Monday, December 22, 2008

NY Times Manages to Get Through Talk Radio Item With Calling it 'Hate Radio'

A surprisingly fair piece on conservative talk radio from the New York Times that manages to get through an entire story without any mention of hate radio, Air America or quoting from the goons at FAIR or Media Matters. What happened to their playbook?
Amid all the pressures on the radio industry, news-talk stations see an opportunity — and his name is Barack Obama.

After eight years of playing defense for President Bush, the conservatives who dominate talk radio are back on offense.

Hours after Mr. Obama’s election, the country’s most popular radio host, Rush Limbaugh, was talking about the “rebirth of principled opposition.”

Sean Hannity, the second highest-rated host, quickly cast his afternoon show as the home of “conservatism in exile.”

It is a lively time to be behind the microphone. One television talker, Joe Scarborough, is starting a radio show. Another, Bill O’Reilly, is ending his.

Several of the supporting actors in this year’s Republican primary are showing interest in the medium, too. Fred Thompson, the “Law & Order” star turned presidential candidate, will begin hosting a two-hour show in March, as the syndicator Westwood One is expected to announce this week. Mr. Thompson’s show would take the place of Mr. O’Reilly’s.

Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City and a Republican presidential candidate, had been in negotiations with Westwood One for Mr. O’Reilly’s time slot, according to two people with knowledge of the talks who spoke on the condition of anonymity because a deal was not struck.
I take issue with the notion that conservatives were "playing defense" for George W. Bush. Sure, on issues such as the war on terror and the Iraq invasion, radio hosts were pretty much unanimous in their defense. But many hosts, and Hannity comes to mind, were harshly critical on economic issues and consistently lamented the fact that the Bush administration wasn't on offense themselves against what they perceived as unfair treatment.

The story goes on to note several politicians will be starting up shows themselves, including Mike Huckabee, Fred Thompson and Rudy Giuliani, as well as Joe Scarborough, who's already appearing on WABC in New York. Frankly, I'm not sure any of them will succeed where those such as Hannity and Limbaugh already have, not to mention successful hosts such as Laura Ingraham, Tammy Bruce and Neal Boortz, who don't even merit any mention by the Times. Of those former pols, perhaps Scarborough has a shot at making it as he's been out of office and hasn't run for anything in some time. It seems as if the others are just looking for something to do until they run for office again. Based on his lackluster run for president, I'm not sure Fred Thompson has it in him to carry a daily show. He has filled in for Paul Harvey on those 15-minute spots and does have a folksy charm that may go over with some.

One thing we can be thankful for--the dreadful Bill O'Reilly radio show is now dead. O'Reilly just didn't translate on radio and his show, the few times I ever listened, came off more like an infomercial pushing product.

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