talk radio death spiral in Dallas
Recently, Jeff Bolton disappeared from his morning talk show on KLIF. Now Mark Davis is off the air on WBAP due to lack of a contract. Bolton’s slot has been filled with “news & information”. Boring, boring, boring. While I was not a big fan of Jeff Bolton, he had a loyal audience, spoke of both national and local current events and participated in the community. Oh yeah. Laura Ingraham is gone from WBAP too, replaced by Chris Krok.
Mark Davis is another matter altogether. Davis has the ability to go National. He frequently filled in for Rush Limbaugh, had guests of National stature and hosted a very high quality show. I will miss Mark Davis if his absence is permanent in Dallas.
It is my understanding that KLIF and WBAP are “sister” stations. That sounds like it means they are commonly owned. And that makes me think the coincidence of both Davis and Bolton being off the air is no coincidence. If that’s true, it sounds like the bean-counters are at it again. Management decisions being made by people who have never participated (from behind the microphone) in the success of a radio station. Bolton, Davis and Ingraham had loyal followers. Where do you suppose the loyal followers are going to go now? Someplace where they get what they want, that’s where! In the case of KLIF they will almost all go away. In the case of WBAP, some will settle for the new guy. But, the moment a dynamic new host of Mark Davis’ calibre comes along they will leave WBAP for that new guy.
In the cases of Mark Davis and Laura Ingraham, the decision will certainly end up costing them much more than they think they will save. I imagine that the payment for syndicated programming (like the Rush Limbaugh and Laura Ingraham shows) is predicated on building listenership to local advertising sold on the station. Drive down the listenership with sub-par programming and you automatically drive down the revenue you recieve from your own advertisements. Short term, that might seem to make sense, but ultimately it’s a death spiral. I guess in the case of Laura Ingraham it was cheaper to drop her and replace her with Chris Krok – for the time being. In the case of Mark Davis it just seems stupid to me to replace a high-quality, highly popular, rising star with someone who is not of the same calibre.
I might be all wet in my analysis. I have no real idea how a profitable radio station is run. Maybe these decisions are good ones. On the other hand, maybe they’re not. I guess time will tell. But if the decisions made are bad ones, the cost of regaining the lost audience will be great. And believe me, all the decisions cited will result in lost listeners. If the replacements were of the quality that would add listeners to make up for the lost ones, then it might make sense – but they are not.
I take full responsibility for my own opinions, comments and slurs against asshats. I'm just another guy with just another opinion. Although, I may be turning into my father who my mother always said was 'the world's foremost authority."