Back in the summer of 2007, Josh Silver's FreePress.org, and the Center for American Progress published a very important, and little discussed report called
The Structural Imbalance of Talk Radio
It found that:
In the spring of 2007 of the 257 news/talk stations owned by the top
five commercial station owners reveals that 91 percent of the total weekday talk
radio programming is conservative, and 9 percent is progressive.
Each weekday, 2,570 hours and 15 minutes of conservative talk are broadcast on
these stations compared to 254 hours of progressive talk—10 times as much conservative talk as progressive talk.
A separate analysis of all of the news/talk stations in the top 10 radio markets
reveals that 76 percent of the programming in these markets is conservative and
24 percent is progressive, although programming is more balanced in markets such as New York and Chicago.
AND THIS was when Air America was in the game. Those days are now over, and the situation is far worse (it was getting worse long before AA's bankruptcy).
Read the report. It's very well written, unwonky, and extremely clear in both content, conclusions, and the implications if we don't repair this huge disparity in American media. Since it came out during the heat of the early presidential campaign, it was mostly buried. And of course, social networks weren't in high gear yet. The timing sucked, but the data and conclusions are dynamite.
The report concludes that the answer to the problem is not some hackneyed and outdated "Fairness Doctrine," but rather, a new set of regulations that more carefully target the licensing process, station ownership "caps," and much stronger and clearly defined "public interest" standards enforcement (with funding from levied fines being routed to public broadcasting).
Please retweet this post widely, and make sure your friends read it. It's important that we be well -armed with the facts if we are ever to put this hideous and dangerous genie back in the bottle.
Remember, conservative talk radio is protected by the first amendment, but media consolidation and licensing rules are not. But it is protected by a TV network; a twenty-four hour, seven day a week, ultra-conservative television network that makes no apologies for being an overwhelmingly partisan political operation with few ethical or civic constraints placed on it. It's called "Fox News." And of course, the conservative radio markets protect Fox in return. It's an unholy reciprocal alliance that is helping to drive this nation right off a cliff. And the front wheels have already gone over the edge.
READ: Structural Imbalance of Talk Radio (PDF)