Intro To Nation/Station

Following is the intro Talkers Magazine was nice enough to write to my piece, which was included in their daily, industry wide email on January 2 of the new year:

He is considered by industry observers and programmers in the Big Apple as a unique up-and-coming talk show host whose iconoclastic “street-savvy” work has already been heard on such outlets as WNYM (“The Answer”) and most recently the innovative WOR alternative online channel. Robbie Student, a member of TALKERS magazine’s Frontier Fifty, enjoyed one of the largest talk radio audiences on the internet and is clearly a rising star in the genre. In his other life, he is well-known in music industry circles as a record producer currently riding a streak of nine number one dance songs in a row. In an exclusive TALKERS commentary, Student captures the scene and mood at WOR on the afternoon of December 20, 2012 – which he describes as “the day the major overhaul at WOR began in earnest.” Student writes, “I walked into the station at 4:30 pm. I was there to prep for my M-F 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm internet stream show. The show’s existence was an anomaly, as the rule of thumb is to carry the entirety of one’s terrestrial programming on one’s primary stream. I was grateful for the anomaly. I was greeted by a cacophony of sights, sounds, and most importantly, feelings that were close to overwhelming.” To read Robbie Student’s complete article, click here.

Tuesday Night Follies – PodKast

LK takes on the man-made muck we’re wading through.

Listen (Or Right Click and “Save As” to Download)

Free Market Radio and the (Un)Fairness Doctrine-3rd edition

Editor’s note: LK wrote and posted the first version of this piece back in August of ’08.  He then updated and re-posted it to coincide with Talkers Magazine’s (“The Bible of Talk Radio and the New Talk Media”) 2009 New Media Seminar.  He’s revised it yet again to coincide with this year’s NMS, to acknowledge events that have since transpired, like the inevitable demise of Air America Radio.  The piece is as timely and fresh now as it was when it was originally posted.

The Democrats make a huge mistake anytime they find themselves entertaining ideas about reinstating The Fairness Doctrine. The purpose of said doctrine is ostensibly to even out the bias of the content currently heard on the political talk airwaves. Think of it as the Dems’ attempt, through legislation rather than free market forces, to overwhelm the might of Rush, Sean, Laura, Levin, and The Salem Radio Network crew, among others. All right wing, all masters of the medium. That the right’s stars can be described and recognized using solely a given name or a surname (much like “Elvis”) is a simple and clear reflection of their overarching dominance. The left’s got no one with that kind of national penetration, with maybe Randi Rhodes, Ed Schultz, Thom Hartmann and Stephanie Miller having the chops to compete.

The criterion for getting air time and national syndication is pretty simple: attract listeners, lots of listeners.  Radio’s a business. There’s nothing inherent in right wing advocacy that accounts for the overwhelming advantage of its radio representatives. They’re just better at presenting their slant in entertaining and captivating ways.

Yes, there are times that Limbaugh twists the truth like a baker making pretzels, and Levin’s abrasive act overshadows his constitutional acumen, but they, along with their compatriots, have found a groove that’s working, so there’s no reason to stop their mouth music. Their stations and syndicators care about ratings, not well reasoned, tempered position papers.

The Dem’s mistake is trying to legislate talent under the guise of legislating equal time to polarized points of view.  It was the free market that killed Air America (which no one could turn around given the pool of insipid policy wonks they presented as radio hosts), much like the free market forced Microsoft to junk Vista and come up with something far more attractive and user friendly.

It’s as if the left is admitting defeat in the talk radio space and blaming it on the content rather than the presentation of the content. The 2008 Presidential, House, and Senate elections indicated that the Dems were, at least at the time, on the winning side of the policy debate.  And since these days more Americans get their news from talk radio than from traditional print media, the moderate-left politicos need to see the airwaves as a meritocracy they’ve got to compete in more effectively. In this case, like it or not, the messenger is as (if not more) important than the message conveyed.

I don’t find myself agreeing consistently with Rush’s positions, but he’s a hoot to listen to. The left needs equally attractive on-air characters, not legislation that’s the air-wave equivalent of book burning.

Editor’s note: the sentence in paragraph 4 referencing the death of Air America was, in the earlier incarnations of this piece: “What they should be doing is taking Air America (which no one can turn around given the pool of insipid policy wonks the left offers as radio hosts) and treating it like Microsoft treated Vista: junk it and come up with something compelling that justifies its own existence.”  LK called it again.

Free Market Radio and the (Un)Fairness Doctrine

rush_limbaugh_0213Editor’s note: to acknowledge this weekend’s Talker’s Radio convention, at which Rush Limbaugh is being honored with their annual Freedom of Speech award, we’re updating and re-posting this LK piece, which originally appeared nearly a year ago but is just as timely now as it was then.

The Democrats are making a huge mistake entertaining ideas about going forward with their attempt to reinstate The Fairness Doctrine. The purpose of said doctrine is to try to even out the bias of the content currently heard on the political talk airwaves. Think of it as the Dems futile attempt, through legislation, to overwhelm the might of Rush, Sean, Laura, Levin, and The Salem Radio Network crew, among others. All right wing, all masters of the medium. The left’s got no one with that kind of national penetration, with maybe Randi Rhodes and Ed Schultz having the radio chops to compete.

The criterion for getting air time and national syndication is pretty simple: attract listeners, lots of listeners. Radio’s a business. There’s nothing inherent in the right’s material that accounts for their overwhelming advantage. They’re just better at presenting their slant in entertaining and captivating ways.

I know Rush Limbaugh’s twisting the truth like a baker making pretzels, and Sean Hannity’s dispersing his lowest common denominator “you’re a great American” pablum, but they, along with their compatriots, have found a groove that’s working, so there’s no reason to stop their mouth music. Their stations and syndicators care about ratings, not well reasoned, tempered position papers.

The Dem’s mistake is trying to legislate talent under the guise of legislating equal time to polarized points of view. What they should be doing is taking Air America (which no one can turn around given the pool of insipid policy wonks the left offers as radio hosts) and treating it like Microsoft treated Vista: junk it and come up with something compelling that justifies its own existence.

It’s as if the left is admitting defeat in the talk radio space and blaming it on the content rather than the presentation of the content. If the Presidential election and the outcome of last November’s House and Senate races are any indication, the Dems are, at least for the time being, on the winning side of the policy debate. And since these days more Americans get their news from talk radio than from traditional print media, the moderate-left politicos need to see the airwaves as a meritocracy they’ve got to compete in more effectively. In this case, like it or not, the messenger is as (if not more) important than the message conveyed.

I don’t usually have much in the way of fondness for Rush’s positions, but he’s a hoot to listen to. The left needs equally attractive on-air characters, not legislation that’s the air-wave equivalent of book burning.