New Ratings: Conservative Talk Ratings Fall
It looks like The Daily Beast’s John Avlon was correct in his posts about the decline of conservative talk radio coupled with signs that listeners may be slowly tuning in more independent and less demonizing voices. Crain’s in a report carried on Google News:
Right-wing talk radio may have worn out its welcome, at least for now. The just-out April Arbitron report shows Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity—the biggest conservative talkers in New York—stuck in a ratings slump that started back in November, right after the 2010 midterm elections.
Top-rated Mr. Limbaugh has taken the biggest fall. He had a 3.0 share of listeners for his WABC-AM midday slot—a 33% slide from October and from last April. Mr. Hannity’s afternoon show was down 28% from its fall peak, as was fellow conservative Mark Levin’s evening program.
As I’ve often noted, Hannity is a Rush Limbaugh wannabe without Limbaugh’s wit and talent. Limbaugh’s wit was clear when he first burst upon the national talk radio scene but as years went on he began to take himself seriously as a Republican Party kingmaker, which he is. He also is a broadcaster with years of broadcast experience who knows how to perfectly pace a show and make listeners come back for more.
Numbers for the station’s more centrist personalities—Don Imus in the morning and John Batchelor at night—were both up from a year earlier.
Some observers think audiences have tired of right-wing tirades, but others believe the trend may simply be cyclical.
“People wanted a break after the election,” suggested Mark Lefkowitz, media director at Furman Roth Advertising, who expects audiences to return in 2012.
It be true that audiences are a little burned out but the fact is this: conservative talk has become a bore to all but those who are totally on the same political wavelength. It’s 24/7 rage and anger where hosts and callers talk in that angry, snide voice that you also read on the internet in private political emails sent by friends who assume you think as they do and in some comments in comments sections by people who are more often than not “trolls.”
There is little variety: all Democrats and non-conservatives have horns (moderates and indepedents can never be so due to their analysis but are dumb or lack principles) and all people on the host’s political sports team have a few hours of defense attorney type broadcasts.
Yes there is entertainment value but much of that has been lost over the years as political talk on the radio and cable has become predictable.
Left wing talk is not that much better but you often need to hire the CIA, Navy Seals, and mercenaries to find it on the dial.
And even then in most markets they would declare Mission Unaccomplished.
You don’t realize the dominance of talk radio until you go on long drives as I do and in market after market after market that you drive through you only get Rush Limbaugh, or Sean Hannity or Glenn Beck.
That’s why God created XM radio (THANK YOU God).
The World War II generation had a term “Johnny One Note” named after a song Conservative talk has become Johnny One Note which is fine for partisans that want to hear the ideological and political melody but boring and predictable for those who are looking for more.
Its audience will return in 2012 because it’s election year and hosts will throw out so much red meat that CostCo could not supply them. But it’s win some, lose some for conservative talk. And I’m betting younger generations will get tired of hearing the same old, tired, angry partisan voices.
It sounds like some of them already have.
Here’s the song Johnny One Note which with a few changes is a good theme for conservative talk: