Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Rhodes gets the Buzzflash treatment

Buzzflash is still cranking along in their series of interviews with various progressive talk talents. Last week it was Thom Hartmann. And coming soon are the likes of Stephanie Miller and Mike Malloy.

This week, Air America Radio's Randi Rhodes talks about her radio style, the questioning of authority, handling rude callers, her upcoming line of girdles and drunken horniness. Uhh... girdles and drunken horniness? Better read the article. Here's a taste:

...(My style is) fact-based scatological rants. The stuff is in my head because I read everything in the morning. And of course, all weekend long I’m watching C-span. So I have the facts. But it’s scatological. It just comes out. And one thing leads to another, and another, and another. Sometimes I don’t know how I got there, you know? I need to follow my own train of thought. And then, a caller can change the whole fricking show. Somebody calls in and they have something on their mind that is just like wild, or wildly wrong, or they fricking hate me. And it could change the whole direction of the show.

...I’m number one in New York City. But people don’t know how radio ratings work. We can’t tell people how to vote for us, which always just amused me. It’s like, let’s have an election and not tell anybody how to vote. That’s something that makes radio a frustrating enterprise. But in New York, I’m number one in this crowded radio market, in time spent listening, which is my job. A host’s job time you keep them listening to you. Are you compelling? If you’re interesting or if you’re funny, can you keep them listening to you through the commercials for the longest period of time possible? I’m number one in time spent listening in New York City, but I’m number 33 in how many people are listening to. That’s the company’s job. The company’s job is to market it, and to bring the people in. Your job is to entertain them once they’re in the seats. I’m succeeding at my job.

...Well, I have some fundamental problems with doing radio that I will always have. When I throw in with you, I’m really throwing in with you to have a conversation with you. I swear to God, when people meet me, they shake. Now it’s really overwhelming, because I’m nervous anyway. I get very star-struck, and I shake when I meet famous people. I wish I could be at ease, but I’m one of those babbling idiots that doesn’t know what to say. I shake and sweat. So when people do it when they meet me, it makes me feel like I have to help them, because I know how that feels.

More at Buzzflash.com.


Anonymous said...

Just from the blurb, we can see the mouthpiece for the Zionist Lobby is totally ignorant of how radio ratings work. I wonder what else she's ignorant about, too?

Talk to Randi in a bar? I hope I never get THAT drunk and horny.

Anonymous said...

I see in the Star-Ledger than PPMs come to the New York Tri-State area markets for the fall book. Don't bother telling people how to "vote," Randi. Voting ends with the summer book.

Randi is a Democrat from Brooklyn, the home of political graft, corruption and club house politics for over 150 years. No wonder her first thought is to stuff the ballot box and make things turn out the way she wants.

But the Star Legder article indicates people may have been stuffing ballot boxes for her already; over representing the actual time spent listening to shows they like and care passionately about. And Randi claims to be number one in TSL. Isn't that curious?

See you in September, Randi.

Bing said...

So it appears you don't like Randi. You might want to read the interview or listen to her show before making such judgments. She's been in radio for decades, I think she knows how the ratings work. I've never heard pimp for the "zionist lobby" and I do listen to her pretty regularly. In fact she seems to attract many people who never listen to talk radio otherwise. I'd put her show against anyone else's for factual content. She is usually way ahead of the main stream media curve. But you suit yourself, you seem to have your mind made up.

Anonymous said...

I have listened to her. I did read the interview. I do have an opinion, as do you.

If she compares ratings to "voting" and wants to tell people how to vote, then she either (1) does not understand the basic nature of ratings as measurement or (2) wants to rig the results. She does appear to have learned the Arbitron does not allow instruction in "voting" beyond repeating call letters, frequencies and slogans incessantly.

Randi is not alone. As the Star Ledger article makes clear, diary panel members often do see their participation as chance to goose the numbers for stations or personalities they care about. Past panelists on message boards have described "voting" for or supporting stations, as well.

Randi also says it's AAR's job to get people in the tent. It's only her job to keep them in their seats, she claims. That's only partly true. AAR has great brand awareness (Barnum was right; there is no bad publicity). But it is the job of all the hosts and producers to keep people coming back, as well as getting them to stay tuned in. There is evidence that some potential listeners (liberal listeners) have sampled AAR's product but have not been sold.

Philadelphia, which no longer has a progressive talk station, got Personal People Meters this spring. New York, Long Island and North Jersey get them in the fall. LA, Chicago and San Francisco-Oakland will have PPMs within a year. The roll out to all the top 50 markets continues over the next four years, replacing hand-written listener diaries. Whn PPMs come to town, ratings are pure measurement and "voting" is no longer an issue (and voting becomes a far more difficult possibility). Philadelphia has already gotten some surprises and seen some shake ups in station programming.

Randi claims she is number one in time spent listening in New York. Early PPM results show diary panelists often wrote down periods of continuous listening to a given station when, in reality, they were tuning around. Maybe this was "voting." Maybe poor memory when they caught up on diary keeping at the end of the week. Maybe just taking the easy way out when completing diaries. But early evidence shows TSLs take a hard hit with PPMs.

I suspect PPM may actually build Randi's cume in New York. Commuters may well listen to Randi in spurts while going back to the two news stations for traffic. AAR signed up with an also-ran traffic service, which uses announcers in the Philadelphia area (who mostly are clearly not familiar with the New York area) reading off a web page to do truncated traffic reports of questionable reliability or value. New Yorkers have been trained for decades to get traffic on the ones (1010 WINS) and on the eights (WCBS Newsradio 88). But after they've gone through the headlines, weather and ball scores, some may go to Randi between traffic updates. This what presets are for but diaries have not been showing it. Randi's TSL may drop with PPMs but her cume may go up. We shall see.

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