American Morning

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October 19th, 2009
07:28 AM ET

Talk Radio: Who is listening?

By Carol Costello and Bob Ruff

A few days ago, we stopped by Graber Supplies on Highway 41 in south central Pennsylvania. Inside we found Ira Wagler, a general manager at the building, listening to the "Rush Limbaugh Show" as he worked.

Wagler is a huge fan of conservative talk radio. Five days a week he heads to work in his blue truck with the dial set to WHP 580 in Harrisburg. During the 30-minute drive he listens to local conservative talker RJ Harris. At work Glen Beck takes him to the noon hour, followed by the king of conservative radio, Rush Limbaugh.

Then it's back in the truck on the way home with another local talker, Bob Durgan. Wagler ends the day at home with the San Francisco-based conservative Michael Savage.

Talkers Magazine says that Ira is not unusual. More than 15 million people listen to Rush Limbaugh every week, and all but one of the top ten most listened to talk radio hosts are conservative.

We wanted to know why conservative talk radio is so popular.

"I started listening to Rush in '92," says Wagler, a self-described Libertarian who voted for Ron Paul for president. "I just really connected with his philosophy, his thinking, and quite a bit with his humor."

He also told Carol Costello that he listens to Limbaugh "for the serious things. He just cuts through the crap. He tells it. This is what's going on, and 90% of the time that is what's going on. He's not always right. Usually he is."

We also visited WHP 580 to talk to a couple of the radio hosts.

RJ Harris is the operations manager when he's not hosting his morning show.

Why program only conservative hosts?

"This is a for-profit business. We're no different than the other radio stations or any television network. What drives our success is ratings."

Bob Durgin hosts the popular afternoon drive time show. He thinks it is more than politics that brings listeners such as Ira Wagler to his show.

"Conservative talk show hosts," he told Carol Costello, "man, they're on the air and they're just raising cane and they're angry and they're entertaining and provocative and scintillating, and they just give themselves up! I don't think liberals can do that ... and they're just frankly boring! And I think that's why they're failing."

Well, the liberals are not exactly failing.

There are several successful talk liberal talk radio hosts, such as Ed Schultz, Thom Harmann, and Alan Colmes. But none is in a ratings league with Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Glenn Beck, whose audience sizes dwarf those of the successful liberal hosts.


Filed under: Politics • Talk Radio
soundoff (95 Responses)
  1. Randy

    I love how CNN brought in the "experts" to delegitimize conservative talk radio listeners. Actually that's a pretty conceited way to engage your opponents. The guy being interviewed, Ira Wagler, said he doesn't trust any politician. I wish more Americans on both the right and left had that attitude.

    November 16, 2009 at 9:56 pm |
  2. Julie

    I listen to Rush. He cuts to the chase. I watch Fox as they provide clear concise information about the unsavory people in the whitehouse. If not for Fox Van Jones would still be in that whitehouse. thank God for a news organization who has the backbone to report what the rest of the media is too afraid to touch. I do not find liberals smarter than conservatives.LIbs just have a lot more freeloaders

    November 9, 2009 at 2:59 pm |
  3. andy

    Whose listening? Not me, not anymore.
    The big fat drug addict loudmouth felon Limbaugh stepped across the line when he said he hoped President Obama failed. I'll never hear his voice for another millisecond.
    Beck used to be an independant full of positive words and he was connected to the people. Now, he demonizes everything democrat and sometimes cries on his show. He has taken up bodygaurds.
    Hannity calls God everyday but he refuses to give anyone else God's number so we can call. So, he tells the Fox news republican audience what God said for the world to do. I think he might be selling God's number to the Iranian Mullah Kamieni as they say much of the same things and share the same views.
    Dr. Savage has lost it big time. He's probably writing his own prescriptions.
    These entertainers turn my American stomach. No, I don't listen the that trash.

    October 31, 2009 at 11:24 pm |
  4. John

    If you're tired of conservative talk radio just switch to the CNN gossip network which they call "news." They are the bullies. I'm thankful we finally have someone on our side who stands up to the bullies and isn't afraid of their name calling and accusations of being "hate mongers" and "racists.". Why not argue the issues rather than slander the ones who dare to have a different (albeit correct) point of view?

    October 23, 2009 at 9:08 pm |
  5. alice

    The ladies bully analysis is waaay off the mark in my book. We are being bullied? Hows that, We listen on the radio, if I was being bullied I would turn the dial. As being angry? lol I laugh all the time. I am a very happy person...ask my hubby. : -) I listen to Beck, Ingraham and Rush...why? simple.. they make sense to me..common sense. ; -)

    October 22, 2009 at 2:04 pm |
  6. Mike

    Conservative talk radio predominates because the right-wingers need someone to tell them what to think. They apparently can't do that for themselves.

    October 21, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  7. Don

    I'm 64 years old and I think that if you listen to conservative talk radio it doesn't take long to realize why we wear the " Ugly American" label. All of the talk radio people try to leave an impression that they are at the forefront of every issue when in fact they don't have privy to many of the facts regarding any issue. There views not only have a slant but, in my opinion, play to the worst of human emotions. They are and will always be entertainers but unfortunately they also have influence that in my opinion is unhealthy for our country.

    October 21, 2009 at 11:32 am |
  8. David Faulkner

    I think it would improve TalkRadio to bring back the Fairness Doctrine.
    It was much more interesting when it had some variety. I worked at a talk station toward the end of the Fairness Doctrine & we had a wide variety of talk hosts from liberal to conservative & in-between. Not all of the shows were about politics either. There were Financial, Medical, Pschology, & numerous other types of shows that weren't just relagated to weekends. Shows like Rush Limbaugh's could be on under the Fairness Doctrine, they would just need to be preceeded or followed by program that leaned the other way.

    October 21, 2009 at 11:23 am |
  9. Enlor(in-low)

    I was a Truck Driver, and I love Talk Radio, but all day, all night, all you hear is the conservative point of view, I like to mix it up a little, get both sides. It was so hard to find a Liberal talk show. I think Randi Rhodes is right, Liberals need more access.

    October 21, 2009 at 9:05 am |
  10. pretz62

    Another disaster resulting from the Reagan era... the elimination of the Fairness Doctrine. I want to listen to both sides of an issues and can't on AM radio. Our airwaves have been purchased by big media that naturally would want to project a more conservative image to protect te
    heir profits.

    October 21, 2009 at 8:35 am |
  11. allan

    Talk Radio is either: Democrat, Republican or Independant driven. As a "yellow dog" Democrat I listen to the Rush's only to build up my confidence that I'm proud to be a Democrat Christian. Jesus would never condone the hate that conservative radio promotes.

    October 21, 2009 at 8:30 am |
  12. Eric Snow

    Obviously John Roberts with his comments about Rush Limbaugh being thin skined, is another example of him not being a NEWS person, and purposely spinning comments to refect his personal thoughts. Very much like Chris Matthews of another anti free thinking network.

    October 21, 2009 at 7:55 am |
  13. dona

    To all the far-left out there...why can you only call conservatives stupid or below average in intelligence or say that we are just regurgitating what we hear? I say it's just the pot calling the kettle black. Why can't you argue the POINT? Why must you always and forever attack with shallow reasoning? Do you honestly think that most conservatives "mind-numbed robots"? Shouldn't you look at your side first? After reading the "liberal" points on this forum, I come to the conclusion that these "liberals" are very angry. They are "hate-mongers" trying to destroy the opposition because the opposition has a different point of view.
    And remember, Rush, Beck, Hannity and O'Reilly ARE giving you THEIR point of view. They are OPINION shows.
    I think many of the "liberals" would do well the learn that fact.

    October 20, 2009 at 8:57 am |
  14. John Doe

    Ira Wagler, interviewed above, has a blog here:
    http://www.irawagler.com

    October 20, 2009 at 8:17 am |
  15. Robert

    Most listeners to conservative radio that i know are just looking for someone to follow and are a bit behind of the learning curve on alot of issues out there....birds of a feather flock together...

    October 20, 2009 at 8:02 am |
  16. Charlotte

    Of course talk radio is influential. And CNN knows this much to their dismay. I too am an independent, and listen to both CNN and Fox. As an independent I need to get news from both angles. CNN only reports their angle, so I have to go to FOX to get the other side. The recent surge in conservative numbers is scaring the likes of CNN, MSNBC and of course the White House. These people (the listeners) are real Americans who want to know exactly what the truth is. We do not just want to hear the angle of the majority of news networks. FOX is that outlet. With 24 hour news service, bias is certainly going to filter into reporting. Now with FOX, we as independents can filter what we believe to be true. It is not just one side of reporting. This is a democracy and we should all be thankful there are two sides to hear. Trying to make people think that conservative talk shows and Fox reporting is irrelevant as you did in your spot today, will just bring more listeners and viewers to these mediums. One thing America does not need is censorship. This appears to be what CNN would like. So lets see if you print this.

    October 20, 2009 at 7:55 am |
  17. Fred

    The only thing I listen to on the radio is music. I cant stand listening to anything else. I'd rather watch the news with the beautiful women of CNN, like Kiran or HLNs Robin Meade. Radio is so boring to me.

    October 20, 2009 at 7:54 am |
  18. Arkansas Traveler

    Do Talk radio hosts control votes! Absolutely not!!! Fanatics are mostly mentally retarded. They congregate so they can receive reassurance from others about their wild ideas.

    One Third of all voters are Democrats and One Third are Republicans. These people will vote the party line 95% of the time, regardless of talk show hosts. The other 1/3 of the voters like to think of themselves as "independents" which is simply a term to hide behind and pretend they are not radicals. Independents are mostly gullible to advertising on TV, newspapers, etc. 75% or more independents are no more than sheep waiting for someone to give them a logical reason to vote.l

    Politicians are like city-slickers dealing with a country hick. They know voters only know what politicians and big money people tell them.

    October 20, 2009 at 7:39 am |
  19. CM

    Do I listen to talk radio? Use to but for me all the anger, fear mongering, untruthful statements were/are a turn off!! I am totally against abortion and even gay marriage (let the bashing begin lol) but I am ALSO against lies, and people that are so hateful with the way they get their point across, intimidating, and what seems to be threats coming from some Republicans which seems like all I see now in the Republican party so it makes me embarrassed to even tell others I am a life long Republican. All those on the religious right that is making so much noise if they don't understand lies and anger is wrong then they don't know the same God I do and all the fact checking lately showing all the Republican lies makes me wonder why do they have to lie instead of honestly debating the issues??? And it seems they are all for their freedom of speech, etc. but anyone else with a different view should not have any freedoms of speech or otherwise. Oh, I know it's impossible for everyone to get along together.

    October 20, 2009 at 7:39 am |
  20. Bud Caryl

    I myself can not stand RUSH LIMBAUGH he is a joke.If i see him on t.v. of hear him on the radio i turn the station right now. If he tells me to vote for somebody im going to vote the opposite way.

    October 20, 2009 at 7:37 am |
  21. WTF

    Conservative/ right wing talk hosts are NOT popular because they are popular. They're popular because they are syndicated. Most talk media markets are owned by conservative/republican companies. There was at some time hundreds of talk show hosts, that number is now under 30 and most of them are republican.. Ever since the fairness doctrine was signed away by Clinton, companies are now able to dominate any given market with one view point.

    October 20, 2009 at 7:36 am |
  22. Paul

    I listen to talk radio because they get the facts stright and everyone else do not. (Except FOX)

    BTW stop using the word "Got" all the time.

    October 20, 2009 at 7:35 am |
  23. rich

    I listen or watch conserveative talk to, reinforce my views and to keep a eye on what they are doing

    October 20, 2009 at 7:34 am |
  24. kb

    It's funny to read comments when you can tell who is just spouting what their political heros and media heros tell them to spout, without any real knowledge or experience to operate from.

    CNN is milquetoast. NBC/MSNBC are exactly what the WH accuses Fox of being: tilted news with a point of view, following marching orders. ABC has some reporters who seem willing to use their brains but are basically lemmings and are mostly useless. CBS is useless except for sports. Fox marched to it's own drum... and does seem to approach a story with a question or two. (wouldn't it be funny if Murdoch ended up buying NBC?)

    Now for talk radio, liberal talk radio had their chance during at least 7 of the 8 Bush years. If they could possibly make a go of it head to head with conservative talk radio, then they failed miserably to take their opportunity and make their case (hard to believe that HuffPo Radio was never a flushed out idea during that time, eh?), their listeners just like drivel and bad music and sex/bathroom humor on morning zoo shows, rather than political/philosophical talk. Conservative talk radio is successful BECAUSE the listeners who listen DO like to think for themselves and seek out points of view/opinion and info from talkers and thinkers somewhere other than the slanted newspapers and TV. Yes, some just buy it all hook line and sinker... but many listen and then go home and research ~ and then distill what they hear into what is meaningful for them. It is not necessarily "anger", but I hear lots of thought, intelligence and discussion from many callers... some of the hosts are truly hacks, but many are entertaining satirists and are actually pretty fair in their assessments...

    Perhaps you fakers should actually listen from time to time and learn a little... take the info and research it. There is one (occasionally two) liberal talk show(s) that I can stomach for 5 minutes at a time (the hosts are nauseating and the callers are sycophants), but from time to time they have a point that sort of resonates a little and I take the info and do my own research later. I have learned a lot, and mostly I have learned that the info on conservative talk radio is more logical/ factual/ believable. It is presented less smugly, less whinily, and never from a victim mentality.

    October 19, 2009 at 11:42 pm |
  25. Steve Russell

    I've read the posts since mine this a.m. and must quote the following, " Moving forward I will continue to listen to NPR to seek that societal utopia and to conservatives to provide a responsible means to get there. This listener is neither angry or without empathy. Sorry to dissapoint your market research team CNN." Perfect. Al Sharpton suing Rush. This is getting better all the time! Bring it on CNN MSNBC, et. al. And bring Dan Rather out of the closet just for s***s and giggles.

    October 19, 2009 at 10:49 pm |
  26. marilyn Kelly

    Van jones, acorn, our communications director praising Maou.
    All news networks besides fox are ignoring the serious questions while they fluff in homage to Obama.
    Why did our president surround himself with self admitted marxists
    What is he trying to remake America into? Let's define fundamental change. The news media is supposed to be the watchdog of our government. Where are their questions, their doubts?
    I have questions and doubts. I feel the major networks are not addressing them.
    i was a Democrat, turned Independent. getting more conservative as I see my children's and grandchildren's future being spent. As I watch the federal government growing larger and the executive branch becoming more powerful, with czars having more impact then the representatives we elected.
    This is not the way our country was founded.
    I see government trying to insert itself in every aspect of our lives. Yet not stepping up to quickly protect our soldiers.
    I listen to Fox as they are asking, they are investigating, something other networks have forgotten how to do.
    I find the most fair commentator on all networks is Bill O'Reilly, on Fox. He presents all sides of the issues. The fact checkers on fox are very sharp. When there is an error it is corrected.
    Glenn Beck is very passionate about this country, and outing the wrongs against our freedoms, our constitution, our people. I respect Glenn for his efforts in making the public aware, of reminding us of our history, remembering the American values that made our country great. I feel Carol's report was biased. The reason I tune into CNN less and less. I wish you would take my critique to heart and present all sides to the story,

    October 19, 2009 at 10:44 pm |
  27. William D. Kidd

    Can't believe CNN has the nerve to go after talk-radio, or should I say conservatives, like this without noting that the most hate filled people in radio are liberals. Listen to the most foul mouthed person on radio, Mike Malloy, where he constantly say, "GD America, etc," and drops the F bomb constantly. Face it, libs are driven by 'feelings' and have very little to say that can be considered rational. Sooner or later, the old media will wake up and discover that the majority of Americans are conservative and want reporting, news, and talk that reflect their ideals.

    October 19, 2009 at 5:51 pm |
  28. Arthur Dunn

    If you listen to Talk Radio I guess it’s fair to assume you are also informed by the other sources of “conservative” media information in existence today. To keep myself accurately informed on both sides of today’s issues I make frequent visits to Factcheck.org for subjective information. Of the first twenty-six articles reviewed on the site this morning eleven were from conservative sources. When checked for veracity, the information was determined by Factcheck to be either blatantly false, misleading, distortions or exaggerations. On this you base critical conservative thinking?

    With Limbaugh and Beck and Fox News as your teachers have you been brainwashed to accept the falsehoods and misinformation that they stream at you over the airwaves as the truth?

    Only in the land of the free and the home of the brave could we all survive such a prostitution of the liberty of free speech.

    October 19, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  29. Lana

    I listend to both NRP and Rush. What I find so confusing, all the "Rush haters" are no more civil in their comment. They speak as hateful and as intolerant as they claim Rush is. Really – Everyone needs to use critical thinking. Its not best to believe everything you think.

    October 19, 2009 at 3:00 pm |
  30. Mike S ( IL)

    I saw the story this morning and I guess I fit into the demographics cited. I watch all of the morning news shows, and my televiision is mostly on news in the evening when I return from work. I read 2-3 newspapers a day and take in information from all sources. I have started to listen to Limbaugh and to Mark Levin partly for entertainment, but more important, to get another viewpoint. I have regularly been concerned about the lack of news on news programming (who, what, where, when, how) and less about the reporter's opinion or whatever the editors/directors believe the "angle" should be. I now lack trust in their judgment. I form my own opinions based onwhat is presented.

    I "get it." There is an angle in every story, but what I don't get is is why there may be an agenda. I get tham impression from things like teases, lead ins, voice inflections, persons interviewed without a counter to such positions. No one media meets all my needs.

    October 19, 2009 at 2:51 pm |
  31. Gene

    In my opinion of the radio talk show host is that since the conservatives have lost the House,Senate, and the White House, they will say anything to get the voters to vote conservative in the next election so they can regain that status.

    October 19, 2009 at 2:26 pm |
  32. Julie Illinois mother of 3

    The people I know who listen to Talk radio (conservative)
    are the ones who:
    1) Are devoted to family values
    2) GIVE their OWN money to worthy causes because they WANT TO (Yes I gave more then the VP 2-3 yrs ago and I MAKE SOOO MUCH LESS! acc to an intenet site that showed what politiciains gave (before and after the "spotlight" of election)
    3) Volunteer for what they believe in
    4) help others on their own (don't have to be told)
    5) Love to work
    6) Try to Instill good ethics to their kids.
    I feel bad for Jay in that he is the one who has not "seen the light" and thinks that all who listen to talk radio are weak minded. Jay
    do you volunteer?? Do you give money to needy people close and far?
    Do you Hate consevrvatives?? Maybe you just feel uncomfortable with this subject because you are the weak minded person you fear... Just a thought- You Fear what you don't know....

    October 19, 2009 at 12:47 pm |
  33. James Landry

    Hello Carol Costello,
    When was the last time a 'liberal' talk radio host got CNN coverage with something they said? Rush Limbaugh gets extra airtime when he says crazy crap like "I hope Obama fails." Alot of people tune in just hear what crazy stuff he will say.
    I understand that your piece was more about the base of support with listeners who strongly believe in guns,old glory, and god but as much as it seems that Rush Limbaugh (and others) speak for the republican party they are just entertainers , political Howard Sterns stiring the pot with strong opinions, making all issues black or white.
    Most Liberal radio host try to (in my view) take a more balanced approach. It might be more fair and less biased but way less fun to listen to.

    October 19, 2009 at 12:09 pm |
  34. jay m

    People listen to them because they are too weak minded to form their own opinion.

    October 19, 2009 at 11:19 am |
  35. Mariie Henderson

    When I first heard the mantra of "CHANGE" chanted during the campaign of Obama, my first thought was change into what? The liberal media never asked this question. Conservative talk radio and Beck on Fox have and both continues to do so. Our Democracy only works if citizens are informed. If the media refuses to ask questions important to the America people, then we will turn the dial to someone who will. That is why conservative talk radio is so popular.

    October 19, 2009 at 11:13 am |
  36. Sharon

    Frankly I think this story was to show yet again CNN's complete jealousy for Conservatives and Fox News simply because their ratings are SOOOO much better than those of Liberals!!! Too Bad CNN can't realize most people in America ARE NOT stupid and we can think for ourselves!!! We like the TRUTH it has nothing to do with the anger, we are all very ANGRY that all these Liberals are trying to shove things down our throats and are NOT only NOT listening to the majority but are stooping so low as to call the American people awful names!!! So CNN stop HATING maybe if you decide to start telling the TRUTH more people will watch you too!!!

    October 19, 2009 at 11:09 am |
  37. Dave

    Rush rocks. What can I say, he speaks for millions of Americans that don't have a voice. Angry, are talk radio listeners angry? Why yes we are because our country is being taken over and no is reporting on it except for Rush and other talk radio hosts.

    October 19, 2009 at 11:06 am |
  38. Julie Illinois mother of 3

    There is a reason Talk Radio leaning conservative is alive and well.
    I started listening 1 year ago and love it. I have given other talk radio
    shows a chance (not conservative) and they are not relevant and not how most think.
    I happen to tune in to this report and thought it was a little tacky.
    I always stand up for what I think and so do most of these conservative talk shows. CNN could also show some mainstream moms, grandparents,dads, children, etc who have the same beliefs and not make all conservatives look like either hillbilies or haters.
    Maybe the non conservative shows who are not doing well on talk radio have not done as well for a reason-people tune them off.

    October 19, 2009 at 10:49 am |
  39. Jim

    I really enjoy Carol Costellos’ reporting. A few weeks a go I was glad to see bottles of beer on CNN. Glad she got out on the street and visited talk radio. One of those interviewed said that Liberals are only interested in compassion and boring subjects – did he mean feminine subjects? Well let me tell you what gets a Liberal’s dander up.
    It get’s me going when they tell me wages going up is inflationary, but CEO wages go up and that’s a sign of a healthy economy. I get hot when prices go up and Wall Street celebrates the higher profits. I get red when jobs go overseas and stock prices go up. Don’t tell me a union is bad because it gets me better pay and prevents some dumb boss firing me because he wants to hire his buddy. I get hot when small businesses cannot get loans but there are tons of bucks for Big Bank mergers.
    And don’t let those insurance company bureaucrats get between me and my doctor! Don’t tell me there’s no waiting list since that procedure isn’t covered. Don’t tell my doctor that some insurance bureaucrat decided that my prescription isn’t covered under my plan. Don’t tell me my rates have to go up because of lawsuits by injured people while insurance profits and CEO pay comfortably soars.
    And I don’t want to hear some guy who’s here from the government telling me I can’t smoke what I want in my own home. It gets me every time when I hear some conservative prosecutor bragging about putting poor working guys in jail because they smoked marijuana. Don’t tell me that is being Tough On Crime. All it means is my tax dollars are keeping some unlucky SOB in jail for the political ambition of some sheriff or county prosecutor. All I can say is keep Big Conservative Government out of my house!
    Don’t tell me that we’ve got to send our troops to some foreign country so that American, not foreign oil companies will sell us overpriced oil. Don’t tell me it is patriotic to protect Exxon’s profits!
    And finally don’t try to feed me the nine scariest words in the English language “I’m from the corporation and I’m here to help.”

    October 19, 2009 at 10:33 am |
  40. Lori Savitch

    First – a response to the previous post: If you are 'fairlly will educated' you might want to spell-check your letter! Those of us who are indeed fairly well educated are not afraid – and, thus, we are not fooled by entertainers posing as political commentators.

    Now to the point of my post:
    Your report compares right wing talk hosts to school yard bullies. Taking the analogy one step further ...
    Bullies can and DO insight their followers to violence. Just look at the Town Meetings: the bullies easily used misinformation and out-right lies to exploit the fears and ignorance of their followers. They could just as easily insight violence.
    A call to action to the rest of us on the playground: We must challenge these bullies and their followers as we encounter them – each one of us – on a personal, day-to-day level. At the very least, we must tell them that their extreme right-wing positions are intellectually bankrupt, and that we are not intimidated by their bullying.
    Bullies are cowards. They only win if we let them intimidate us. Failure to see them as a threat reinforces their dangerous influence.

    October 19, 2009 at 10:27 am |
  41. jee banks

    so i responded what you want to know rush got fools that dont think for a living just act left got thinkers that dont go with the flow just sit in oh was that last week you asked for a response know i hate these things

    October 19, 2009 at 10:14 am |
  42. P. Nawoczyk >West Michigan

    <>>
    I enjoy listening to AM talk radio, but I respectfully disagree with the news snippet aired on CNN Monday October 19, 2009. This 90 second story on CNN portrays all of AM radio as 80-90% angry conservatives, which mirrors its listeners having little empathy. This seems a little too simplistic. I do listen to some of these conservative shows and agree they can be rather over the top with conspiracy theories. However I also balance my listening with the notoriously liberal NPR, which tends to evade factual information and have an elitists attitude toward anyone questioning its information. As with most stories in life, the truth tends to lay somewhere in between both positions. It’s a sad truth of today’s News information, but the listeners need to be skeptical and avoid being cynical. The objective journalism of our past is increasingly giving way to a revenue based agenda from the media. The media is only able to spoon feed information that its listeners WANT to here. Again the truth is somewhere in between. Moving forward I will continue to listen to NPR to seek that societal utopia and to conservatives to provide a responsible means to get there. This listener is neither angry or without empathy. Sorry to dissapoint your market research team CNN.

    October 19, 2009 at 10:06 am |
  43. LK southerner from the north

    No one is mentioning the fact that this has already been done. I am not that old, 43, and I am a long time radio talk listener. Back in the 80's or 90's, I don't remember exactly, the fairness doctrine was tried. Here in the Memphis area there were two liberal talk show hosts. They couldn't keep the market and eventually, after a year or two failed. As one of the previous interjectors here mentioned, I would not listen to their racial, hate filled, non-factual verbiage (to put it nicely).
    Those of us who are conservative have that title because like the word we dislike waste and try to live our everyday lives as conservatively as we can as to not make a burden on society. Along with the title that I wear proudly, we want to take care of those around us when they have needs. For many years, until his death, while supporting ourselves, we took care of my disabled brother, who was unable to work.
    Being in a family of Democrats I know what the other side looks like and stands for. The difference is that we have different views about what help is. Unlike many years ago when help meant getting out and physically helping those who were down and communities relied on one another. Help now means throw more money at the problem. This approach does not work (just look at the money thrown at the savings and loan, bad move). Now those who are given much want more. Not all, but who can tell those who get help and those who just want more?
    But I'm off subject. Conservative talk is popular not because we are a mob of bullies getting behind a big bully. It's popular because those of us that mind our p's and q's and do the right thing in life, who feel for those who are down and freely give during times of need, are tired of being told that we don't give enough, pay our fair share or CARE about others. We do care but we don't feel that big government should come and take away what we have work hard for and give it to someone who just wants to skate by, not better themselves and chooses (sometimes) to remain in the situation THEY have put themselves in.
    Ask the psychologist about old habits that are hard to break and when those old habits were formed. She will most likely tell you formed during childhood and there is a long road to breaking them if they can be broken.

    October 19, 2009 at 9:51 am |
  44. Lowell Tawney

    Having just traveled by car from Kansas City to New England to view the fall foliage, I scanned the radio station in the states that my wife and I passed through for news. What we found was that there wasn't one "Progessive/Liberal" radio station available to listeners in those eight states at the time we tuned in to listen (7am to 7pm). There were however, at least three and sometimes four conservative/right-wing radio stations. My question: How can an Independent voter get both sides of a story when the conservative/right-wingers dominate the media (Radio)?

    October 19, 2009 at 9:50 am |
  45. Michael Paul

    I am 63 years old, fairlly wlll educated and very much into politics and the America that I love. You don't have to listen to talk radio to know that this is not the America of my youth. The promise is lost. My children and grandchildren will never know the America that I knew during my growing up years. Until Sept. 11, I would have called myself a liberal on domestic policy and a traditionalist on the military and foreign affairs. Everything changed on 9/11. When I listen to Lawrence Kudlow who is an unencumbered capitalist in his beliefs, I understand why I was a liberal on domestic affairs because people like that don't care for the middle class, only the wealthy. When I listen to the dribble put out by liberals like Lynn Samuels, Joy Behar and last and least Keith Oberman, I understand why I changed.
    Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin and much of the others are idealogues who basically present only their point of view and I take it as such when I listen. My 3 favorites are Bill O'Reilly, Lou Dobbs and Glenn Beck. The first 2 are very fair and generally attack both political parties and present both points of view. Glenn Beck may be partisan but he brings forth little known things that are helping to destroy this country like Vann Jones and facts about many of the other White House czars and other hidden policies and agendas. He starts the ball rolling and the other talk show people pick up on it.
    Most talk show listeners have the intelligence and ability to discern what is partisan and what is not..

    October 19, 2009 at 9:10 am |
  46. Anthony

    This piece was intended to show the difference in perspectives between those who listen to conservative talk radio...and the NPR-followers.

    Unfortunately, CNN and Costello could not help but reveal their liberal bias in this story. After highlighting many successful radio-talkers such as Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Michael Savage, several others, who were described as "conservative" talkers, Costello introduced Randi Rhodes as a radio talker that "some call liberal."

    Anyone who has listened to Rhodes for more than 30-seconds knows she is a far left, Bush-hating liberal. Why not simply call her a "liberal" as you called the others "conservative" radio talkers?

    This example provides additional evidence why conservative talk radio is successful–as it's not trying to disguise it's "bias" behind a cloak of "objective" journalism.

    October 19, 2009 at 9:09 am |
  47. steve

    The CEO of GE is on Obama's economic recovery board. NBC would never make any comments against the Obama administration and will only praise him and criticize anyone that has an opposing view. Makes them like Pravda. Government controlled media.
    The talk radio is entertainment, but does bring things to light that the government controlled media will not report on, Acorn is an example of the reporting that you will not see on government run media.
    I listen to both sides and make up my own mind.
    Liberals will destroy this country and we will all become Communist with them in charge.

    October 19, 2009 at 9:04 am |
  48. Rob McConnell

    Good morning CNN and every day I watch and listen to CNN as I work from my home based radio studio in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

    My name is Rob McConnell the host and executive producer of the internationally syndicated late night show, The 'X' Zone which has been on air since 1993 and after listening and watching your piece on "talkradio" this morning, I just had to throw in my two cents from the other side of the microphone.

    Since 2004, from Monday – Friday from 10 pm – 2 am Eastern (7 pm – 11 pm Pacific) I have been broadcasting live on the TalkStar Radio Network – four satellites, on iTunes, with live affiliates across Canada, the United States, Central America, the Caribbean, South America, the Pacific Rim, 24 asia countries and Europe. We simulcast stream audio and video on the internet and I must tell you thta it it no secret that most Talk Show hosts go after the sensationalistic stories – after all, "if it don't bleed, it don't lead."

    I on the other hand, am a compassionate host. I get callers who have had a loved one pass away, and look to our show for hope of the here after; we get people who discuss the possibility of the "here after" and those who have been frightened by the doom and gloomers of the end of the Mayan Calendar groupies and the end of the world.

    Unlike those media personalities who were profiled in your story this morning, there are those of us who really care about the listeners, who give them their chance to tell their stories, who share their feelings, and who put their fears in your hands because they believe that you really do care.

    In my book, there are three sides to a story... his side, her side and the truth – and it is all three sides of the story that a real broadcast journalist will bring to their listeners – and not force feed their listeners their own personal beliefs – no matter how wrong or twisted they are – just to get the ratings that ensure their fat and juicy pay cheques. Not bad for spreading disinformation.

    Whether it's Howard Stern or Rush Limbaugh – the shock jocks of the airwaves will always have their loud followers – those, not unlike their favorite hosts, must be heard – loud and usually with a political twist.

    There is nothing wrong with being a talk show host who is compassionate, caring, sensitive and a person who really does care about the person at the other end of the mic – our listeners.

    CNN – you are Number One and thanks for being there for us!

    Rob McConnell

    October 19, 2009 at 9:01 am |
  49. Steve Russell

    I have for so long wanted the opportunity to share with the biased media in our country why conservative radio plays and liberal does not. First, one must accept the fact that the market dictates success and failure in any capital based economy. This was obviously lacking from your coverage and, hence, conclusion. It is not anger that sells. It is simply coincidental that at the present time, yes, conservatives are angry. Angry at just the type of one-sided, biased journalism exemplified here. We are not angry as a pathos. We are thinking individuals. This is my cry out to you; conservative radio works because it is interesting to hear what people THINK, not what they FEEL. Start listening to the conversations and you will find conservative participants using the phrases such as "I think..." vs. "I feel..." far more than in liberal conversations. If you were at a cocktail party and there were two conversations within ear shot, would you be more or less apt to join the conversation where individuals were sharing thoughtful ideas and conceptual solutions related to a topic that affected you personally (or your country's freedoms and liberties...) or one where individual feelings were being extolled by others? Sorry you don't like our points of view, but that does not make us wrong. Prove us so, if you can. We take delight in proving so much of your views as having consequences that are wrong in the light of what this country means to those who support it. Why not try listening to Rush and Glen Beck for a while, you might not like what you hear – the REST of the story – but at least you will be more credible.

    October 19, 2009 at 9:00 am |
  50. pesank

    CNN doesn't make a profit?

    There's a difference between an angry person and a person who is angry. Talk radio's number one topic is politics which is a passionate subject. You know the old adage about avoiding politics and religion in a discussion.

    I also feel the right-of-center point of view gets short shrift in the general media marketplace. I don't think it's a conspiracy. I think liberal leaning journalists see the world tilting one way. I watch CNN and I listen to talk radio. I read the NYT and the Washington Post. as well.

    CNN approaches talk radio like it's something mysterious and its listeners some other kind of species. That tells you why talk radio exists and is so popular. You guys can see only out of your left eye.

    October 19, 2009 at 8:56 am |
  51. kjbags

    Carol Costello reminded the viewers that talk radio is a business. What she failed to say is that CNN and all news outlets today are a business. Once profit trumps truth than news fails. Talk radio is a great example of free market capitalism. The reason why the conservative ones are successful is because the majority of the country is conservative.

    October 19, 2009 at 8:56 am |
  52. Sharon

    Thank God for balanced programing on NPR. We have let extreme views and personal attacks drown out reasoned debate about the substance of issues about which reasonable people might respectfully disagree. We need a lot more programs such as the Dianne Rehm show. I used to listen to and enjoy Lou Dobbs on the TV but he is now no different from Fox. It is just a yelling match. It is sad that people find uproar entertaining and things like Free Speech TV, Link, NOW, Bill Moyers etc. "boring" . The decline in civility on radio and television is distressing. Each day I thank God I am old and will not have to live to see this downward spiral play out to the end.

    October 19, 2009 at 8:53 am |
  53. jamie

    It is outrageous and irresponsible to portray conservative radio leaders as hate mongers. They are thoughtful, educated and passionate individuals who believe in life, liberty & happiness and will verbally oppose those whose words or actions portray harmful infringements upon those pursuits. Any long time listener of these conservative giants will tell you that they actually do reach out and give kudos to individual democrats or liberals – but only when they have done something good – and these days those actions seem few and far between. Anyone who thinks otherwise about these radio show hosts, is ignorant. As former President Ronald Reagan once said "The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they are ignorant, but that they know so much that isn't so."

    October 19, 2009 at 8:51 am |
  54. Bill in WI

    At the end of your piece a claim was made that "people of listen to conservative talk radio are more educated...." More educated than who? One more thing. I have to laugh at the drones that claim 'news' outlets such as CBS, ABC, NBC, NYT, WaPo, and even CNN are liberal. Just look at what they don't cover and tell me they are liberal. Eventhough Democrats out number Republicans in Congress and the White House, you'll find that Republicans still out number Democrats on these outlets.

    October 19, 2009 at 8:50 am |
  55. J Rogers

    This story has just scratched the surface of a huge condition in our nation that the media has largely missed, much like not seeing the forest for the trees. At 66, I've never known there to be such an undercurrent of anger in our nation. I see it locally. The media would do well to delve into this issue. The causes are many but the anger is so deep I'd not be surprised at some huge ground roots movement just short of a rebellion. This is not crazy talk, I fear it is real. It's all about perceptions such as , government that cares nothing for the little guy, jobs casually sent overseas, uncontrolled illegal immigration, wasted lives in wars with no end, putting special interests above the national good, reliance on foreign energy sources due to lack of will to use what we have, etc. etc. The reasons are many, the anger is VERY real.

    October 19, 2009 at 8:50 am |
  56. Karen

    The reason they are even having to do this article is because CNN, ABC, and NBC are part of the agenda to change this country over to a socialist society. Take away freedom of speech, and sing the Obama praise song. With this article CNN lost me. You used to be slightly partison but have decided you have to much support to loose and are going to follow along brown nosing the Obama crew that is going to tax the heck out of your station and each employee. I feel you have thrown away alot of people who needed the balance from your station. It is a shame because like all polititcal phases, this will end and you will have compromised your dignity and wont be able to come back to the people. People in America now more than ever need true journalism, not one party journalism. Get back on the side of the people and cover true stuff. Like where each person in the Government has gotten funding . Why acorn will get money again in the end of November. Where is the real journalism? You have failed the people. Trust is needed here and you are loosing. You must be for the people not Obama agenda. That is way conservative media is flourishing and you are slowly sinking.

    October 19, 2009 at 8:49 am |
  57. Matt Lillibridge

    I got to say, I LOVE Rush!! The band. From Canada. Limbaugh is a super intelligent idiot. He knows the exact line he can walk without going past it. He says things I'd think are illegal, like "someone ought to kill the president," but he never said to do it.

    Matt in NC

    October 19, 2009 at 8:49 am |
  58. Becky

    Saying that angry talk radio is just entertainment is very naive. It's like saying Hitler's speeches before he took over Germany were just entertainment for the disgruntled people in Germany before World War II.

    What this kind of angry talk radio is amounts to propaganda and a call to action in the form of incivility and angry yelling. The people who get hyped up on it are unreachable in any logical discussion of the issues. They're only into bullying everyone who disagrees with them into silent submission. Believe me, I'm surrounded by them and I know.

    October 19, 2009 at 8:48 am |
  59. RJ Holden

    It might be nice to know just where these people are who listen to these conservative talk radio. I'll bet they're all in the south (Confederate States), where they are still fighting the civil war. In a country of 200+ million people, 15 million is hardly a majority. Let's not over inflate their influence. That's exactly what they want. Don't give them free publicity., unless it'll be negative. I have no time for narrow minded people that forget that their ancestors are immigrants too. (I don't think any of the conservative talk radio people are native american indian desendants right?!!!!!!) :)

    October 19, 2009 at 8:47 am |
  60. Tom

    As much as we hate dictators, we seem to forget the details of what makes someone a dictator. Most people who dont get the notion of democracy can easily fall in the dictator's category as they're forcing you to believe and do what they want, if you ask me, most conservative talk show host have a hidden agendas and I'd say thats similar to dictators.

    October 19, 2009 at 8:46 am |
  61. Michael

    The conservative shows are definitely more entertaining. I'm sorry, but Rush Limbaugh is the funniest show I've ever heard. It is biting satire and challenges the left for an answer. The reason liberal talk shows fail is that they don't have any answers and they aren't all that funny or entertaining.
    All I can say is that if you're going to attack someone for what they've said, make sure 1)that they are the one who said it 2)that you understand the satire. Otherwise, you just feed the beast... Liberals are the reason Rush is so successful.
    To the person who says NPR is informative, well yes, and no. They tend to do the stories from the "feely" side of things. And the stat that 9% of talk shows are liberal, well they make up for that on TV, don't they?

    October 19, 2009 at 8:45 am |
  62. Marion/Alabama

    Conservative talk radio,has listeners and is on the air in more places than liberal talk Radio,because they have Sponsors. Sponsors are the life blood of any commerical TV or Radio show. The Fact is ,No one wants to listen to the liberal radio talk shows,and they fail because with out listeners there are no Sponsors......CNN should be checking their own messages and Ponder why FOX CABLE NEWS is kicking their a$$, in the ratings.

    October 19, 2009 at 8:43 am |
  63. Matt Lillibridge

    I listen avidly to talk radio, when I can find it. I am liberal though conservative financially. Luckily I live in a city with a liberal radio. It's the first I've found & I lived in many states before this. Oddly the company that owns & broadcasts the liberal station also owns the conservative one. That's fair AND balanced. :)

    Before this station came along I only had NPR.

    October 19, 2009 at 8:43 am |
  64. John

    It's no coincidence that Rusg Limbaugh decided to "share" his interest in purchasing an NFL franchise NOW. It's no coincidence that Glenn Beck is "stunting" NOW. Please tell me you are going to look into the REAL reason this is happening NOW?

    As a longtime former radio programmer, this is an intentional effort to drive traffic, create longer listening periods and increase ratings during the all-important Fall ratings period. Ratings = money. The first quarter of the new year is traditionally a weak advertising period, for obvious reasons, and successful Fall ratings = profitable first quarter advertising.

    The media is eating up the controversy, which turns into free PR/marketing. If you miss this in your three-day report, you've missed the story.

    October 19, 2009 at 8:43 am |
  65. sharon

    Conservative radio just proves more and more to me that people are so dumbed down. We always talk about the kids but heck look at the grown ups that will believe anything the conservatives tell them. They are the main ones when they get in trouble have a hand out for the government to help them. I heard on C-Span this week about how many conservatives are hurting for health care and want a public option. You don't hear that on national news. The organization RAM goes to alot of southern areas and if you seen the lines in Texas that should tell you how people are hurting and their representatives in the South can't see the problem.

    October 19, 2009 at 8:42 am |
  66. Bernadette Loesch

    Who is listening? Where to start? Bigots, narrowminded individuals, gun toting righters, angry people, name calling individuals, Democratic haters, aden nauseam. These radio talking heads feed and fester insecurities with their scare tactics. The stations are funded by multimillionaires who want to keep control of the U.S. They couldn't give a rats - about anyone else except their bottom line of profit in their pockets. I've written emails to Rush, he NEVER answers. The callers who try to speak to Rush et al on air are cut off without hope of countering what lies are being said on air! Fairness, not in my lifetime!

    October 19, 2009 at 8:42 am |
  67. Chris

    I have listened to Stern, Limbaugh and others and the one thing I noticed among listeners of their shows (friend and acquantances of mine) is that there seems to be little analysis of the information presented.

    Listeners of any show, whether talk radio, news (CNN included), documentary, etc, need to listen to the presented information, analyze and then think critically about what has been presented. The polarizing talk radio shows have "brainwashed" listeners into accepting what they say on air as the truth.

    As for you gentleman on your piece, MR. Wagler, he says he doesn't trust a single politician yet seems to put Durgin on a pedestal. What if Durgin won a Senate seat? Would his trust and love for Durgin die?

    Again, CRITICAL THINKING and the ability to question what we hear is vital to our existence, not just as a species, but as informed citizens and voters.

    October 19, 2009 at 8:42 am |
  68. chris

    YOUR LOSS, if you don't keep yourself open to both sides of the argument.

    October 19, 2009 at 8:40 am |
  69. Cindy Feather

    I am a conservative. I am definitely compassionate, as are my conservative cohorts, as well as independent and liberal. I don't listen to Rush Limbaugh, but I believe there are plenty of outlets for all sides. I listen to Glenn Beck mainly because the things he reports about have been right on the money since I started listening to him a couple of years ago. I don't listen because I want to be angry. I just want to get as much input as I can from all sides so I can hopefully form a coherent opinion.

    That's why I watch both Fox and CNN and go online to Factcheck.org. Thank you for your reporting, but please be fair. Thank you.

    Cindy Feather

    October 19, 2009 at 8:40 am |
  70. Ryan CT

    In New Haven, CT a while back we had an Air America station. Absolutely nobody listened to it. All over the city, all through Yale, no one ever listened to it. Eventually it became ESPN Radio.

    What does it say when the most "liberal" audience on the East Coast doesnt care to listen to "liberal" radio?

    Of course weeks after it was gone there was a weak display of outrage and plenty of blaming FOX News (I dont think they had anything to do with the station). Then the complaints just stopped and they went right back to not caring.

    Perhaps this fickle and largely unobservant audience has something to do with the 9%?

    October 19, 2009 at 8:40 am |
  71. Oliver Moon

    concerning healthcare. Is it me ,or are we at the mercy of one group again,who regulate their fees for the work they do. Maybe we should all stop going to the doctors untill they also drop their prices like every other industry in this economy. I truly belive doctors , lawyers and banks are the ones destoying the american economy and bankrupting families.
    Oliver

    October 19, 2009 at 8:38 am |
  72. Jerry

    While the story was fairly balanced, the idea that if "Liberal" radio was available it would be "popular" is ludicrous. We still, for the time being, live in a market driven society. If there were a market for liberal talk it would exist and people would be making money off of it. Conservative radio is popular because it talks about ideas people want to talk about.

    October 19, 2009 at 8:37 am |
  73. Brian

    Carol, nice hatchet job. 10 seconds of the 5 minute report on liberal talk. Just a little bias right. Did you not Date Rush?

    October 19, 2009 at 8:36 am |
  74. Linda Grubbs

    Your story is off the mark. People listen to talk radio so much because their other media choices are so limited. All but a few of TV news is liberal. To get anythng else, you have to listen to talk radio. But you wouldn't agree because you don't know how liberal CNN actually is.

    October 19, 2009 at 8:36 am |
  75. Joe

    SManning, being educated doesn't always equate to natural intelligence and independent thinking, especially when Rush is the teacher. Give me independent thinkers who can figure out things for themselves as opposed to hordes of people who can't figure out anything on their own without the aid of Limbaugh or Hannity to do their bidding for them.

    October 19, 2009 at 8:32 am |
  76. Daisy21

    If we want to compare how much conservative talk radio there is compared to liberal (and NPR is a liberal outlet), then perhaps we also need to compare the rest of the media. How many of the TV networks lean left compared to right? How many of the major newspapers? How many of the leading newsmagazines? I think a study would probably show that, outside of talk radio, most of the media leans left.

    October 19, 2009 at 8:20 am |
  77. Dan Clements

    I liked this report this morning. I host a Christian/political talk radio show on Blog Talk Radio called 'BACK TO BASIC' I force no one to listen to my show, I compete with other shows, especially liberal and progressive talk shows. People are free to start talk shows on Blog Talk Radio and if you look at the number of political shows on, there is up to six times as many conservative talk shows on as there are liberal or progressive.
    So in a medium where you are free to start your own talk show, how is it that the conservative shows out number and out preform liberal talk shows? The answer is simple, if you put out a good truthful product they will come!

    October 19, 2009 at 8:15 am |
  78. markp

    While CNN is busy fact checking saturday nite live and apoligizing on air for not checking sources and missing stories like ACORN and VAN JONES to spread the word of the annoited one Pres. Obama. FOX and conservetive talk news are looking past the chill going up some peoples legs and reporting facts that concern all of us..

    October 19, 2009 at 8:06 am |
  79. JimBo

    Get and HOLD listeners.
    That's the job of any talk show host in any medium. It's those listeners that advertisers crave. If liberal talk show hosts could Get and HOLD listeners there would be more of them with successful shows. The piece failed to point that out. Instead whining that there was only 9% liberal offering!

    October 19, 2009 at 8:06 am |
  80. SManning

    It is kinda funny to hear all the Rush bashing on all the liberal airwaves. Hey Joe, one of your own liberal shows just said that the listeners of conservative radio are more educated than liberal listeners. What is really funny is Beck, Rush, and Hannity can site their sources to back up what they say. Then you have MSNBC and CNN having to follow Fox stories because they were made to look so bad for not covering stories like ACORN and Van Jones. The reason there are so few liberal radio stations is the lack of listeners. If they were so popular they would be around. You sited that NPR had 20 million listeners wich was more than Rush's 15, Rush is only on 3 hours. Look at the television ratings. Fox has the top 13 news shows and Oreilly and Beck usually out number all MSNBC hosts combined not to mention what they do to CNN. A recent report also showed that Fox was more balanced as far as guests with party affiliation. Before you bash all the conservatives listen to what they say for more than 5 minutes. I watch different shows to get a wider perspective.

    October 19, 2009 at 8:04 am |
  81. dona burnett

    most people who listen to Conservative Talk listen aren't "bible thumpers". For anyone to assume that is just wrong. Most people listen because we get liberal spin on CNN,MSNBC, ABC, CBS, NBC. We want the other side, too.

    We consider ourselves informed and to be informed you have to hear both sides.

    October 19, 2009 at 7:53 am |
  82. BigD The SUN is Back, Mn

    We Love CNN- We Love Roberts & Chetry- We Love Carol Costello!

    Carol Costello is a TV Personality/News Commentator that Can Get the True Story Out There in Subjective TERMS that We All So Desperately Need.

    "Carol Costello Style" has Really Come Into Its Own + Onto the Media Waves in Highly Respectable Form!

    4-STARS!!!!!

    October 19, 2009 at 7:51 am |
  83. Fred Mohr

    I believe most of the country is conservative deep down. Conservatives believe in people being responsible and smaller government while liberals seem to believe that government should be the answer and take care of me regardless of the costs. Conservatives believe that they can solve issues and that while government has a role, that role is limited and government should not get in the way. Conservatives deal more with the facts while liberals seem to distort the fact to get their way. The means justifies the end with liberals. Morals seem to be lacking with liberals. i.e., Take a look at the direction that our government, congress, and this administration is taking us and ask yourself if that is where you want to go. If the answer is yes, you are liberal if the answer is no, then you are a conservative. The end result is if there were not a huge conservative base out there then conservative talk radio would not survive and surely would not top the liberal talk shows the way it does. When I hear about enforcing the Fairness Act, this is another example of Big Government trying to control the agenda. Their is nothing that limits the size or number of liberal talk radio shows other than the audience. A level playing field is all most people ask for.and not government intervention and the muffling of free speech in this country. Our country is definitely headed in the wrong direction and if liberals get what they want, all of us should move to a more democratic and fair state. Where might that be ???

    October 19, 2009 at 7:50 am |
  84. Bruce P.

    I think that talk radio does influence people. I have had many a discussion with people who listen to Rush, that actually believe what he says is truth (yet much of what he says is at least misleading and often misrepresents the truth – flat out lies). I am a moderate and when I turn on the radio, I want news, traffic, weather, music, and sports. When I discover any radio station that carries Rush, Glen B., and others in the same vein of negative and misleading "talk" shows, I delete that radio station and refuse to listen to them EVER again. I will not support ANY radio station or TV network, that supports lying, misrepresentation of the truth, and in particular is anti-American (yes, it is totally anti-American for ANYONE who publicly delares that they want ANY newly elected President of our country to fail). Rush is an evil and sick drug addict that should not be allowed to be on the public airways!
    Quite Sincerely,
    Bruce P.

    October 19, 2009 at 7:47 am |
  85. mike in ohio

    Talk radio is nothing more than an AM radio version of "professional wrestling". It creates the illusion of anger in order to stir listeners into taking a side. Not unlike the rants of wrestlers in the WWF. It is an old tactic.
    The so called, "conservative" talk radio hosts are really not that conservative in their personal lives. They are nothing more than actors.
    For example, Limbaugh, a recovering drug addict and having been marred and divorced several times, is not a good example of conservatism. Beck, recovering drug addict and alcoholic with prior psychiatric issues is not a conservative role model. The people that listen to talk radio are duped by emotional rants. The talk radio stars make millions and could care less about this country.

    October 19, 2009 at 7:45 am |
  86. Paula Banachoski

    I enjopyed your segment this morning and find myself right in the demograpyics you spoke of.

    I am a liberal who listens mainly to NPR or music. While I enjoy talk show formats, because of lack of availability to liberal talk radio, I listen to conservative hosts (Limba, Beck, etc.), but they only strengthen my liberal resolve. Many times I find myselves thinking they exude all of the attributes they stereotype liberals.

    October 19, 2009 at 7:43 am |
  87. Joe

    It shouldn't be so hard to figure out why ten times as many Conservatives listen to talk radio as Liberals do. Conservatives are ten times less intelligent as Liberals are, and thus they need to let someone else figure things out for them. Liberals have a mind of their own and don't need bullies and chickenhawks like Limbaugh and Hannity to do their thinking for them. Conservatives simply can't figure things out on their own, so they're much more easily swayed than Liberals are.

    Joe

    October 19, 2009 at 7:42 am |
  88. L. E. Burnette

    I am a college educated, middle-aged white guy who considers myself politically moderate. In the past 6 pres. elections I have voted 3 times for Dems and 3 for Republicans. I do not listen to talk radio. If I want to hear another middle-aged white guy having a temper tantrum, I'll just go back to my last job. I do spend a couple of hours each day listening to the oldies.
    L. E. Burnette
    Tuscaloosa

    October 19, 2009 at 7:41 am |
  89. Karl X

    Conservative and Libertarian talk radio is frightening. Hosts use fear to keep listeners tuned in. More Americans should wake up and realize that it's completely about ratings.

    Radio hosts will say virtually anything to keep you tuned in to their show longer and more regularly.

    That's why NPR is not as exciting... because they have nothing to sell.

    October 19, 2009 at 7:40 am |
  90. Lee

    I think the prevalence of conservative talk radio has more to do with geopolitical demographics than anything else. No one will argue with the statement that more conservatives live in suburban and rural areas than do within cities. Whether they are commuting to work or running errands around town, people in suburban and rural areas spend more time in their cars. Conservative radio may simply be a function of appealing to the people who spend more time in their cars.

    October 19, 2009 at 7:40 am |
  91. May

    If listeners to these hate mongers were to listen to National Public Radio instead , they might learn something !
    NPR actually has intelligent discussions from both sides !

    October 19, 2009 at 7:38 am |
  92. dr

    Conservatism is rooted in thinking, liberalism is rooted in feeling. This is a large part of why Air America failed and conservative radio still dominates.

    October 19, 2009 at 7:36 am |
  93. Jerry

    It is my opinion that anyone listens to Limbaugh would probably listen to the Republican evangelical TV preachers, they both think that they are the only ones that are right about everything, when in fact they are both sick puppies.

    October 19, 2009 at 7:36 am |
  94. robby

    to do a story about talk radio and not mention Howard Stern means this story/report is invalid. No talk show host, let alone anyone in the world, can bring in 8 million paid subscribers like Howard can. Rush would never be able to pull in those kind of paying numbers.

    October 19, 2009 at 7:35 am |