Powered by TypePad

« The Wilsons' Civil Suit Against Evil Dick Cheney et al | Main | NSA Legislation Advances »

September 13, 2006


Paul Zrimsek

"I just feel that their appeal is becoming more selective." -- Spinal Tap manager Ian Faith

Assistant Village Idiot

Those tsunamis are tricky like that.

richard mcenroe

DAMN the free markets and their vicious repression of dissent subsidized by money stolen from handicapped children! DAMN THEM, I say!

Jimmy's Attack Rabbit

Air what?


Progessive radio will never become what Rush, et al are. They don't understand humor.

Gary Maxwell

I say the leftys say "who cares, we dont think it should make a profit anyway, that is so Walmartish." It would be entirely consistent with their socialism love affair, and its gets them out of telling us a loss in a win ( again ) or having to admit that no one wants to listen to their drivel, even over the free airwaves.


Progressive radio - the strong, silent type

Not coming to a neighborhood near you.



Re what's the frequency Kenneth (from Wikipedia):
"In 1997, the New York Daily News identified Tager as Rather's assailant based on a tip from a psychiatrist.

Tager apparently was convinced that the news media was beaming signals into his head, and demanded that Rather tell him the frequency of the signals. He is currently working as executive producer for the MSNBC news show Countdown."



--the Republican Perty--

TM's gone all southern on us, shucks. (blush)


Needs more Franken, more Garafolo.

Needs more cowbell!

JM Hanes

I liked Ace's headline even better:

Air America Files For Chapter 19, Combined Financial & Intellectual Bankruptcy


Might have helped if their primary listening customers weren't potheads living off a government dole--that and not really taking in ad dollars from the Big Evil Corporations. That's why they had to steal money from an orphanage--you know--because the other guys are "Really Evil".

Ever notice that the "reality based community" isn't based in reality and the "progressives" seldom, you know, progress?


As a progressive I had predicted the failure of Air America before it ever went on the air. Why? Soo simple.

How does radio make money? That's right, they sell advertisement. And what is advertised in the particular advertising niche of talk-radio? That's right snake oil: phoney hair growth products, how to make a million in real-estate videos, brain power increasing concoctions, become a millionaire in your spare time books and videos, financing products for the financially retarded, etc. And who would buy this snake oil? That's right, the ignorant. Therefore there is no market for progressive talk radio. Advertisers certainly know their advertising niches.


Yeah, the market for Chomsky t shirts is small, isn't it?
Goldwyn was a genius and he understood something progressives who've often had more formal education than Sam haven't:"When people don't want to come to the theater , nothing will stop them."

Thomas Morrissey


You Progs are funny.

Advertisers seek their markets,if there are enough listeners,they buy airtime.

If AA had an audience,Tin Foil manufacturers,bong makers and sexual re-assignment surgeons would have advertised on it.


Ad agencies know there markets and that's the bottom line. Sorry nice try but irrational at best.


To make this simple for the righties: If your talk radio program has six billion listeners but not one of them is dumb enough to buy the products advertised during your program then ....

Joe Mealyus

What kind of fan of the Evil Ones would miss the obvious "Red Sox Eliminated; Still Better Than Yankees On Paper" corollary?


Sam: If your talk radio program has six billion listeners but not one of them is dumb enough to buy the products advertised during your program then...

And if, like Air America, your talk radio program has six hundred listeners, there aren't enought of them to buy the products to make advertising worthwhile.


Just FYI, when doing the flight from Tokyo to Manila I'll tune up 648 on the ADF, that's an Armed forces AFN station out of Naha/Kadena, one of the larger Japanese islands way down south of the main 4 islands. Reception is good for about 2 hours. I was surprised just about a year ago to hear the lineups change, so that after 1 hour of Hannity, the next hour became the Al Franken Show, followed by Ed Schultz. Startling to be whizzing over head a foreign American military installation, listening to a tax-payer funded Armed Forces Broadcast, and for an hour straight it's nothing but the vitriolic Franken calling the Commander-In-Chief an evil, lying douchebag. Is this a nutty country or what. Anyhow, it'll be interesting if this changes the lineup, but please god don't let it be Doctor Laura.

Paul Zrimsek

Advertisers certainly know their advertising niches.

And yet progressives who are going into business selling ad time on the radio don't know. Which just goes to show how ignorant non-progressives are.

Tony Marconi

I think what Sam is saying is that Air America was selling things that no one was buying.


An even better "Greatest Headline" ever.

http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110008939>John F'n Kerry, lecturing us about "a reckless administration"

and the money quote:

Former CIA case officer Jim Marcinkowski argued the Valerie Plame leak hurt "the credibility of our case officers when they try to convince an overseas contact that their safety is of primary importance." Former CIA agent Larry Johnson, a registered Republican, said it "speaks volumes" that President Bush held no one accountable for the leak of an agent's identity. Forgotten is President George H.W. Bush's admonition that those who expose our agents are "the most insidious of traitors." CIA officers don't need Jack Bauer insurance--they need insurance against the recklessness of this administration.

oh and sam, you really need to get a new tin foil hat... the one your wearing seems to be a bit too tight!


Most of the advertisers on my local talk radio station during Rush and Hannity are local businesses - selling hurricane shutters, office equipment, mortgages, with the occasional plug for lasek eye surgery and dental implants. There's the traffic report, every 10 minutes, and the weather too.

I only recall one hair remedy commercial.

But again, how could Libs truly understand the types of things us average consumers need, and average small businesses sell?

They're part of the "different Reality" based community. I experienced that reality for about 10 years once, when I was a young adult, full of ideals that I knew how the earth turned.

But I grew up, took a bath, washed and cut my hair, and got a job. Now I contribute about 2 salaries worth of taxes each year.

I'm proud to be that American. In that reality.


It was vanity, B.S. & hype radio from the get-go. There was an audience for "progressive radio" out there, not a huge market share but it exists, and it was already loyally listening to NPR and Pacifica. Air America was a form of masturbation over the airwaves.


As Sam says: "How does radio make money? That's right, they sell advertisement. And what is advertised in the particular advertising niche of talk-radio? That's right snake oil: phoney hair growth products, how to make a million in real-estate videos, brain power increasing concoctions, become a millionaire in your spare time books and videos, financing products for the financially retarded, etc. And who would buy this snake oil? That's right, the ignorant. Therefore there is no market for progressive talk radio. Advertisers certainly know their advertising niches."

How true -- just a bunch of earnest, hard working yahoos trying to better themselves by their own -- sometimes misguided -- efforts. They should just admit that they are inferior losers and do and believe what their intellectual superiors on Air America tell them.

Sam, you have done a great job summing up the fascist, totalitarian mentality underlying todays angry left.




Ah Sam,
It all sounds so obvious now in retrospect.
Why, it was because their super-smart listeners wouldn't fall for buying all that crap on offer.
But surely Al Franken and his super-smart gang knew all of that in advance? After all, aren't you supposed to know your business before you start it? If smarts were all that you needed, then surely Al and his gang are super-endowed with them?


Well said, Mark.

I've had it with lefties who've made great grades in Gender Studies 101 at college, and therefore hold themselves out as intellectually superior. Sam sounds like just such an "intellectual."

Sam's comments smack of the worst type of ignorant elitism. First, I hear all types of ads on, for example, Rush: ice cream, colleges (so there!), and engineering job offers to name but a few - so that puts to lie Sam's baseless generalization right there.

Second, to buy into Sam's silliness, you'd have to assume that, uh, "progressives" obviously advertise their wares on more enlightened entertainment. Next time you get a chance, check out the Colbert Report and look at the ads. That's right, they're boner pills, hair loss products and "financing products for the financially retarded" among others.

Research the nominal facts you hold out to support you sweeping generalizations, Sam.


Lurking Vet

Not to continue the pile-up on Sam, but:

One of Rush's biggest and most consistent advertisers is Progressive Insurance - that's right, the source of "progressive" Peter Lewis's millions, which go to support so many leftist causes. Hey, Lewis may not like Rush's politics, but he's an astute enough businessman to know where the money is and follow it.

How many hours of advertising did Progressive buy on AA? None? Wonder why....

Ofc. Krupke

And what is advertised in the particular advertising niche of talk-radio? That's right snake oil:

We briefly had an Air America affiliate in the my area (I think it lasted a couple of months). Like conservative talk radio, they had segments where the host would read the commercial themselves. And Al Franken was pitching exactly the same products that Rush Limbaugh et al do: Select Comfort beds, Vermont Teddy Bear Company, the whole bit.

So the "Well, advertisers know liberals aren't dumb" thing is a bit of a reach.

Side note: when I first read the bit in the update about the "reception-enhancement device", I had a flash of those SNL bits where Al Franken played the reporter with the satellite dish on his head. That's the last time I think Franken was ever funny. :)


Garafalo and Franken should return to their roots on Saturday Night Live. Because remember as Stuart Smalley says: "they are good enough, and smart enough and gosh darnit people like us" Garafalo is a pretty good actress; she doesn't need to waste her time on the now defunct Air America.



And also:

"...financial products for the financially retarded."

on a thread discussing Air America's bankruptcy.

Irony, thy name is Sam.


And if, like Air America, your talk radio program has six hundred listeners, there aren't enought of them to buy the products to make advertising worthwhile.

Maybe they had more listeners, but they all thought it was the responsibility of "the little people" to support the advertisers.


Uh, Sam,
Have you ever actually heard any of the products you mentioned advertized on Rush? I might be wrong, but I suspect that you have never actually listened to the show, and are only using your baseless prejudices, err, I mean 'superior intellignece', to surmise what you are sure must be advertised on Rush's show.

Of course I could be wrong Sam. So give some examples of commercials that have run on that show that you can actually document or accept that nobody wants to listen! Fer cripes sake, NPR gets all kinds of people to associate their names with it. Barnes and Nobles and Borders would be fighting each other for time in front of this hypothetical audience you have cooked up in order to make yourself feel better.

You would think that Zoloft and Xanex would be drooling for exposure to Randi Rhode's adience, if it was of any size.


If only PBS were similarly wounded...


Jeneane is still a hotty in my book. I wish she could just get over her BDS. I'll forgive her. Natalie Maines on the other hand, looks like some kind of harpy now. It's as if her BDS is beginning to express itself in her looks, like some kind of growth hormon disorder.

John Blake

Twelve months from now, post Labor Day 2007, 'twill be interesting to read how Hanoi Jane's Feminist Girlwag network snares the twenty-something cohort. Will Germaine Greer ride a stingray into the sunset, or will she merely jump a shark?

Apropos Air America, what competent Ad Manager would shell out a dime for a talk-radio doltarama which by definition rejects half its potential audience? As they say, "Loose skirts drop shirts." Whassa matter, Jane-baby, can't hustle up another check from Ted? If you can't stand the heat, get back in the kitchen.


Hahaha TM, that's one of my favorite Monty Python skits.

Lefties don't go for extreme radio - they get worked up by NPR, they're odd that way.



Give it up, man, before your head explodes. They've got your number.

People don't advertise on Err Amerika because they know that, even if it were ever to get an audience of respectable size, that audience would still be largely unwashed impoverished tokers who couldn't, let alone wouldn't, buy anything advertised (except Kill Bush t-shirts, if they were cheap enough).

Mike G

I can't help but feel that the Left has a tone problem-- sneering, juvenile, resentful-- that the Right has overcome. (It used to have a different one, John Birch crazy.) Limbaugh from day one, when he had eight listeners, adopted a tone of mock triumphalism which goes on to this day; the braggadocio with which he announces "talent on loan from Gawwwwwd" or claims to be broadcasting from the "Limbaugh Institute for Advanced Conservative Studies" is infectiously funny (and never funnier than when some lefty takes it too seriously-- "he said he's chosen by God!") Where listening to Franken or Rhodes is like listening to your brother in law, the one for whom everything goes wrong because the world is full of idiots. Maybe only Jim Hightower even came close to adopting a more enjoyable radio persona, but being too whiny to be listenable seems to endemic to that side, at least so far.


Sam provided the proof that rabid liberals simply don't understand economics 101--which is why they fail. His "intellecutal elitism" is astounding considering the collosal amount of ignorance it portrays. Talk about your Emperor's Clothes....


Not to be all on-topic or anything, but I don't think AA's woes and Republican troubles are at all contradictory.

Americans by and large don't buy into the blandishments of the Left. Oh, they might go along with this government program or that one. They might even dislike Bush. But they don't buy into all or even most of the mind-set that goes with it.

That doesn't mean they might not also be sick of the current crop of Republicans running things. I know I am, and I voted for a lot of them once upon a time.


I take issue with daddy and his comment re: Dr Laura.....she has more insight into people in her little pinky than most of us in our brains. Also, on a one by one basis she tries, very hard to help children,(and to save salvagable relationships) our next generation of possible leaders. She is a very important person to me....one must listen more than 15 minutes to "get" what she is saying.

Bill Nigh

I didn't listen to Air America very much, for a lot of reasons, one of which is that I hate commercials. That doesn't mean that I don't want the current political scene to change drastically; one-party rule by either side has proven itself to be bad for the country, so I welcome a Democrat takeover of the House. (I REALLY welcome a wholesale house cleaning of both parties, but one step at a time)


Thanks for the comment, Sam. I could have said it myself, back in the '80s when I was a self-righteous, narcissistic, arrogant, insecure, blue-state, East Coast, urban Ivy League undergraduate. It's good to be reminded of the past, so as not to repeat it.

I encourage you to get to know people with different perspectives. I had this opportunity in law school -- an irony given that the law schools are among the most PC institutions on earth. Indeed, most students were like me--saturated with the PC left-liberal pieties of the post-'60s establishment.

Nevertheless, I interacted with Mormons just back from their mission, born-again Christians, early members of the Federalist Society, up-from-nothing success stories, and people from what snooty coast-dwellers now call "flyover country." These students believed in God, were religious, considered racial preferences unconstitutional race discrimination, valued traditional family structures, were fiercely independnet, and questioned the omnipotence and wisdom of big government.

They also were decent, honest and compassionate. More important to this little elitist, they were damned smart, most often having been graduated at the top of the class in their non-Ivy colleges. This last fact -- demonstrated in classroom discussion and study groups -- forced me to respect them intellectually. I could no longer dismiss them as slack-jawed yokels, passively regurgitating the "snake oil" of crypto-fascist right wing talk-show hosts. This, in turn, required me to examine conservative ideas on the merits rather than taking the easy out of dismissing them.

Progressives claim to value "diversity" and "critical thinking." When I was a liberal ("progressives" in those days were socialists -- maybe they still are), I made the same claims, but it was just talk. The experiences described above forced me to walk the talk. It was uncomfortable, but a valuable experience.

I invite you to try it.

Rick Ellensburg

Tom, you've missed the point.

Progressive radio DOES remain strong. It's called: NPR.

I'm serious. The root cause of AA's failure is NPR already filling their market segment.

Rick Ellensburg

P.S. And, to a lesser extent, Pacifica Radio.

Dave S.

"How does radio make money? That's right, they sell advertisement. And what is advertised in the particular advertising niche of talk-radio? That's right snake oil"

In Sam's world, businesses don't advertise in media where they will find paying customers; they advertise in media for which their particular product is approved for advertising, presumably by some sort of top-secret regulatory agency:

"Gee, I'd love to advertise my Tasteful and Excellent Products for Smart and Caring People during Al Franken's show, but I'm forbidden by Section 42, Paragraph 3 of the Media Advertising Zoning Act of 1996."

You're a genius, Sam. You people really should be running the country.

Dudley Smith

Sam must be listening to his talk shows on satellite radio, because he's right that the advertising there (at least on XM, which I have), seems to be largely made up of get-rich-quick pitches, self-hypnosis gurus, and land deals of dubious merit. The ads on local affiliate that carries Rush and Hannity are much more traditional local businesses.


"Progressive radio DOES remain strong. It's called: NPR."

Easy to succeed with (compulsory) financial support from both listeners and non-listeners. How long would they last in the free market?

Now I'm curious how my local Air America affiliaate does ratings-wise compared to NPR...

Soylent Red

Sorry to be so late for the Sam bashing.

Sam obviously doesn't understand how purchasing radio advertising works, so a quick overview is in order. The individual details may differ here and there, but here's the Reader's Digest version...

Very, very, very few instances occur where someone says "I want to advertise on Rush!" and then goes out and specifically buys that time. Ad agencies will almost never do this, although occasionally local advertisers do it on their own if they are not using an agency.

What actually happens is every station generats data based on the demographic makeup of who is listening, both overall and in specific time slots. So for instance, you have a demographic breakdown of who is listening to your PM drive, which can be further busted up into hours or fifteen minute segments (that's why commercials tend to run on the quarter hour).

What an ad agency does for a national advertiser is to research how many people of the targeted market are listening to radio, then start to break the nation down into radio markets and time slots that most closely represent the target audience.

They then purchase advertising time to have a certain ad "reach" a certain number of people with a certain "frequency". Reach is how many people hear you, frequency is how many times over a time period they hear your ad. That's crucial in how media buys are priced. You pay more for greater reach and frequency. Those reach and frequency estimates are generated by individual stations.

Local ad agencies do a similar thing but within a certain geographic area.

Thus you might have certain ads that recur on Rush, but that is not necessarily indicative that those ads are either:

a. correctly targeted to the time slot

b. targeted specifically to those who agree with Rush or any other show content.

That is because in order to achieve the correct reach and frequency, you might need to have the same ad running across a spectrum of shows like Rush or AA or Coast to Coast. If you listen to a lot of radio, you'll see that this is true more often than not. Each one will have specific ones that tend to air only on their shows, but all commercials will generally be distributed across time slots.

Another huge factor is that Rush runs on primarily all-talk format AM radio, which is disproportionately listened to by older people who tend to buy things like mattresses and hair growth formulas, regardless of party affiliation. That's why you hear the same commercials on FM Oldies stations (targeted at baby boomers) as on AM talk (targeted at early boomers and seniors). The target audiences overlap.

The final piece in the puzzle is that radio advertising tends to be pretty cheap, even moreso when you get outside the AM and PM drive times.

While Rush may be the most listened to show in America, he doesn't fall over the drive times, thus the rates during his segment are generally cheaper (that can vary depending on what else the station runs). This is one key way in which radio advertising differs from buying TV time, where the individual show is much more instrumental in setting the rates during a time slot. Radio rates are more fixed and are typically generated by the individual stations, for the reasons I already mentioned. This makes sense since if Rush were setting his own ad rates no local mom and pop would be able to afford him, plus the differing coverage of individual radio stations would make setting a national ad rate next to impossible in terms of measurement.

When Rush talks about "obscene EIB profit breaks" he is referring to the residual profit he makes from stations being able to command greater ad rates during his time slot because of his popularity than a station who doesn't carry him. Part of a syndication contract affords a kickback to the show for generating a certain level of listenership (which of course generates a higher level of ad revenue).

So what you get specifically with Rush is some national and local advertisers who are looking for a broad reach at a low cost per iteration, which allows for greater frequency. That will naturally tend to attract lower end advertisers bcause those are the people who need to maximize their ad cost efficiency.

There are a lot of factors involved in the how and who and why of radio advertising. Political affiliation is, I assure you, far down on the list of considerations (unless you are selling something with specific appeal to Republicans).

Even the partisan human factor is a lot less in play than it used to be since media numbers and buying strategies are all done with computer software now.


A progressive program that can't even get Zig-Zag advertising is pathetic.


Oh stop picking on poor Sam. You know he's right. Which of course means, Al Franken and the gang consider their progressive audience idiots. Can't have it both ways.


Progressive radio DOES remain strong. It's called: NPR.

Which survives on federal funding. A practice which should be stopped.


If anyone has ever tried listened to Rhandi Rhodes it shouldn't be any great mystery why they are going under. You can't listen to that much vitriol for very long, and any advertiser with much sense won't want to be connected with it.

Jamie McArdle

To whom is (or was) "active" water supposed to appeal? If we're talking about snake-oil, I mean...

I've been on a lot of jobsites where everybody's got hardhat-hair, many of them in the Seattle area where a burly driller is sipping a double tall nonfat almond latte (extra hot, no foam), but I have yet to see one of these guys drink "active" water. For instance.


Heck, I have to admit that the only reason I come here is those great blogads that Tom runs.

If they go, I'm turning to Markos in a second.



Everyone's a comic today, except for Soylent who puts in a rare non-fictional but solid and educational appearance.


From the Pew Research Center:

Judged by their answers to three news knowledge questions, the most informed audiences belong to the political magazines, Rush Limbaugh's radio show, the O'Reilly Factor, news magazines, and online news sources. Close behind are the regular audiences for NPR and the Daily Show.

Audiences with the highest educational achievement, by far, are the literary magazines and online news outlets. Readers of news magazines, political magazines and business magazines, listeners of Rush Limbaugh and NPR, and viewers of the Daily Show, and C-SPAN also are much more likely than the average person to have a college degree.


"Ad agencies know there markets and that's the bottom line. Sorry nice try but irrational at best."

Obviously,there isn't a market for dictionaries.


"And if, like Air America, your talk radio program has six hundred listeners, there aren't enought of them to buy the products to make advertising worthwhile."

Yes,six hundred listeners - one radio.


PUK, lucky for you my new pearl handled walking stick has not yet arrived. *air thwack*


Not completely in sync with the conversation, but still a good laugh; did you know that the ErrAmerika affiliate in San Diego has the call letters, KLSD? No lie.


Peg C.

Who listens to radio anymore? I listen to Rush on his podcasts. AND, no commercials! Of course I pay for the privilege and it's worth it.


Sad that "Air Today and Gone Tomorrow" has perished,probably like Icarus it flew too close to the blaze of the progressives intellect.
BTW,Why are "liberals" so bigoted?


"lucky for you my new pearl handled walking stick has not yet arrived. *air thwack*"

"I get no kicks from Sham Pain"




Sam seems to have gone away....

Soylent Red

And none too soon Jeff...

This place is like a verbal prison shower.

And Sam dropped the soap.

Assistant Village Idiot

PeterUK, if there's a punchline to that question, I'm dying to know it.

Re: Sam. One more person who thinks he knows what talk radio is about, but when pressed, gets the facts wrong.

Mr. Forward

Does this mean Al Franken won't be the next Senator from Minnesota?


It's been somewhat amusing to watch you fall all over yourselves attacking my little post. It was down right Pavlovian. You should read your own comments sometime. Most of the time you were arguing (sometimes unwittingly) in favor of my perspective.

The comments to this entry are closed.