Rush Limbaugh. Sean Hannity. Glenn Beck. Mark Levin. Michael Savage. Laura Ingraham. These voices are giants in conservative media, and radio is their domain. Rush Limbaugh sits atop it all with a weekly audience of around 13 million listeners, many of whom have been following the magnetic and boisterous radio host for 20 years. That fact alone––how long his audience has been with him––should give you pause.
Limbaugh is not unique amongst his peers in that his average listener is in his 60s, and new, younger listeners are not materializing for many reasons. Conservative talk radio is on autopilot, coasting along with a loyal and aging audience. Only a few disruptors are in the mix, such as Glenn Beck, who left cable TV to start his own web-based company, The Blaze, which distributes to radio and satellite TV with an additional focus on podcasts. The attention paid to podcasting by The Blaze is notable because it signals an effort to reach a new audience, a younger audience, one that consumes media not when it’s live from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., but whenever it’s convenient for them.