At a Saturday talk radio industry event put on by Talkers Magazine, Gabe Hobbs, Clear Channel Radio’s vice president of News/Talk/Sports, announced that in the near future this corporate owner of over 1200 radio stations is considering programming some of their talk stations “in markets where there are already one or two stations doing conservative talk” with all-day back-to-back all-liberal talk show hosts.
Using the analogy of how music radio stations wouldn’t run different categories of music on a single programming day, Hobbs said talk radio was similarly “all about format.” This, he said, is why liberal talkers haven’t succeeded when sandwiched between conservatives – radio stations shouldn’t mix formats but instead should market to specific listener niches. Understanding this, it’s clear that only all-liberal/all-day programming can fill the demand for liberal talk radio, Hobbs’ comments suggested.
I suppose I should be happy about this, and certainly a pragmatic part of me is, but isn’t this sort of market segmentation exactly what’s wrong with music radio today? Maybe I’m just being cranky, since talk radio is different in many ways, but when Clear Channel starts talking about why its rigid programming style is a Good Thing, I instinctively recoil.
I’ll get over it. The article makes some other good points about market saturation and the timing of this announcement, so check it out.