Changes in Talk Radio?

From his mouth to God's ears. A couple of days ago, the Los Angeles Times's Tim Rutten wrote a piece pointing to a drop in the ratings for political talk radio and suggesting that maybe the era of right-wing hot talk was waning. Michael Harrison, publisher of Talkers magazine and a pretty savvy industry analyst told Rutten that the idea of politically partisan talk "is an anomaly in the history of talk radio...The standard for the medium is more populist than partisan...The host is on the little guy's side and skeptical of all politicians, whether they're Republicans or Democrats."

That would surely be a nice change for an industry that's been a wholly owned subsidiary of the conservative wing of the Republican party for the past decade or so. And I bet liberals would be happy to stop listening to Al Franken if conservatives agreed to turn off Rush Limbaugh.

Anyway, that brings us to the situation at WRKO-AM, the one-time king of Boston talk that has grown tired and musty in recent years. There's recently been a management shakeup there, and as today's Boston Globe story suggests, programming changes may be in the offing.

One of my sources, a veteran of the local radio business, predicts serious changes at WRKO with Howie Carr -- and perhaps Limbaugh and right-wing ranter Michael Savage -- surviving. "There will be some heavy moves made sooner than later," the radio vet predicts.

Of course, getting rid of Limbaugh and Savage would bear out Harrison's prediction that real populism rather than rabid partisanship is the next wave for a business that is still feeding off the foul-smelling fumes of anti-Clinton animus.
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