How Talk Radio Changed America
Alan talks to author Fred Lucas about how talk radio has transformed American politics.
- Duration 17:25
- Date Aug 8, 2012
Alan talks to author Fred Lucas about how talk radio has transformed American politics.
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This transcript is automatically generated
So I'm -- don't want to welcome -- -- microphones Fred Lucas featured a book called the right frequency.
History publishing company is the publisher.
Lucas is the White House correspondent for CNN news -- come and contributing editor for channel magazine effort -- -- that.
The right frequency is pun intended right.
I can also presume with your associates with ten policy initiatives that you're coming from a conservative perspective right.
But that it it is about successful property on but that we -- -- -- address -- Liberal channels and this book and I think a liberal could enjoy the book.
Well -- died judge because I'm I'm in the business and I think he did a really good job already about the business including.
Kind of summoned -- a little bit but and what what spurred you want to write this book.
Or just just looking at this.
-- -- did agree to which talk radio.
And shape not just the conservative movement -- -- but politics of the whole.
And the influences have on election and the various public policy issues.
And I I don't think have really been -- history looking at the written about -- looking at that trajectory going back to the beginning of radio.
And right on out through -- -- -- back.
You know way back to the fact that other coddling you go back to and then after that Joseph Klein and but -- and people.
Though elect Joseph planet by the -- the -- the weather so you really covered quite extensively.
Do you think that.
Well -- -- is why do you think conservative radio has become so potent when liberal radio was not.
What I -- I think a big big part of that is.
Some folks -- like.
They don't need.
Talk radio to hear the global perspective.
Talk radio was the one meet.
Medium where the conservative view -- viewpoint is Dominic.
Most of the media did to him that there there at a minimum I -- a strong strong perception out there that the news media is is very clean.
Currently that's -- that's a perception among conservatives not among liberals.
Well I did and among one.
But they're -- -- mania many surveys that show the majority of the public believes that also its its overwhelming I mean and.
Quite transparent in the entertainment industry.
It -- Very public they -- further argument for a long time that the reason talk radio so lean so conservative and so much more popular among conservatives and liberals -- liberals.
The argument goes has the networks and they have the news -- and they have the -- but.
But the evening newscast the network television shows are not full of people.
Like the Limbaugh and Hannity and -- at center -- -- averages giving their opinion.
-- the entertainment industry may be liberally influence.
But it's not full of opinion shows like right wing talk radio it.
What what when I do think we've seen no a lot.
Certainly took -- property on the early ninety's we've seen talk ray observatory -- -- stories into the mainstream media.
I think we've seen some just this year story like festive period since the -- or push.
So some -- talk radio.
And on to network news and so forth that didn't.
Some journalists might have ignored -- Someone I would break -- our equipment and I would like the I would learn make the argument that the -- fast imperious there was wide receiver during the Bush Administration which had no intention whatsoever right wing radio.
Wasn't talking about it.
In liberal radio was talking about -- liberal radio is not -- Influential is right wing radio so these things -- get talked about just solemn assembly was Solyndra there -- whole number of companies that did very well.
Under program that was voted for by both Republicans and Democrats.
Which was to -- mean companies that never gets talked about so we're hearing it would really hearing and right wing radio is one side.
Of the equation.
And the other side just -- equal platform.
In which to give their opinion.
What -- they've you use it there they'll have an equal platform that's because of the market has decided.
And -- and why why -- the market so favorable to conservatives.
On talk radio and less favorable to -- Well.
I think -- it's mostly been the individual posts you you you have been very successful and property -- some of the folks out there the progressive.
Bill presidential hopeful yeah back.
You -- tennis on one hand basically.
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- Largely because you've you've been as individuals.
How he used.
He's carved out the next 001 a big failures for liberals and -- about this from the right frequency there's a whole chapter just called liberal failures.
What initially that they.
That they try to get former politician.
Mario Cuomo Jim high -- -- be better version of Rush Limbaugh.
May have been war can mean politicians have -- -- there there obviously articulate speakers but it did early.
-- -- -- that too with Fred Thompson and you know he can even have been but you're right.
It's -- entertainment more than -- you have to have the entertainment factory you're not going to be a successful Limbaugh is tremendously entertaining.
With the agree of them are not liberals say when -- but he -- he's -- showman right.
Yeah yeah absolutely and and I think -- there's certainly.
But chipped it to the next level one -- 11 of the big liberal failures lot of air America.
Right that was a bad business model there are so many regional air America failed.
It was a terrible business model for one thing.
What what one of the reasons I think is because.
Back to you've been successful actual -- successful -- -- liberals have been successful on here I have individual entrepreneur who are still would agree.
-- -- service started by.
Wealthy investors and many pushing a message let me go from there -- -- the world that it worked Rush Limbaugh.
And around about that right frequency -- Islam.
When he first wanna -- national around 1988.
He was approached by some folks but he actually don't work too ideological and wanted to save the world he wasn't an -- he wanted to get a show and it's good ratings and to sell a lot of average.
-- Russia the broadcast is no question about it that's the difference.
When you hire a -- -- -- in the hiring a political consultant do a show -- A former entertainer for some other aspect of show business to because they have a big name business and make them.
Proper for this particular business which is really an art form more than anything else is as conservative radio do you think.
Been a positive influence on society.
Oh absolutely absolutely I think as much as anything -- and it's an and it certainly.
I think there's some persistent -- they somehow -- -- people are thinking a certain way.
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- as much as anything I think.
Our whole generation of people have are more engaged in politics more interest in politics because.
They hear this antiques and humorous aspects of politics and and some some ways -- cuts to the chase and so -- Why then should care about an issue.
-- it might -- interest an issue -- while -- -- get that from my straightening -- them.
And you hear so many people who will tell you that they think politics is boring.
I think talk radio.
Take a while the boring that's not a policy.
You know a recent study.
Just announced recently last few days carried out for the national Hispanic media coalition.
And the UCLA to kind of studies research center penalized teams in the contents of a number of conservative shows -- -- found out of that -- And they -- -- heard about the study.
And then -- -- says they say contribute to increasing hatred.
-- certain -- certain minorities.
The studies called social networks for the hate speech for hate speech and that came out last Wednesday.
They say that there's a lot of hate speech and deteriorating you don't you don't see any of that -- when you've.
Now now I'd I don't and I I think that that's an old charge and or read about in the writes frequently about how this.
Old charge came out there but Oklahoma City bombing President Clinton came out Serb -- hate radio.
And he actually identified -- -- in this decade G Gordon -- at that time.
But he you know that was presumed he was referring to -- Islam bonds among others but never really.
Getting bigger in the 1990.
And some people trying to blame radio.
Their you know police -- there -- -- Gabby -- shooting.
I think some people came mountain at least -- conservatives for the Colorado shooting and recently -- People don't blame talk -- -- various points.
I would -- -- just were ridiculous.
Would you be a better society if liberal radio -- prominent as conservative -- It would.
It would have it would be perfectly fine if stopper liberal talk radio could.
Compete just as well in the marketplace as conservative radio based on.
Its own merits.
-- in my -- the I wish it would I think that conservatives and -- -- rally around the flag.
Embrace their own lovely echo chamber I think liberals tend to think more independently their positions are less black and white.
I would disagree with that and that's a big part of -- in the right frequency is.
I don't think conservative talk radio and echo chamber at all and real -- if you look at.
Well I think Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck are very different commentators.
Yeah -- basically.
Finale comes -- -- -- he has written a book called the right frequency.
Really traces the history of radio particularly right wing radio Fred is -- White House correspondent for CNET news.com also contributing editor for ten -- magazine.
Before we get to a phone calls airline analyst as winning -- an -- friend.
You don't think there's a right wing echo chamber on talk radio.
-- echo chamber I think there's.
-- part of very.
Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck are very different commentators.
Michael I am.
-- -- -- a very different but it's -- lap earlier column letters missing in this election season is almost all anti Obama it yelling and screaming and a terrible Obama is.
It's it's it's very much the same message delivered in perhaps very differently.
But all -- -- is the message is very similar.
So so progressive radio on MSNBC -- -- entirely pro Obama on their -- Pretty much I think I think left and the public that they could probably make the argument that it's a different flavor of of liberalism definitive and the host is as well.
And I think so I get pre -- -- a left right thing but but it's basically different flavor of of the same kind of thing isn't.
Well it can be any.
And in terms I suppose that -- your narrowing your definition of echo chamber to just whether the candidates.
Oh or the president is popular among this group -- that -- But it's also Solyndra as you pointed out and its target fast and furious they'll talk about that day after day it's almost like they're reading in the same.
Play -- talking about the same stuff in their own different inimitable styles.
But how many times we have the events a Linda were fast and furious or how Obama as a socialist or Marxist.
Or Obama is a liar or even the birthers stuff which -- gotten crazy I mean you know that.
Again they may do it all in different style but that's what's out there day after day hour after hour and talk -- -- However very few of the mainstream polls ever took of the birther issue.
I've loyalists Elaine dress fancy periods Obama -- -- that a little wrote him an issue but -- there was never.
Yeah okay but I mean -- -- -- -- only -- -- let's go to our culture 8773675.
To six and -- in San Jose hello.
He'll play a little picture and yours although on the conservative and audio listen to what -- -- -- -- opinion.
Shows in this area and they -- either.
Pacifica republic radio and their old liberal or support for -- but there which there's a big difference between the two like.
Pacifica I urged her but that would just call -- -- overthrow the Obama machine but.
We have no conservative.
-- Political conventions with whoever particular public radio in public and orchard just have a comment -- -- -- review these a 100% correct it dominated.
On commercial -- -- -- -- noncommercial radio Fred is that.
There's quite a difference between commercial and -- commercial radio.
He that that's true there's but I think I would come back to -- -- It's been.
Content servers haven't expelled and commercial radio because of some kind of vast right wing conspiracy or anything it's been and -- shows just around the market temple -- better than.
Most of the shows -- -- America.
-- Crucial but PBS and NPR is a big list -- and that's mostly liberal right.
Our problem so -- thank you very much what do you think Fred NPR does so well with liberals when commercial radio doesn't.
-- do with the interest in the -- whether NPR could.
Survived commercially the only things -- in New -- you -- or at least privately -- -- -- -- I think they probably could -- -- -- -- federal funding was denied to them that sort of separate matter -- we're broadcasting has got David Chicago David -- I disagree with your guess so.
Right or left wing radio doesn't make it will be the marketplace.
Show up to show up and take -- off here.
All that has been doing well.
Replaced with things like sports.
I had that done with far less market share.
The show that they replace.
All this is it is the -- it's not.
Totally art you're free market defeat Germany what's out there.
It's if that was true that feel -- suspect -- its opening pillar a whole bunch of other people without a far bigger -- That what they're what they've but.
And to some extent that you and I've been canceled and stations spread where.
I had really good ratings but they won an all conservatives on the air because they felt the regular ratings were good wasn't serving what they called the and that sometimes it's not purely the marketplace that dictates they programming decision.
Well I I think -- still come back to that station manager wasn't entirely pushing his own ideological agenda as much as he was.
Making any financial decision more more for his.
But I but I whenever there's a unity and you would think a financial decision would be tied him to good ratings.
And I can point to a number occasions -- good ratings have not necessarily kept a -- show on the air.
That's what -- -- but as you described as he thought it fit in some type of category I mean you're.
Your ball above my pay grade.
Don't regret but I don't know I haven't so it's not -- the free market as David points out.
That decides -- in Chicago hello mark.
I don't see I just yeah I wanna challenge BO about presumption that up against made that.
That's golf -- -- property is not a chamber either article into -- right wing talk radio with.
You know what what would -- reasonably argued all intelligent comment you'd you'd know that these screener that there are other callers are closely -- McDonnell well.
Comments in that that might you know white but interfere with what they want to walk -- put across.
Also you know there's actually a lot of money for -- bingo right wing talk radio big -- was -- a lot of money it directly talk radio -- that burned and you know.
To get both the big business talking points out -- and and you know and -- forum.
You know they're for the album.
Yet you know about.
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- the big business supports.
It because they might -- -- -- Republicans so they support conservative talk radio.
And the media is not really it's really not -- liberal -- it's actually big business -- an example big business itself but may have particular workout clothes which are big business advertisers -- they don't want the message.
Put up a club that's upsetting the big business both like it.
-- -- Thank you -- -- by the way.
By the way for an ownership is mostly conservative because lot of these stations are owned by conservative corporations in many of them do want their own ideology reflected.
On their radio stations and on this -- want to hear some things that don't.
Support their own political or financial interest.
Well I I would still argue though that but won't lose money by -- conservative show them think they would -- Well that's true but I also think -- as the market at their full radio that has viscerally do given the proper platforms or the right business model.
In the case of air America anyway thank you very much.
The tone of the program and I think laughter but thank you for including me in her book as well.
It's called -- right frequency the story of the talk radio giants who shake up the political media establishment Fred Lucas thank you for your time tonight -- -- -- -- --