You’re not aware of it, but there’s quite a lot of hand-wringing inside the talk radio industry these days. The audience is aging without attracting younger listeners, many major national advertisers have avoided the format completely since the Sandra Fluke controversy, and there are fewer and fewer places to listen without being bashed in the head by right-wing ideologues.
Former WLW/Cincinnati programmer Darryl Parks writes:
Day in and day out I read excuses and quotes in industry trades with fingers of blame being pointed because no one in the radio industry wants to take any responsibility for culturally disconnected talk programs. Or worse, there are the people who have consigned themselves into thinking low ratings are OK because they’re here for the higher cause of guiding the country and saving it from the Kenyan national we have as President or those who have just given up hoping not to be the next victim as corporate radio, struggling to make its next loan interest payment, executes its latest round of air personalities. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!
The June PPM ratings are rolling in and outside of a few stations, the ratings are a disaster. The monthly ratings for many talk stations are in a free fall, displaying a product detached from all but an old, small, shrinking and worthless audience.
I talked with a top executive at one of the big radio groups recently who was bemoaning these problems, and I asked, “What happened to the 25-34 year olds who listened to my morning shows in DC in the 80s and 90s? Have they been driven away because of all of the political fear-mongering that fills most hours of contemporary talk radio?” His answer: “They’ve either stopped using radio except as a news and traffic source in the car, or they’re listening to NPR. If you look at the ratings in Washington and many other major cities now, the NPR station does better than the leading commercial talk stations.”