More Radio Wars with Dusty Rhodes

Jerry Baker: “This guy is as much of a Democrat as Karl Rove is. What a charlatan!”

—–Original Message—–
From: Rhodes, Dusty []
Sent: Thursday, July 12, 2007 11:12 AM
To: Baker, Jerry R
Subject: Response

Dear Mr. Baker:

Thanks for your e-mail. I am not sure where the mysterious “right wing talking points” might come from but I assure you I do not receive them or use them. Radio ratings are pretty transparent. They are available on the Internet on several sites the day they come out for every market in the country. I have yet to see even one where “Ed Schultz leads his time slot” as you claim. I am sure if that were true it would be a major news story, at least in the media reports which I see regularly.

Having been a part of the “oldies” format which was trashed so that “progressive” radio could be brought to Cincinnati, I am well aware of all the particulars. Regardless of spotty local “signal problems” (which attend all AM stations to one degree or another) WCKY (ex-WSAI) covers most of the Eastern third of the country at night and is loud and clear up to 100 miles away or more during the daytime and is a solid signal over most parts of town. You get a lot from 50,000 watts.

More importantly, we dealt with the same minor technical problems of which you complain with our format and still left 1530 with more than double the audience they got with their switch. That’s right, they lost over half the listeners we had right out of the box. Even more telling, when we reestablished the “oldies” format on WDJO, a 5,000 watt signal with just 1,000 watts at night (and severe interference then) we out rated them from the get go.

In addition the conservative talk station, WKRC is a 5,000 watt day/1,000 watt night signal and has serious interference problems on the west side but still manages respectable ratings, better than four times the audience of WCKY when it was “progressive talk”. The point is that if people want to listen to something they will do so.

There was nothing “mysterious” about WCKY going off the air the night of the District One Special Election. They had a transmitter fire. And it occurred about 7pm that night. The Ohio polls close at 7:30. If there was some dark conspiracy to take the station off the air to affect the election on election day, they really botched it – or in other words they waited too long to set the fire. Get real!

It is particularly telling that when that dreadful woman on the station at night began spreading her conspiracy theories about WCKY going off the air, the Program Director at WLW invited her on his show – on the market’s top-rated station – and she refused the opportunity. As for the “negative” comments from the “well-known right wing host on WLW”, you just don’t get it. That was publicity, too. My bet is they were trying to stir up some controversy which would have helped the “progressive radio” format get attention had anyone wanted to listen to it.

I’m not sure how much “better promotion” you might have expected, but suffice to say I’d have been happy with just half

of what was spent promoting that format. To say nothing of all the front page newspaper stories about Jerry Springer. Happy, heck I’d have been ecstatic. Our budget to promote the oldies format on 1530 was zero. Our budget on our new “oldies” station is slightly more.

I can’t speak for the “business management” of the operation, but that same management has run the number one station in the market for over a decade, as well as several other stations which always lead the ratings. There is no real good reason why they wouldn’t want success with WCKY or somehow did not apply their same skills to operating and selling it to advertisers. I know they tried.

You and I may have some agreement on the effects of 1996 Telecommunications Act, legislation which was strongly promoted by then Vice President Al Gore and Senator John McCain. However, with the explosion of entertainment options it is much harder to operate a station as a stand alone independent. In truth, it’s only the multi-station operators that can afford to “waste” a signal on a new, unproven format…as Clear Channel did with their “progressive talk” experiment here.

Tell you what, I’ll join you in an effort to force the diversity of opinions you seek on talk radio when you expand it to include NBC-TV, CBS-TV, ABC-TV, CNN, MSNBC, and PBS. Those airwaves (at least the major over-the-air networks) also belong to the Public but virtually everyone knows they are operated by and in absolute thrall to “the Progressives”. Maybe we can work a trade – talk radio for the major TV networks?

Thanks again for your e-mail. I look forward to meeting you and perhaps discussing this further.

Dusty Rhodes

RELATED: A Democrat Against Progressive Radio

Published in: on July 12, 2007 at 1:31 pm  Leave a Comment  

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