In December, I reported on liberal talk station WVKO in Ohio, which went dark because they did not receive the kind of financial support they needed from advertisers and listeners. The station went so far as to blame the Obama campaign for not doing more advertising. Now, another liberal station calls it quits – and revenue is again to blame.
According to Talkers.com, Reno, NV liberal talk station KJFK announced that it will go dark on March 18th. (A screen shot of the announcement is posted below.) The line-up is a who’s who of left leaning hosts, including Thom Hartmann, Leslie Marshall and now MSNBC weekend mascot Ed Schultz. The problem? The money: (emphasis mine)
Given the volume of rhetoric dispensed on-air from “the other side”, we felt it vital to remain on-the-air through the 2012 General Election, despite the fact that KJFK has operated at a loss of thousands of dollars a month. Since we launched the station with an appearance by Al Franken in 2005, when nearly 500 people joined us at the Atlantis for now Senator Franken’s appearance just days after we hit the air, we’ve known a passionate audience has been with us all along. Unfortunately, this station was never able to generate the revenue necessary to sustain, and we simply cannot absorb the financial loss any longer.
Yes, the market is to blame. The station could not generate revenue. According to AllAccess.com, KJFK was among the bottom of the ratings in the city. It’s Fall 2012 Arbitron share was a 1.7, compared with juggernaut talk station KKOH, which enjoyed a 8.8 share in the same time period. The KKOH line-up includes Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage and Mark Levin.
The market isn’t to blame. It simply holds up a mirror to reality. A station that operates at a loss of “thousands of dollars a month” should close. When, after 8 years, you are unable to find “the revenue necessary to sustain” the station, the mirror doesn’t lie. Progressive talk works on TV, where no one ever asks a tough question of the host (kind of like the Obama Administration.)
However, when forced to deal with the real world, liberal talk doesn’t sell. (Which is exactly why liberals are so keen on the Fairness Doctrine. And yes, expect its unfortunate comeback.) Leftist radio doesn’t move an audience. There is not enough return for sponsors and advertisers. Even in a country where Democrats control the Presidency and the Senate, the market tells the tale. Angry, nasty hosts like Bill Press and Mike Malloy (also on the now-defunct station) don’t create radio that people want.
Audiences aren’t buying liberal radio, because the product isn’t worth it.