Corporate talk radio has noticed someone is looking at them

Wait! There’s more good news! Talk radio is feeling the heat!

After months of stoking anger about alleged election fraud, one of America’s largest talk-radio companies has decided on an abrupt change of direction.

Cumulus Media, which employs some of the most popular right-leaning talk-radio hosts in the United States, has told its on-air personalities to stop suggesting that the election was stolen from President Trump — or else face termination.

This is big. Talk radio has been a pernicious poison in the country for even longer than the internet. Living in the big open spaces of rural America, I’ve done a fair bit of driving, and one thing I learned 40 years ago was to not turn on the car radio, ever. It was all ranting televangelists and Rush Limbaugh raving about ‘Murica and how them liberals are destroying the country, when the real truth is that it was the conservatives doing the damage all along.

Since I don’t listen to it (EVER!), I had to read about who the current stars are. Mark Levin, Ben Shapiro and Dan Bongino? Jesus.

Also unsurprisingly, it is revealed that these loudmouths have been corporate puppets all along.

“It’s naive not to recognize that a corporate imperative goes into all media,” said Michael Harrison, the publisher of Talkers magazine, which covers talk radio. “Corporations have always called the tune ultimately. Everyone pays attention to the guys at the top and always has.”

Talk-radio hosts, Harrison said, “never expected” their critiques of the election “to get out of hand” in the manner seen Wednesday. Cumulus and other broadcast companies “recognize they’re in the hot seat right now because the national eye is on them,” he said.

Yeah, right. They were only getting out of hand on Wednesday. From my perspective, they’ve been out of hand since the Reagan years.


  1. says

    If you’re a podcast listener try out Knowledge Fight. I don’t know how they can do it without just completely falling apart, but these two guys sift through and debunk Alex Jones’ just completely deluded shows. They play just enough clips to show the crazy, but not so much that you feel like you need to shower afterwards. And man, there is a LOT of crazy there.

  2. stroppy says

    Yeah, right. They were only getting out of hand on Wednesday. From my perspective, they’ve been out of hand since the Reagan years.


    Mark Levin, Ben Shapiro and Dan Bongino barely scratch the surface of the rightwing media dystopian landscape.

    Disposing of the Fairness Doctrine was an inflection point, even if in technical terms it was a symbolic gesture. Maybe the Republicans’ first cult leader, even Reagan’s particularly snotty style of “communication” infests Republican culture to this day, evil bastard.

    The lesson of Rwanda radio: sooner or later, it gets out of hand.

  3. komarov says

    Oh, this could be an exciting experiment. Do the same right wing radio hosts who (tendentially) like to preach about independence, freedom from oppression etc. obey those who sign their pay checks or will they sacrifice they lives well-paying jobs in one last blaze of glory trying to get the Truth (R) out before they are terminated?

    I know I should wait but I’m sorely tempted to already reject the null-hypothesis – right-winger/conservative practices what he preaches – now so I can get started on the write-up.

  4. PaulBC says

    I’ve done a fair bit of driving, and one thing I learned 40 years ago was to not turn on the car radio, ever.

    Isn’t there usually an NPR affiliate somewhere at the low end of the FM band? (Oh never, mind. My driving is limited to a coastal bubble.)

    In fact, I don’t turn on the car radio either and I got very tired of NPR. It started out with the possibility of having to hear Trump’s voice. First, I handled that the same as Dubya, by switching over to music immediately (recorded, not radio). But NPR’s smugness level can be grating. On one of the Saturday shows (probably Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me) they were bantering about a sexual harassment case like it was a big joke and I said enough is enough. Assholes, I thought you were supposed to be the good guys.

    When I was a teen (early 80s) I would listen to WWDB in the Philly area. That was talk radio and definitely mind poison, but before Rush Limbaugh and not 100% conservative. I would never go back to any of that crap.

  5. says

    Talk-radio hosts, Harrison said, never expected their critiques of the election to get out of hand in the manner seen Wednesday.

    So here is the problem… If you convince people that their votes were stolen in unprecedented numbers, that the people who stole their votes are getting away with it, then they’ll have no redress at the ballot box because this will keep happening. What happened was a reasonable reaction if the election was rigged beyond repair.

    There’s a good chance the Hamberdler believes his own lies – his narcissism won’t allow anything else – but most of these talk radio hosts and certainly most of the Republicans who kept objecting on the 6th know better. They still kept stoking the lie because they saw it as politically advantageous for them, even the ones who kept objecting after the attempted insurrection.

    Now you have hypocritical fuckwads like Ted Cruz who was one of the worst people doing this now saying there shouldn’t be consequences because that won’t bring about unity and healing. Fuck you, Ted Cruz.

  6. stroppy says

    Democracy Now with Amy Goodman, from Pacifica Radio, is worth a listen. May be hard to find, check local listings.

  7. consciousness razor says

    Isn’t there usually an NPR affiliate somewhere at the low end of the FM band? (Oh never, mind. My driving is limited to a coastal bubble.)

    There are public radio stations all over the place. It looks like Morris would get KRSU 88.5 (classical) and KNCM 91.3 (news) from MPR. The link has a PDF coverage map for more detail. Both come from the big city of Appleton to the south. Actually a very small place — by the looks of it, a vacant private prison, a bit over a thousand people in the middle of nowhere, not much else … but they’ve got radio.

  8. PaulBC says


    There are public radio stations all over the place.

    Well I thought so, but I realized my actual experience is limited. I did used to make the trek from Philadelphia through rural PA to get to college, but most of that was on a Greyhound bus. There are places in rural CA where it’s not worth trying get any radio, and I don’t even listen to NPR anymore, as I mentioned.

  9. consciousness razor says

    Buried in the school’s website: there’s also a student-run station, as I figured there might be, on 89.7. The call sign is KUMM, so I’m sure it has excellent programming. It’s 700 watts, and I don’t know how that translates into a range for a longish drive … but probably not a very long one.

  10. Paul K says

    I worked (volunteered) at KUMM back in the 80s, when I was a student at UM Morris. At the time, it was only 25 watts, if I remember correctly. You could not even pick it up reliably across the campus. My musical tastes were formed there.

  11. says

    They were out of hand before Reagan, too. Every variation on the right wing in the US has risen out of the ashes of the previous one, all the way back to the settlers committing genocide to take the land and till it with slaves.

    The people who rallied around segregation and anti-miscegenation became Reagan’s base, and they were the same ones who supported the war in Vietnam and shooting kids (as at Kent State) who were opposed.

    They have grown stronger and more explicit lately because they no longer have any real opposition — the Democrats, who people pretend are somehow distinct from them, have just elected President who explicitly said, within the last 8 months, that he “loves Republicans” and got his start opposing integrated schools. He’s pushing for “anti-terrorism” laws when everything that happened on the 6th was already illegal — what we need, if we’re going to pass new laws about it, is much stricter rules about racism, but instead we’re going to build up the cops (the same ones who actively let the mobs into Congress) and the feds (the same ones ignored all this shit for decades in favor of squashing ordinary protestors) because that’s how Biden and the other authoritarian bootlickers in the Democratic Party roll. (And, incidentally, if you examine her voting record, Elizabeth Warren is one of them.)

  12. Who Cares says

    My guess it isn’t so much national attention as that Dominion has tossed a “Stop this crap of get sued into oblivion”-letter in their mail. It is for the same reason that FoxNews, NewsMax and OANN got marching orders from their lawyers to have their talking heads read up that memo declaring that what they’ve been polluting the airwaves with for weeks was untrue.

  13. robro says

    More companies are reacting to the events last week. This time it’s companies pulling out of campaign funding. Some are targeting the 147 Representatives and Senators who attempted to block the certification. That has to hurt Ted and Josh, at least a tad.

  14. KG says

    the Democrats, who people pretend are somehow distinct from them [the Talk Radio right] – The Vicar@13

    Yes indeedy! As we’ve all seen, the Democrats just attempted a fascist coup!

    Oh, wait… the attempted fascist coup was incited and supported by the Talk Radio right (that’s what the OP is about), and it was against the Democrats, who just won the election. But since the Democrats are not distinct from the Talk Radio right (The Vicar says so, it must be true), they must have been attempting a coup against themselves. Silly Democrats!

  15. robro says

    Who Cares @ #15 — Potential financial liability could certainly sway the corporate heads to tact. Dominion isn’t the only one who might turn to the courts for redress. You would think that NewsCorp had learned a lesson in from the NewsCorp phone hacking scandal which included their coldblooded torture of the family of a 13-year-old murder victim. It forced Murdoch to close News of the World.

  16. PaulBC says

    KG@17 Rightwing talk radio is also busy downplaying it as goofy kids taking selfies. E.g., this Salon article. As feckless as my party usually is, they are taking it seriously as an attempted overthrow.

    But the Vicar’s entire gig is based on the premise that there is little daylight between Democrats and Republicans. What’s the point of arguing?

  17. Tethys says

    Oh dear, Vicar seems to be frothing with regurgitated maga talking ‘points’ again.

    The remaining white supremacists in cabinet positions (tR)are currently using the machinery of state to broadcast propaganda and blatant fascism.

    They just tried to prevent congress from certifying the results of the election, (sedition) and today they appear to be impeding the efforts to investigate and immediately remove from office the inciting magas who currently hold elected office.

    Biden hasn’t even been sworn in yet. Claiming both sides are equal is asinine.

  18. wzrd1 says

    @robro, spot on on both counts.
    Daddy Warbucks closed off the purse strings, Dominion is litigating against an ever increasing list of malefactors and Smartmatic is likely preparing for the same.
    So, income is under threat and the potential losses from litigation are getting the bosses to push the STFU button.

    Even the wealthy realize how much they’ll lose if the wheels come off and they damned nearly did on Wednesday!
    We’ll see what Trump’s Alamo visit brings, well, other than idiots looking for him at the Alamo, rather than the border town. A pox upon whoever coined it first.

    Ancient curse: “May you live in interesting times”

  19. ORigel says

    @17 The coup was also against Republicans whom MAGAts perceived as having betrayed Trump, like Mike Pence.

  20. unclefrogy says

    it is interesting watching the conservatives fighting it out in the open finally . The “governator” has gotten into it more publicly of late. I do not agree with him on a lot of issues and did not like him as governor but he is rational to a degree that many Republican “leaders” are not and his latest video message pulls no punches. We might just be watching the beginning of some new party hopefully it will eclipse the always trump party.
    uncle frogy