Don’t listen to Mr. Ed.

Wilbur, it seems on MSNBC’s The Ed Show, the host is advocating application of the Fairness Doctrine to talk radio. Turns out about 10 times as many radio hours each week are devoted to conservatives as progressives. Something like 2500 hours to 250. My figures are inexact and if I find the true ones I will try to update.

I’m sure conservatives will argue that this is simply due to their popularity. But, folks, look at the 2008 election. I think those results tell more about the relative popularity of the two sides.

But, like conservatives, I feel this demandĀ is WAY OUT OF BOUNDS. While I find most of talk radio absolute nonsense, I simply don’t listen. And even though a large part is nothing but vituperation, lies, and even hate, I would be more worried if steps were taken to suppress it in any form.

And at least on radio, the conservatives’ claim of popularity carries weight. Liberals’ attempts to level the playing field by offering their own programs have not succeeded because people just don’t tune in.

Now there is something wrong with radio in general that might need to be explored. That is the concentration of station ownership in a relatively small number of umbrella companies. Particularly in larger cities, the same company may own rock stations, talk stations, sports stations, country stations and others. This, of course, leads to fewer choices in such markets as well as other potentially monopolistic practices.

Federal law and FCC rules have been relaxed in the past twenty years to permit this. I believe a re-examination of these rules might lead to a broader, fairer way to allot licenses to the benefit of listeners. In no way should that be based on the political slant exhibited by individual stations, but rather to prevent monopolies from controlling these markets and limiting choices on factors other than the traditional ratings. If the conservatives then prevail under these conditions, so be it. In fact, I believe they will maintain a huge presence.

By the way, I am sick and tired of the conservatives’ claim that the “liberal mainstream media” is all powerful. In light of talk radio, FoxNews, many publications and the internet, which grant access to nearly everyone, these conservative outlets ARE the mainstream media. So shut up already!

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