Thursday, February 15, 2007

AFN Selects Colmes to Replace Franken

Bad news continues afflict the lib talk format. First we hear, this week, that two more lib talk stations will likely be flipping formats --KCTC in Sacramento (on Monday) and KPFT in Fresno (in about two months). Now we learn that the Armed Forces Network will be replacing Al Franken’s spot of their line-up with "Fox’s liberal punching bag", Alan Colmes. Yes, the AFN overlooked the top ten syndicated liberal hosts on the radio, and selected someone who is generally dispised by lib talk listeners.

In a press release announcing their programming change, AFN claimed that Colmes had “a good reputation as hard hitting liberal known for eclectic comments on the American agenda.” You have to wonder, who they polled to determine that Colmes a “good reputation” with American liberals. He might be considered the Conservatives favorite liberal, but I don’t think you find many liberals who think highly of him.

Also, you have to wonder what they mean, when they call Colmes “eclectic”. According to the Dictionary, “eclectic” means “selecting or choosing from various sources.” In Colmes’ case, those sources are usually his right wing buddies on Fox News.

(An analysis published in Talking Radio last month found that Colmes was ranked as the 11th most listened two liberal host on radio.)

Now don’t get us wrong, AFN has come a long way in balancing their schedule to include lib talkers. For several years, the only political commentator to have his own show on the network was Rush Limbaugh. After months of lobbying including speeches on the floor of U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, AFN finally agreed to add the Al Franken Show, to level the playing field, in November, 2005. Subsequently they added Ed Schultz and Sean Hannity. Arguably, you can still say that conservatives have an advantage because the schedule also includes a daily show by Dr. Laura. However, a better question is why is her show in the first place.

No one could argue with AFN’s decision to carry Franken and Schultz. At the time they were considered the top two liberal talk hosts in the country. But one has to question the decision to select Colmes to replace Franken. Not only is his show very unpopular with radio listeners but it is also a stinker.

Colmes does virtually no prep for his nightly show. He usually gets on the air makes a few comments and then spends the rest of his three hour show taking to callers, who are mostly right-wingers calling to argue with him. He often has a guest on who he interviews for about a half-hour. To say that he "phones it in" is understatement. When you consider the prep and production values added to Randi Rhodes Show (ranked number 3) or the Stephanie Miller Show (ranked number 4) the 11th ranked Alan Colmes Show pales in comparison.

We found another interesting thing on the AFN website. There was a list of questions posted on their FAQ page. One of the top five questions from listeners was “why do the carry the Rush Limbaugh Show” However, under the heading of “Other Radio Questions” one is “Why do you carry the Tom Joyner Show.” We found it interesting that the listeners were questioning why they carry El Rushbo, but AFN thought it was important to explain why they were carrying the number 1 African American radio host in country.

If you would like to register your protest of AFN’s decision to add Colmes as their second lib talker, you can do that via weblog that they offer on their site.

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