Current Issue:

Current Issue

On The Cover:
Cumulus Chairman Jeff Marcus

Click here to subscribe to Radio Ink.

Radio Ink Writers

(PROGRAMMING) A Liberal Succeeding at Radio


So, you've pretty much converted from TV to full-time radio. I know a lot of the people in the biz that used to be TV-only actually enjoy the immediacy of radio better. What about you?
I havent converted from TV to radio only. I appear on TV almost every day on either Fox News or Fox Business. I love having opportunities on both mediums. The immediacy and interactivity of radio is more akin to social media; and TV, especially on Fox, gives me a broad platform for my views.
You are on a radio network, like its cable behemoth, that is thought of as a conservative outlet yet you very proudly proclaim you're a liberal. That's pretty funny. Any thoughts?
Radio networks arent like TV networks. Im in syndication in radio, which is a different model than a television network. Unlike a network, syndicated shows are cleared market by market. Fox is in the business of getting eyes on its TV properties and ears on its radio shows; ideology doesnt play into it from my perspective.
Why did you leave Hannity? Some in the industry said it was nothing sinister -- that you were just tired of the show and wanted to move on. Are they right?
Nothing sinister at all. We had a great 12 years. When Obama won and there was a Democratic  House and Senate, my work was done.

You have a fairly entertaining radio show -- I love the caller interaction -- it can get fairly heated. How much of that is shtick and how much is real?
My views are real. My opinions are my own. It gets heated because we talk about hot-button issues about which people are passionate. You can do schtick and be entertaining without sacrificing your core beliefs and values. Its how you package your views that can make a show stand out. We do little bits of business like Radio Graffiti and Sudden Death Radio that appeal to listeners regardless of ideology.

Conservative radio dominates the terrestrial landscape. Yet, your brand of "liberal content" is quite lively. If liberal radio drew ratings and buzz, wouldn't that trump politics?
It always trumps politics. Rush Limbaugh didnt become as successful as he is simply because of his political views. In fact, early Limbaugh talked more about social issues than simply politics. Liberals need entertaining hosts, but there also has to be a willingness to put liberals on big sticks. When Air America was trying to make its way, it often was put on underperformed AMs with poorer signals than the larger, heritage stations. You need both entertaining hosts and the right platforms so liberal hosts have a fair shot against the more-established shows and signals. And you need open-minded programmers. Ive been canceled from stations where I had excellent ratings because the station wanted only conservative hosts. This makes no sense to me, if the goal is to get as wide an audience as possible. I dont want only liberal listeners; why would a station want only conservative ones?

You just wrote a new book about being a liberal? Tell me about it.
Its called Thank the Liberals for Saving America. Almost every advancement weve made has been because of liberals/progressives -- I use the words interchangeably -- and often with stiff opposition from those I refer to as regressive. Our founders were beyond liberal -- they were radical and instituted a system of governance more progressive than English common law. We today are living the liberal dream of our founders. The other premise of the book is that we are all liberal to some extent. We live a country where we cherish our freedoms and love to use the word liberty which comes from the same root as the word liberal, meaning free.  Life makes us liberal. Just one example: When Dick Cheney accepted that he had a gay daughter he became more progressive on the issue of marriage equality than President Obama was at the time.
What do think of the state of terrestrial radio?

The bar to entry is lower now because anyone can have a radio show online. You just need an Internet connection and a computer with a microphone and youre in business. Terrestrial radio needs to use the social media to connect with its audience. Its not enough to just be a radio station or a radio show without the extra reach the virtual world offers. We have a chat room on my website ( where listeners gather during my show to talk about what were doing on the air. My site features stories all the time that we talk about later that night. These posts get sent to my Twitter and Facebook pages. And we have a growing number of listeners who hear the show online. The idea is to be available and to interact on as many platforms as possible. Thats why we say here that Fox News Radio is everywhere.

Rich Lieberman is a veteran SF Bay Area news blogger covering radio and TV since 2001.His media blog, "415 Media" ( is the #1-read industry sheet in SF.

(10/24/2013 2:27:39 PM)
2c7beB I really like and appreciate your blog post. Much obliged.

- NY
(9/26/2012 11:06:57 PM)
SOME people may laugh at Rich, but there are many of us in the Bay Area who read his blog daily.

As a "simple consumer," I was outraged when KGO self-destructed almost a year ago! Rich's research and analysis has been quite informative.

He's helped get the word out about the new station 910 that has brought a few of the beloved KGO hosts on who were fired all on the same day!

Interestingly, 910's ratings increase month by month, as former KGO listeners find some of their lost gold.

- Ms L
(9/26/2012 7:18:54 PM)
Sorry, but Wrong-Way Lieberman is not an authoritative voice on San Francisco Bay Area broadcasting. He's been so wrong so much of the time that people laugh at him.

- David Kaye
(9/26/2012 2:53:27 PM)
Both mediums? That sounds like a double barreled seance.

- Kirk

Add a Comment | View All Comments


Send This Story To A Friend