Clear Channel to end progressive talk in LA and San Francisco
I only learned of this yesterday, and was sad to hear that “Progressive talk” will end on KTLK 1150 AM on January 1st, to be replaced by wingnut radio. I can’t say I’m surprised by this. KTLK is a weak station that also carries Los Angeles Kings hockey games, UCLA football games, and other sports which often pre-empt scheduled programming, and as a result ratings suffered. KTLK has great shows like Stephanie Miller and Randi Rhodes, and also hosted Thom Hartmann before he moved show to conflict with Rhodes’, and it will be a shame when they all go off the air.
The largest media market in the world is about to lose its only non-Rightwing commercial talk radio station. Los Angeles’ KTLK 1150am will be flipped to a far Rightwing station featuring hosts like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck and other rightwing talkers. “The changes are set to take effect for the first broadcast of 2014,” according to the Los Angeles Times this afternoon.
KTLK is owned by Clear Channel Communications, Inc., the nation’s largest owner of radio stations. Clear Channel is now owned by Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital LLC. The talkers mentioned above who will be taking over the previously-progressive station are also syndicated by Clear Channel-owned Premiere Networks, the largest radio syndicator in the nation. The BRAD BLOG has long argued that the outsized control of our public airwaves enjoyed by Clear Channel/Premiere and a handful of other conglomerates —- including their ability to leverage our public airwaves (licensed from we, the people, in exchange only for their promise to serve the public interest) to distribute their own syndicator’s shows —- is a likely violation of U.S. v. Paramount, the 1948 anti-trust Supreme Court decision which found that the major movie studios could not also control the means of distribution by owning the nation’s largest theater chains at the same time.
As if ending progressive talk radio in L.A. isn’t bad enough, Clear Channel will now also reportedly be flipping its formerly progressive San Francisco talk station KNEW 960am (a move which they had threatened and then partially changed their mind about flipping in late 2011), over to a completely Right-leaning station as well, says the Times. That will leave San Francisco, arguably the most progressive city in the nation, without any commercial progressive talk radio outlet at all. But, as in L.A., listeners will still have many different Right-leaning talks outlets on our public airwaves to choose from, several of them owned by the same major corporation.
However, a commenter on this article pointed out something very important - this change amounts to a pretty big demotion for Rush Limbaugh:
Please know that I’m a progressive and a former listener to KTLK which I lived in L.A. until a year ago. And I’m a radio veteran of over four decades, so hear me out on this.
The sad truth is, due to a bad signal, zero publicity and waning quality of the available product, KTLK fell out being a contender a long time ago. They pulled a 0.3 this past month after a 0.2 and a 0.4 the previous 2 months.
However, what’s fascinating about this move is that Libaugh is being taken off the (literally, not corporately) clear channel KFI, whose 50,000 non-directional signal gets into Las Vegas in the daytime and into most of the western U.S. via skip waves at night. Here’s the coverage map.
Compare that to the anemic signal of KTLK: Here’s that map. It doesn’t go south of Long Beach…OC is where the conservative audience is, but the signal is iffy down there.
Between the two other 24/7 right wing stations, KABC (0.7) and KRLA (0.3), the total audience is right at a 1 share, meaning 99% of the available audience does NOT listen to conservative talk radio, despite the bluster and bravado. Rush being taken off KFI’s signal on 640AM and shoved up into the upper end of the AM dial at 1150AM is the radio equivalent of being put in the naughty corner.
And yes, Rush’s ratings have taken a hit on KFI since the “slut” incident.
So while this is bad news for progressive talk, the fact that Beck, Rush and Hannity will be confined to a bad signal on a bad dial location is cause for concern in right wing circles. Believe it.
So to go from a blowtorch like KFI to a station with a paltry reach like KTLK in the second largest media market in the country is a demotion indeed for El Rushbo. Like I said, I am saddened to not be able to hear Stephanie Miller or Randi Rhodes, but Limbaugh getting a karmic kick in the ass like this takes away a lot of the sting.
Many are saying that terrestrial talk radio in its last throes anyway, as many hosts have moved to Sirius and the like (beginning with Howard Stern), and it’s ironic that Limbaugh, who is credited with saving the genre on AM, may now be one of the main people who killed it.