Sunday, November 06, 2005

Liberal Talk Show Ratings:

There is presently no web site or blog that actually rates Talk Shows based on the overall content, presentation, or any important criteria that listeners would like to know to decide which Talk Show to listen to.

The objective of this site is to rate various Liberal American Talk Shows so that you, as a listener, can decide which Talk Show to listen to.

Presently, I only intend to cover US Liberal Talk Shows in the English Language that can be heard either live, are rebroadcast on the internet or are podcast on the internet. Live and rebroadcasts could be directly from the radio station or rebroadcast by such wonderful sites as Network or archived by the most outstanding site of all The White Rose Society.

Talk Shows from the Right Wing are just a load of bull, regurgitating Talking Points issued by the Republican National Party. The Right Wing Talk Shows may have a huge listener base, but that is purely because of how their shows are marketed by a compliant mass media. I do not subscribe to rating these Talk Shows.

The ratings that I make are completely different from what you get from Arbitron. Arbitron is the only organisation which actually does listener surveys to arrive at ratings of listener habits.

My ratings have nothing to do with listener habits. My ratings are to do wth the shows themselves.

The Talk Show hosts must be truthful. They must be online, either live, rebroadcast or podcast for listening on the internet. The ratings reflect the quality of the host or hosts, the quality of the listeners, the quality of how the host handles his callers, both pro and anti, the competence of the host, the sources that the host uses, the playbacks used, the quality of the music played, and almost everything that makes a Talk Show worth listening to. The passion of the Talk Show host plays only a small small part in arriving at the ratings.

But that is not all that I use to arrive at the ratings. I look at the formats used to relay the show on the internet. If the shows can be heard by all the different computer operating technologies and formats, it certainly helps to push up the ratings (eg. Quicktime, RealPlayer, Windows Media Player, mp3, Mac, Linux, Windows, etc.).

Additionally, I study the web pages of the show, whether there is an active discussion forum, whether the show has an active blog, whether the show or host has a moderated or unmoderated discussion group. Another important aspect is whether the callers are screened or not.

I also evaluate the quality of the technology used for handling callers, especially those from non-US locations. The news that Guy James intends to use Gizmo Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) in this week's show, and if it is successful, would dramtically influence his ratings, already high on the list.

The hours at which shows are braodcast does make quite a marked impact on the ratings. Also, whether the show is once, twice, three or five times a week does make a difference on the ratings, but is not crucial. The reason is that the content becomes quite critical for its usefulness to the listener. To hear stale news on a Talk Show degrades the rating quite markedly. Hence, some Talk Shows, even though only once a week, are truly outstanding to get very high ratings. Peter Werbe and The Guy James Show are examples of this type of once a week show, although their formats are completely different.

It is sometimes sad when top rated shows clash - as is the case on Saturday nights with The Guy James Show clashing with another outstanding show, The Laura Flanders Show.

Many Talk Show hosts tend to concentrate on local issues rather than national or international issues. This also affects the ratings, as local, national and international audiences may have quite different expectations. But then it is up to the Talk Show host to make his subject universally interesting. Mike Webb did an outstanding job when he was covering the 2004 race for the Washington State Governor.

Some Talk Show hosts use guests, some use opponents to debate issues, while some only concentrate on callers. This materially does not matter, except that it must keep my interest, as an international listener. If it does, the rating goes up.

I also watch the callers that call in. If the same callers come on day after day or week after week, this pushes the ratings down considerably.

It can be seen that several callers seem to dominate on all the major Talk Shows, so I cannot penalise the Talk Show because of this. However, if they tend to use the same callers week after week, it really means that their show is not prompting the larger audience to call in.

The ratings may vary quite sharply on a weekly basis as they proceed as there is quite heavy competition between these Talk Show hosts.

I am in quite detailed correspondence with several of them, especially those who like to know why their shows are rated above or below someone else.

Remember, there are two types of ratings which I give - the actual position (1 to 20) in the table as well as the show quality rating based on the 5-star principle.

Most of these Talk Show hosts have been on first name terms with me for many years. That in no way determines the ratings that I give them. They have to fight for their positions in my table as I know that if I do not like their broadcast, they will drop position or get a low star rating, or even go totally off the list.

I am sure that my views are being listened to, as corrective steps are seen to being taken by Radio Stations when they find their ratings drop on my scale.

Your feedback, however, would be most welcome. Also, Talk Show hosts who feel I could also include them in my study should contact me.

Here were my ratings for the week ending 4th November 2005.

1. Mike Malloy *****
2. Thom Hartmann *****
3. Peter Werbe *****
4. Guy James *****
5. Laura Flanders *****
6. Ring of Fire (Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Mike Papantonio) *****
7. Morning Sedition (Marc Maron, Mark Riley) ****
8. The Rachel Maddow Show ****
9. Mike Webb ***
10. The Randi Rhodes Show ***
11. The Stephanie Miller Show ***
12. Nate Clay ***
13. The Majority Report (Janeane Garofalo, Sam Seder) ****
14. The Young Turks (Cenk Uygur, Ben Mankiewicz and Jill Pike) **
15. Springer on the Radio (Jerry Springer) *
16. Revolution in the Air (Lizz Brown) ***
17. Radio Inside Scoop (Mark Levine) ****
18. Bernie Ward *****
19. Ray Taliferro ****
20. John Rothmann ***

The Bernie Ward, Ray Taliaferro and John Rothmann streams were now off the internet when these ratings were done. Possibly, because of my ratings, KGO has rapidly got them back on stream on the internet. Their station, KGO, had not replied to my several emails. Hence they are at the bottom of my top 20 ratings, but their value is much much greater than that. Next week will show them in the correct spots.

Also, Mark Levine moved his time slot so as to make him drop low, as I am a listener who rates shows only on the live content. I do listen to Mark who is archived at White Rose Society. Similarly Lizz Brown is not live, despite my many emails to her station, but she too is archived on White Rose Society.

KGO has removed Bernie from the White Rose Society archives, which could impact the ratings considerably, as Bernie has a competitor in Mike Webb from Seattle, Washington, who is also exceptionally good.

Politically Direct and Ecotalk are not included in the above list, but whenever I have had a chance to listen to them, they have been very good programmes.

Tony Trupiano was high on the list but because of his decision to go active in politics, his show is now off the air and my list.

Probably the worst programme on air today is The Al Franken Show, Al Franken, as he is a egoistic comedy routine. I find it difficult to understand how he is kept on Prime Time and that he is given so many repeat slots!!

But then, as he is hopefully planning his Senate run, he could be quietly moved off off the air without losing his support, which I do understand Air America Radio depends on for political expediency. After his co-host has gone his show has gone from worst (unrated) to even more worst (totally ignored).

I also find it difficult to listen for any length of time to the otherwise top-rated Liberal Talk Show host, Ed Schultz, so he is not presently on my list.

I hope you enjoy my efforts, and do Comment on the page if you want to tell me something specific.


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