Thriving Due To Opposition: Talk Radio



There is one element in particular of the broadcast industry that is quite looking forward to President-Elect Obama taking office on the twentieth of next month: Talk Radio Producers and Announcers. Following eight years with their team in charge, these announcers are now changing their stance from defense to offense. And in a medium where emotions run high and audio spectacle is common, being the “underdogs” will, most predict, be advantageous from a ratings standpoint.

As noted in Brian Stelter’s article in  The New York Times:

Hours after Mr. Obama’s election, the country’s most popular radio host, Rush Limbaugh, was talking about the “rebirth of principled opposition.”

Sean Hannity, the second highest-rated host, quickly cast his afternoon show as the home of “conservatism in exile.”

As you may recall, I recently noted that Talk Radio has now surpassed Country Radio to become the most popular format in the nation. As polarized as American politics have become since 9-11, this is hardly shocking. Additionally, almost every day sees some event that makes political history, presenting an ongoing goldmine of material for pundits.

With 2,064 News Talk stations in the US, there is a lot of airtime that needs filling, and following a standing trend, this is handled more and more by syndication of the big names. Mr. Stetler’s article provides a great analysis of the current state of things in which he notes the icons of the format  are being signed up for the next round:

Five of the most popular syndicated names in news-talk radio — Mr. Limbaugh, Mr. Hannity, Glenn Beck, Michael Savage and Laura Ingraham — signed new contracts in the last 12 months, all but guaranteeing that they will be rallying listeners for the duration of Mr. Obama’s four-year term. Mr. Limbaugh’s landmark contract, announced in July, promised a total of $400 million through 2016.

Check out the full piece. It’s about two pages long and packs a walloping amount of info into the space. Having much more room that we do here, he is able to provide a fascinating look into the workings and logic of Talk Radio and the opportunities looming before it. Good stuff!

Photo courtesy of AMagill, used under its Creative Commons license


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