Nearly 100 ABC RAdio advertisers want their commercials blacked out on Air America

According to a recently leaked memo. Advertisers listed include Bank of America, Exxon Mobil, Federal Express, General Electric, McDonald’s, Microsoft, Wal-Mart, and the U.S. Navy. ABC’s response does not deny this. However, one of the listed companies, REI, insists it never asked to have its ads kept off AA and it does in fact advertise on AA stations. Be that as it may . . .

This ain’t no crime. But why? If you buy radio ad time, don’t you want it broadcast as widely as possible? Unless you’re trying to concentrate your resources on certain niche markets believed to be listening to certain station-formats at certain time. But it seems to me AA listeners would be as likely as anyone else to buy these companies’ products. Or to enlist in the Navy, for that matter.

It makes more sense to believe this is a boycott for political purposes. These companies/entities don’t want any of their money going to Air America; they want to hasten its bankruptcy, for fairly obvious and purely political reasons. Once again, that ain’t no crime. But I think it’s a telling instance of how deeply politically engaged the major corporations have become in the past six years.

This this story strike any of you as markedly unusual? Or as markedly unremarkable?

I’ve never listened to AA. Do they rant against “evil corporations” much? Do they treat issues like outsourcing honestly and fairly or do they just assume outsourcing = bad? Just an example of some of the thinking I see a lot around here that might be echoed in AA programing.

It seems pretty unremarkable. Why would companies want their products/services associated with a highly political radio station? Especially companies like Wal-Mart, that cater to middle America, not the type of people who listen to Air America. Having your product associated with Air America could tarnish your brand in the minds of your target audience, and that is not something they want.

These companies care about making money and only care about politics as much as it affects their bottom line. Disassociating themselves from an unpopular liberal radio network makes a lot of sense in terms of their business strategy.

Most of the listed companies advertise on Fox TV, right?

Ermm . . . But it only gets associated with AA in their minds if they’re AA listeners; in which case it would not tarnish the product’s image in their minds.

How do you know it’s unpopular?

The Fox Network or Fox News?

To tell the truth, I don’t know. I tend to flip between commercials. Even if they do, so what? Fox is certainly not as biased politically as Air America, regardless of what extreme liberals may think. Advertising on Fox News is the equivalent of advertising on the CBS Evening News or CNN.

Furthermore, these companies – such as Wal-Mart – cater to middle America. Middle America is not in tune with Air America. If some sort of wine or fancy cheese company were to want to disassociate itself from Air America, that wouldn’t make any sense. But Wal-Mart? Of course it doesn’t want to be part of that. The Air America audience is not their consumer base.

If you recall, Coors got in a lot of hot water for advertising in gay magazines. I don’t think that the people upset with this were reading those gay magazines. Where companies advertise is not a secret. There are plenty of groups out there that publicize this information. If a company is supporting a magazine/TV show/radio show with content that offends its other consumers, those consumers will react.

Bankruptcy and continual financial problems is a pretty good indication that it’s not doing so well.

Aaaw! Come on! Dontcha know by now that liberal = EVIL!

:stuck_out_tongue: :stuck_out_tongue: :stuck_out_tongue: :stuck_out_tongue: :stuck_out_tongue:

:dubious: Who do you think is listening to AA? Based on their call-in shows, I can tell you it ain’t the wine-and-cheese crowd.

Ratings are the usual method for determing the popularity of a radio or TV offering.

TV, radio, and magazines all approach their potential sponsors by saying “Polling shows that our customer base numbers “x” millions, and breaks out into these demographics:”

If a sponsor is interested in targeting anybody from that demographic (age group, gender, political outlook, music tastes, and so on), then they buy commercial space/time.

It’s big business, too. There are many companies that earn a living examining how the public at large breaks out demographically, and tries to predict trends for sponsors to base their advertising strategy on.

If a corporation chooses to decline to advertise in a particular venue (or cancels a contract already agreed to), that’s pretty much their “right”.

It is also the consumer’s “right” to judge those decisions, and adjust their spending habits accordingly.

Sorry to be so long winded. Bottom line: Nothing new or unusual about the pratice mentioned in the OP.

When Renob calls AA “unpopular” in the sense that advertising on it might actually depress an advertiser’s sales (as with Coors and gay magazines), that goes way, way beyond alleging low ratings.

Renob writes:

> If some sort of wine or fancy cheese company were to want to disassociate
> itself from Air America, that wouldn’t make any sense.

Wine drinkers and fancy cheese eaters are actually more typically conservative than liberal.

> But Wal-Mart?

Wal-Mart customers are probably about equally divided between liberal and conservative, I suspect. There are competing trends going on here. As income rises, people are more likely to be conservatives. More specifically, they tend to be more economically conservative, but there’s no particular tend to be more culturally conservative. Rich people tend to drink more wine and eat more fancy cheese. Cultural conservatives, though, tend to drink less wine and probably to eat less fancy cheese. The most likely people to drink wine and eat fancy cheese are well-off libertarians, I suspect. Wal-Mart stores are more likely to be in rural areas than near large cities, so their customers are more likely to be rural. Rural people are more likely to be cultural conservatives. However, the people who shop in Wal-Marts are more likely to be poorer than average, so they are more likely to be liberal, at least economically. The most likely Wal-Mart customer is non-well-off, economically liberal, and culturally conservative, I suspect.

According to Wikipedia Air America got a horrible 1.2 share during the last rating period. What’s more, El Fatso and company simply dominate Air America. Al Franken, the biggest draw on AA, has been beaten soundly by Geogre Noory of all people (according to this, although that might have changed since then).

The bottom line is this: nobody is listening to Air America, those that do may not be the people that advertisers are interested in selling to (for various reasons), and there is the possibility of a backlash (which was mentioned before). It’s simply not worth the price/risk for the few buyers they might get.

I was simply noting that companies, in general, do not want to be associated with divisive programming.

Not necessarily. The richest counties in America, on the whole, voted for Kerry in 2004. And poor people (at least poor white people) certainly do not tend to be liberal. I know it’s a common assumption that rich=conservative and poor=liberal, but it’s not that simple. I know where I grew up, in a very poor area, it was quite conservative. When I moved to DC and hung out among people of much higher income, it was quite liberal.

On the average, rich people tend to be more conservative than poor people. That’s all I said. You’re now just using anecdotes. If you have some statistical proof that rich people tend to be more liberal than poor people (or even about the same on the liberal/conservative axis), give it to us. I’m not interested in discussing your anecdotes.

So where does Fox News get its advertisers? Where does Rush Limbaugh?

No, these AA ad blackouts are political decisions, not commercial.

Wwell, that’s that then. BrainGlutton has decided the truth of the matter for us. Let’s all pack up our ball and go home.

Nothing else to see here, all.

I think they are most likely commercial, but based on AA’s low ratings. As Airman points out, their ratings are not too good. I listen to a lot of talk radio, not to anyone in particular, but just bouncing around the dial (I avoid some of the people with the highest ratings, like Rush…I don’t tend to like their style). The lower-ratings guys tend to not have major advertisers such as Wal-Mart, and this includes the right-wing guys. They seem to get smaller advertisers and do a lot of personal-endorsment type ads, such as for those adjustable sleep number beds and that kind of thing. So, I’m not surprised at all that AA isn’t getting major advertisers…I would be surprised if anyone with a 1.2 rating did.

OK, how about some statistical cites from you, then?

And I’m not interested in discussing the assertions you make without any factual backing.

If you want facts, look at our state of Maryland. The two richest counties – Montgomery and P.G. – vote solidly Democrat. The poorest counties (in Western Maryland and the Eastern Shore) vote solidly Republican. The same is true in my home state of Idaho, where the richest county is the only county that votes Democratic. Or take DC – the poor parts of town are reliably Democratic, but so is super-rich Georgetown.