High noon has arrived for AM radio. Quality audio now flows seamlessly from smartphones into our bluetoothed vehicles. Endless assortments of streaming music, audiobooks and podcasts await. Hands-free calls are no problem. The song, podcast or book picks up right where you left off.
Never again must one endure endless aggravating commercials on AM radio. Podcasts have that 30-second fast-forward keystroke. Spotify lets you listen at three times regular speed. Entertaining podcasts can last for hours. Or far less.
AM radio stations have rigid clocks and bureaucracies that disrupt capacities to entertain and inform. Mom-and-pop radio shops with decent frequencies were mostly acquired long ago by big corporations such as Salem Media.
Salem claims “to provide the best outlets and platforms for the Christian message” to millions of listeners. Eleven years ago, when Salem fully supported Mitt Romney, such a claim was colorable. Now, it’s ridiculous as a crude authoritarian took over the GOP and then, the presidency.
A decade ago, Salem employed nationally syndicated conservatives like Michael Medved and Joe Walsh. These principled patriotic men were big-league talents who told harsh truths about Donald Trump. Salem replaced them with awful MAGA-minor-leaguers, now heard daily in Colorado and beyond.
It’s beyond me how any listener benefits from hearing Sebastian Gorka or Charlie Kirk’s pro-MAGA propaganda. The swindling of cultish MAGA listeners to spend money on “patriotic causes,” products and merch is disgusting.
Fools and their money are soon separated. AM radio relentlessly takes advantage of MAGA-cult members, predominantly elderly. Hosts need not be smart, but must be ruthless at pitching products, as they fully participate in the MAGA-grift.
Salem, like the GOP, understands that MAGA is their primary audience now. They also know Trump enforcers will call and complain if ever hosts stray. No full-throated Trump criticism will be allowed.
AM radio audiences continue to shrivel. That happens with age, and when profit becomes secondary to proselytizing and MAGA-propagandizing.
WABC (770 AM), is a 50,000-watt powerhouse in NYC, and was long owned and operated by the American Broadcasting Company. Born in 1921, WABC-AM had a glorious history as one of America’s oldest radio stations. But WABC-AM now is a mega-MAGA operation owned by pro-Trump grocery billionaire and wannabe media guy, John Catsimatidis.
Catsimatidis and his family dominate Manhattan Republican politics. As owner, he gives himself a Sunday hour named “Cats Roundtable” where Republicans come on AM radio to suck up to the host.
Catsimatidis provides a daily weekday WABC-AM radio slot to disgraced attorney Rudy Giuliani. One of America’s most legendary radio stations is now paying Giuliani to spew nonstop, pro-MAGA nonsense.
Giuliani’s MAGA-law colleague, the exceptionally untalented Jenna Ellis, retains regular employment by Salem Media. Simultaneously, Ellis has allegedly avoided process servers seeking her testimony concerning Giuliani and Trump’s Big Lie.
Do not expect Ellis or her AM radio pals to discuss Noelle Dunphy, who last week filed a lurid, detailed and utterly believable 70-page complaint against Giuliani.
The Ivy-League educated and accomplished Dunphy claims she was hired by Giuliani in January 2019, after which she said he sexually assaulted and harassed her, refused to pay her wages and often made “sexist, racist and antisemitic remarks.”
The complaint is detailed, and Dunphy claims she has numerous recordings backing her allegations against Giuliani, who she alleges was on a constant diet of Viagra and booze. Dunphy further asserts that Giuliani and Trump were selling pardons for $2 million — and splitting the money. And there is further corroboration. Holy cow!
These Giuliani allegations would be fantastic fodder for daily drive-time radio. But no one on AM radio will discuss dirty details involving Trump and his MAGA-made men. AM talk radio hosts prefer to attack Joe Biden and other elected Dems as communists, globalists, or simply, the Left.
In the process, AM talk radio has become boring, and few people other than those lacking the ability to change channels or access a podcast, keep listening. The average age of an AM talk radio listener is roughly 93.
Such people were alive to hear fiendishly bigoted Father Charles Coughlin as he dominated America’s early AM radio airwaves. This Catholic priest’s pre-World War II audience was enormous, and he paralleled Henry Ford in his diatribes against Jews.
Simultaneous to the Third Reich’s takeover of German radio in the 1930s, Coughlin promoted America First abstention from WWII and supported fascism. Many Americans heard Coughlin’s destructive rhetoric on the AM radios installed in new cars coming off Ford’s assembly line beginning in 1933.
That was a dark time for AM radio, but there have been so many great days since. America won WWII, and heroes came home for baseball, football and basketball games broadcast in real time via AM radio. Some talk radio was great, and stimulated honest debates.
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Fast forward to now, and less than 5% of modern automotive consumers listen to AM radio, Ford Motors is no longer putting that dated technology in its new vehicles. Other manufacturers are following suit. Tesla removed AM radios many years ago.
It is rich to see these Republican media companies, along with some Democrats, seek legislation mandating inclusion of AM radios in all new vehicles. Talk about your governmental overreach.
AM radio has hit the MAGA wall. Sports and news have new homes on FM and online. Amazing new ways to acquire instant weather and traffic information exist.
AM radio seems headed for extinction. Good riddance, given what AM talk radio has done to destroy our country since Trump arrived. There are better things to put in our ears.
Craig Silverman is a former Denver chief deputy DA. Craig is columnist at large for The Colorado Sun and an active Colorado trial lawyer with Craig Silverman Law, LLC. He also hosts The Craig Silverman Show podcast.
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