Probably not, but Lew Dickey, CEO of WPRO’s Atlanta-based parent company Cumulus, is hinting that we might start hearing less about Republican politics and more about the Red Sox baseball.
“We’re seeing a shift in spoken word radio from political-based talk over to sports,” Dickey told Bloomberg News recently. “The ratings are slightly down on talk and moving up on sports. Advertisers follow audiences and that is what we are seeing.”
You can watch him here. Dickey seems excited about the potential for country music as well as sports radio to keep making money for Cumulus. But he doesn’t seem too excited about the bombastic variety of conservative hate radio to which WPRO devotes most of its resources.
“I think people might be tired of all the partisan bickering,” Dickey told Bloomberg.
There is evidence that WHJJ sees this writing on the wall. This week the mild-mannered Andrew Gobeil is filling in for the always angry Helen Glover.
Not so much, though, at WPRO, where station manager Barbara Haynes seems to be bucking the trend and getting rid of the least conservative personalities, rather than the most: I was the first to be let go, then Andrew Gobeil then Ron St. Pierre. If this trend holds true, John DePetro might be the last employee at the Salty Shack!!
The American Prospect has a great piece on the rise and fall of conservative talk radio in America as seen through the experiences of Rush Limbaugh.
Since Limbaugh’s program began airing nationally 24 years ago, the goal of every episode has been to create an environment in which liberalism can’t but die. The show and its host came along at a time when the Willie Horton-ized politics favored bomb-throwing. The medium of political talk radio was just beginning its ascendance from regional media backwater to primary driver of national Republican politics.
But here we are today, newly embarked upon the second half of the Obama epoch. The conservative movement is fissured, and Barack Obama’s re-election brought a round of recriminations against the conservative media for poisoning Republican politics. For all of 2012, right-wing media gave its audience Obama-bashing and unfounded assurances of a Romney victory. As The Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf argued, this ended up putting conservatives at a disadvantage. “On the biggest political story of the year, the conservative media just got its ass handed to it by the mainstream media. And movement conservatives, who believe the MSM is more biased and less rigorous than their alternatives, have no way to explain how their trusted outlets got it wrong, while The New York Times got it right.”
Limbaugh is doing what he’s always done, because it’s worked for him in the past. But there’s a question now as to whether this model, an artifact from the Reagan years, can plausibly lead the broader conservative movement forward. It’s not 1988 anymore, and Republicans and conservatives still smarting from 2012 have to be wondering about the future of the party of Limbaugh.