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Good Luck, Republicans, in Controlling Your Extremists on Talk Radio

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Wayne Laugesen, the Editorial Page Editor at the conservative Colorado Springs Gazette, made the point last week on Rocky Mountain PBS' Colorado State of Mind that the "general public" thinks conservative talk radio "is part of the GOP."

And for good reason.

If you tuned in to talk-radio shows before the election, you know they sounded like they were part of the Republican get-out-the-vote machine, such as it was. And Rush Limbaugh? Anyone think he's a Democrat? Ditto for all the conservative talkers.

So, yes, talk radio is part of today's definition of the Republican Party.

And talk radio's "general hostility toward Latino culture," said Laugesen continued, "has really hurt Republicans."

But does anyone really expect conservative talk radio hosts to change their tune anytime soon?

No, because if they did, they'd lose their audience, which has been nurtured by the radio hosts themselves to crave the extreme talk. That's how the shows were built. It worked.

As explained here, conservative shows captured a market niche alienated from the reasonable news media.

On talk radio, right wingers find a place where they can connect with people who share their fringe views. (This is a generalization, I know, but still.)

How is that going to change anytime soon? It can't, because if conservative talk radio moderates itself, it will die. Its core audience will change the channel.

It's true that conservative talk radio's white, aging, male audience is on the way out.

But chances are they'll stick around long enough, with their extremism stuck to them, to make it all the more difficult for the GOP to re-invent itself, like Laugesen wants it to.

View Laugesen video here.