Salem VP/Spoken Word Formats Phil Boyce took issue with Talk Frontier’s recent post about a possible “Obama Ratings Recession” for talk radio:
I distrust your “highly regarded” and “respected” talk radio veteran. Conservative leaning talk radio… is the backbone of talk radio going back to the Rush rise of 1992, which oddly enough coincided with Bill Clinton’s first election as President.
I find this a little amusing to tie the demise of the American Spectator during [Clinton's] second term to that of talk radio post Obama, when in fact the second Clinton term was highly successful for talk radio. Many predicted the demise of Rush when Clinton won re-election. They were all wrong. Rush went on to even greater numbers and so did talk radio as a format.
I will never forget 1996 because not only did Clinton win a second term, but I was the PD of WABC in New York that year, and was forced to fire Bob Grant, my highest rated host. I lost half my audience overnight. I knew it would take five years to get them back and I did not know if I had that much time. Happy to say I lasted 14 years programming WABC, and it took me 5 years to the book to get back to WABC’s rightful position as most listened to talk station in the nation.
So I guess you could say, during Clinton’s second term, WABC doubled it’s audience and was again the most listened to newstalk station in the nation. If there was Clinton fatigue, which seemed to hurt the Spectator, Clinton was “berry berry good” to WABC. During that 5 years I hired Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Matt Drudge, John Gambling and created a morning show called Curtis and Kuby. The re-election of Clinton propelled that growth. I have no idea what will happen to talk radio, or to the nation, if Obama wins another term. I do know that the talk radio audience is extremely loyal and hard to run off…even if we screw up the station as I did in 1996. They came back, once I got the right line-up which was probably even more conservative than the pre-1996 WABC.
Enough of the history lesson. This is a great format. Talk radio will be fine, win or lose in November. Enough of the silly hand-wringing.