"Localism" In Talk Radio

@ParaTed2k (22980)
Sheboygan, Wisconsin
February 4, 2009 8:06am CST
There is a lot of talk about having the government impose something called "Localism" on Talk Radio stations. Localism means that the stations would have to reserve the majority of broadcast time to local talk shows. The logic is that radio stations are supposed to work in the "public interest", so they should limit their programming to community needs and interests. If a radio station wants to dedicate its broadcast time to local hosts and topics, that is great, however, with a few exceptions, they probably wouldn't last long. The fact is, most talk based stations only see a profit because they carry the nationally syndicated shows. Rush, Hannity, Glen Beck, Dr. Laura, Coast to CoastAM... These are like the "anchor" stores in a shopping mall. In fact, they are what keeps the entire industry afloat. Almost everyone in AM radio today owes their career to these shows. Back in the 80s when Rush Limbaugh became nationally syndicated, there were less than 200 AM stations in the US. The band was pretty much on its way out. With the huge success of the Rush Limbaugh Show, the broadcast companies started looking for other hosts to expand the industry. Since the radio stations became profitable again, local hosts were able to concentrate on the needs and interests of the community. So in reality, "localism" would throw AM Talk Radio back into the days when it had one leg in a coffin and the other on a banana peel. Some of you may think that doing away with talk radio is a good thing, but shouldn't the life or death of an industry be based on interest (or lack of) by consumers, not dragonian requirements called for by people who have no interest in the service in the first place?
3 people like this
4 responses
• United States
5 Feb 09
I have never heard of this before, but I find it funny as the two top radio stations (clear channel, and cumulus) are talking about eliminating more of their local shows, and replacing them with national shows. This sounds like something that Rush made up to scare his listeners, and make them fear the government and rely on him more.
@ParaTed2k (22980)
• Sheboygan, Wisconsin
5 Feb 09
If you are completely ignorant of the topic, I suggest you educate yourself a little more before you respond. http://www.npr.org/about/press/031017.lpfm.html Or do you think NPR is somehow a toady for Rush Limbaugh.
• United States
5 Feb 09
Para Ted, I read the article, and no where in this article does it say that what NPR is trying to do will even effect AM radio. This has to do with FM stations in the 100 watt area, most AM stations are much more powerful (WJR out of Detroit has 50,000 watts) than that. I have no idea why you would even care about these new stations, if they fail then they fail, no harm to you. Where is the right wing hate radio attack here?
@ParaTed2k (22980)
• Sheboygan, Wisconsin
6 Feb 09
The link wasn't meant to show you NPR taking one side or the other about Localism. You said it sounds like something Rush Limbaugh made up. I just showed you that it wasn't.
1 person likes this
@anniepa (27280)
• United States
5 Feb 09
This is something I wasn't at all familiar with so I looked it up and I'm still a bit confused. All I do know is the AM stations in my area already have quite a lot of local programming. The one I listen to now and then runs Limbaugh's show but there are local hosts on both before and after. They used to run Hannity but took him off, thank God...lol! Annie
1 person likes this
@ParaTed2k (22980)
• Sheboygan, Wisconsin
5 Feb 09
The market I'm in has more AM stations than most, there are a few that run syndicated shows almost exclusively on the weekdays. The ones I listen to most have a pretty even split between syndicated and local. I'm glad that the program directors are the ones who get to make the call on the ratio though, and not the FCC or worse yet, Congress. The fact is, most local shows lose money. If it weren't for the syndicated shows there wouldn't be very many AM stations left, much less profitable ones. Like it or not 4 or 5 show crews keep thousands of people employed and give companies a relatively inexpensive way to sell their soap to listeners. Localism would kill that... which I think is what the supporters of it are after.
@suspenseful (40314)
• Canada
7 Feb 09
When we drove through to Saskatoon on our annual vacations those years when my husband was working and his mother was still alive, we had our fill of these local radio stations, and those auctions, truck accidents, meetings at some place, etc. Local does not work. We have only one radio station that could be construed as religious, and even that, most of it is about local happenings. If we wanted to hear anything good we had to wait until we drove into the city and even that was local news and even though there were national talk icons and international, some were not allowed to be broadcast on the Canadian airways like a certain conservative judge. And if that freedom of choice comes in, you may be in the same boat or worse then we have up here.
@ElicBxn (61078)
• United States
4 Feb 09
Typical socialism, silence their critics