Right-wing blowhards don’t cut it in DC

Conservative Talk Radio may be popular among the unwashed masses but right-wing blowhards can’t cut it in the Nation’s Capitol.

In fact, any political talk show is doomed to ratings oblivion in Washington.

Politics may run the city but political talk radio falls on deaf ears.

Writes Paul Farhi of The Washington Post:

After conservative radio pundits encouraged opposition last month to the immigration bill that was before the Senate, Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) was moved to declare, “Talk radio is running America.”

It is not, however, running Washington.

With the exception of Rush Limbaugh, conservative talk-radio hosts have struggled for years to find a wide audience on the local dial. While Limbaugh’s afternoon program remains popular on WMAL (630 AM), not many other conservatives’ programs have.

Latest case in point: WJFK (106.7 FM) yesterday dropped Bill O’Reilly’s nationally syndicated show, “The Radio Factor,” and replaced it with a sports-talk program hosted by Jim Rome. O’Reilly, an avowed independent who takes many conservative views, occupied a two-hour afternoon slot on WJFK.

The popular Fox News Channel TV host never attracted much of a radio following in Washington — in the most recent ratings period, his program had about 1.2 percent of the audience. But then, neither have many other conservatives, whose programs are popular in many cities but barely move the ratings needle in the Washington area, the nation’s eighth-largest radio market.

Such radio stars of the right as Laura Ingraham, Glenn Beck and Michael Savage at times have literally had no ratings in Washington, as measured by Arbitron. That’s partly because those hosts are carried on WTNT (570 AM), a station that has a weak signal, no local programming and little promotion. Last month, for example, the Clear Channel-owned station attracted an average of just 0.5 percent of the listening audience.

But another reason is that political talk in Washington isn’t particularly popular, period.

The most popular political-talk station in town, WMAL, finished 11th among all stations in May. In addition to Limbaugh, whose show aired opposite O’Reilly’s, WMAL carries conservative talkers Sean Hannity in the late afternoon, “The Grandy and Andy Morning Show,” and Chris Core in late mornings.

“Washington is an unusual talk market,” says Jim Farley, who oversees programming for all-news WTOP and news-and-talk Washington Post Radio. “In most other cities our size, you have two competing right-wing stations. . . . Political talk radio just hasn’t gotten the same traction here.”


  1. Henry M. Onsgard

    Washington is, what, 80pc black and 90pc Democratic voters? Hordes of low level bureaucrats sucking the public teat in the Swamp all day.

    Trust an uberliberal paper not to mention such distasteful truths in considering why the capital is “different”. What the WaPo won’t tell you about its own backyard would fill a book.

    Diversity is Our Greatest Wilful Myopia.


  2. scottimack

    I think there is a key difference between Washington and the rest of America, and that explains why talk radio does not succeed in Washington–

    The point is that the Washington staffers KNOW the situation on the Hill; they know what the daily talking points are- and, most importantly, they know when the talk show host is laying down a line of bovine excrement.

  3. abcdilroy

    DC doesn’t like talk radio…Here is some more “news:” bears s**t in the woods and the pope is catholic.

  4. Sandra Price

    I was a declared “Right Wing” nut for nearly 50 years. Even when I walked out of the Birch Society I had no concept of the damage their kind of thinking would promote. It took one term of President Bush 41 to wake me up to the basic agenda of the new GOP (neoconservatives). I was so shocked at the thought of an American Empire based on our intrusions in the Middle East that I wandered off with Perot. He stood for my Republican values.

    I first heard Rush back in the mid 90s and could not believe that any American could be so uncouth and rude about Americans. I had been receiving reports from Phyllis Schlafly filled with venom against the Liberals and I finally threw them away unread.

    But it wasn’t until I ventured onto the internet that I met the base of the Conservatives. They delcared war on everyone unless they worked for Christian America. Today, they are still on the attack. They came after me here when I wrote for the home page. It has become a personal threat that everytime I write anything it will be challenged and debunked. I would not subject Doug to this mess and quit.

    They are all hooked on Rush, Coulter and the above mentioned radio personalities; they are fed all the dirty tricks possible to destroy their enemies. They are not working FOR any candidate or agenda but are determined to kill off all liberals. It is the most dangerous agenda on the internet.

    If the DC politicos ignore these people, we only have to head over to Arlington Virginia to meet their support management. The internet is their arena. The churches support them through congregations sending donations.

    It’s legal and profitable but I believe it is unethical. I do not have the luxury of being saved by asking for forgiveness before I enter heaven as I’m an Atheist so what I say and write is my honest opinion and I have been insulted, threatened, banned by so many internet sites that I know I’m on the right side of the moral laws.

    I would rather see America fall into Socialism than the threats of the Religious Right and it has come down to this.

    I believe Imus was fired for stating that he was not certain there was a God. He openly deplored Rush and the others. I want no churches closed but only for a separation of church and state so that all Americans again can be declared equal.

  5. bryan mcclellan

    D.C. needs to bring back the GREASEMAN,and get rid of the right wing grease men,namely the hacks polluting the landscape of the airwaves nationwide for the republican SOB’s.I think I’ll just go and puke at the thought of the names mentioned in this post,it is all the response they are worthy of.By the way Sandra being blackballed means you are causing effect and irritation.You should be proud of that fact.And not to offend, but from where I sit on the subject of atheism,I believe claiming disbelief in something is akin to giving it credence.

  6. Sandra Price

    Bryan, when I see what the religious right wants to do to my Consitution I will fight like hell to them from succeeding. I sent my kids to Christian school and could not understand this fear of the Devil. That is one seed not planted in my kids’ brains. I guess I tend to come on a bit strong. I will not do it here. I promised Doug I would behave…….

  7. bryan mcclellan

    Sandra your honest opinion is all that is required.Stand on principle and refuse to back down.Keeping the ball in play is paramount to being close minded.If your thoughts put you in jeopardy here then I most certainly am a goner.P.S. I didn’t mean to lump IMUS in with the other hacks…