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Tuesday, March 6, 2012
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Why Are Radio Trades Protecting Limbaugh?

There's not a lot of surprise in the answer to what headlines these words. We are witnessing the non-reporting of:
1) An occasion where radio's biggest draw continues to shove
his foot farther down his mouth.
2) The radio industry pulling the wagons in a circle, either remaining silent
or claiming the crisis is over through headlining a thin apology.
3) A change in how audience and advertiser respond to radio programming.

"...we all expect Clear Channel-owned Inside Radio to give a partial report on anything related to CC or its subsidiary Premiere Radio Networks... Let's get the obvious out of the way: Dittoheads will follow their leader off a plank into the sea. So, for them, it's not a question of objectionable commentary; instead, it's the need to be led. Sheep share this instinct. And you can't talk to sheep, either. I accept that.

But in a reasonable world where intelligent discourse can be had, we need to concentrate on why radio trades have hidden a moment in this industry's history that is so egregious it numbs anyone with a moral thread in their body.

That Clear Channel has power to silence is certain. It also picks when to remain silent: There hasn't been a word from John Hogan, the man who is ultimately responsible for providing quality radio programming and advertiser response through Premiere Radio Networks.

It's just that in the wake of 10 advertisers departing and two stations cancelling the Rush Limbaugh program, and a narrative by this Addict-idiot yesterday that only reinforces a narcissistic mentality which no person has previously shown, nearly all that anyone sees from trade journals - with a responsibility of educating you - is "Limbaugh Apologizes" (or similar short lines).

Now, we all expect Clear Channel-owned Inside Radio to give a partial report on anything related to CC or its subsidiary Premiere Radio Networks - the show's syndicator. It's hard to even call Inside Radio a trade publication, knowing its editorial slant to Clear Channel. One wonders how many subscriptions it would carry if all CC stations dropped theirs.

What's troublesome is how, in what appears for radio industry personnel eyes only, the remaining radio mags follow suit. None are doing basic "journalism." None are spending time "reporting" the groundswell of consumer resentment.

Are those who work in radio as sheep-like as a Limbaugh audience member? I'll let you decide, but only if you think for yourself - like Chris Leonard, President and General Manager of Hilo, Hawaii's KPUA, or WBEC 1420 AM General Manager Peter Barry. Both gentlemen had the courage to think that the hate-based programming being supplied by Premiere has no place on their airwaves.

For others, those who turn to the trades for news then go about their business thinking radio is still being held close to the hearts of listeners, they still have a lot to learn about how consumers "consume" today.

Friday Morning Quarterback features a headline of "Coalition Takes On Clear Channel Following Limbaugh Apology, KFI Controversy." Though, you'd think a mention of this "coalition's" leaders or companies would be in the story. You'd be wrong. If anyone reading this wanted to join the group, Clear Channel is protected.

Radio Ink has "Rush Explains Why he Apologized." Only if you read what's written, it goes little beyond quoting the man: "This is the the mistake I made. In fighting them, I became like them (the Liberals). Against my own instincts, I descended to their level by using those 2 words (slut and prostitute)." The story ends with a link to a web site page of Rush Limbaugh, giving only his side of the story. There is no mention that "slut" and "prostitute" are not all that was said. Nor is there a word on the building consumer protests. And not a sentence is written on what's at the heart of the debate: civil discourse on the airwaves.

"All Access Music" has nearly 1,500 words on this, the most, but many words are direct Limbaugh quotes or quotes from other sources. True to All Acces Music's form, you'll find a little more news than elsewhere; like, they are the only publication reporting that Peter Gabriel has requested his song "Sledgehammer" not be used as a theme on a program with "...these unfair aggressive and ignorant comments." (If you want an example of how unstable people are on this topic, simply scroll through the comments at the end of this article. The word "ignorant" is sure to pop into your head.)

I found the most direct lines to truth at Tom Taylor's Radio-Info, a publication known for story brevity: "Limbaugh apologizes for 'those two words' – then gets back to attacking the President." It would be nice, though, to have been shown a little on how the extent of this fury goes far beyond "two words."

Three more short stories at Radio-Info explain the beef behind the following: 1) Rush says some advertisers “have decided they don’t want you or your business any more. 2) Ad Age on Why Limbaugh’s advertising-offending attacks won’t be the end of him. 3) Citing “degrading” and “egregious” remarks, Hawaii’s talk KPUA (670) cancels Rush. As always, Radio-Info provides the most details using the fewest words. But still, we are not treated to anything reflecting the growing consumer outrage. Why? That is this story!

Radio Business Report sticks to its editorial guidelines of staying strictly on the financial side, providing the advertiser flight angle and nothing more.

Rush Limbaugh is being protected because at this time he's the most powerful tool in the radio industry shed. To let radio personnel know the depths of resentment that have been built over the past week, by a person who doesn't understand the word "truth" (which may explain why he's been married 4 times), would pave the way for more depression in the ranks.

Having missed the decade of new media changeover by consumers, the one item the trades can't afford is showing there's a continuation of disconnect. (If you go back to check you'll find all publication failed at reporting how fast new media was changing consumer habits.)

Protecting Limbaugh also keeps the Clear Channel lines open. When you make money off of the radio industry, as these publication do, the last company CEO you want to irritate is Clear Channel's.

The program, Clear Channel, and Premiere Radio Networks may have this negativity shielded from readers of radio industry trades, but to paint a picture that the episode is over (or nearly over) is a huge disservice to honorable people working in radio.

Word is getting out that Rush Limbaugh is not someone who you'd like to have over for dinner. And those are words that, even if not displayed by radio industry trades, can be traced through millions of social media and online stories.

It's true. Don't believe everything you read, especially if it comes from a radio industry publication. By no means is this over.

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