01/31

“Talk hosts don’t shape political opinions?” What a load….

From the news:

Listeners Vote ‘No’ On Talk Influence

The Benchmark Company surveyed 1,000 talk radio listeners asking what impact talk radio has, if any, on influencing their vote. Over 86% of respondents said that talk radio has no influence whatsoever on their choice of candidates. Another 9% said “very little influence” and 4% said “moderate influence.” Only 1% gave talk radio credit for a “strong influence” on their voting decisions.

Conservatives tended to be the listeners who gave talk radio any credit, while undecided voters said radio was not a factor in their decision making process.

“Talk radio is at its best when it entertains listeners, not when it tries to exhort them to change political behaviors,” says Dr. Rob Balon, CEO of Benchmark, “Voting is a notoriously ego-involved process and political attitudes are among the most difficult to change.” He also says, “Our findings do nothing to damage the credibility of any one talk host; rather, they suggest that preaching from the bully pulpit can be very tedious to talk listeners.”

What a load of crap. And here’s why…

Ask these same listeners what effect negative TV advertising has on their choice of candidates.

I’ll bet they tell you it has little.

The fact is that it has a lot.

The problem here isn’t that people are lying, it’s that people don’t know they’re lying. And it’s the job of research companies to ask questions which allow listeners to give the true answer rather than the one that makes them look good to the interviewers, their friends, and neighbors.

Just remember….

Nobody buys a product because they saw an ad. Or so they say.

Nobody watches much TV. Or so they say.

Nobody is interested in what Britney Spears is up to. Or so they say.

And nobody believes that the talk hosts they listen to and have a relationship with could possibly shape their political choices in any way, whether or not it’s with their full and enthusiastic approval.

Right.

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  • http://www.buzzbishop.com/blog bz

    I wrote a piece the other day on Style rising above substance in this campaign.
    People vote a certain way, but do they understand why? Is it because they’re a historically republican family? Is it because they’re black? Is it because they’re a woman?
    What about the issues? Aren’t the issues important?
    Have a read:
    http://www.buzzbishop.com/blog/2008/01/28/is-charisma-an-election-issue/

  • http://www.kpbs.org john

    Isn’t it safe to say that talk radio of whatever political stripe attracts listeners who agree with the platform? If so, isn’t it also safe to say that audiences don’t need talk show hosts telling them something they already know?

  • http://www.mercradio.com Mark Ramsey

    What they need and what they want are two different things, John.
    And just because listeners share a mindset with hosts doesn’t mean they are on track with every issue or candidate. That is why the opinions of these trusted voices count so heavily.
    That is why Kennedy’s support matters to Obama.
    And so on and so on.

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