Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Top Lib Talk Hosts in Photo Finish for Leader in Q2 Rankings

Originally posted on August 2, 2007

The top four syndicated hosts, jockeyed for position in the Talking Radio Ranking of Liberal Talk Show Hosts and as they crossed the finish line it was once again a close race with less than two points separating the winner from the fourth place finisher.

Thom Hartmann and Ed Schultz maintained their advantage in total number of affiliates, Stephanie Miller secured her post position with the best time slots, but in the end it was the veteran Randi Rhodes, who held on to first place with a strong showing in the Spring survey.

For the second time this year, the “goddess” has secured the number one slot in the TR Ranking, beating out a surging Miller (who was fourth in the last survey), by a neck at the finish line. Schultz dropped to third position and Hartmann to fourth.

The TR survey* rates the performance of all of the syndicated lib talkers who broadcast on weekdays. You will notice that the hosts are rated by the percentage of the total audience that they reach.

Furthermore the positioning of the hosts is based on all radio listeners, not the so-called money demo, i.e. adults 25-54. You will have to go to other sources e.g. trade magazines or the host's websites to find specific data concerning ratings, shares, AQH's and cumes. Here is the ranking of syndicated lib talk hosts as of June 30, 2007:

While the distance between the top four was more than 4 points after the first quarter, it was only 1.4 points this time. It was a classic photo finish.

Rhodes secured her number one spot by continuing to improve her time periods. (Her coverage remained about the same.) and doing well in the Spring survey. The big news was Miller’s surge from fourth to second place. Stephanie did it by taking advantage of her ideal time periods, (i.e. 6am – 9am on several important west coast stations.) The slip by Schultz and Hartmann, was not due to their loses, but rather to Rhodes’ strong finish and Miller’s late surge.


However, the big news regarding the 2nd quarter “Ranking” was not the top four, but of the stunning changes in the rest of the field. Most notably, the dismal showing of the new Air America Radio talk shows.

While Rachel Maddow held her fifth place position and actually improved her standing by more than 2 points, veteran AAR talker Mark Riley, host of The Air Americans, fell from 10th to 12th place. Also new AAR talker Lionel barely got out of the starting gate falling from 7th to 8th. The Young Turks sunk from 8th to 10th.


More significantly, all three shows saw an extreme drop in their affiliations. Riley, from 40 to 13, Lionel from 55 to 15 and the “Turks” from 28 to 15. (AAR announced last week that it was canceling the Air Americans and replacing the four-hour mid-day show with two two-hour talk shows.) Lionel’s problem appears to be the fact that his new show is up against Miller, who is not giving up any ground.


Bill Press held on to his ninth position, but he lost 32% in point positioning falling from 3.4 top 2.3.

Late night talkers continue to struggle for position as their time slots do not attract many listeners.

Alan Colmes, who is actually carried on more stations than any other liberal talk show host, because of his role as the token lib on dozens of conservative talk stations, finished in 7th place beaten out by another late night talker, Mike Malloy, who secured his position by getting better time slots on several stations. While Jon Elliott improved his position by beating both Riley and the “Turks” for the first time, Elliott remained under two points in second quarter Ranking.


West coast talker, Peter B. Collins remained in last place.

For the first time since the launch of AAR, three and one-half years ago, talk hosts not affiliated with the liberal talk radio network account for the majority of lib talk listnership -- 50.2%. This is up from 34.4% at end of 2006.

The field of lib talkers, also declined in the second quarter. While there were 15 talkers on the first quarter survey, the second quarter survey only contained 13. The number of talkers will probably increase for the third quarter survey (9/30/07) with AAR introducing two new talk hosts – Richard Greene and Bree Walker – and independent talkers like Mario Solis-Marich and Leslie Marshall now starting to be syndicated.


There are 160 stations that carry at least one syndicated lib talker on weekdays. Of these 94 stations carry only one host, 11 stations carry two hosts, and 55 stations carry three or more hosts.





12 comments:

Johnny said...

Aren't there many more liberal talkers than 13? I know there are, for starters there's a bunch of liberal hosts on Sirius Left that aren't listed here. Perhaps some of them are only broadcast by Sirius, but they still exists, and it'd be interested to see all liberal hosts listed. I'm also curious if the afternoon liberal host I listen to would even be considered. It's Michelangelo Signorile, only broadcast on Sirius OutQ, their gay channel. But his show is mostly liberal politics, even if there's more emphasis on gay politics than usual. I listen to him because it's a great liberal radio show, not because it's a gay liberal show. Mike Malloy and Sam Seder are my two other favorites. Nice to see Malloy starting to kick some butt anyway. He's still recovering from AAR dumping him, so he'll continue to rise as he gains more affiliates.

Oregon Painter said...

I heard you on Mike Feder last weekend, so I know you stick to broadcast radio. Satellite and weekends don't count.

However, I DO have some problems with the methodology used. You admit it is unscientific, but how many people understand that to say a survey is "unscientific" is like calling an obese person "large"? In other words, it is a euphemism for "inaccurate."

And as you indicated previously, your inaccurate survey will cause people to have hurt feelings, maybe even lose advertisers. So I'm wondering, with all that at stake shouldn't you work a little harder at coming up with a better method?

Just wondering...

barooosk said...

I DO have some problems with the methodology used. You admit it is unscientific, but how many people understand that to say a survey is "unscientific" is like calling an obese person "large"? In other words, it is a euphemism for "inaccurate."

Good point.

Actually, we are very confident about the accuracy of the Rankings. The wording of our published methodology is identical to one used by Talkers Magazine (the Bible of the Talk Radio business.) For a variety of reasons, we cannot reveal all of our actual data sources.

Radio guy in Alaska said...

I work with a progressive talker that carries Randy, Steph and Ed. I just can't believe that Steph, as much as I love her, ranks higher than Ed. (OK, I know, Ed blew it when he moved time slots.) I need to know more about the methodology before I buy it. I have been involved in Radio a long time and have read a lot of research. Most researchers go to great pains to demonstrate their methodology. You have not.

Otherwise I enjoy your blog.

barooosk said...

I have been involved in Radio a long time and have read a lot of research. Most researchers go to great pains to demonstrate their methodology. You have not.

It ain't rocket science

1. coverage
2. time period
3. that thing that I can't talk about

Michael said...

It's not "unscientific."
"Scientific" is a journalistic euphemism for anything not based on a random sample. They lump focus group studies and reporters doing man on the street interviews into this category. By this standard, most of anthropology, sociology, psychology and medical research is "unscientific."
What Baroosk did is actually "secondary research." He took data from "scientific" surveys and did calculations for a specific purpose.
Yes, it would be nice to know a little more about how he did these calculations but it sounds like he is not using "guesstimates" like Michael Harrison.
I doubt advertisers are going to use these rankings to make time buys.
The key point: Regardless of who is getting a bigger or smaller slice compared to their rivals, the pie is shrinking.

Radio guy in Alaska said...

And it's that thing you can't talk about that gives me pause.

Michael said...

Looking at this a second time, this seems like an apples and oranges comparison. Hosts are ranked by their audience shares but these hosts are not in the same time period. That makes comparisons meaningless. The evening hosts may be well ranked by shares but the whole is minuscule.
The only valid share comparisons are hosts going head to head in the same dayparts.

barooosk said...

this seems like an apples and oranges comparison. Hosts are ranked by their audience shares but these hosts are not in the same time period. That makes comparisons meaningless. The evening hosts may be well ranked by shares but the whole is minuscule.
The only valid share comparisons are hosts going head to head in the same dayparts.


Yes, audience shares is one of criteria that we use. But we also factor in daypart, signal strength, and that thing we can't talk about.

Anonymous said...

% of listeners?
Percent of what listeners?
You can't be claiming that Randi gets a 19% share of the audience when most lib talk stations get minuscule AQH shares?

barooosk said...

% of listeners?
Percent of what listeners?
You can't be claiming that Randi gets a 19% share of the audience when most lib talk stations get minuscule AQH shares?


No, we are saying that Randi gets 19% of all the total audience listening to lib talk. Here share of total radio audience is much less.

Anonymous said...

YOUR KIDDING? HOW MANY PEOPLE VOTED? ELEVEN