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Is conservative talk radio losing its appeal?

Conservative US radio and television commentator Glenn Beck.
Conservative US radio and television commentator Glenn Beck.
Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

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Is conservative talk radio losing its appeal? In yesterday’s Daily Beast, John Avlon reported that Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity are all losing fans in majors markets. According to Avlon, ratings for the New York area, the largest radio market in the nation, bear this out: "... between November '09 and November '10... show that Rush Limbaugh's ratings on WABC declined from 5.4 to 5.0... and in the crucial 24-55 demographic they slid from 3.7 to 2.6." Beck, Hannity, and Mark Levin, Limbaugh's brothers in arms, have experienced similar declines. This downshift is reflected in televised punditry as well, where Glenn Beck's ratings have dipped at least 39% since last year. Randall Bloomquist, radio executive and President of Talk Frontier Media, speculates that conservative talk radio is dying away in large part because the demographics show that talk radio with a pronounced ideological bent is mainly listened to by the elderly, and that as the market shifts younger, it will simply cease to be relevant. But is conservative talk radio really fading away? Or, given that ratings always ebb and flow, are we merely in a conservative talk radio down period?


Michael Harrison, Editor and Publisher of TALKERS magazine. TALKERS magazine is the leading trade publication serving the talk media industries in America.

Randall Bloomquist, long time radio executive and president of Talk Frontier Media, a talent and talk media strategy company.