The Center for American Progress basically proposed that congress should bring back the fairness (a favorite word of the left) doctrine and ensure that the liberal viewpoint be given equal air time to conservative air time on the radio; that it be mandated by the government. From Think Progress:
While progressive talk is making inroads on commercial stations, right-wing talk reigns supreme on America’s airwaves. Some key findings:
– In the spring of 2007, of the 257 news/talk stations owned by the top five commercial station owners, 91 percent of the total weekday talk radio programming was conservative, and only 9 percent was progressive.
– Each weekday, 2,570 hours and 15 minutes of conservative talk are broadcast on these stations compared to 254 hours of progressive talk — 10 times as much conservative talk as progressive talk.
– 76 percent of the news/talk programming in the top 10 radio markets is conservative, while 24 percent is progressive.
Two common myths are frequently offered to explain the imbalance of talk radio: 1) the 1987 repeal of the Fairness Doctrine (which required broadcasters to devote airtime to contrasting views), and 2) simple consumer demand. Each of these fails to adequately explain the root cause of the problem. The report explains:
Our conclusion is that the gap between conservative and progressive talk radio is the result of multiple structural problems in the U.S. regulatory system, particularly the complete breakdown of the public trustee concept of broadcast, the elimination of clear public interest requirements for broadcasting, and the relaxation of ownership rules including the requirement of local participation in management. […]
Ultimately, these results suggest that increasing ownership diversity, both in terms of the race/ethnicity and gender of owners, as well as the number of independent local owners, will lead to more diverse programming, more choices for listeners, and more owners who are responsive to their local communities and serve the public interest.
Along with other ideas, the report recommends that national radio ownership not be allowed to exceed 5 percent of the total number of AM and FM broadcast stations, and local ownership should not exceed more than 10 percent of the total commercial radio stations in a given market.
So what they are talking about is repealing freedom of the press and stifling free speech. Contrary to the article, if progressive and liberal talk radio made money, if it was successful, if people listened, they would be on the air. The current problem is not that the man is keeping them down, it is that the talking points and hosts are negative and pessimistic. And frankly, people don’t want to hear that. Al Franken and others all act like America is the worst place on earth, the world is going to end, Americans are evil and selfish, etc etc. Regardless of whether those things are true or not, it is not what people want to hear. Also, look at the conservative hosts – Rush, Hannity, and even Savage to name a few- (none of whom I listen to anymore), they are entertainers and (with the exception of Savage, who gets past it with his “defending” of America) they are all optimists. That is what people like. Find some liberal hosts who still respect and love America, make sense, and are entertaining and here is betting that it will do ok.
Additionally, the MSM and academia is virtually dominated by the left. Before Fox News, the Right had no voice on TV. I remember watching CNN during the 2002 mid-term elections and as race after race went to Republicans, the demeanor of the hosts became worse and worse. I could tell they were trying to maintain professionalism, but they couldn’t hide it. I thought it was hilarious. So if we are going to regulate radio, we need to make sure NBC Nightly News, Olbermann, and, on the other side, O’Reilly all are perfectly balanced and unbiased. In fact the one show that would be sufficient would be Hannity and Colmes, go figure. What a stupid, stupid idea. This is why I am conservative, no matter how much the Left touts freedom of speech and civil rights, they only want it when it applies to them, not to those who think differently.
Some other comments to the blog that I thought were spot on:
“Wow…where do I start…”real news doesn’t make money.” So let me guess paying the electric bill for a 50kw AM station will now be subsidized by the government? It cost money to run a station…utilities, salaries, benefits…news flash…radio is a business!
“successful liberal talk stations that did well in the ratings and with advetisers were taken off.” Are you drunk? or stupid? That’s like any company saying “you know that product that selling so well…let’s stop making it and make more of what’s not selling!” Again radio is a business…you actually want to make money…it’s a good goal to have.
The reality is the most successful talk radio personalities in the country are actually broadcasters…not hack comedians, or political wanna-bes…actually radio people who know how to communicate. The most successful Liberal talk show hosts were radio people…DJs etc. Succes does not happen overnight…you actually have to develop and nuture the talent…not just slap ‘em down behind a mic and tell to yack…add a drop of water a poof your a radio star. Unlike 99.7% of the people commenting here…I actually speak from the voice of 25 years of experience behind a mic…I spent 13 years being pounded by program directors in a variety of formats…learning how to do radio…then I transitioned to talk and have dominated my market for the past ten years. I couldn’t imagine Al Franken sitting through a single aircheck session…and frankly it was obvious the guy had no direction or even a basic knowledge of what it takes.
It’s not a build and they will come business…you actually have to work at it!
Instead of wasting your time with silly reports…why not work on finding good broadcasters and growing some talent.” –Jake
“Progressive – Think Tank is an oxymoron. Conservatives dominate talk radio because people listen to it. It’s the “free market system”. Commercial radio. If there are no listeners then there are no ratings and consequently no advertisers, meaning no income. On the other hand, you have progressive liberals that have to buy their air time and still fail because nobody listens to their broadcasts. Progressive liberal talk radio is a miserable failure for exactly the reasons I listed above. No listeners, NO ratings,NO advertisers, NO income. Take your slanted report and do something useful with it, like placing it in the bottom of a bird cage. When you get all worked up about the dominance of Conservatives on the radio and start to yearning for the good old days and the “Fairness Doctrine”, just page through th US Constitution and read the part about FREEDOM OF SPEECH!” – Stuart
“1st Amendment: “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; . . . .”
Congress means the government not a private radio station. The word abridge means to reduce by any degree. What part of “make no law” that reduces the right of a private radio station to broadcast speech do you folks not understand.
Joseph Stalin, Mao Tse Tung, and ThinkProgress all went to the same school of red political philosophy–if you can’t win with ideas, stop the other side from talking.” -Chris