By Holland Cooke
MCVAY/COOK & ASSOCIATES
BLOCK ISLAND, RI — I’m NOT making this up.
On July 5, a sidekick filling in for the regular talk host opened the show by explaining, at length, that, and why, “this is one of the two worst weeks of the year to do talk radio.”
Oh, and that other week during which too many hosts project dread? The week between Christmas and New Year’s, which, like The Fourth week, I’ve heard COME ALIVE on talk radio. All it takes is an imaginative host, seizing the opportunity to attract callers and engage listeners by relating to – grab the arm rest – WHAT THEY’RE UP TO. Rather than musing about the host’s self-inflicted dilemma.
Alas, too many talkers feel naked when, mercifully, holidays pause the tired political narrative and the excruciating minutia of government process. And new data demonstrate peril…
“To maintain our democratic and open society, we must find common ground.” That’s Jack Leslie, chairman, Weber Shandwick and Powell Tate, whose recently released KRC Research “Civility In America 2102” study followed up a similar survey in 2010.
That earlier survey was before Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot, Charlie Sheen’s rants went viral, harassed Rutgers student Tyler Clementi took his life, and Rep. Joe Wilson hollered “You’re lying!” during the State of the Union speech. In the two years since, there’s been a 140% increase in online mentions of “civility.”
Talk radio – now a shrill one-joke act to many ears – take note:
- 63% surveyed believe we have a major civility problem in America.
- 55% expect that to get worse.
- 63% of those who expect that to get worse blame politicians.
- 81% believe incivility in our government is harming America’s future.
- 83% say a candidate’s tone or level of civility will be an important factor in the 2012 presidential election
- 67% expect the upcoming presidential election to be uncivil.
Note also other survey data which demonstrate increasing appetite for SOLUTIONS, and acknowledge the economic recovery which, admittedly, has been agonizingly gradual. Six months ago, many talkers were all-too-eager to parrot the talking point that we’d be gassing up @ $5/gallon this summer. Beware the echo chamber.
See/hear/read more from consultant Holland Cooke at www.HollandCooke.com; and follow HC on Twitter @HollandCooke.