Taking a break – from talk radio

Back on Saturday I posted an update to Facebook in response to a RedState diary. My message said:

I used to listen to Rush daily at work, or when I drove around the region in my previous job… but now I just can’t do Rush’s (or Sean Hannity’s) all-Trump, all-the-time talk radio anymore.

Part of the reason is that I work in an office and figure it’s better to pay attention to what’s going on rather than be distracted. But at one time I didn’t mind the distraction – as I noted, in my former job I had several presets for Rush depending on where I had to go that day. Prior to that I would have my radio on from 12 to 3 when I sat in my cubicle at my old jobs.

But I don’t find it as interesting anymore, and perhaps if you multiply that by a few thousand that was the reason we lost a talk radio station lately. Earlier this month the former talk radio station WICO-FM (92.5) became a simulcast for WCTG-FM (96.5), a music station with its studios in Chincoteague, Virginia. I actually didn’t know this until I saw a WCTG billboard in Delmar, Delaware and wondered why a station that far away was advertising there until I saw the 92.5 addition. Admittedly, I’m pleased because now I have a music station for my drive to work in the morning.

In the old days I would have been a little upset because the AM signal that Rush and Hannity are now presumably on doesn’t carry as far as the FM signal did – I could listen all the way down into Virginia on the days when I traveled that way. Now I wonder if this is a trend. A quick look at Wikipedia – perhaps a biased source but a source nonetheless – states Limbaugh is on 590 stations. That is less than the “over 600” generally attributed to him, but not to any great degree.

But one thing I have noticed over the last few years is a change in the type of advertiser that is found on Rush. I realize that this isn’t the era where more familiar products and services are hawked on talk radio, but it seems the advertising demographic is skewing to the same type of content you see on the nightly network news – more stuff for older folks, such as supplements and security systems. Talk radio in general seems to attract survivalists (like those who would buy the food with the 25-year shelf life) and those who would be likely to purchase precious metals because I would hear those spots, too.

Maybe the issue for me is how serious it’s become. You used to laugh when you listened to Rush, but for me there doesn’t seem to be the humor in it anymore.

And with the advent of social media I can get a lot of conservative news and commentary without appointment radio. (Perhaps my new favorite is The Resurgent.) Others can listen all day to internet radio and podcasts to get their political fix – Lord knows there are enough would-be Limbaughs, Becks, and Hannitys out there. I’m not one who listens to the plethora of possible content – just let me read it and be done with it.

I may still turn on Rush from time to time when I go out for my lunch hour, but I think the days of listening wall-to-wall have come and gone. Everything has its season, and it wouldn’t shock me to find more and more political talk radio stations trying a different format in the months to come.


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