The Left is losing the messaging battle in the media. Last year I wrote a report on the viability and necessity of a progressive network that would begin balancing the overwhelming Right wing imbalance in US media. There are some 1500 Right wing stations, compared to hardly 100 on the Left. Most on the Right are carried by large networks who actively exclude Progressive programming. It is not about ratings. Station for station, hosts like Thom Hartmann and Stephanie Miller routinely garner audiences 33% higher than Limbaugh or Sean Hannity. In fact, rating are collapsing in large station, such as Chicago’s WLS. It isn’t about ratings, or money at the media level, it is about message saturation.
The Left, however, is failing horribly at breaking the stranglehold on the media, and balancing the national radio conversation. First, as I warned in the report, shared widely on social media, a Progressive network cannot be DNC radio, which as we saw in the election allowed TPP to be co-opted by the Republicans. The Progressive movement owned that issue, fighting against Obama and Republicans. Hillary was all but silent. She and the DNC abandoned the DAPL issues, a critical focus of Progressives. She was all too silent on the environment. A true Progressive media platform must be about important Progressive issues. On the hand full of Progressive radio stations, the arc has been towards synchronicity with the DNC.
It would takes less that $2 million dollars to build a terrestrial radio network under a model I designed, and have tested in a previously successful radio venture, which would create an additional 35 commercially for-profit sustainable radio stations in regions critically over-saturated by Rightwing media. The problem is, the Left is still too focused on so-called “new” media, such as the internet, YouTube, etc.,. Many view traditional radio as obsolete, though nothing could be further from the truth. Compare 17 billion in annual sales via a few thousand radio stations in the US versus $900 million in per click ads on the internet shared by millions of websites. Sustainability is the key, and the Left is missing that train. Millenials and Gen Xers are key advertiser demographics. Believe it or not, they listen to more radio than almost any other demographic. That is a form of arrogance as many in the country still do not have consistent or regular access to the internet. $20 bucks buys a radio.
Even more, time is a critical element. From FCC approval to build out, a new station is looking at 9-12 months. The Left hasn’t even begun that process. Starting this Spring, the first stations would just get up and running as the midterms are starting. The Right controls the field in media. That is key to disseminating accurate information to inform an electorate that makes intelligent decisions rather than coerced or uninformed decisions. The Left must clearly understand some fundamental questions about media and messaging. Until they do, failure is their likeliest option.