Let's Tune Out Talk Radio

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Is this story from the Star Tribune a sign that people are getting sick of partisan hacks? Let’s hope so.

Locally, conservative-talk icon Rush Limbaugh’s show has lost 43 percent of its audience among 25- to 54-year-olds in the past year. Sean Hannity’s show is down a whopping 63 percent. The shift is serious enough that “we’re weighing where these shows fit for us in the future,” according to Todd Fisher, general manager at KSTP (1500 AM), which carries both syndicated programs.

Many Americans also are switching the dial. While ratings for political talk radio typically drop the year after an election, experts around the country sense something else in the air. Many metro listeners are turning to local, often sports-oriented shows.

“We’re not sure yet what’s really going on,” said talk radio veteran Ken Kohl, Clear Channel’s director of news and talk programming for northern California. “In general, the talk shows that are succeeding are ones that haven’t been reliving the election, or constantly harping on the polarization between liberals and conservatives.”

Personally, I think this has more to do with the iPod and podcasting, but I’m calling on everybody here to do yourself a favor and tune the partisan hacks out. Poisonous words quite often lead to poisonous thoughts, and if we can stop that by simply turning the dial, then let’s start now.

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