Excuse me for a bit of insider radio ink on my website, but because it involves Sarah Palin, John Ziegler and me....I simply couldn't resist! (yes, there is an inner narcissist in me.)
Over the past several years, your Radio Equalizer has often heard from newly-sacked career talk hosts as they begin to wonder about life beyond the microphone. Without a blueprint for the future, at that point, most are still in a state of shock.
What to do next? Faced with that question, yours truly always offers the same advice: though one may not realize it now, it's actually quite possible to accomplish more while off the air. Without the long (and odd) hours of a full-time commitment to talk radio hosting, there is much more time to get things done.
Victims of a collapsing broadcast industry brought on by epic mismanagement and a shift away from music radio by young people, these experienced talkers often find the few remaining live and local timeslots are reserved for rank amateurs.
That's a result of incompetent suits who still believe they should be on the lookout for the next "star" plucked from obscurity out of a random street corner. Even worse, some believe that failed presidential candidates and other celebs should be handed syndicated slots without regard for their potential entertainment value.
Given today's political climate, it certainly shouldn't be this way: talk radio is expected to grow exponentially during single-party opposition rule and top conservative syndicated hosts are already benefiting from increasing listenership.
But during the Clinton era, the previous growth period for the medium, local hosts complimented Rush Limbaugh and other top national talkers with regional topics that hit closest to home.
In 2009, however, this key element of talk radio's past success is now largely missing. That's a result of brutal waves of cost-cutting and even the political agenda of some remaining radio managers, who seek to undermine the medium from within. Many broadcast execs lean far to the left and even top-rated syndicated hosts have been forced to deal with their antics.
Unfortunately, recently- downsized local hosts don't have the luxury of waiting around to find out which broadcasting companies will survive and whether they'll be interested in their services. Though it's necessary to move on, the question is to what and where?
Rather than sulk, some have made the transition so well that they are emerging as key figures in the conservative movement. Though they may yet return to talk radio once the industry shakeout ends, at the rate they're going, it might not be necessary.
One host who has created a blueprint for post-radio political activism is former KSFO morning talker Melanie Morgan, who had the foresight to build a successful organization several years before leaving the station. Since then, Move America Forward has become a major force for preserving and promoting patriotism in America, particularly when it comes to respect for our troops.
Between organizing pro-military rallies, care package shipments to Iraq, morale-boosting visits to conflict zones and a new effort to stop the Obamists from undermining anti-terror efforts, Morgan's efforts are tireless.
Providing another path for post-radio success is former KFI/ Los Angeles host John Ziegler, who can't seem to stay out of the headlines for long these days. Combining chutzpah with curiosity, Ziegler has asked the questions that the Obamist mainstream media simply won't.
Between the enormous success of his interviews with Obama's astoundingly-ignorant supporters to his widely-publicized Zogby poll that reinforced that position, his HowObamaGotElected.com has been incredibly successful.
From there, he has built its following further through an interview with Sarah Palin that has received widespread media attention. Somehow, he was able to get the Alaskan governor to open up on a variety of issues regarding the media's rough treatment of her during the campaign:
With so many local talk hosts losing their positions in recent weeks, your Radio Equalizer believes they should look to these examples to create their own pathway to future success. They may be left wishing they'd left the radio industry years earlier.