Friday, February 12, 2010

They say you better listen to the voice of reason

Update: Mitch Berg, who actually has a successful radio program in this market, has much more.

Big news on the local media front, as KSTP, once the go-to place for conservative talk in the Twin Cities, will become the local outpost for ESPN. Brad has a lot of the details and David Brauer from MinnPost has more. A few thoughts:

  • Radio is a strange business, but the slow motion immolation of KSTP has been a sight to behold. A few years back they had a lineup you could listen to all day long, with all of it but Rush Limbaugh local. Now they are ceding pretty much everything but the afternoon drive to other stations, at least in terms of local content.
  • One of the signal dangers (bad pun, sorry) of listening to consultants is that you can get very bad advice, and the advice that the Hubbards got about the death of conservative talk radio was terrible advice. What the consultants never understood was this: while conservative talk radio was by necessity on defense during the Bush years, there was never any question that at some point the Democrats would return to power and the audience for alternative viewpoints would again increase. Rush Limbaugh's greatest successes have come during the Clinton era and now. KSTP took that success to the bank in the 1990s, but they let Limbaugh go and now a competitor is enjoying the ratings.
  • The guys that KSTP brought in, who were supposed to be a better alternative to conservative hosts like Jason Lewis and Bob Davis, were abysmal. Willie Clark was just about unlistenable and "Prebil and Murphy," whatever they were, were boring. And the ratings reflected this. It's awfully tough to do much in morning drive in this market, given the unparalleled success of Tom Barnard at KQRS, but a good morning show with a consistent format could have had a chance. These dudes weren't any good.
  • The remaining signature voices at KSTP are Joe Soucheray and Patrick Reusse. They can certainly do sports and are great together. It will do Reusse in particular a lot of good to stay within a tighter format. Reusse is a gifted storyteller and can be funny as hell, but his politics are cookie-cutter leftism of an especially dim variety and it made his morning drive show just about unlistenable. The question is whether or not Joe and Pat's shtick, which has been on the air here for 20 years, is past its sell-by date.

There's more to say about this and I'll get back to it in the coming days.



KSTP didn't willingly get rid of Limbaugh. Limbaugh sold the management rights to his show to the people the also manage Hannity's show. KSTP wanted to run Soucheray, with Hannity on re-broadcast at night, and that didn't cut it with the Limbaugh/Hanity management team.

So, because Hannity was not run at its live spot instead of Soucheray, Limbaugh Hannity went elsewhere.

Mr. D said...

Thanks for stopping by, FF.

That makes sense; I also recall KTLK wanted to make a big splash in the market and snagging Limbaugh was a huge part of their plan. It's understandable that KSTP would not have wanted to delay Soucheray to accommodate Hannity's show. So that's one unavoidable situation. Hiring Willie Clark? A different matter.

Right Hook said...

Rush's ratings in the Twin Cities also dropped because of the bone-headed move of delaying his show by an hour. I continued listening to Rush live on other stations with internet feeds.

Brad Carlson said...

After Limbaugh's show switched to KTLK in 2006, AM 1500 Program Director Steve Konrad pretty much expressed the sentiments that FF conveyed. However, then GM Todd Fisher sang a very different tune, insinuating KSTP preferred to go with the all local format.

It was at that moment I knew AM 1500 was in utter disarray. The subsequent four years definitley bore that out.

Mr. D said...

I'd forgotten about the delay of Limbaugh, RH. I don't listen to radio at work so I almost never hear his show, but that was a mistake. KSTP has made many.


I'd forgotten the disconnect between Konrad and Fisher. It explains a lot.

Night Writer said...

Some of my friends sit around every evening
And they worry about the times ahead
But everybody else is overwhelmed by indifference
And the promise of an early bed
You either shut up or get cut up, they don't wanna hear about it
It's only inches on the reel-to-reel
And the radio is in the hands of such a lot of fools
Tryin' to anaesthetise the way that you feel

That's why we all switched to blogs!

Mr. D said...

That's why we all switched to blogs!

Except Brad, who is living the dream!

Gino said...

i went blog went massage boards went bad.

in the blog, i can swing my rope in any direction, decide topics, and hand pick an audience with which to have a dialogue, and not have to deal with the pack mentality that overtakes the boards.

of course, the drawback is that i have only myself to blame for lack of success, since there is no other draw.