Saturday, April 28, 2007

More on the Relentless Communication

I'm in the session on "Conveying the Conservative Message" with several talk show hosts and columnists, and as it happens, doing some conveyance of my own right now. The room is packed and more coming in. I'm trying to write real time so I apologize if I drop an article or word here or there. (Updates are welcome)

Donna Martinez of State Government Radio opened the panel with the question, asked by an audience member yesterday, whether talk radio is simply preaching to the converted, and not reaching out to communicate this message.

Nathan Tabor of TCV Media said that he admittedly does only occasional radio spots, but he believes that our answers to the oppositional callers will have a long-term effect of getting the message out. [Think Sean Hanity's "Hanitization" riff]

Curtis Wright of WNTB in Wilmington quoted Edward R. Murrow, "'It is our job to educate and illuminate.' I believe that if we ed and ill people on conservative priniciples, that if everything we do comes back to that, then the message will come back. Talking to the choir needs to stop."

But Jeff Katz of WBT in Charlotte disagreed strongly, saying their job as radio hosts was indeed to keep listeners engaged for a given quarter-hour. "You are hired to attract and hold as many people as possible for your radio station. They will hear if you are true to what you believe, and they may or may not react. It is an entertainment medium; the difference is that [talk as a format] has the opportunity to give a perspective at the same time as do my job - to entertain a larger audience." He said his time in Boston and San Francisco felt pretty lonely,

Matt Mittan answered Donna's question if talk radio is bombastic. He said, "Hell, yes, it's bombastic. We're in a battle." He said his market, Asheville, has been called "The Freak Capital of the East", and that the readership of a very liberal local alternative newspaper, The Mountain Express, has voted his program "Take A Stand" their favorite radio program for two years running. He listed his very conservative positions, but said, "I reject the label of 'conservative', because I would rather win on issues rather than labels."

Ric Martinez does both radio and op-ed columns, and he said that since he and Donna began working at State Government Radio, he has been amazed at the lack of conservative voices in the mainstream media. "I wonder if we have ceded that," he said. Ric says that liberals they have interviewed have been surprised that they weren't "torn up" by these conservative journalists. He recommends that conservative journalism students seek places with the MSM like the Raleigh News & Observer rather than, because they can do more good there.


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