Fairness in Talk Radio
Every so often, the topic of a “fairness doctrine” surfaces, and I feel a need to talk about it because I have a different take on the situation.
CNN has a running series on the topic of “localism”, (which we have talked about before on my web site) and it brings this topic to the forefront again.
Here is the premise:
Democrats would like to break up a conservative “strong- hold” in AM talk radio.
However, no democrat (including President Obama) wants to be the one to get in front of a national audience and PUSH for a “free speech” killing bill in congress.
So, up pops the ugly idea of “localism.”
LOCALISM- using local markets to push an agenda. Not using the national markets or create a federal bill.
Community Organizers (aaahh, ohhh) would rally and petition to change the programming at your local radio station.
This would be done across the country, city by city.
This is, really, the “back door” method in resurrecting the fairness doctrine.
How does it work..??
Say that your local AM radio station’s programming consists of this:
9am to noon- Glenn Beck
Noon to 3pm- Rush Limbaugh
3pm to 6pm- Sean Hannity
6pm to (8 or 9pm)- Mark Levin
(I am just giving a few examples, there are dozens of “Talkers” out there.)
OK, local groups of (liberals) would organize and protest this radio station to add “fair” programming that is more “neutral.”
(The key wording here is “fair” and “neutral.”)
(Free) Radio Stations MUST carry an FCC licence. Within that licence, is a clause that they MUST be fair, in dealing with politics. If they give an hour of air-time to a democratic politician, then they MUST offer an hour of air-time to a republican.
Sorry, folks. But that is the way it is.
Many people believe that when President Reagan dropped the fairness doctrine, this stopped the practice of “fairness” in broadcast. And it did on a nation level. However, on a local level, “public airwaves” (free radio) still MUST abide by this policy, or risk losing their FCC licence, if people complain.
This is where liberals have us. On a local level.
No one could EVER say that presenting 12 hours of conservative talk radio is being “neutral.” Even Rush Limbaugh would slap you in the face if you ever called him a “neutral moderate.”
This is the strategy. This is the plan.
There will be no big announcement about it. Localism will just happen. (Because it is “grassroots.”)
You will hop into your car one day, turn on the radio, and Glenn Beck will be gone. You will check the radio dial to see if you have the wrong station. But Beck will be gone. In place of Glenn Beck, will be some local DJ taking calls on a proposed raise in garbage collection.
That’s how it will happen, folks.
One of your beloved conservative talkers will be GONE.
(OK, maybe I did put a little too much drama in there, sorry.)
I want us to do a little experiment right now. Everyone, pull out your AM radios.
What I want you to do is a slow scan of the AM radio dial in your area. Start at the bottom of the AM dial, and scan to the top. Count how many AM stations are in your area.
(OK, so you don’t want to play along, I get it.) I will tell you what you will find: If you are in a big market (big city), you might have 4 or 5 AM stations to choose from. If you are in a small market, you might have 1 or 2 AM stations.
On those AM stations will be a mix of politics, sports, financial, religious, and old music.
There is plenty of room on the AM dial for NEW political radio stations. Even in a big market.
Let’s move into the hypothetical realm for a moment:
Liberal “localism” comes to your town, and they protest your local AM Radio station that is playing 12 hours of conservative talk. If the station is FORCED by the FCC, (or they give in on their own) to the demands of “localism,” they would probably try and hold onto a 6 hour block of conservative talk. (IE- Keep Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh back to back. OR- Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity back to back.) Then, the stations would offer an alterative show(s) in the mix.
Many liberals do not understand what they are fighting for.
I believe that many liberals have a misunderstanding and are ready to pump their fists into the air and proclaim: “..Yea, we will get Limbaugh off the air and get Randi Rhodes on..”
That’s NOT the way it goes.
Localism doesn’t allow you to pick which shows get aired. It only allows you to “protest for fairness.”
Actually, I see very few stations dropping Rush Limbaugh. The fatalities would probably be Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, and the dozens of other talkers in the market. (But, that is not necessarily true. And I will explain later..!!)
OK, lets say that our local AM station chooses Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh for 6 hours, back to back- live. (Sorry, Hannity fans, I am just picking an example, here.)
Our local AM station DOES NOT HAVE TO put on a “liberal talk show” in place of Sean Hannity. The only thing that they HAVE to do is offer an alternative that gives the community a voice.
A local DJ- (host), who calls himself: independent, can take calls from your community, on any topic that the community feels is important, would satisfy the FCC’s “fairness.”
Many liberals think that if talk radio drops Hannity or Beck, they must put in someone like: Bill Press, or Ed Shultz, or Randi Rhodes.
A local DJ- host would work out fine.
(Sorry, liberals. But “localism” may not guaranty that liberal talk is brought to the airwaves.)
Remember when I talked about ” the fatalities might be Beck and Hannity.” Then I said: “that may not necessarily be true..” OK, here is where we get to that part:
Lets say that I am an investor. Lets say that I have wanted to open a talk radio station, BUT, my competition; the “Big Talker AM” has Beck, Rush, Hannity, and Levin.
There is no way that I can compete against that.
If I tried to offer “liberal talk”, it fails every time that it is tried. So, that is no good.
There is no way to start a new political AM station, as long as “Big Talker AM” has Beck, Rush, Hannity, and Levin.
If Liberals push “localism”, and force “Big Talker AM” to drop Hannity and Levin from it’s line up, this is my opportunity to start that new station.
I could start that new AM station with Sean Hannity and Mark Levin. I could play Laura Ingram while “Big Talker AM” is playing Glenn Beck. And I could place a local host on the radio, while “Big Talker AM” is playing Rush.
Folks, this would benefit Talk Radio.
Two political AM radio stations in you community would provide twice the jobs in radio. (Sales, accounting, programming, on-air talent, etc.)
Hey, I like football. But some people do not. Rush Limbaugh could talk for a half hour on football. You would now have another station to choose from, if Rush was dealing with something that you do not find interesting.
Talent, in general-
How DID Rush Limbaugh get his start..??
How did Glenn Beck get his start..??
Both started in local markets, (one station) and they grew an audience, which led them to syndication, across the country.
Today, with many AM stations playing Beck, followed by Rush, followed by Hannity, followed by Levin…
THERE IS NO ROOM for local talent to get started.
There is no room for a future “Glenn Beck” to get noticed.
Satellite Radio offers an alternative today, but you have to pay money for it.
There is a great amount of entertainment out there, and you do not hear it, because there isn’t enough hours in the day.
There is a great show called “Brian and The Judge”, and you are not going to hear it, because there is no room on the air.
Mike Church puts out a fine radio show. Not enough people get to hear it.
Neal Boortz does a great show. You probably never get to hear it because your station plays: Beck, Rush, Hannity, Levin.
I even listen to Bill Press and Stephanie Miller, who do liberal talk shows. You will never get hear them, because your station plays Beck, Rush, Hannity, and Levin.
Hell, former presidential candidate Fred Thompson does a radio show, and it is funny. You will never hear it because your station plays Beck, Rush, Hannity and Levin.
There is a lot of great talkers out there, and you never get to hear them. Because there isn’t enough hours in the day for ONE station to play them.
But if there were 2 stations, or 3 stations in your area, then we could hear all of the BIG talkers.
I find it very ironic that something the liberals are trying to do: use “localism” to break up conservative talk radio, could actually HELP conservative talk radio in the long run.
Folks, when you hear about the “fairness doctrine” or localism, don’t panic. It could actually benefit talk radio.
Localism: “..Bring it on..!!”
Written by AR Babonie for The Angry Republic
CASE IN POINT
Maybe you do not believe what I am saying, with the editorial above? Am I talking out of my ass..??
I have a GREAT “case in point” to prove my editorial.
The Market: Youngstown, Ohio.
The BIG TALKER: AM 570 WKBN
(Because of a programming decision made by the station manager, they help prove what I am saying.)
Years and years ago, 570 WKBN decided to only provide Rush Limbaugh. They use local talent to fill in the time slots before and after Rush. In doing so, they have cultivated some great local talent.
Because 570 WKBN was NOT providing Hannity and Levin, they left the door open for another AM station to open.
Which is exactly what took place. AM 1330, Youngstown; began providing Hannity, Levin, and others to that market.
Because of this, Youngstown has two channels of political talk radio.
You are able to “stream” 570 WKBN, if you are interested. However, they cannot play Rush Limbaugh over the computer because of contractual agreements. Their web address is: 570wkbn.com
They provide some great local talent. (Be warned, some of it is liberal talk.)
Or maybe, because of Halloween, you are interested in “ghosts?”
Dan Aykroyd, (the original Ghostbuster) has an editorial on “ghosts.”
It is a, mostly non- political, editorial about the supernatural with hundreds of comments by readers and their “ghost stories.”
Or, how about an old post I did 2 years ago about celebrities and global warming..??
Thanks for reading The Angry Republic