Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Why I'm not Fighting to Save AM-1230

I like being able to listen to Air America programming, and even moreso to Stephanie Miller, but I don't feel like I've got any standing to demand that Clear Channel keep the format. CC is a pretty good example of everything that is bad about 'corporate', 'media' and the conjunct 'corporate media.' So you have to wonder why they wandered into the domain of Progressive Talk in the first place.

Simple. They thought they could make a buck.

Why did they think they could make a buck? My guess is because, as many people have pointed out, the ratings are better than most of the other available syndicated programming, the audience is underserved, and the demographics are attractive to advertisers.

So why are they getting out and replacing Progressive Talk with Right Wing Blather? They say that it's because they could never figure out how to sell Progressive Talk. I'm taking them at their word.

See, I have never in my life bought a diet pill, an ED treatment, gold, or hypnosis tapes. I have obtained, since the advent of Air America, a mortgage, computer software, educational training, flowers, and legal representation. I did not once seriously consider, however, obtaining these things from any of the advertisers I heard on Progressive Talk Radio. In most cases, one would have to be pretty stupid or credulous to buy the products and services being marketed on talk radio.

Listening to Al Franken do the recorded endorsements for the Sleep-Number Bed or Go-To-My-PC was simply painful.

So, anyway, I listen(ed) to AM-1230. I buy products and services. More than I really need to, by any stretch of the imagination. Somehow, none of the folks who get my discretionary income ever mangaged to find people like me through Progressive Talk radio, and none of the people who got my ear ever got my money. That means that Clear Channel (along with AA) has failed miserably at its core business.

There is a market. I believe it will get served. I don't think Clear Channel is the entity to provide that service. For my second act of random irresponsibility of 2007, let me throw out another name: CD101. The locally-owned Alternative Rock station has, like Progressive Talk, an older and wealthier listenership than one would immediately guess. I'd like to see them buy an AM station and try a Progressive Talk format. If you have advertising contacts in the community, if you know the local market and your target demographic, if you can put a mix of local and national content on the air, you're going to have a much better chance at succeeding. As in my last out-of-left-field nomination, I have no idea if CD101's ownership is remotely interested in expanding into talk radio, let alone lefty talk. Or even if they already have tried talk radio of any flavor. I'm just saying that a business like that has a better likelihood of making it work than a formulaic monolith like CC.

So, anyway, I know the effort was successful in Madison, and if the people fighting to save Progressive Talk in Columbus win, I'll keep listening. But I'm not about to ask for any favors from, nor give any favors to, Clear Channel. And I'm not about to attend a get-rich-quick-in-real-estate seminar just to get Stand-Up news when I'm running late for work.


WestEnder said...

I would also add that I don't think Air America did a very good job of finding high quality on-air talent.

Jerry Springer is a national joke. Randy Rhoads and Burns were too irritating in voice and demeanor. And that guy on the weekends... oh boy. I don't know his real name; I just called him "peanut."

Al Franken was great, but that's it.

Stubborn Liberal said...

I now listen to Stephanie Miller online. If I need to listen to music it will be a station not owned by Clear Channel.