WINZ actually drew better ratings than the sports format that replaced it. Shame you don't have your facts straight. If you helped a company junk any legitimate talk format - left or right -- in favor of infomercials, you deserve the disrespect of all listeners.
Ratings mean absolutely nothing if the market isn't buying the format. This was the case with WINZ and Air America.
If you knew that of which you spoke, you would know that for most of WINZ's history, most of the programming was not provided by "Air America." You simply use "Air America" as a synonym for progressive talk, probably out of a wish to hang all of it as a failure because Air America, thanks more to bad business decisions and undercapitalization than a bad idea, went under. The truth is, Dial Global ran with the ball and is obviously quite successful with progressive talk shows, otherwise they would not be syndicating Stephanie Miller, Ed Schultz, et. al. The very fact that you refer to any progressive talk station as "Air America" shows you have no more than a superficial knowledge of the format, just enough to reinforce your prejudices.
You'd also know that the programming executive at that particular cluster of stations is a right-winger who doesn't like progressive talk. Many of the corporate executives in radio fit that same mold. So since someone up the food chain crammed the format down on them, they do everything they can to keep it from working and then say, "See! It's a failure!" As was documented in San Diego, the sales staff of KLSD told a potential client that inquired about that station to forget about it and buy the conservative station instead.
From reading your posts in the past, it's easy to see that you are a fountainhead of conventional wisdom. Thank goodness radio has people like you to direct clients to the same well-plowed, played-out furrows. In other lines of business, they realize that an idea that was half-tried and didn't entirely work out may just need some tweaking to be a success. But in risk-averse radio, it becomes a reason to never try again.
Otherwise management will not trash a profitable format in favor of a less profitable one. In the case of WINZ, if progressive talk was, in fact, more profitable than sports, why hasnít WINZ reverted back to progressive talk (rhetorical).
As for informercials, these programs do, in fact, benefit the listeners who buy the products being sold. If this were not the case, the program producers would not continue to spend money buying the air-time.
Again, a total misunderstanding of how these pill-peddlers and annuity-peddlers work. Most people never bother with the money back guarantee, because by the time they get around to it, the business is often out of business. The peddlers ply their trade until the audience is played out, making misleading claims, then pay whatever fines are the cost of doing business, reorganize under another name, and the cycle starts all over again. Bottom line is, many of these infomercials exploit the elderly. I guess the unlicensed contractor who knocks on the 85-year-old's door and says "your roof needs work" is also benefiting his "customers", eh?
The bottom line is radio, as with any legitimate business enterprise, is to turn a reasonable profit for the owner(s). Otherwise, the station will not survive the economic demands, forcing management to turn off the lights, lock the doors and simply go home.
There are many stations that should do just that. Especially if they're simply a computer spewing out infomercials on a rusted-out tower exploiting the few elderly people who still listen to
As I have already stated, NPR does an excellent job on FM filling the progressive talk void which brings me to a rather interesting observation.
In previous post and comments, you seem to think placing conservative talk as a second tier format is a mistake, yet you appear to have no problem placing second tier progressive talk on an AM station where the market already has a 100kw full market NPR affiliate. This appears to be a double standard or double speak. However, if you can make second tier progressive talk on a small AM signal profitable against an established 100kw NPR FM, then I wish you the best, especially considering historically progressive talk has been proven to work best as a non-commercial format where it has failed as a commercial enterprise.
First, an AM doing conservative talk with two FM's already in the format in Gainesville would be third-tier, not second-tier. Roughly comparable to WLTG in Panama City, battling it out with two FM talkers. NPR is not "progressive talk", although many progressives listen to it. To call it that is to slander the people who produce it, most of whom bend over backwards to have conservative guests on when the topic is political. It doesn't motivate people to support a particular candidate or go to the polls. In fact, it probably depresses the liberal turnout more than it encourages it. To say that WUFT is doing "progressive talk" is to simply be clueless about what WUFT actually does, and again indicates that you're just conforming your "advice" to your own prejudices. Actually, where NPR is strong, progressive talk is usually stronger. As in Seattle, where KUOW-FM has a 3.5 share 12+ and KPTK has a 1.0 -- which is not bad for an all-syndicated lineup in a market with several talkers. 1.0 is probably better than 980 could hope for with a third-tier conservative lineup.
Lastly, I was very cordial, as I am now this time, with my first response to your comment. And, although you have the opinion that I deserve the disrespect from the radio listeners, I would never say you deserve disrespect from anyone.
You might view it differently if you turned on your favorite talk station to hear the gardening show, only to hear some quacking "naturopath" talk about the 40 pounds of impacted #@$!@%^ found in John Wayne's colon when he died. (An urban legend, but facts never stopped a radio infomercial.)
A final question: progressive talk works in places like Madison, Portland and Seattle. If we were to break out Gainesville (980) from Ocala (720), would you say it's more like Ocala or more like Madison?