How do you get up to 20,000 people to turn out for a pro-war rally? Get highly rated radio stations to sponsor them! What I wonder is if they do T-shirt, CD and food giveaways too. Since that’s why most people show up to lame radio-sponsored events.
Yep, our behemoth media pals at Clear Channel are demonstrating the media’s liberal bias by sponsoring war rallies all over the place. Lest we forget, Clear Channel is the largest owner of radio stations in the country by far, along with producing the likes of the Rush Limbaugh, Dr. Laura and Matt Drudge radio programs.
I don’t think there is any clearer evidence that Clear Channel has a decidedly and devout conservative right-wing agenda which it pushes both in its on-air programming, and now with its off-air rallies.
Keep this in mind when thinking about why there is almost no liberal talk (commercial) radio out there. Media industry apologists and limp-wristed liberal apologists would have you believe that the reason why there isn’t liberal talk on the radio is because it’s not entertaining enough and doesn’t reach the common man well enough. My question is — how do they know this? Or rather, who’s actually tried it?
The “liberal radio isn’t entertaining” argument is just a smokescreen that hides any real common-sense analysis of the political economy of the radio industry. Clear Channel and other big-media barons would love for you to believe that fat ol’ Rush got so popular on the sheer force of his personality and skill. But what they leave out is that he had the force of economics on his side.
Rush’s popularity rose in the early 90s at the same time that the fortunes of many radio stations was declining, especially small AM stations. At about the same time Premiere radio networks saw an opportunity and started selling these stations talk programming like Rush and Dr. Laura that was cheaper than these stations even attempting to do their own programming. For its part, Premiere could offer cheap rates to stations because they could leverage the nationwide coverage with their advertisers.
To start with, stations didn’t sign on to carrying Rush because he was so popular and entertaining. No, simply his program was long, relatively consistent and cheap, cheap, cheap.
Then with the Telecomm Act of 1996, Clear Channel gobbled up over a thousand stations which it could saturate with its syndicated talkers, like Rush, making the programming even cheaper. Yeah, sure, I’d have mega ratings too if the largest radio station owner in the country pushed my program into just about every market in the country.
So why isn’t there a liberal equivalent to Rush Limbaugh? Well, for starters–and this is really important–it’s because Clear Channel doesn’t produce such a program. Make no doubt, if Clear Channel decides to push a program out over Premiere radio networks and onto its thousand+ stations, it will be a relative success, though sheer saturation.
Secondly, there isn’t a liberal alternative because of the dire lack of creativity in media programming and the push for competitors to copy successful formulas rather than try and provide an alternative. Hence the appearance of latecomers like Sean Hannity, who is distributed by ABC/Disney. Given that Hannity is already a known-name amongst the Limbaugh-audience, due to his being bankrolled on TV by FOX, he’s an easy low-risk choice. Plus, ABC also happens to own a bunch of AM stations to launch him on, even if it’s not nearly in the league of Clear Channel (but who is?).
As much as the mainstream media, their apologists, defenders and concubines wish to convince us otherwise, it’s all in the ownership. Clear Channel is now showing its true colors and using its bully pulpit to push its true plitical agenda. If you won’t see this, then you don’t want to.
And as Clear Channel scouts out its next series of acquisitions and expansion into other media, like TV, I can only assure you that it only gets worse from here.