Bad news for Limbaugh and conservative talk radio:
support from advertisers for conservative talk radio "dwindling..."
There have been tantalizing hints and news snippets. But now, radio industry insider Norman Pattiz has let the cat — a saber-tooth tiger, really — out of the bag. Talkers.com said of his keynote speech at this week's New Media Seminar:
Consistently sounding a no-nonsense tone, Pattiz assured attendees that this is a very serious time. Along those lines, Pattiz even mentioned that his comments that kicked off the enthusiastically well-received event would not be going for laughs. Touching on a variety of bullet points, the former Westwood One honcho commented that, despite the fact audience size is unchanged, there is dwindling support for conservative talk radio from national advertisers. [emphasis added]Dwindling. As in, still going down.
—Talkers.com: New Media Seminar
All Access Music Group added,
Keynote speaker NORM PATTIZ of COURTSIDE ENTERTAINMENT discussed the need to deal with change in the radio business, from the "dwindling" advertising base for conservative talk radio to competition from new technology. "The audience for conservative talk radio is still there," PATTIZ declared, but noted that the RUSH LIMBAUGH-SANDRA FLUKE controversy was used by MEDIA MATTERS FOR AMERICA and others with a political agenda against talk radio; he recounted how advertisers (many of whom were unaware they were advertising on talk radio at all) were targeted and a "tremendous chunk of advertising revenue... was wiped out." He said that the result was a loss of revenue for all talk radio, adding that media companies' debt load is placing "intense" pressure on the creative end of the business. "Those rules are changing" because servicing debt is more important to the business than the quality of the content, PATTIZ said. He criticized the practice of giving programming away online for free or "peanuts," saying that he is "going to try to do something about it."[emphasis added]I do not speak for, nor am I in any way connected with Media Matters for America. However, I find it very unlikely that they, or anyone else has "a political agenda against talk radio." I listen to talk radio every day.
—All Access Music Group: Talk Radio's Challenges The Focus At New Media Seminar
That said, I agree with much of what was said here. The Stop Rush movement does not in any way target Rush Limbaugh's audience, so it makes sense that an audience is "still there" (although it isn't what Rush claims it is, either). We already know that the radio industry has lost millions because of Rush. And we already know that some titans of the radio industry are burdened by massive debt. What we haven't heard before is such a clear statement of how damaging the backlash against Limbaugh for the Limbaugh/Fluke fiasco has been for all of talk radio. We knew about it; it is just very interesting to hear it so clearly stated.
Others likewise saw the pushback against Rush Limbaugh in political terms; Phil Boyce, the one voice defending Limbaugh and talk radio on a National Association of Broadcasters panel that recently suggested replacing talk with all-news, declared that "People on the left want to kill talk radio."
Pattiz summarized his outlook for the talk radio industry: "Those who do not adapt will be swallowed up." Yup.
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