Friday, June 03, 2011
Is Right-Wing Hate Radio Dying ?
But the most reliable proponent of right-wing hate talk for quite a while now has been talk radio. Talk radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Michael Savage, Mark Levin and others have for years spewed a daily diet of fringe right-wing hate talk (and their audience was large enough to make them all rich doing it). But there are signs now that the era of right-wing hate radio may be coming to an end.
Several months ago markets in places like Salt Lake City and Philadelphia dropped radio shows by Hannity and Beck (including the station in Philadelphia where Beck got his start). That was a clue that something was happening to right-wing talk radio. Now we learn that last Fall the number of listeners dropped precipitously (in spite of a campaign where the right was energized), and these hate-talkers have been unable to boost the numbers since then.
The ratings people are saying that Hannity and Levin have lost 28% of their listeners. It has been even worse for Rush Limbaugh -- a drop of about 33%. And Glenn Beck is down nearly 50%. Those are some huge losses, and it's starting to worry the station managers.
And to make matters even worse, the listener demographic is not the one that most advertisers want (the 18 to 54 age group). It seems that most of the listeners of right-wing talk radio are older people -- and as they die off they are not being replaced by younger listeners. In fact, the younger the listener, the less likely they are tuning in to right-wing talk radio.
But it's not just that these hate-talk jockeys can't replace their older viewers. It seems that many people have just tired of the same old hate-talk every day. As one industry insider pointed out, you can only say "Obama is a socialist" so many times and then people tire of hearing it (even many who believe it).
There are still enough listeners to keep hate talk radio going for a while, but the question now is how long? How long will it be before the advertisers decide their money is spent better in other venues? When that happens (and it looks like it coming) right-wing hate talk radio will die. And this country will be better for that.