Monday, September 17, 2007

ABC Radio Networks Cuts Back on News/Talk

Since Citadel took over ABC Radio Networks earlier this year, the once dominant syndication operation has cancelled about half of their news/talk radio shows and now it appears they have bailed out of the satellite radio business.

XM announced today that they are closing down their ABC News and Talk Channel and are folding three surviving ABC properties – The Sean Hannity Show, The Mark Levin Show and Money Talk with Bob Brinker – into their America Right Channel. (Tom from Albuquerque will not be happy with this move since he considers Brinker to be a liberal.)
In a separate announcement, the radio syndicator announced that they were dropping the Satellite Sisters -- probably the second most successful women’s talk show. (Dr. Laura’s daily "guilt fest" is the number one show directed to women.)

Also, within the last month ABC Radio has pulled talk shows hosted by Larry Elder and Mark Davis from their syndication line-up. Those two shows continue on their flagship stations – Elder on KABC/790 in Los Angeles and Davis WBAP/820 in Dallas.

While ABC is still a force in the radio syndication and still offers over two dozen spoken word shows (mostly sports and Spanish language programs) it is rather curious that they are cutting back in the news/talk format.
Citadel, which also acquired a few dozen stations owned by ABC when they purchased the alphabet network's radio assets, is the only station owner in the top five that does not own a liberal talk radio station. ABC Radio Networks syndicated news/talkers include four conservative talkers from the right to the far right -- Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Paul Harvey and Dr. James Dobson, three financial talker, and America's Most Wanted hosted by John Walsh.

According to an article in Media Week, ABC has left its initiative in women’s programming (The Satellite Sisters) "to wane" now that they are under new management.

"You didn’t have to be a weather girl to see which way the wind was blowing," said Liz Dolan, one of "Sisters." Dolan noted that ABC, under Citadel, recently signed Bob Grant and is reportedly wooing Don Imus.

According to Dolan, "The Sisters" are not going away and will be "pursuing other syndication and distribution options, including satellite radio."

This has not been a good month for women’s talk radio. In mid-August GreenStone Media shut down their women’s talk radio network and with the exception of Dr. Laura, radio is, for the most part, a "no-mans land" for women’s talk.


Anonymous said...

> with the exception of Dr. Laura,
> radio is, for the most part, a
> "no-mans land" for women’s talk.

Laura Ingraham
Dr Joy Browne
Kim Komando
Bev Smith
Janet Parshall
Diane Rehm

And our very own....
Stephanie Miller
Randi Rhodes

That's just national hosts on Michael Harrison's radar.

And let's face it, whatever the minimum audience or number of stations needed for syndicated talk shows to show a profit, the fem talk network didn't come close. Let's see how long the Rev Al and company can hang in.

barooosk said...

With the exception of Joy Browne (who's distribution has dropped over the past few years) the other hosts that you mentioned just happen to be women, but they are not doing talk radio targeted to women.

Phoenix Woman said...

Baroosk, why do female talk show hosts only count as such if they just talk to a women-only audience? Does that mean that male talk show hosts who talk to women along with men somehow don't count either?

This is similar to the reasoning used to bemoan the alleged dearth of A-list female bloggers, even though the biggest blogger of all is Arianna Huffington. Jane Hamsher's Firedoglake isn't chopped liver, either. (Disclosure: I write for Jane at FDL.) If a woman blogger blogs about the same general topics men do, she's not counted as a "woman blogger", as if women must be consigned to covering only a small fraction of the observable world.

barooosk said...

Actually the fact that women like Randi Rhodes, Laura Ingram, Stephanie Miller, Tammy Bruce, Rachel Maddow,Rollye James, Laura Flanders, Kim Komando, etc. are performing in general market radio is a testiment to their broadcating skills and to how open the radio industry is open to women.

What the "Satellite Sisters" and Greenstone Media were trying to do is create programming appealing to female listeners. They (or the radio industry) have failed.

A significant per centage of ralk radio listeners are white, male, and over 50. That's not a very good demograhic.