Ratings show audiences are tuning out Tucson, national political talk radio

By David Hatfield

Inside Tucson Business

Just as this year’s election season is getting cranked up with this month’s primary elections, by one measure — radio ratings — public interest in politics has diminished compared to what it was two years ago.

Among 29 local and national radio talkshows airing weekdays on five Tucson radio stations, 15 of them — including some of biggest names — are averaging fewer listeners this year than they did in 2010, according to data compiled from the radio ratings company Arbitron. And in most cases, the declines weren’t small — the average drop was 36.5 percent.

Glen Beck’s ratings did not slip.

There were exceptions. Glenn Beck’s audience from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on KNST 97.1-FM/790-AM has grown by 19.1 percent since 2010; Sean Hannity’s audience from noon-3 p.m., also on KNST, was up about a half percentage point; Mark Levin’s audience from 7-10 p.m. on the Truth KQTH 104.1-FM was up a whopping 119 percent and comedian/Libertarian Phil Hendrie’s show from 10 p.m.-1 a.m. on the Star KWFM 1330-AM was up 100 percent (though as a late-night show that amounted to 400 listeners).

But the biggest exception to the downturn is NPR affiliate KUAZ 89.1-FM/1550-AM, where audiences are up for seven of its eight daytime informational shows.


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August 2012