Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) claims he heard Senators Hillary Clinton and Barbara Boxer (D-CA)discussing a "legislative fix" for the conservative power on talk radio.
There has been a great deal of chatter on this subject in the last day or so. A report called The Structural Imbalance of Political Talk Radio (courtesy of La Shawn Barber--who calls the report the Talk Radio Cry Baby report) is the genesis of the report.
In perusing the report, which discusses all kinds of matters including the sharp imbalance in talk radio in favor of conservative programming and other facts, I am struck by one thing that seems to be missing--an acknowledgement that talk radio is still a business.
Admittedly, I have not read the report in detail, but the emphasis seems to be on the fact that conservative talk radio's dominance in the market does not reflect the localism that seems the authors believe to be the primary importance of radio. But they have forgotten that talk radio is a business first.
Radio station owners are in the business of making money. To do that, they need to attract listeners. Radio stations experiment with programming all the time, looking for new talent, new ideas and new formats. When the find one that attracts listeners, they stick with it. Listeners generate ratings, which generates ad revenue, which, in turn generates profits for station owners.
Conservative talk radio succeeds, even in areas with an overwhelmingly liberal populace, like San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Detroit. The reason, listeners keep going back to the station, the advertisers are pulling in business from the listeners who buy their products and services so they keep advertising with the station.
Are there good liberal talk rasio shows out there? Probably, but they are not attracting the audience, for what ever reason. Until they can prove that the host is entertaining enough and the programming worthy of an audience, the business of talk radio will be dominated by conservatives.