Bill Christofferson likes the recent "report" by the self-styled Center for American Progress and an organization known as Free Press.
The study tallies up the imbalance between conservative and "progressive" talk radio (what it did with NPR is unclear) and calls for action. What I am interested in is the study's assertion that market forces can't explain the predominance of conservative talk because, and I think this is a fair paraphrase, some talk radio listeners are liberal and an occasional "progressive" talk show is successful.
Nothing in the study undercuts the thesis that there is relatively little liberal talk because the market won't support it. Xoff asks "when is the last time anyone tested that theory and actually put a liberal talk show on the air, in the daytime, with an engaging, entertaining host?"
I think that's what Air America was trying to do. It was extremely well-funded, highly promoted and, presumably, featured the best hosts that could be found, including well-known Hollywood celebrities. It has, generally speaking, flopped.
He asks why WTMJ here in Milwaukee won't put a lefty on the air but that reflects a lack of understanding of the radio business and, therefore, is the wrong question. Radio stations generally don't adopt multiple formats. A classic rock station won't throw in some country and western because it knows that the audiences for those genres is different and a mixed format will undercut the listener loyalty that it is trying to build. If you believe that the audiences for liberal and conservative talk are different, it's not surprising that TMJ put James Harris - and not James Rowen - on the air.
A better question is why any of the number of unlistened-to AM stations in Milwaukee have not taken a flier on liberal talk. That's a question to which I have yet to hear a credible answer other than the obvious one: No one believes it will work.
The answer of the Center for American Progress and the ironically named "Free Press" is to get liberal talk on the air through regulatory coercion. How the current absence of forced liberal talk amounts to, as Bill puts it, "shutting up progressives" is beyond me.
NB: Bill does point out that there is a "progressive" talk station in Milwaukee, WMCS-1290. As is normally the case on Thursday afternoons, you can hear me on Backstory this afternoon from 4:30 to 6:00.