Liberal radio talk show host loses show by Mitch E. Perry01/22/07
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday
In recent years Tampa Bay Area citizens wanting to get some liberal talk radio have had very few choices.
Now they have even less.
Last night on 970 WFLA, talk show host Mark Beiro announced that his Sunday Evening Radio show, which airs from 7 to 10PM, would be his last program.
Last week, Beiro, who has been on FLA in one form or another for the last 12 years, and on Sunday night for the last several years, was informed by station management that his services would no longer be needed (roll tape#1 o.q.”ever more money”)
WFLA still does employ local talk show hosts, including Tampa Tribune columnist Daniel Ruth on Saturday mornings. But the rest of their fare – including national heavyweight talk show hosts like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity and Glen Beck, and local afternoon host Todd Schnitt, skew heavily conservative.
But Mark Beiro was an anomaly. Other than Ruth, such critical comments about President Bush and the Iraq war are rarely uttered on 970, perhaps the preiminent News Talk station in the Tampa Bay Area. Mark Beiro said the local media missed out on a good story (roll tape#2 o.q.”for waking me up”)
Recently a business consultant that works with several radio stations, Tom Barnes of Media Think, told Forbes that for radio to be competitive in the crowded media landscape, it should be more local, not less.
But Beiro’s firing flips that theory on its head. Eric Deggans covers media issues for the St. Petersburg Times . He says that WFLA’s corporate owner, ClearChannel has little patience on trying to build an audience beyond the next fiscal quarter (roll tape#3 o.q.”can’t really do”)
As far as canceling a liberal talk show, the St.Petersburg Times Eric Deggans says that WFLA’s bread and butter is conservative talk – as is most talk radio on the AM dial – and that cancelling Mark Beiro’s local show will probably not have much impact on what their audience wants and expects (roll tape#4 o.q.”who are out there”)
Mark Beiro has had health problems in recent years. He’s kept his regular listeners informed about his problem with diabetes, which has led to him losing his vision almost entirely with his right eye. But he still gets work at his other gig, as a boxing ring and arena announcer, which he’ll continue to do (roll tape#5 o.q.”you know”)
Again, local liberal talk show host Mark Beiro, relieved of his duties at 970 WFLA, because of budget issues.