Thursday, March 5, 2009

WRKO urges listeners to push for Rush-Obama debate

These are trying time for the Republican Party. President Obama's election, Democratic control of Congress and now, in exile, a power struggle between Michael Steele, the new Republican Party Chairman and Rush Limbaugh, the volcano of conservative talk radio, who has openly called for the new president to fail and has challenged him to on-air debate.

At the end, this is kind of political circus surrounded by lots of media publicity is good for business, ratings, and most definitely for Rush and his network of 600 stations including Boston's WRKO AM 680 who are cashing in on the all brouhaha. Here's today's press release from WRKO announcing its on-line listener campaign to push for Rush-President Obama debate :

WRKO Asks Listeners to Urge President Obama to debate Rush Limbaugh

BOSTON, MA (March 5, 2009) – Boston’s Talk Station WRKO AM 680 today launched an online campaign encouraging listeners to contact President Obama’s office asking the President to accept Mr. Limbaugh’s invitation to a debate.

Limbaugh, who has been dubbed the face of the GOP by Democrats, yesterday publically challenged President Obama to a debate on his nationally syndicated radio show. The show airs locally on WRKO each weekday from 12- 3 PM.

While the White House has not responded, WRKO has taken a lead role in trying to ensure that the debate happens. Today the station launched an online campaign for listeners to email the President encouraging his participation in the debate. Listeners can log on to and visit the Rush Limbaugh page. There, they will be linked to an online contact form, which goes directly to the press department of the White House.

“WRKO has a long-standing relationship with Rush and we wholeheartedly support him in this challenge,” said Entercom New England Vice President of AM Programming & Operations Jason Wolfe. “We encourage all of our listeners to weigh in and urge President Obama to debate Rush on all of the issues facing our country today. The President’s staff opened the door for this by tapping Rush as the leader of the Republican party. If they believe that, then they should have the President accept this offer from Rush and engage in an open dialogue about all issues. It is my hope that all Rush Limbaugh affiliates across the country will join WRKO in this effort. The American people deserve to hear the debate.”

BRW Notebook :

Live from's PPM's : As today(3/5), Arbitron's new PPM system is officially live in the Boston radio market. Unfortunately, the ratings company will not be providing numbers for two transition months - January or February. Abitron spokesperson told BRW that PPM data won't be officially commercial until end of April(4/23) when March numbers are released. Arbitron isn't releasing any Boston PPM data until then. March survey runs from today(3/5) until April 1. Make sure to come back then for the numbers and analysis in this space.

1 comment:

Gabfest Gabby said...

This shows rather clearly why the people who have their hands on the throttle are running WRKO into the ground.

Calls to citizen action are a good promotional tool for talk ration -- but it has to be something that will yield a result, otherwise the promotion fizzles and fails. There is no chance that the President of the United States is going to debate a talk show host, so WRKO's effort will get an initial dose of publicity and then die on the vine. Would Jerry Williams have gotten as much mileage out of seat belts if he had demanded debates with Dukakis? Absolutely not. He milked the audience to action which reverated into a bone fide uprising against an act of the legislature, resulting in it being repealed by the voters with the credit going to Williams. Even if repeal had failed, he was at the forefront of a movement that gained legitimacy. To another extent, the tea-bag rebellion over the pay raise issue also entered the realm of legitimacy because it was a citizen uprising against a legislative act -- and people mailing tea bags to mass opposition to a legislative act is something that became legitimate opposition. Braying for a debate between a talk show host and POTUS will only be seen for the publicity stunt that it is -- and is thereby doomed to failure. And if they switch gears and organize a repeal the stimulus campaign, it will be doomed to failure because too many constituencies have the money intheir hip pockets.

Tragic how years of mismanagement by American Radio and Entercom have gutted what used to be the top ranked station in town and a national leader in the format.