Everywhere it's been tried - liberal, or progressive as it's sometimes described as, talk radio hasn't taken off with the success conservative talk radio has.
Case and point - the top six of March 2009 Talkers magazine "Heavy Hundred" talk show hosts are conservative. The top liberal host, Thom Hartmann, come in at number 10. However, liberal talk show host Stephanie Miller appeared on CNN's April 5 "Reliable Sources" and insisted there is more at play than just pure market forces holding the liberal format back.
"Well, you know - I just did a panel on the Fairness Doctrine," Miller said. "I have to tell you, I brought ratings information. And people like me and Ed Schultz are consistently beating conservative shows in many, many markets. And yet - there is 10 percent liberal radio in this country. Ninety percent of the stations are conservative. You just cannot argue anymore it's because liberal radio can't compete."
Miller claimed she's not for the Fairness Doctrine, however she blamed station owners for being more willing to drop liberal formats and not conservative format - a sign of the lack of "fairness." She cited the demise of Washington, D.C.'s "Obama 1260" radio station that went away in February.
"You know, I'm not for the Fairness Doctrine," Miller continued. "But, I'm for fairness. You know, you can bring up any market - you know Howard, you bring up Washington, that's actually a good point. The station had no signal, no format that has ever been on that station got ratings. So they had that same company has a right-wing station that has no better ratings and they didn't drop that format."
Station owners be warned - certain Democratic senators are taking notice of this, Miller pointed out.
"So, that's what Democratic senators are starting to look at is there have been markets where we're number one in the market where they were going to drop the format," Miller said. "That's getting Democratic senators' attention. I'll tell you that."
Steve Malzberg, the host of New York City's 710 WOR "The Steve Malzberg Show," also appeared on the "Reliable Sources" segment with Miller. He noted that one of those senators that has recently spoken out about the Fairness Doctrine, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., had a potential conflict of interest that was ignored by the press.
"I like the Democratic senators, like Debbie Stabenow, whose husband has interest and has had interest in liberal talk radio," Malzberg said. "She goes on the record and says, ‘Yes, we're going to hold hearings. We're going to fix it. We're going to level the playing field.' And here husband has an interest and the mainstream media is silent about that - give me a break."