The Corner

Right Radio

My call for a middlebrow conservative talk-radio presence to balance Limbaugh, Hannity, & Co. brought in some interesting e-mails from people who have been trying to create just that. This, for example, from Greg Allen:

Mr. Derbyshire — I host and produce The Right Balance, a mid- to high-brow conservative talk show. Regular guests include Walid Phares, Mike Huckabee and liberals like Mayor Ed Koch and Lanny Davis — However, I have been fighting the fat cats who control media big time … Currently looking for a new M-F home port, my program streams continually at the address given. It is a one hour show for now. I also co-host the Tuesday night edition of The Loftus Report with John Loftus, heard in NYC via 620AM WSNR. I aim high in a business that aims low …

Strength to your arm, sir. A different reader who has also been trying to get something like this airborne sent me a very long grumble. Bottom line: The Left is way, way better than we are at the mechanics of propaganda — financing, distribution, etc.

Samples from this reader:

At great personal expense, in 2004 my partner and I started producing Internet radio shows with the express intent of making them a conservative alternative to NPR et al. For the last year we have been trying to gather support for the concept of producing conservative, NPR-level programming specifically for public radio stations. After over a year of banging on every door I could think of, I’ve gotten absolutely nowhere. The Right either doesn’t care, is too clueless to realize they have a distribution problem, is too self-centered to worry about the big picture, or all of the above. Imagine they have one of the great movies of the ages, they only have a half-dozen, minor market theaters to play it in, and then don’t care if they get any additional distribution. They haven’t realized that they’re in a streetfight, they’re already on the ground, and the Left is coming at them with a broken bottle …

[On internet radio]  Somebody who hits the SCAN button on their car radio stands a pretty good chance of finding your public radio broadcast because there are a small number of stations to scan in any given market. There is no such thing as a SCAN button for Internet radio, and even if there was, you’d die of old age before it finished scanning … The Left is much smarter than the Right when it comes to messaging and message distribution. They understood that you have to get your distribution in place first, then worry about the content. They understood that you need traditional media to feed people to your website — not waste money on websites that nobody will ever know are there. The establishment Right relies on the Internet because it’s cheap. It’s also ineffective when you don’t have traditional media to run up espirit de corps and drive people to your Internet efforts. TV/Radio first, Internet second …

[For conservative public broadcasting]  With public broadcasting and public radio in particular, you have an opportunity to provide those stations willing to take it (they’re out there, we’ve heard from them) an alternative to Amy Goodman and her Pacifica/KGB Broadcasting Network. You have an opportunity to get the most amount of listeners for the least amount of money. The Right would have an opportunity to talk to the public instead of continuing to talk to themselves. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to get this concept in front of anybody with the money to make this happen …

Why don’t the conservatives have two of their own non-commercial satellite TV channels like the Left does? Why don’t conservatives have their own non-commercial, public radio programming like the Left does? Why? WHY? … The Left spends tens of millions of dollars annually on non-commercial, public broadcasting to get their message out even though they already have 7 out of 8 communications modes**  in their pockets. In 2005, the Ford Foundation alone pumped $50 million dollars into public broadcasting. Whatever anyone can say about the Leftwing puppet-masters, they’re not stupid and they’re winning. How much did conservatives spend on non-commercial public broadcasting lately? Nothing. Nada. Zero. They’d rather whine about it than do anything …

[Me]  I found the concept of conservative public broadcasting a bit of a stretch, I must say. Aren’t we the people who want to de-fund public broadcasting? [Me: Yes! Yes!] Said my reader:

Well, that is not going to happen so fuggedaboudit. Ask Tom Delay about that. Tax money only amounts to 15 percent of their budget anyway and they wouldn’t even miss a beat if they lost it. Furthermore, this argument is simply an excuse to do nothing. Tax money helped create this monster. We should not just abandon it to the Left, we should infiltrate and subvert it. Besides, 15 percent of a budget is a small price to pay to get into an additional national broadcast system and it’s the only place where the right can get the most bang for their limited bucks.

[Me again]  I’m not sold. Conservative public radio sounds a bit like Marxist banking. (Though if I remember my Bonfire of the Vanities correctly, “Boris” was no slouch at bond trading.) I do like “infiltrate and subvert,” though. That, after all, is what the Left has done with the big foundations. But somehow I think that O’Sullivan’s First Law holds invincible sway here.

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**  He elaborates:  Film; Commercial TV; Public radio; Public TV; Newspapers/magazines; Internet; Primary/secondary education.