Hostname: page-component-77c89778f8-n9wrp Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-07-24T20:57:35.588Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Understanding the Rise of Talk Radio

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 October 2011

Jeffrey M. Berry
Affiliation:
Tufts University
Sarah Sobieraj
Affiliation:
Tufts University

Abstract

The number of radio stations airing political talk shows—predominantly conservative talk radio—has surged in the past few years. This massive change in the radio industry says something about the demand for such shows, but attributing the rise of talk radio to a corresponding rise in conservative popular opinion is misleading. We argue that this remarkable growth is better explained by the collision of two changes that have transformed the radio business: deregulation and the mainstreaming of digital music technologies. Regulatory changes have shifted much of radio production and control from local to mass production (managed by industry giants such as Clear Channel Communications) and created a context ripe for nationally syndicated hosts such as Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and Mark Levin. Meanwhile, rapid technological changes have given consumers more control over the way they listen to music. Technologies such as MP3 players, Internet radio, smart phones, and Pandora Radio have made it more difficult for stations with a music format to be profitable. As music programming has become more problematic, many stations have developed a highly successful business model by converting to talk formats airing nationally syndicated shows.

Type
Features
Copyright
Copyright © American Political Science Association 2011

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

2020: Marketing Communications LLC. 2009. 2009 Thumbnail Media Planner. Rochester, MI: 2020 Marketing Communications LLC.Google Scholar
Abel, David. 2009. “WTKK-FM Suspends Severin for Derogatory Comments about Mexicans.” Boston.com, April 30. http://www.boston.com/news/local/breaking_news/2009/04/_jay_severin.html.Google Scholar
Abramowitz, Alan I. 2010. The Disappearing Center. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
Arbitron. 2003. R&R Talk Radio Seminar 2003: Top Arbitron Performers in News Talk. http://www.arbitron.com/downloads/RR_TRS_2003.pdf.Google Scholar
Arbitron. 2010b. Hispanic Radio Today 2010. http://www.arbitron.com/study/hisprt.asp.Google Scholar
Aufderheide, Patricia A. 1999. Communications Policy and the Public Interest: The Telecommunications Act of 1996. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
Bennett, Stephen Earl. 2002. “Predicting Americans' Exposure to Political Talk Radio in 1996, 1998, and 2000.” Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics 7: 922.Google Scholar
BIA/Kelsey. 2010. “BIA/Kelsey Raises Forecast for 2010 Radio Industry Revenues as First-Quarter Returns Show Slight Increases.” http://www.Bia.com/pr100527-IIRadio2.asp.Google Scholar
Blumenthal, Mark. 2011. “Obama Approval Bump Receding.” Pollster.com. March 9. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/09/obama-approval-bump-receding_n_833720.html.Google Scholar
Bridge Ratings. 2010. The Bridge Ratings First Look: The Future of Radio 2010. http://bridgeratings.com/.Google Scholar
Chafets, Zev. 2010. Rush Limbaugh: An Army of One. New York: Sentinel.Google Scholar
Cooper, Helene, and Herszenhorn, David M.. 2011. “Obama Calls for New Era of Civility in U.S. Politics,” New York Times, January 13.Google Scholar
Federal Communications Commission. 2010. http://www.fcc.gov/ownership/rules.html.Google Scholar
Fiorina, Morris P., Abrams, with Samuel J.. 2009. Disconnect. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.Google Scholar
Fiorina, Morris P., Abrams, with Samuel J., and Pope, Jeremy C.. 2011. Culture War, Third Edition. New York: Longman.Google Scholar
Gallup Poll. 2009. “Many Americans Remain Distrusting of News Media.” October 1. http://www.gallup.com/poll/123365/americans-remain-distrusting-news-media.aspx.Google Scholar
Hibbing, John R., and Theiss-Morse, Elizabeth. 1998. “The Media's Role in Public Negativity toward Congress.” American Journal of Political Science 42: 475498.Google Scholar
Holbert, R. Lance. 2004. “Political Talk Radio, Perceived Fairness, and the Establishment of President George W. Bush's Political Legitimacy.” Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics 9: 1227.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Jamieson, Kathleen Hall, and Cappella, Joseph N.. 2008. Echo Chamber. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Jones, Jeffrey M. 2011. “Democratic Party ID Drops in 2010, Tying 22-Year Low.” Gallup Poll. January 5. http://www.gallup.com/poll/145463/democratic-party-drops-2010-tying-year-low.aspx.Google Scholar
Kinosian, Mike. 2011. “Progressive Talk: Not Dead Yet!Talkers Magazine. April 2011.Google Scholar
Kohut, Andrew. 1993. The Vocal Minority in American Politics. Washington, DC: Times Mirror Center for People and the Press.Google Scholar
Lee, Gangheong, and Cappella, Joseph N.. 2001. “The Effects of Political Talk Radio on Political Attitude Formation.” Political Communication 18: 369394.Google Scholar
Levendusky, Matthew. 2009. The Partisan Sort. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
Mayer, William G. 2004. “Why Talk Radio Is Conservative.” Public Interest 156: 86103.Google Scholar
McBride, Sarah. 2008. “Clear Channel, Limbaugh Ink $400 Million New Contract.” Wall Street Journal Online at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121504302144124805.html.Google Scholar
Olmstead, Kenny, Mitchell, Amy, and Rosenstiel, Tom. 2011. “Audio: Medium on the Brink of Major Change,” in The State of the News Media 2011, Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism, at http://stateofthemedia.org/.Google Scholar
Owen, Diana. 1997. “Talk Radio and Evaluations of President Clinton.” Political Communication 14: 333353.Google Scholar
Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism. 2007. The State of the News Media 2007. Radio, “Audience.” http://www.stateofthemedia.org/2007/narrative_radio_audience.asp?cat=2&media=9.Google Scholar
Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism. 2009. The State of the News Media 2009. Radio tables, table for “Listeners to News/Talk/Information Stations, by Age.” http://www.stateofthemedia.org/2009/index.htm.Google Scholar
Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism. 2011. The State of the News Media 2011. Data for all talk stations at http://stateofthemedia.org/2011/audio-essay/data-page/.Google Scholar
Radio Advertising Bureau. 2009. MRI Radio Format Profile: All Talk. New York: Radio Advertising Bureau.Google Scholar
Saad, Lydia. 2010. “Conservatives Continue to Outnumber Moderates in 2010.” Gallup Poll. December 16. http://www.gallup.com/poll/145271/conservatives-continue-outnumber-moderates-2010.aspx.Google Scholar
Shanahan, Mark. 2011. “Jay Severin Fired by WTKK-FM.” Boston.com, April 6. http://articles.boston.com/2011-04-06/ae/29389342_1_wtkk-sexual-harassment-rock-n-roll.Google Scholar
Sobieraj, Sarah, and Berry, Jeffrey M.. 2011. “From Incivility to Outrage: Political Discussion in Blogs, Talk Radio, and Cable News.” Political Communication 28: 1941.Google Scholar
Wall Street Journal. 2010. “Why Online Won't Kill the Radio Star.” June 7. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704764404575287070721094884.html?mod=WSJ_Tech_LEFTTopNews.Google Scholar