Sunday, March 15, 2009

A Surprising Silver Lining

Color me surprised: according to the Los Angeles Times, the ranks of local conservative talk show hosts have been thinned because of declining ad revenues. That's right, AM radio in California has dropped a number of shows, shortened the air time of some, and switched the broadcast time of others because there isn't sufficient advertising money to pay for the right wing jeremiads.

Keep in mind that these radio personalities were an important force in the recall of Governor Gray Davis and the installation of Arnold Schwarzenegger as King. That was then. Now, because the economy has tanked, many of them are gone or had their voices involuntarily muted.

But for all the anti-tax swagger and the occasional stunts by personalities like KFI's John and Ken, the reality is that conservative talk radio in California is on the wane. The economy's downturn has depressed ad revenue at stations across the state, thinning the ranks of conservative broadcasters.

For that and other reasons, stations have dropped the shows of at least half a dozen radio personalities and scaled back others, in some cases replacing them with cheaper nationally syndicated programs.

Casualties include Mark Larson in San Diego, Larry Elder and John Ziegler in Los Angeles, Melanie Morgan in San Francisco, and Phil Cowen and Mark Williams in Sacramento.

There isn't complete silence, however. John and Ken are currently all hopped up about the governor's 180 on his promise that he wouldn't raise taxes to ameliorate the staggering budget deficit and about those Republican defectors in the state legislature who voted with the Democrats to pass the new budget.

Day after day, they pound Schwarzenegger and the Republican lawmakers who joined Democrats in approving the tax increases. They are encouraging recall drives against the legislators. Their website features pictures of the governor and the lawmakers -- with their severed heads on sticks. [Emphasis added]

Nice, eh?

And, of course, many of the AM stations have replaced the local voices with the national ones because it was cheaper. The high salaries these personalities commanded just couldn't be justified by the ratings and the loss of ad revenue. Those national voices, however, won't be addressing California issues directly, and may not get even the ratings the locals had.

How ironic: the invisible hand of the market just flipped off its most vigorous supporters.

There is some justice.



Anonymous bo said...

The reasoning is all wrong, but that's the right set of heads.

4:41 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Not a victory over hate radio yet, but still a promising development. Nice catch.

1:13 PM  

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