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Opinion: The Slow Death of Talk Radio

America has seen an overwhelming interest in progressive ideas over the past decade. Topics such as gay rights, economic equality, racism, and a plethora of other social justice issues have made their way into the forefront of America’s modern identity; however, Republicans continue to dominate the talk show radio scene. In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, beloved Rush Limbaugh became the most popular radio host within America’s talk show radio subculture. This, in turn, led to a whole host of other conservative radio programs trailing in his footsteps.

Progressive radio stations attempted to replicate the same popularity that their rival conservatives gained, but the appeal was never the same. Their ratings were never what they wished, and it ended up becoming a fruitless and desperate attempt to match their Republican counterparts. After 9/11, conservative talk show ratings rocketed into a realm it had never experienced before. Talk shows like The Glenn Beck Program, The Sean Hannity Show, and The Radio Factor witnessed nation wide adulation. This was because of the American nationalism that swept the nation immediately after 9/11. People wanted to hear unabashed patriotism, and they turned to conservatives to hear it. Ever since September of 2001, conservative radio shows have continued to dominate the talk show medium. At this point, democratic intervention seems as realistic as John Boehner crying at Obama’s next Nobel Prize Award Ceremony.

Many of these conservative talk show hosts, such as Sandy Rios, are prone to making inflammatory comments. This is due in part to belief, but also to drive up ratings. Rios’s comments at the Values Voter Summit last Friday have made her the most recent case of extremism on the airwaves. The HuffPost covered this article over the weekend saying,

Image via sandyrios.com

Image via sandyrios.com

“Radio host Sandy Rios on Friday said the characterization of Matthew Shepard's brutal 1998 murder as an anti-gay hate crime was ‘a total fraud,’ and that Shepard, who was beaten to death by two men near Laramie, Wyo., was being used as ‘propaganda’ by gay activists.”

She continued on throughout the summit, claiming that it was the duty of Christian conservatives to stop the assimilation of the LGBT community into American society.

These outrageous, archaic claims are ones that, frankly, our country can do without. I, at least, assumed that everyone has gotten used to the fact that gay people are not the devil, but apparently that is just simply not the case. And better yet, thanks to Fox News for funding her multiple talk shows, Sandy Rios has had the opportunity to convey her thoughts to the world since 1993.

Sandy Rios may be an extreme example of the conservative voice within the talk show radio world, but it’s nonetheless regressive. They are manipulative and they force the American people to dwell on already resolved issues that have no reason being brought up for suggestion while distracting them from the harsh realities our country currently faces. While the majority of Republicans are not radical Tea Partiers, the fact remains the same: the conservative talk show voice is doing absolutely nothing to better our country. They are outdated and it is time for a progressive voice to step in and bring light to the conversations that are being had. Strongly opinionated conversations need a rebuttal, and without a rebuttal, there is no room for true, bipartisan discussion.

No matter how ridiculous Republican claims, I don’t necessarily blame them. They were able to monopolize a media source and they, over the course of two decades, got really, really good at it. But now it’s time for a fresh,  liberal Democratic voice to implement itself into the talk show medium in order to better the discussions being had on-air.

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