Category Archives: ed schultz

>They Said It Wouldn’t Last

>Progressive talk radio is catching up. Yes, right-wing radio still dominates the talk airwaves, but liberal talkers are making big strides, according to the trade journal Talker’s Magazine. A survey in the current issue shows Ed Schultz receiving the same audience as Bill O’Reilly, and liberals like Randi Rhodes, Thom Hartmann, Lionel and Stephanie Miller with the same audience as G. Gordon Liddy and Hugh Hewitt.

This is a huge jump over last year for Schultz, according to Raw Story:

A new survey by Talkers Magazine listed Schultz’s weekly audience at 3.25 million weekly listeners, the same number of listeners enjoyed by O’Reilly, host of the Fox News Channel’s The O’Reilly Factor. [ … ] The same survey in 2006 pegged the Fargo talker’s unique weekly listeners at 2.25 million, sharing the number 10 slot among radio hosts nationwide.


Limbaugh, who had 14.5 million weekly listeners in 2005, has not recovered from his loss of audience reported in the 2006 survey. His audience has been holding steady at 13.5 million listeners since that report.

I’m a big fan of Ed Schultz; he’s not as strident or polarizing as Randy Rhodes (who I confess to also liking, especially on days when I’m really pissed off). Schultz actually lets people talk instead of cutting them off mid-sentence, and he’s based out of Fargo, which gives him that “flyover country” perspective. If you don’t get Schultz on regular or satellite radio, you can give him a listen online here.

In the meantime, Nielsen ratings show Keith Olbermann consistently beating conservatives like Glenn Beck and Tucker Carlson, and even giving Bill-O a run for his money in the key audience demographic.

It’s pretty amazing when you remember that conservative talk has an enormous advantage with its established infrastructure (Fox, ABC Talk Radio Network, etc.) built over the past few decades.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that people are turning off Rush and switching to Big Ed; rather, I think it shows there’s a growing market for progressive talk, whereas the market for conservative talk has probably maxed. What I don’t understand is why local talk radio stations like WLAC don’t offer both kinds of programming. Why cater to just a portion of the market in a city like Nashville, which skews liberal? I’ve been told that local station management has been approached about airing shows like Thom Hartmann and Ed Schultz (or even the awesome local show Liberadio) but they’ve refused, reasoning that liberals listen to big stars like Rush Limbaugh too. All that kind of thinking has done is drive me to satellite radio, where I now enjoy advertiser-free music programming, too.

The dearth of stations willing to program someone like Ed Schultz is a shame but it may be changing soon: on today’s show, Schultz announced he has investors looking to buy stations in some key markets. Think Nashville will be one of them?

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Filed under Bill O'Reilly, ed schultz, Rush Limbaugh, talk radio

>Fairness Doctrine: The New Gay Marriage

>I’ve been listening to Ed Schultz a bit this week (if you have XM Radio he’s on Air America from 12-3 EST). Today he’s been talking about the “fairness doctrine,” something we’ve been hearing a lot about lately. I kinda wondered where this issue came from all of a sudden. It reminded me of when flag burning was suddenly a major topic on the blogosphere. I thought, Really? Flag burning? That’s so last century. The only people burning flags these days are drunken frat boys. Well, that and nativist nutcases who think it’s OK to burn a Mexican flag.

Now that the “fairness doctrine” is all of a sudden on everyone’s lips, I have to say I smell a conservative election rat. They kinda blew their wad with gay marriage and abortion, and immigration divides the Republican Party worse than it does Democratic voters. How on earth will they whip their faithful to the polls in ‘08? By telling them if you vote for a Democrat, the big meanies will take your Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly away, of course. It’s classic fear-mongering, and it seems the Kool-Aid drinkers are eating it up.

Ed Schultz agrees with me. Today he said basically the same thing on his show; he believes this “fairness doctrine” stuff is a preemptive strike for ’08.

Right wingers are spreading all sorts of lies and distortions about what the fairness doctrine is and is not, that it would legislate liberal talk radio (no) and that it would make Rush Limbaugh illegal (as much as I wish that were true, it’s not). They’ve started the fear campaign with fabricated stories spread by Drudge and dutifully picked up along the right-wing echo chamber.

(Sadly, someone at the RNC forgot to clue in Trent Lott, who told the New York Times that ”Talk radio is running America. We have to deal with that problem.” Ooops. Get with the program, Trent.)

A forum at is full of the usual right-wing scaredy-pants rhetoric, including posts claiming the fairness doctrine will “go into effect in 2009” and it will “shut down conservative talk radio.” The poor dears, scared shitless yet again, as well as woefully uninformed. Don’t you guys get tired of being scared of your shadows all the time? There is no “fairness doctrine law” and nothing is going into effect in 2009. Where do you get these silly notions?

I wish Republicans could try to win an election without scaring the pants off of their base all the time, but when fear is your drug, you’ll keep going back for your fix.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. If the fairness doctrine doesn’t gain traction (flag burning was a big dud in 2006), I’m sure they’ll find something else.

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Filed under ed schultz, fairness doctrine, sean hannity