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Sam Greenfield Headshot

Going Going Gone

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A few years ago, Rush Limbaugh was so powerful a force in talk radio that when a Republican crossed him, that person would feel compelled to come on Limbaugh's and apologize in the most sniveling obsequious manner. The theory seemed to be: Insult Limbaugh, lose an election.

That was then. Since that time, talk radio on the AM dial has almost disappeared. It has been replaced by podcasting, YouTube, Instagram and any number of other social media outlets allows virtually anyone with a computer and a dream to broadcast to the world. What happened to Limbaugh and his ilk? Demographics is what happened. I saw Rush speak at a seminar a few years ago, and he said that he gets solid ratings by appealing to his core audience. It's safe to say that that core is not young, or of color, or mostly women, or Jewish, or Muslim. In other words, that demographic is shrinking, literally dying, and in some locales Limbaugh's shrinking audience is proof.

Oh, sure, he will still be syndicated in hundreds of stations, but WABC in New York didn't pull any muscles trying to keep him in the fold. He reminds me of the Lonesome Rhodes character in Face in the Crowd. He will still be heard, just not so high on the political food chain.

Maybe it was his constant race baiting when speaking of President Obama, maybe it was his horribly offensive impression of Michael J. Fox's disability, or maybe it was calling a young woman a slut for wanting health care coverage of birth control devices. Maybe it was all of them.

Whatever the cause, less listeners means more dialogue,less demagogue,and hope for a fruitful exchanges.