July 22, 2007


Fair and balanced radio? (Derek Hunter, July 21, 2007, Politico)

If there is one thing everyone (I hope) could agree on it is that corporations want to make a profit. If there were a demand for more than one liberal station in a market, it would be filled. Simply because one liberal station stays afloat doesn’t mean a second one would. It may imply it, but it doesn’t mean it. Why would any company decide to scrap a successful lineup on the off chance a new one might work as well? While that might make sense to groups funded by Hungarian billionaires, it doesn’t fly in the market.

Ratings are the most important factor in determining which shows stations program. The only exception being Air America, the failed all-liberal talk network that was supposed to take on conservative talk radio but has burned through money, management and hosts like it’s an Olympic event and Air America is going for the gold.

The fact that ratings don’t factor into this “study” exposes either a fundamental lack of understanding of how markets work or a wanton disregard for truth on the part of its authors.

To cover this glaring omission, they lay blame for conservative dominance at the feet of corporate station owners. Well, in a bizarre and twisted way that has nothing to do with their argument, they are correct -- but only in the sense that those corporations choose shows based upon each show’s ability to bring in an audience. Where free-market forces exist they see bias and an agenda. If a liberal host could draw in and hold an audience on a regular basis, that host would also be successful.

In fact, liberal talk is becoming more common every year, a trend that will probably continue. But it should earn air space through the normal marketplace of ideas.

That’s not good enough for liberals, who want a government that bullies station owners into “balancing” their lineups. Instead of competing, they prefer mandates.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 22, 2007 7:48 AM

It's all about controlling behavior and having access to information.

Posted by: Bartman at July 22, 2007 8:01 AM

As Rush often says, he is equal time.

Posted by: erp at July 22, 2007 11:06 AM

When the gov't is giving something away for free, the market responds by not wasting its time and money competing against it. That was the mistake (and hubris) of "Air America", the Voice of the Stupid Left. The smart Left has figured this out, which is why they ignored Frankenradio and put their efforts into actions which this article demonstrates.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at July 22, 2007 11:14 AM

Liberal Talk is bigger than Conservative talk radio, and it's called NPR.

Their audience has grown to the extent that they are at parity with News/Talk.

Commercial Liberal Talk hasn't failed because liberals can't hold an audience. It failed because NPR is nearly as far left, has better production quality, and NO COMMERCIALS.

Commercial Liberal Talk is an inferior product.

I'll send a shiny new dime to the person who makes the obvious/logical next step in my argument.

Posted by: Bruno at July 22, 2007 11:50 AM

Noting that mandates won't create left talk radio misses the point. The Democrats are perfectly well aware that the most likely result of reinstituting the fairness doctrine is to end talk radio entirely, and they're perfectly OK with that.

Posted by: Ibid at July 22, 2007 1:35 PM

Hillary organized the Center for American Progress and arranged funding with George Soros. It is headed by none other than John Podesta, the Chief of Staff in Bill Clinton's 2nd term.

Posted by: Gideon at July 22, 2007 1:39 PM