Why Has Liberal Talk Radio Failed in Miami?

Categories: Culture

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Photo by Taylor Wray
Political liberals are almost everywhere in Miami. They're lining up for pro-Obama rallies. They're filling up our college campuses. And they're sure as hell showing up at the ballot box. (Yes, even the Cuban ones.)

But there's one place you won't find left-leaners in South Florida: on the radio.

Since the downfall of WINZ (940 AM) in 2009, the area has not had a station devoted to progressive programming. Talk leader WIOD (610 AM) currently splits its programming with news in the morning and Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Glenn Beck in the afternoons. These conservative pundits pull a huge nationwide rating and seem entrenched on the South Florida airwaves.

But South Florida is different from the rest of the Sunshine State. It's a pocket of liberalism in a state that often leans to the right. Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties voted overwhelmingly for Barack Obama in 2012 and basically secured the state's blue status.

So why don't we have more liberals expressing their views over the airwaves?

Ken Charles is a former programming director for WINZ and WIOD. He grew up in Tampa and came to Miami in 2007. Two years later, he was instrumental in the shift of WINZ from a progressive format to an all sports station.

"They are both different, but WIOD's primary purpose was news while WINZ's was talk," said Charles, the national brand manager for news talk for Clear Channel. "They stood for different things."

While WIOD was successful in balancing both news and conservative talk, WINZ was always heavy on talk according to Charles. Hosts like Jim Defede and Nicole Sandler brought a local flavor to the station, but the national shows syndicated on the network brought down overall ratings and revenue. Those national shows came from the now defunct Air America.

"The people who launched Air America forgot that entertainment is important in radio," Charles said by phone from Sacramento. "I learned early on that my politics didn't matter. If I made decisions based on my politics, we would probably be broke and unemployed."

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39 comments
Brent Dixon
Brent Dixon

The truth isn't very entertaining ...

Kelly Moreno
Kelly Moreno

It "failed" because Clear Channel is owned by Republicans. The ratings were higher with the Liberal talk shows than it is right now as a sports channel. I also call BS on it not being entertaining...listen to Stephanie Miller on the 'web' & get laughs while hearing other liberal voices.

Andrew Jacque
Andrew Jacque

clearchannel is the monsanto of radio. they own it all..

Viviana Otero
Viviana Otero

Older people still blaming the U.S for Castro are the only ones listening to political radio in Miami while the rest enjoy music and sports!

Terry St Angelo
Terry St Angelo

All south florida had was Neil Rogers to tell the truth but no more

Frank Martinez
Frank Martinez

At one point Neil Rogers, Randi Rhodes and a more liberal Phil Hendrie were on the same station and it wasn't "Liberal Radio" it was just entertaining radio. Of course, the nature of radio killed it and they all moved on. There was a Golden era that this article doesn't even reference. It was the 1990s.

Jul Farinha
Jul Farinha

Republicans are so entertaining on tv who needs radio.

Jul Farinha
Jul Farinha

Or anywhere they lock themselves in wait for someone to shoot with their guns.

Dan Marino
Dan Marino

Miami radio sucks period. Talk and music. Came here from Austin and have experienced the worst radio in my life here in MIA. Thank god for the Tune-In radio app where you can get radio from all over the country and do not have to rely on hack radio from Miami.

Frank Krapf
Frank Krapf

Howard Stern is on SIRIUS. Miami radio sucks as a whole. Neil was the last of the ones who shot from the hip.

Tony Prieto
Tony Prieto

Neil Rogers died. Talk radio in Miami is for idiots that can listen to sports talk all day, and old right-wing Cubans that listen to crazy people issue death threats to anyone associated with Fidel.

Andrew Walters
Andrew Walters

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EzƦă VɅǹ
EzƦă VɅǹ

Some people can think for themselves and don't need preachers to tell them what to think.

Al Newman
Al Newman

Brandi Rhodes and Ed Schultz both failed in Miami

Steve Attaway
Steve Attaway

Because liberals are always pissed off they're a bunch of whining little bitches!!

Danny Martinez
Danny Martinez

Yes sir couldn't say it better myself Edward Delatorre

Edward Delatorre
Edward Delatorre

I listen to Molyneux. Propaganda is everywhere. You just have to arm yourself with as much information and sift thru it all.

Danny Martinez
Danny Martinez

I agree Edward Delatorre I listen to Joe rogan Dan Carlin but still propaganda ends up showing its face as when Joe rogan had cenk from TYT on his podcast. I'd recommend you to listen to Adam vs the man and Stefan Molyneux.

Edward Delatorre
Edward Delatorre

Lots of people listen to podcasts now. joe rogan experience, this American life, RadioLab wnyc, dan carlins hardcore history, the hermetic hour with poke Runyon. Some of the ones I listen to.

Danny Martinez
Danny Martinez

I would say liberals are more educated but there also misinformed by mainstream news such as Bill Maher, Rachel Maddow they are just as bad as Glenn Beck and Rush as well from the right wing. All they do is promote propaganda to the public Enmanuel

Enmanuel Morales
Enmanuel Morales

why has it failed? the left is usually a more educated (arguably), younger demographic that embraces new tech/media. the right is usually the opposite. particularly in miami (the article's focus), the older demo is predominantly old cuba, which has been consistently far right since the early 60's...

Christopher A. Haik
Christopher A. Haik

Liberal radio is way boring. I can't bear to listen to npr. I end up listening to 610, just because at least right wing outrage is entertainment

Danny Martinez
Danny Martinez

Both left and right wing politics are exactly the same they are authoritarians.

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