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1580 WVKO Columbus Drops Liberal Talk

1580 WVKO Columbus Gary Richards Progressive Talk Stephanie Miller Jeff Santos Thom HartmannGary Richards has ended his LMA with 1580 WVKO Columbus taking with it the station’s Liberal Talk format.

In a very biting post on Facebook, Richards blames among others the lack of advertiser support and the Democratic Party itself for his inability to turn a profit with the station and renew the lease. The station will flip to Gospel on Monday, December 17.

Richards launched the current format on WVKO in January. The station previously carried the same format from 2007 to 2010.

Profile photo of Lance Venta
Lance Venta is the Owner and Publisher of RadioInsight.com and a consultant for RadioBB Networks specializing in integration of radio and the internet. Lance has two decades of experience tracking the audio industry and its use of digital platforms.

6 Comments


  1. Wow. I would have withheld that FB post out of respect for what happened in Connecticut today (it was posted at 3pm, well after the story broke.) That just makes it even more petty and classless.

    I am speechless.

    • Profile photo of Lance Venta


      I do not see any correlation between Richard’s comments and the shooting. I don’t agree with what he wrote as he blamed everyone but himself for the station’s failures but its completely unrelated to what happened in Connecticut today.


      • Well, maybe it’s just me.

        I can’t fault Gary for being upset or discouraged after seeing his second go at WVKO end like this. But espousing an attitude like that (where he, as you noted, blames everyone but himself) won’t win over anyone. He has chosen to burn his remaining bridges in Columbus with napalm.

        Especially as he’s still leasing a tiny AM in Painesville, posts like that can come back to bite him. A simple terse post would have sufficed.

        • Profile photo of Lance Venta


          And before anybody else comments, still no right wing conspiracy afoot. I’ll write a full column why in the next couple days but just shows that political talk in general is struggling.

        • Profile photo of Lance Venta


          One thing that sticks to me is his blaming the Democratic party. If it were me, why would you want to focus advertising on the people who were already committed to voting Democratic. If anybody should’ve been buying ad time it would be the Republicans to try to sway someone, but again the people listening to political talk are the least likely to be swayed.

          • Profile photo of johndavis


            His comments on political advertising show a lack of understanding of both the radio business and elections. You don’t spend money chasing votes you’ve already counted, and if the party is going to rally its base, it’s going to do that with person to person contact through volunteers and not with media buys. You spend money reaching people whose votes you haven’t been able to count yet. If you read the book “The Victory Lab” or any of the articles written after this past election, there’s plenty of examples of the Obama campaign using non-traditional and cheap media to highly target parts of the population that it needed to reach, be it bus cards along certain routes or using radio buys with CHR or Urban stations to reach certain demos. But nobody is going to buy you out of pity or just to support you for the sake of supporting you, and you buy to reach people who are persuadable – and that goes for the right as well as the left.

            Also, with the requirement that candidates be given the lowest unit rate, you really shouldn’t bank on any campaign spots making you money. Issue advertising isn’t subject to lowest unit rate, but if you sold a spot for $5 last year, that’s what you have to charge a candidate. Most stations hate political advertising because it crowds better paying clients off of the log.

            At the end of the day, it comes back to the basics of running a niche format: if you can sign on enough fans to pay the bills and turn a profit you have a business. If you can’t, you have a hobby.

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