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Thursday, July 24, 2014

ABQ Right-Wing Radio Takes Major Hit; KKOB Falls From Ratings Throne, Plus: Weh Looks To Colorado For A Udall In Trouble, And: Colbert Takes On Pearce 

Right-wing talk radio just isn't what it used to be in the Duke City. For the first time in years KKOB-AM has fallen off the ratings throne. The station has lost the crown to top 40 station KKSS-FM. The latest Nielsen Audio ratings have 50,000 watt KKOB--home to national talkers Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage--plunging to a 5.1 percent share of the audience aged 12 and over. KKSS garners a 5.5 share to take the top spot. And country KRST-FM is nipping at KKOB's heels, coming with a 5.0 share.

Since KKOB was purchased by Cumulus Media the station has undergone severe budget cuts and lost top local talker Jim Villanucci to Oregon. In addition to the cutbacks and more competition from the digital world, the station faces an ABQ metro area where Anglo males--the backbone of conservative radio--appear to make up a smaller percentage of the population.

And the format has grown increasingly hostile. At least that's the judgment of Scott Stiegler, KKOB's own afternoon talk host. Upon learning of the ratings news we tuned in and heard him chastising his own audience for being intolerant and asking for callers to be "more civil" when assessing viewpoints other than their own.

KKOB once routinely garnered audience shares of 10 percent or more. That was when mass media still had a mass. Niche programming has taken over and KKOB is a prominent example. . .

UDALL VS. WEH

Republican Allen Weh has yet to get in play his race against Dem US Senator Tom Udall, but he might look north to Colorado for some inspiration. Up there, Tom Udall's cousin--Dem Senator Mark Udall--is running into re-election trouble. The Daily Kos reports:

PPP weighs in and finds both Democratic Sen. Mark Udall and Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper have identical 44-43 leads over their Republican foes, Rep. Cory Gardner and former Rep. Bob Beauprez respectively. They've found Udall in a dogfight for months but they have usually shown Hickenlooper in better shape.. . .Udall looks like he's in really bad shape, with a 36/47 approval compared to Gardner's 34/39 favorable rating. The undecideds don't look incredibly promising for either Democrat, with self described Obama and Romney voters being represented in roughly equal numbers.

New Mexico's Udall is campaigning pretty much furiously at this point, issuing constant news releases and dashing around the state to make sure he is not seen as a creature of the anything but beloved bunch on Capitol Hill. And he comes with a mild surprise by touching the state's #1 problem--the jobs depression:

Udall visited with workers in Questa and has been leading efforts to get Trade Adjustment Assistance and other help to enable the community rebuild its economy after the mine closes. In his speech, Udall said he is working to do all he can to support new jobs in New Mexico. As part of that effort, he urged the Senate to pass the Bring Jobs Home Act, which would protect American jobs and eliminate tax loopholes for corporations that move jobs overseas.

“The mine will close in Questa. We can’t change that. We can’t bring it back. Some folks say it feels like a death. And I’m sure it does – it has been the lifeblood of the community for so many years and for generations of families,” Udall said.

300 workers are being laid off by Chevron Mining which is closing its molybdenum mine for good. It is devastating news for Questa--population, 1700.

THE "J" WORD

Udall's visit there was a mild surprise because the state's top politicians have shied away from getting directly involved in the jobs crisis. For example, there has been no gubernatorial visit to Questa in the wake of the mass layoffs. Martinez has come back on the air after a several week hiatus with a new TV ad, but it focuses on education not the economy and jobs. The ad says New Mexico is now the top state when it comes to improving graduation rates. Martinez says to the camera: “There’s more to do but let’s focus on moving forward, not turning back.”

Dem Gary King has not yet restarted his TV ads.

TV TIME

Udall has come with his first TV ads of the campaign. They center on the help he says he has provided to veterans. That makes sense since his opponent is a decorated combat veteran.

PEARCE PAIN

Besides Udall, southern NM GOP Congressman Steve Pearce is the other member of the state's congressional delegation facing a re-election challenge that insiders are keeping an eye on. He hit a pothole this week when he got a load of ridicule from the Colbert Report after a weekend trip he made to Guatemala and Honduras to assess the refugee crisis. The political comedy show swiped at Pearce for--among other things--staying closeted in his hotel with other members of the visiting delegation. Said Colbert:

Congressman Pearce found no evidence of danger anywhere he looked which turns out was mainly around the hotel lobby as Pearce said he and the rest of the delegation did not venture from their hotel very often because of the danger..

The line drew raucous applause and laughter, again reminding Pearce that stepping out on the national stage is a whole lot different than interviewing with the Deming Headlight. . . .

THE BOTTOM LINES

Reader Paul Donisthorpe reacts to the ruthless murders of two homeless men on ABQ's westside by three teenagers and which has dominated the news this week:

Recent events sadly remind me of events in my hometown of Farmington in the mid-70's where three Anglo teens murdered and mutilated three Navajo men. This was chronicled professionally in a book by Rodney Barker entitled "The ‎Broken Circle."

I agree that our state's financial resources need to be better used and better spent to make lives here better now and in the future. But I also tend to agree with my 91 year old father in law who says "‎ ... people are just no damn good!"

ABQ State Senator Bill O’Neill says he will again introduce a bill in the legislature "that protects homeless individuals from being targeted for harm."

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2014. Not for reproduction without permission of the author
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