"Big Eddie" Ed Shultz was in town today. If you don't listen to AM1090,(and too few do) you'da never knowed it. He's an important rising star to the liberal talk radio format, yet promotion seemed minimal.
What's going down at our new progressive station? Are they being all that they can be?
The increasingly popular progressive talk host from Fargo did his live syndicated show from Seattle's Town Hall joined by Governor Gregoire (on the phone from Paris where she's selling Boeing airplanes), Rep. Jim McDermott and Democratic Chair Paul Berendt.
The amiable, red-state talking Schultz has the fastest-growing show in progressive talk radio. Debuted Jan. 2004, three months before the launch of Air America, Schultz’s three-hour show currently airs on 95 radio stations, including 8 of the top 10 markets. Air America currently has 63.
It was a big day for Schultz--his show was sold today by Democracy Radio, to PF (Product First) the hopeful new progressive talk empire started with some fanfare by former Clear Channel Radio CEO Randy Michaels and former ABC Radio and Premiere Radio Networks VP Stu Krane. They also handle LA comedian/talkhost Stephanie Miller. The deal keeps Schultz as a stakeholder in his own show but his new partners are Michaels and Kane.
Media entrepreneurs are going for liberal talk. That's a good sign.
Schultz is an ex-pro-footballer, a hunter and a fisherman with a folksy rural appeal that's proving to break down some of the walls of deception that conservative-talk radio has thrown up around their listeners to shield them from the real world.
Ed Schultz is no effete wimp, like us here at blatherWatch. There's little irony to him, just a sort of good ol' boyishness that's positive but masculine. He has a self-deprecating blue collar sense of humor, he's smart as a whip, and well-informed with a common sense approach to liberal issues. He's a Jim Hightower rather than a Gore Vidal.
He was a right-wing talk host until he married a liberal who helped him in from the dark.
Even Michael Medved has praised Ed Shultz as a talker who could be nationally formidable. (Maybe we shouldn't take Medved at face value--we suspect he was lifting up Schultz to put down Al Franken, whom he dislikes).
But where was the press coverage before, during and after Schultz's appearance today? As far as we can tell, we in the press weren't invited.
For the Al Franken Show, sold-out way in advance, there was massive coverage and a dynamite PR offensive. They even toadied-up to blatherWatch. We liked that.
And their good work bore them fruit. The Seattle Weekly, and the PI did pre-interviews with Franken and there was TV and a press conference. Franken, a well-known national figure, woulda filled the hall without any promotion.
Schultz, less known, is a harder sell and thereby needs more promotion, not less. KPTK failed to do that. No print. No TV. They didn't even fill the hall this time. As far as we know, what you heard on the radio was all Big Eddie got. And let's face it, not many people listen to KPTK, even on a good day. That's what PR is about...attracting new listeners? Right?
What happened? Infinity Broadcasting, who owns the station is known for doing stuff on the cheap. Is this an example of that. If true, that's depressing.
Success in talk radio can hinge on local talkers, just ask KTTH.
Ratings on the right-wing station fell apart like a $2 suitcase--3.8 last summer--2.7 today. Entercom geniuses thought they could stop paying attention to their new station and rely on syndicated shows and riding on Rush Limbaugh's ample backside like Whale Boy. That worked for a couple of books, then local talkers with local issues on KVI snatched it back.
(We're worried about KPTK, after all, it's our only progressive talk station. After a good Winter book--this month's ratings went down. Why are there no local talker-hosts yet? We hope they haven't let the momentum (such as it was) pass them by. The longer they go without the radio community-building done by local jocks, the harder it'll be to keep this new audience in the room).
KPTK Program Director Jim Trapp says he knows all that. The real
opportunity for KPTK comes with KIRO's misfortune. The former giant
who had No.1 in newstalk locked up for years is flopping around at No. 6.
The time to strike is while they're down--the window won't be open forever, Jim.