Little Green Footballs

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Jumping the shark

According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, right-wing propagandists are losing market share in the talk-radio biz, at least in the Twin Cities:

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."

However:
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.

John Hinderaker, call your office.

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