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MediaWatch: October 1995

Vol. Nine No. 10

Audience Not "Angry White Males"

Talk Radio Realities

Countering those who dismiss talk radio as a forum for ignorant and angry white men, a new survey has determined that regular listeners are better educated than the general public and a minority are Republican. "Only 22 percent of those who listened to political radio talk shows `today or yesterday' are Republican men," found the poll of 3,035 people released in September by Adams Research Inc. The Arlington, Virginia firm is the publisher of a new fax newsletter, Talk Daily.

Talk radio has a vast audience, with 47 percent of adults saying they listen occasionally and 17 percent tuning in within the past 48 hours. Of these frequent listeners, 40 percent are women. Only 38 percent identified themselves as Republicans, 23 percent as Democrats and 39 percent as independents. Frequent listeners "are disproportionately better educated" as 39 percent have a college degree compared to 21 percent of all adults, and while 20 percent of Americans earn more than $60,000 annually 30 percent of talk show listeners take home that much.

On NBC Nightly News in January Bob Faw lashed out, asking if "talk radio is not democracy in action, but democracy run amok?" Re- porters may have reason to fear the rival: Asked "How important to you is talk radio as a source of political information and ideas," 67 percent said "very" or "moderately."