind USA.

As for Maddow, she's consistently been one of Air America's lowest- rated hosts, with a show that has been picked up by relatively few affiliates and an almost total inability to drive revenue growth.

Given those credentials and the network's overall non-performance, why should there be any outrage about Maddow's hiring? Isn't she a perfect fit?

As they did with Al Franken during his Air America tenure, the mainstream media seems to believe that a nonstop flow of positive coverage can lead to big ratings for their "progressive" friends. Unfortunately for them, the proof is in the pudding.

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  • Maddow trying to get on FOX -- made my day to learn that!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 20 August, 2008 09:29  

  • e Ed "HamSammich" Schultz, Maddows is a liberal up until she gets on a gravy train.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 20 August, 2008 10:35  

  • Maloney is back to blocking the truth

    Olberman is beating O'riley several times a month in 25-54 viewers

    Olberman is the only news show that has shown GROWTH. The formulia is working

    Hannity has not grown, oriley has not grown, Olberman has grown and frequently defeats BIll Oriley in the prize group 25-54

    Maloney is jealous, Maloney is a liar. The numbers are right there for you to see. Malomey does not want you to see them, as recently as Frieday Olberman beat Bill O'riley in 25-54

    deal with it Maloney
    less than 1% of America cares about right weing blowhards.....

    Stop pretending the world loves Bill oriley and Hannity and Fox news

    their audience is less than 1% of the entire population

    and Olberman is doing better than ever

    his show grows
    Oriley stays static

    deal with it man. You will never be a wing nut pundit, the hiring has gone down, the format is dead, and nobody will hire you

    Maddow will do fine
    Olberman is doing fine

    good decision

    America is sick of blowhards sucking up to the GOP, it is the sorriest thing in the world

    and Maloney you have

    you have no ideas, no clue, you exist to get on your knees and worship Limbaugh, and Faux News

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 20 August, 2008 12:40  

  • I have found myself spending more time watching MSNBC recently.
    There doe's seem to be a overall
    improvement in this cable station.
    Fox has become a joke..... believe
    I was a loyal FOX viewer in the
    past. But it is nothing but a
    McCain ad... from Hannity to
    I enjoy Maddows as she adds some
    fresh insight into the world.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 20 August, 2008 13:36  

  • The respondents can cherry pick all they want, but the summary for the week is:

    Fox News Channel was back in the top five highest rated cable news channels last week, placing fourth with an average of 1,678,000 viewers in prime time (Live+SD). CNN ranked 24th with 765,000. Both networks saw increases week-to-week.

    In Total Day, FNC was 7th (913,000)and CNN 25th (500,000).

    MSNBC was not ranked in the top 30 in either category


    By Blogger The Benson Report, at 20 August, 2008 15:13  

  • don't care one whit about cable news ratings...

    but otherwise, "filth" is completely correct about Brian Maloney's ambitions in posting this "story".

    He's a failed talk show host who cannot STAND to see anyone else have a shot that he has already failed at so many time.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 20 August, 2008 16:35  

  • TJ: "don't care one whit about cable news ratings..."

    TJ, send your resume to Air America and MSNBC at once. You'd fit right in there.

    By Blogger Brian Maloney, at 20 August, 2008 16:38  

  • My Opinion:

    MSNBC is doing a sensible thing in giving Maddow a show after Olbermann. They will attract the same audience and have good flow (Olbermann-Maddow-Olbermann). They may even have a significant audience for a short time.

    After the presidential election, they will either remain as they are and suffer ratings burn-out or revamp their shows with less politics, more oddball-celebrity-sports-car crashes-hidden cameras, whatever.

    By Blogger Chromium, at 20 August, 2008 17:27  

  • I will never watch fox or limbaugh etc. cuz I don't want to see or hear what Manipulative Crooked rich people WANT ME to see hear and buy !

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 20 August, 2008 23:37  

  • MSNBC should pick up some new viewership the folks in San Francisco with the addition of the testosterone-enhanced Ray Chill Maddow, if you catch my drift.

    But is the rest of the country going to want to watch a freak of nature?

    By Blogger The Benson Report, at 21 August, 2008 09:54  

  • Maloney

    How about posting an air-check of your former radio show. We would love to hear it.

    and what medis fawning? MSNBC will naturally promote a new sow of their's. I do not see the media hyping Maddow anywhere, with the exception of MSNBC, which would naturally hype a new television shoe.

    What's your point? MSNBC is not supposed to promote a new program?

    and speaking of how bad "progressives" do in the media. Thom Hartman defeated Rush Limbaugh in the los Angeles market recently..... I don't see Maloney uttering a peep about this. When "libs" are put on a station with a signal they do well, or at least compete.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 21 August, 2008 09:56  

  • Wow Benson. Gay-bash much?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 21 August, 2008 10:55  

  • San Fran bashing is so inane and tired. I guess the 17 million visitors San Francisco gets each year are all loons - or maybe it's just Benson.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 21 August, 2008 13:33  

  • She is a freak of nature? Why because she is gay?

    Benson, I do believe you were on the other end of Larry craig's stall quite a few times.
    Many a wing-nut are not strangers to the glory-hole

    Those who hate the queers the most are usually the biggest closet cases of all.
    Benason is the kind of guy, that unfortunatly will never be a victim of a horrible accident or violent crime, it is always the filth that live on and on and on

    I hate you wing nuts with all my heart, words can not describe what i think of filth like Benson and for that matter 90% of the filthy pig mans audience

    Every day i pray for their death and the death of their pied piper of Oxy

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 21 August, 2008 14:08  

  • How much did Fox News pay you to do this hit piece?

    Just curious.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 21 August, 2008 14:56  

  • "I guess the 17 million visitors San Francisco gets each year are all loons."

    Certainly a possibility.

    Have you considered the millions of people who refuse to visit San Francisco.

    Not just due to the over-the-top certifiable freaks and San Francisco nutcases who are seen on

    Consider the following SF tourism attractions:
    * The city is swamped with homeless people who leave their needles everywhere.
    * The weather and fog sucks.
    * It's provincial.
    * San Francisco's warranted smugness and insularity.
    * Earthquakes and the constant reminder of the impending "Big One"
    * Housing is ridiculously expensive.
    * The inhabitants wander about in a state of marijuana-addled mental fantasyland.
    * Corrupt politicians that make NYC blush.
    * The newspapers are awful, far left bird cage liners.
    * Pubic transportation is useless for most of the population.
    * The MUNI is slow and unreliable.
    * There is a fatal bus accident every year.
    * Driving sucks and parking is pure hell.

    By Blogger The Benson Report, at 21 August, 2008 15:09  

  • Benson,

    I have visited Zombietime on an occasion or two...and man oh man, I do not apologize for saying that I cannot wait for the big one to take aim at the modern-day Sodom and Gomorrah--San Francisco, and L-A too.

    Sadly I have a relative, a cousin who lives in the town of Sebastapol.

    She is a leftist and I fear a lesbian as well. Don't have that much contact with her, but when you volunteer for NPR's KQED like she told me years ago, I think that is a bit of a signal.

    And Benson, you could also describe Boston that way less one thing, the earthquakes.

    To those who live in the Gay Bay Area and who try to do the right thing--GET OUT WHILE THE GETTING IS GOOD!

    And as far as Maddow is concerned, she is a butch lesbian's ultimate wet dream--AND THAT'S ALL I'M GONNA SAY ABOUT THAT!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 21 August, 2008 19:09  

  • "San Fran bashing is so inane and tired. I guess the 17 million visitors San Francisco gets each year are all loons - or maybe it's just Benson."

    No, sadly, Benson-hurst is correct this time, SF has degenerated into a cesspool, and a tremendous embarrassment for the nation.

    What can you do, eventually the expense of the city will become prohibitive for the freaks, the extremists, the militants to reside there.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 22 August, 2008 00:05  

  • Brian Maloney ~ What happened to my last post here are you cutting off Progressive's speech now ?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 22 August, 2008 14:37  

  • We can only hope. But progressively stupid speech can be entertaining sometimes.

    By Blogger pf1, at 24 August, 2008 01:25  

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