Sunday, February 08, 2009

Bill Press and the "Fairness Doctrine"

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Bill Press is unlistenable and always has been. He made his name as the irritating liberal on CNN and MSNBC broadcasts and now bemoans that liberals just can't cut it when actual profit is required:

If you're looking for a break from those conservative voices that dominate talk radio, take time out today to listen to local station OBAMA 1260 AM. You'll hear the progressive voices of Stephanie Miller, Ed Schultz, Lionel -- or, during morning drive, my own "Bill Press Show" -- providing welcome relief from the constant Obama-bashing by Rush Limbaugh and others. Unfortunately, today's the last day you'll be able to do so.
OBAMA 1260? Sounds like it was very non-partisan. I'll tune into Rush on REAGAN 990 tomorrow.

Anyway, he continues:

The commercial use of public airwaves is supposed to reflect the diversity of the local community, but that's not how it works in Washington. On the AM dial, WMAL (630) features wall-to-wall conservative talk. So do stations WTNT (570) and WHFS (1580). For the past two years, OBAMA 1260 -- even with a weak signal that cannot be heard in downtown Washington -- was the exception. No longer. Starting tomorrow, our nation's capital, where Democrats control the House, the Senate and the White House, and where Democrats outnumber Republicans 10 to one, will have no progressive voices on the air.
Hey Bill, here's a newsflash: liberals make no money (and steal from kids when they try), which is the entire point of producing and airing a program. Yes, the government allows the commercial use of airwaves but only because they have to regulate the signal, not the content. Someone like Press will never understand that.

To mollify critics, Red Zebra has said it will add Ed Schultz to its conservative lineup on 570 AM. This means Shultz will be outgunned in this market by at least 15 conservative talkers: Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Mark Levin, Chris Plante, Michael Smerconish, Michael Savage, Andy Parks, Fred Grandy, Bill Bennett, Monica Crowley, Bill O'Reilly, Dennis Miller and Lars Larsen. No matter how good Schultz is, that's not a fair contest -- nor a fair use of the public airwaves.
If Schultz is so good, he should be able to find an audience regardless of who else is airing. If liberals need to listen to talk they want, they'll find him. It's a red herring as libs don't listen to Hannity or Crowley or any of the others anyway.

Unfortunately, what's happening in Washington reflects what has happened in one city after another across the country. In Miami, Clear Channel recently dumped progressive talk for sports: Clear Channel stations made the same move in San Diego and Cincinnati. Sacramento abandoned progressive talk for gospel music. In fact, according to a study released by the Center for American Progress and Free Press, there are nine hours of conservative talk for every one hour of progressive talk.
They dumped liberal talk for gospel? That's gotta hurt, Bill. Especially considering gospel gets about a 0.00007% of any given audience. That's about ten times what liberal talk gets I guess.

Why? Station owners complain they can't get good ratings or make any money with progressive talk, but that's nonsense. In Minnesota, independent owner Janet Robert has operated KTNF (950 AM) profitably for five years. In Madison, Wis., WXXM, 92.1 FM, just scored its highest ratings ever. And KPOJ in Portland, Ore., soared with progressive talk from No. 23 in market ratings to No. 1. Nationwide, progressive talkers Randi Rhodes, Ed Schultz and Stephanie Miller have proven that, given a level playing field, they can more than hold their own in ratings -- and make money for their stations.
Wow, they get killer ratings in overwhelmingly liberal markets that rank about fiftieth in population. Way to make your point, Bill.

BTW, KTNF is 18th out of 20 stations in Minneapolis with a whopping 1.1 share. How are they making money exactly? As for KPOJ, they are fourth and--shocka--they are a Clear Channel station who liberals rail against. I for one am totally convinced...or not.

Companies are given a license to operate public airwaves -- free! -- in order to make a profit, yes, but also, according to the terms of their FCC license, "to operate in the public interest and to afford reasonable opportunity for the discussion of conflicting views of issues of public importance." Stations are not operating in the public interest when they offer only conservative talk.
Again, the only goal is to make a profit. NPR doesn't need to make a profit so they can air all liberal radio all the time. Just like the BBC, tax dollars pay for it. If NPR or PBS were forced turn a profit, they too would be all conservative because that's what people want to hear.

Press is bitter because no one wants to hear what he has to say. So, he advocates making radio less free and more restrictive. This is what we have to face y'all and it's not going to stop at radio. Pretty soon it will affect TV, the Internet including this blog and every other news source.

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