View Full Version : Twin Cities turning deaf ear to political talk radio shows

08-20-2005, 10:07 AM
Hahahaha, Serves these chickenhawks right.

From here: http://www.startribune.com/stories/462/5569938.html

Twin Cities listeners have been tuning out political talk radio.

Locally, conservative-talk icon Rush Limbaugh's show has lost 43 percent of its audience among 25- to 54-year-olds in the past year. Sean Hannity's show is down a whopping 63 percent. The shift is serious enough that "we're weighing where these shows fit for us in the future," according to Todd Fisher, general manager at KSTP (1500 AM), which carries both syndicated programs.

Many Americans also are switching the dial. While ratings for political talk radio typically drop the year after an election, experts around the country sense something else in the air. Many metro listeners are turning to local, often sports-oriented shows.

"We're not sure yet what's really going on," said talk radio veteran Ken Kohl, Clear Channel's director of news and talk programming for northern California. "In general, the talk shows that are succeeding are ones that haven't been reliving the election, or constantly harping on the polarization between liberals and conservatives."

Kohl thinks many listeners have tuned out because of "war fatigue. I don't think a lot of people want to talk or hear about the war at this point."

Tom Taylor, editor of the industry newsletter Inside Radio, maintains that for political moderates, who make up most of the radio audience, "there's not much that's attention-grabbing. Tom Cruise has grabbed more attention this summer than the war."

He may have a point. Celebrity-obsessed magazines are the single bright spot in an otherwise gloomy environment for the media industry, based on recent circulation surveys.

Shift to sports

Locally, listeners tuned into sports in greater numbers this spring. Weekday ratings at sports-talk station KFAN (1130 AM) are up 37 percent among listeners ages 25 to 54 compared with a year ago, while KSTP-AM is down 33 percent.

A look at individual shows reflects much sharper contrasts. Limbaugh's show, which airs Monday through Friday from noon to 3 p.m. on KSTP, dropped from a 7.6 percent share of listeners ages 25 to 54 in spring 2004 to 4.3 this spring. Sean Hannity's 6-8 p.m. show dropped from 6.3 to 2.3 percent.

In contrast, KFAN has seen its afternoon lineup of Dan (Common Man) Cole, Chad Hartman and Dan Barreiro post audience gains of 24 to 32 percent. Both WCCO (830 AM) and KFAN have made gains in the 26 to 29 percent range during the 6-8 p.m. time period.

What may be of particular concern to KSTP executives is the impact on shows such as Joe Soucheray's popular "Garage Logic," which airs after Limbaugh's show and has dropped in the ratings as well. Local partisan talker Chris Krok, whose show follows Hannity's, has less than 1 percent of the age-25-to-54 audience, too low to even register a rating point.

"We are giving a lot of consideration to the nationally syndicated shows like Rush and Hannity," said KSTP's Fisher. "We have really become concerned with what I would call their tight play list of topics revolving around politics. We respect them and they've done well for us, but we're really in a quandary here."

Local appeal

It isn't just a matter of politics, said Carol Grothem, broadcast manager for the Campbell Mithun ad agency. She suggested listeners may be turning more toward local talent and issues, and away from syndicated shows.

She pointed to healthy ratings for WCCO and its afternoon and morning drive-time hosts: "Don Shelby had good numbers and Dave Lee is consistent. I think local is what listeners want."

Fisher said KSTP wants to focus more on "local content and dynamic personalities that can really do more than 'us-versus-them' commentary."

The ratings shift hasn't affected partisan radio stations such as WWTC (1280 AM), known as the Patriot, or KTNF (950 AM), home to Air America programming, including Al Franken's weekday show. Both have maintained relatively stable, if small, audience shares of about 1 to 1.5 percent.

Franken is an exception, however. Locally, the Minnesota native has increased his audience share to 2.4 percent of listeners ages 25 to 54, compared with 1.3 last year.

Michael Harrison, editor and publisher of Talkers Magazine, thinks the post-election drop is still the biggest factor in the fluctuating ratings -- but stay tuned, he said:

"A lot of people in political talk radio are still on that left- versus-right formula because it's been working. You can be sure that if it continues to show a decline in ratings, they'll alter the course."

08-20-2005, 10:11 AM
They're not listening because these guys are a bunch of blow hards.

08-20-2005, 10:22 AM
Yep, and its a good sign, if that class of people can finally see the light then its a step in the right direction.