Liberal talk radio hosts, including the new liberal talk network Air America Radio, are eating up the market share of conservative talkers quicker than Rush Limbaugh eats up Oxycontin.
The conservative echo chamber believes Air America Radio is going down like Jeff Gannon on an overnight press-pass to the White House. Left-wing talk radio they said, was over before it began. But like all so-called wisdom coming from the GOP noise machine, you better check the facts before you believe it. It turns out that contrary to conservative spin and wishful thinking, Air America, barely a year old, is building an audience and starting to eat in to the market share of conservative talkers who have been around for decades.
Byron York wrote on NationalReview.com, â€śThe latest radio ratings are in and they show continued bad news for Air America.â€ť But York cited only New York ratings where Air Americaâ€™s share held firm at a 1.2 rating, at a time that nearly all political talk in New York (and indeed the whole country) showed a decline in the first quarter of 2005. (Rush Limbaughâ€™s ratings tanked by 25% in New York.)
In the fourth quarter of 2004 Al Franken's ratings in New York were 44% of Rush Limbaugh's. In just 3 months that ratio rose to 60%; that is bad news, but not for Air America. In the same New York winter 2005 ratings, Air America's Randi Rhodes, on in the crucial afternoon drive-time, went up 33%, while the conservative talk shows in same time slot on WABC and WOR each went down 33%. Air America's evening show, The Majority Report starring Janeane Garofalo and Sam Seder went up 100%; while the WOR show in that time slot was flat and the WABC show went down 33%. In total audience, The Majority Report was the number one talk show in New York City in its time slot.
While knocking Air America in an op-ed piece for the Los Angeles Times, another right-wing nutcase tried to make the silly comparison between Air America Radio and conservative Bill Bennett's morning talk show, which was launched at the same time as Air America. Bennett, the right wing ethic czar turned gambling addict â€śreaches nearly 124 markets,â€ť he said. However, there are several hundred conservative talk stations across the United States and for Bennett to land on 124 of them, is not that big a deal.