In a year-long study on political polarization published today, The Pew Research Center has released data on how American’s receive and trust news sources.
Among the takeaways from the study, Pew states that the 20% of the population who label themselves as “Consistently Liberal” or “Consistently Conservative” are the most likely to vote, donate to campaigns and participate directly in politics. The other 80% are classified as “Mostly Liberal”, “Mixed”, or “Mostly Conservative”.
Among radio brands included in the study, NPR is considered the most used news source by 53% and most trusted by 72% of those at the extreme left of the political spectrum. Not surprisingly Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Glenn Beck are trusted by 0% of the Consistenly Liberal panelists. At the extreme right end, Fox News is by far the most consumed at 88% with Sean Hannity (radio & TV), Limbaugh, and Beck trailing behind.
Those who consider themselves Mixed, and even Mostly Conservative or Liberal don’t use those radio sources that much. Less than 25% of those who label as Mostly Liberal use NPR, less than 20% of Mostly Conservatives listen to Hannity, Limbaugh, or Beck and that drops to just 3% of Mixed political beliefs. That means there’s 80% of the population who are mostly tuned out of News and Talk radio.
While many of these respondents simply don’t care about politics, it does appear that radio is missing out by positioning most of its Talk stations so far to one extreme. With Conservative Talk suffering from demographic issues becoming billing issues, wouldn’t it be in the best interest of the format to move it towards the middle of the road and repairing the lack of trust seen from the majority of the potential audience.