Archive for June 2014

Why Alternative Media is Better than the Good Old Days

June 28, 2014

The rise of new media has produced too much “advocacy journalism” according to Larry Atkins a journalist and attorney.

Walter Cronkite (

Walter Cronkite (

From Huffington Post

Over the past 15 years, as newspaper circulation has declined, more and more people are turning to advocacy journalism via websites, talk radio, cable TV, and blogs to get their news. …

Advocacy journalists do not set out to inform; they set out to advance an agenda, whether it be conservative or liberal. While FOX News and conservative talk radio show hosts like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity are the worst offenders, liberal television hosts like Al Sharpton and Rachel Maddow also fall into this category. They are all giving their opinion and reporting news with a goal and a biased agenda.

In light of the explosion of media outlets ranging from cable news outlets, talk radio, blogs, and websites, we need to be more savvy news consumers. As I tell my journalism students, it’s important to consider the source of the information before we make our judgments.

Atkins is both right and wrong.

Neither Rush Limbaugh nor Rachel Maddow are journalists, and have been known to omit facts to push their point of view.

However, Atkins longs for the good old days that never really existed, of The New York Times setting the agenda and Walter Cronkite telling America, “That’s the way it is.” Today we know that establishment media had their own agenda and framed debates in one way.

So the public should be more savvy news consumers and always consider the source of information. That’s always been the case. What’s better about today than Atkins’ mythical yesteryear is that an alternative media has produced multiple sources to check both politicians and media.

To learn more about how talk radio established a successful commercial model for the exploding alternative media universe of today, read The Right Frequency.


What Bill O’Reilly Thinks of the ‘Talk Radio Guys’ Now

June 28, 2014

Bill O’Reilly, the nation’s top rated cable news host for more than a decade, definitely leans right. But he often tries to project himself as nevertheless above the partisan fray. He’s often critical of conservative talk radio.

Bill O'Reilly and Rep. Sam Johnson (

Bill O’Reilly and Rep. Sam Johnson (

That’s why it was a little surprising this week when O’Reilly said talk radio was right.

From the O’Reilly Factor Talking Points Memo:

But the professional criticisms are turning out to be somewhat valid. A new CBS News/”New York Times” poll usually very generous to the president shows his administration has collapsed in the court of public opinion. Independents have joined conservatives in believing the president is not doing a good job.

The basic problem is competency. And you may remember that the radio guys pointed out that Barack Obama had little experience running anything. That he was basically a community organizer and theoretician. Well, if you examine the facts, without emotion, that seems to be accurate.

Mr. Obama’s management skill and problem-solving ability are dubious. Let me back it up with a vivid example. President Obama was quite clear, quite clear, that if elected president, he would reform the Veterans Affairs Department.  … So, what happened to that pledge? Well, the V.A. is now a scandal. There are allegations that more than 1,000 American vets have actually died because they could not access proper care. The V.A. admits that more than 120,000 vets waited far too long for doctors so see them. In addition, the Feds have paid out $845 million to settle V.A. malpractice suits.

So, to be fair, it looks like the conservative radio talk show hosts were correct in their assessment of Barack Obama’s ability to run the country.

The “talk radio guys” were quite tough on Obama from the beginning of his administration. Rush Limbaugh notably said, “I hope he fails.”

To learn more about the battle between Obama and talk radio, read Chapter 12 “Obama, Tea and Talk” of The Right Frequency.


What happened Between Virginia and Mississippi? A Talk Radio Assessment

June 27, 2014

Sen. Thad Cochran beat back challenger Chris McDaniel’s challenge Tuesday.

Thad Cochran


McDaniel, a former talk radio host himself, beat Cochran in the original Republican primary, but Cochran won the runoff mostly with Democratic votes in the open primary state.

The Cochran comeback was an upset, as many political observers expected talk radio to propel another Tea Party insurgent to victory as happened in Virginia where economics professor Dave Brat beat House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

From one election to the next, the question went from whether talk radio is a kingmaker to whether talk radio matters.

Two talkers Laura Ingraham and Michael Smerconish give their perspectives.

From Politico:

“McDaniel focused on standard tea party issues of balanced budget, Obamacare repeal, ballooning debt…and he won among Republican voters,” Ingraham said in an email. “Had he followed the Brat template—and focused on how Mississippi’s working class has been harmed by the Establishment’s failure to secure the borders, harmed by its addiction to cheap foreign labor, harmed by crony capitalists who game the system for their own benefit—he might have blunted the effect of the Democrat turnout for Cochran.”

On her radio show on Wednesday, Ingraham said there couldn’t always be a victory like Brat’s. “There’s no magic pill you can take,” she said.

CNN and centrist talk radio host Michael Smerconish said he thinks the role of talk radio had less of an impact in the Cochran-McDaniel race because there already was intense media and voter interest ahead of Tuesday’s runoff.

“Where talk thrives as a political force is in that low-interest election where the establishment is caught unaware by the groundswell talk has created in its demographic,” Smerconish said.

To learn more about where talk radio has succeeded and where it hasn’t, read The Right Frequency.


RedState Reviews The Right Frequency

June 27, 2014

The popular blog praised The Right Frequency as “an excellent book” that is “absolutely well worth buying.”

THE RIGHT FREQUENCY CoverWhile stating some critques, the review, Jake Howard, gave it a ranking of 4 out of 5.

As of Thursday, it remains the book is #1 Bestselling book on Amazon’s listing for Radio History.

From RedState:

Fred Lucas has written an excellent book. He has researched his topic thoroughly, and it shows when you look at the bibliography. He relies extensively on primary sources to build his narrative, so you are getting to hear what the major players actually said, not some third-party account written some time after the fact. There is much to learn in this book for everyone, and I feel comfortable saying that I feel much more educated on the subject now than I did before reading the book. While some might criticize it for not being a “scholarly” history in its general, Lucas is not writing to please a small Ivory Tower clique. He is writing for the general public, and he does this job well. He writes about a subject conservatives need to know about, and he does it in a very readable and accessible way. This is no mean feat for a work of history. …

In all, this is a book that belongs on the shelf of any conservative who wants to learn about the history of talk radio, and the lessons here can easily be applied to our own time and the future. Lucas takes a subject that has not been studied much before at this length, and he chronicles it in a way that almost anyone can follow. His writing style is exciting to read, and he maintains its consistently good quality throughout the book. Whatever my criticisms of this book are, they are dwarfed by my praise for it. It is a work that is absolutely worth buying, and it has not been a consistent top seller in books on radio on for nothing.

Click here to read The Right Frequency.

Talker on the Right Gets Star Treatment in Left-Leaning Hollywood

June 23, 2014

The Right Frequency offers many examples of how political talk radio overlapped with Hollywood — including those who tried to make the transition from one industry to the other.

Some were successful, such as movie critic Michael Medved, and former SNL icon Dennis Miller. Others were not, such as comedians Al Franken and Janeane Garofalo.

Now the Hollywood Reporter says that a double rarity, a conservative and a non-actor, is getting one of Hollywood’s biggest honors.

The Class of 2015 Star Honorees – the 30 people selected to receive a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame – includes TV, movie and music personalities as well as one unique selection: Larry Elder, one of just a handful of celebrities in political talk-radio to get his own star.

Of the more than 2,500 people honored with a star, hundreds are from the radio industry, though few who focus on political talk. Rush Limbaugh, who pioneered conservative talk radio in the 1980s doesn’t have a star, nor do Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck or Michael Savage, all of whom have bigger audiences than Elder.

“My first thought was, ‘I am happy and grateful for the appreciation. My second thought was, ‘I hope they didn’t confuse me with Samuel L. Jackson,'” Elder joked in an email to The Hollywood Reporter. “Maybe my induction might induce the committee to recognize the contributions of others in the field.”

To learn more about Hollywood and talk radio, read The Right Frequency on sale now for $2.99 for a limited time.

O’Reilly vs. Limbaugh – What About the Facts?

June 21, 2014

Fox News host Bill O’Reilly took a swipe at Rush Limbaugh this week, actually comparing him to Al Franken – a former leftwing talk radio host now serving in the Senate.

Bill O'Reilly and Rep. Sam Johnson (

Bill O’Reilly and Rep. Sam Johnson (

Speaking at an event in New York, O’Reilly said:

“I’m not Rush Limbaugh or Al Franken, where everything has to fit into my worldview… I’m a fact-based guy. A lot of people don’t understand that.”

O’Reilly and Limbaugh have had a bit of a rivalry for a while. As The Right Frequency explains, O’Reilly – the king of cable news – tried to take on Limbaugh head to head in a Noon to 3 p.m. talk radio program. It didn’t work out so well.

To learn more about the feud with O’Reilly and Limbaugh, Sean Hannity vs. Michael Savage and other talk radio rivalries, read The Right Frequency.

Fear Over De Facto Fairness Doctrine

June 21, 2014

Broadcasting & Cable reports:

The House Judiciary Committee has put itself squarely in the middle of the network neutrality debate, asserting its jurisdiction in a hearing Friday—“Net Neutrality: Is Antitrust Law More Effective than Regulation in Protecting Consumers and Innovation?”—in its subcommittee on antitrust law.



And while the subject was network neutrality, Republicans also saw the specter of a dotcom version of the fairness doctrine in calls for FCC regulation to prevent ISPs from favoring one type of speech over another.

The Right Frequency states why its important to be on guard against the Fairness Doctrine, the former FCC regulation requiring equal time on controversial issues that was often abused by public officials – particularly by the Johnson administration, which sought to silence opposition voices on the air.

An excerpt:

The talk radio piece in The Nation ran in the May 25, 1964 issue with the headline, “Hate Clubs of the Air.” It said, “The hate clubs of the air are spewing out a minimum of 6,600 broadcasts a week, carried by more than 1,300 radio and television stations—nearly one out of every five in the nation in a blitz that saturates everyone one of the fifty states with the exception of Maine.”

According to [The Good Guys, the Bad Guys and the First Amendment by Fred Friendly], “Because of the close association of James Row with President Johnson and also because of John Bailey’s standing as chairman of the Democratic National Committee, there is little doubt that this contrived scheme had White House approval.”

Bill Ruder, an Assistant Secretary of Commerce in the Johnson administration recalled, “Our massive strategy was to use the Fairness Doctrine to challenge and harass right-wing broadcasters and hope that the challenge would be so costly to them that they would be inhibited and decide it was too expensive to continue.”

The DNC mailed out thousands of copies of Cook’s Nation article to Democratic state and local parties and Democratic officials.

The DNC also mailed the article to radio stations, with a letter from DNC counsel Dan Brightman warning that if Democrats are attacked, demands will be made for equal time.

To learn more about how the federal government bullied opposition voices, read The Right Frequency.