AUSTIN, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--July 9, 2003--Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh may be the most recognized radio talk show personality in
America (93 percent recognition) and the lead player in a conservative radio revolution, but 40 percent of talk radio listeners feel the format lacks
balance and that they favor talent over ideology, according to a just-completed national study titled "Talk Radio in America: A National
Perspective." The study also highlighted changes in the talk radio format over the past decade and dispelled myths about what is driving listeners
and the success of talk radio.
The Benchmark Company, an Austin-based market research firm, recently unveiled the results of an independent national study of 997 AM and FM talk
radio listeners in the 100 largest U.S. markets. In addition to talent trumping ideology and the debate over balance on the air waves, other key
findings show that while there is a preponderance of nationally syndicated talk shows, most of which are conservative or libertarian in their
ideology, 61 percent of respondents cited local personalities as their favorite hosts. Station management must also balance the amount of time devoted
to interruptions for advertising, news, weather and traffic as listeners cited the increasing number of commercial and other interruptions as the
number one reason they are turning off talk radio.
"While the number of nationally syndicated shows has grown in the past decade, the driving factor for listeners is talent, not ideology," explained
Dr. Rob Balon, chief executive officer of Benchmark Company, and the study's author. "Rush Limbaugh works because he is a talented entertainer who
puts a great deal of effort into preparation so that he hosts a good show. He just happens to be a conservative."