We've told you many times: neither has had much success enticing and hanging onto young, black, or Latino people nor any other than the fast-fading demographic than whites of a certain age, mostly male.
Talk radio hasn't even tried to win them, and the Republicans don't know how...
For one thing, with few exceptions talk radio's product hasn't changed even for those of us whom they've been targeting -- it's still the old "stir-'em-up & get-'em-to-call" routine based by definition on negativity, anger, cynicism -- or if the host is really good -- all three.
It used to work as an entertainment format and as a political tactic. Now it isn't working for either.
In Seattle, Myron "Dori" Monson (KIRO m-f, 12-3p) will say he's doing just fine, but he's one of the very few local rightie-screamers left in a market once loaded with them. (KVI, which helped pioneer the format, is now a burned-out husk going through the motions of finding a female demo and trying to compete with Rush with a beamed-up Dr. Laura. It's sad, KVI introduced Big Pants to Seattle back in the day).
Even the right-wing syndicated choices have shrunk: KKOL's flip to business talk took a bunch of conservative talkers out of the air, and KIRO's lay-offs last week added an hour to non-controversial drivel-radio Ron & Don (m-f, 3-7).
(We've chronicled this radio shrink-factor ad yawneum over the last 3 years -- from Mike Siegel to Frank Shiers, to Bryan The Styble).
The GOP's lack of ideas and new solutions to new problems and their cynical "red-neck strategy" has shrunk their geographic base not surprisingly to the boundaries of the Old Confederacy. And with that hopes of growing it spiritually and philosophically. The Economist reports that Republican moderates fear the party will become the “white-trash pride” party.
On the radie-yo last week it was "Fuck hope!" ... and all about how silly, naive, and liberal you are if you have any!
The free-falling economy is one of the biggest stories in decades, but the talk radio format is ill-equipped to deal with its complexity. Its present audience wants easy topics in stark blacks and whites with clear partisan good and bad guys. All Republicans and talk radio can offer is "cut taxes," get government off our backs" -- those aren't real-time solutions to the real-time problems. Besides, talk listeners aren't primed to even listen to the questions. It's been drilled into them for years that educated people like economists are suspect, secular, elites, and socialists.
Talk radio is still delivering a load of stinky tofu, and uber-partisan mudhoney. Talk of Sarah Palin dominates over discussion about or by serious, credible, viable, but BO-ring! Republicans like Bobby Jindal and Tim Pawlenty. We heard E.D. Hill "the terrorist fist jab" babe of Fox News hosting O'Reilly's radio show Friday and grinding away on Bill Ayres and Jeremiah Wright. Rush calls Obama a thug, and Hannity warns of the emergence of Obama's evil side. Glenn Beck goes between pooping on Obama for his "socialistic" campaign promises, and trashing him in advance for not keeping them.
Obama's communication skills and star-power is repeatedly judged as "creepy," " troubling," and somehow detrimental to the republic, like Hitler ranting at Nuremberg.
Marxism, Jihadism, and priapism, they say, are surging; Negroes, child molesters, fags and other such terrorists are emboldened. Bill O'Reilly has again taken up reporting brutish crimes by people with Spanish surnames and no papers -- he's re-animated "amnesty" for illegals, a toothless golem that scared nobody but Congress the first time around.
The eat-the-educated via the airwaves tactics haven't worked so well in the long haul for the GOP.
The Republicans lost the battle of ideas even more comprehensively than they lost the battle for educated votes, marching into the election armed with nothing more than slogans. Energy? Just drill, baby, drill. Global warming? Crack a joke about Ozone Al. Immigration? Send the bums home. Torture and Guantánamo? Wear a T-shirt saying you would rather be water-boarding. Ha ha. During the primary debates, three out of ten Republican candidates admitted that they did not believe in evolution.
Comment cable teevee has crept up to steal audience who wants opinionated news. Olbermann, Hannity, Dobbs, and Billo are doing it on Fox News, MSNBC, and CNN -- and watch Rachel Maddow, Glenn Beck, and David Gregory rise in this growing medium which is gradually picking off talk radio listeners.
(When the Internet is available in cars in a few years, it'll spell the end of terrestrial radio's drivetime near monopoly -- it'd better to be ready...).
Both the Republicans and talk radio need to grow the pie if they're to survive. The no-hope, kill the government, stop progress, and fuck-you very much crowd ain't what it used to be -- even conservatives want to believe in something besides tax cuts, xenophobia, homophobia, banning abortions and stopping stem-cell research.