The Tale of Two Americas and the Great Opportunities for Talk Radio

There was a regular caller on 700WLW back in the day, so regular we created a jingle for him:

“He hates blacks.  He hates Jews.  Here come some more of his Aryan views.  It’s Ken!”

Ken reads this blog and while I don’t agree with the majority of his views (few would), I respect him for his unwavering opinions.  Nothing is going to change his mind.  He has an opinion on many geopolitical issues too.  Most of his thoughts come back to keeping the white race pure, but every now and then he is lucid.  I can’t disagree with him, for example, about the U.S. government screwing up the Middle East.  He was always against the war in Irag.  He had well thought reasons and facts to back up those opinions.  The years have proven he was mostly correct on the outcome.

Putting his uber extreme views and hatred aside, Ken in some ways is the stereotypical listener to talk radio.  Afraid of change.  Afraid of losing perceived power.  Hates the government.  Like all of us is aging.  Ken, in fact, would agree with Rush Limbaugh that a black actor shouldn’t play James Bond in the movies.  “Bond.  James Bond.”  You know, the made-up, fictional spy character who is licensed to kill.  In case you missed the important part of the previous sentence ditto heads, “the made-up, fictional spy character.”  

“James Bond is a total concept put together by Ian Fleming,” Limbaugh said on his show recently. “He was white and Scottish. Period. That is who James Bond is, was.”  Then El-Rushbo went on to say something about this being like George Clooney playing President Barack Obama in a movie.

Ditto heads…think this one through if you’re nodding your head in agreement with Rush, because I’m shaking mine.

Black James Bond

“Bro.  James Bro.”

As we start a new year, already 15 years into this new century, those of us in talk radio need to understand and reflect the change our country is going through demographically.  Limbaugh, being the big name, personality and brand in talk radio, saying foolish things about what race should play the character James Bond does nothing to help new and younger generations of people embrace talk radio.  He and the talk radio industry just sound out of touch, disconnected and vapid.  You know what many in the under 50 crowd think about a black actor playing James Bond?  They don’t care! Give them a couple of good car chases, some hot actress playing a villainess and 007 creatively killing a few people and they’ll buy a movie ticket every time.

Like it or not America is changing and changing quickly.


Business Insider recently published an interesting piece on how America has become two Americas using data from the U.S. Census.  One America makes up mostly the Northeast and Midwest.  The other America is the southern coastal states, the mountain areas and West Coast.  One place is where people are migrating and where immigrants are settling.  The other, while growing ever so slightly because of immigrants, is aging.  One place whites still hold a vast majority of the population.  The other is a place where whites soon will be a minority.

2 Americas 1

One America is less diverse, aging and its population growth would be in reverse if not for immigrants. The other America is diverse, younger and increasing in population because of the migration from the other America and from immigration.

2 Americas 2

Which America is talk radio focused on?

Which America are you focused on as a talk host?

Which America should you be focused on for the future and for future success?


At its best…

…a radio station or radio personality speaks for a group of people – a “tribe” – and is the galvanizing voice of people with like thoughts, interests, needs and desires.

…a radio station or radio personality is an advocate for this group of people.  The voice this “tribe” knows will support and defend them…without question…when needed.

…a radio station or radio personality is the outlet that will expose its “tribe” to new, exciting and stimulating trends in culture, society and its community.

…a radio station or radio personality is an agent of change and bravely leads its “tribe” through confusing times of uncertainty and joyous times of celebration.

…a radio station or radio personality reflects core beliefs to its “tribe” and is always genuine and authentic.

…a radio station or radio personality originates information and is never a conduit, simply repeating information from other sources.  It serves as ground zero for changes in culture and society for its “tribe.”

…a radio station or radio personality is a curious student of cultural and demographic change and reflects these changes back to its “tribe.”.

…a radio station or radio personality never focuses on the audience it has, but instead focuses on the broader audience and “tribe” it needs for future and perpetual survival.

…a radio station or radio personality studies the changes happening in its local community, where local is defined not by geography, but by the core interests of its “tribe,” embraces these changes and never accepts the status quo because of the comfort it provides.

…a radio station or radio personality is about entertaining, being memorable, being a companion and not about changing the world.  It’s about reflecting the daily world of its “tribe,” providing the comfort and affinity its “tribe” so passionately desires.


Make 2015 the year to embrace the changes in America.  Success is sure to follow.


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Get more insight and thoughts in 140 characters on Twitter by following me @darryl_parks

  14 comments for “The Tale of Two Americas and the Great Opportunities for Talk Radio

  1. January 8, 2015 at 10:47 pm

    Bro. James Bro.

    Whenever Rush mentions the Reagan era, Hillarycare and other historical episodes, he sounds old and irrelevant.

    He is a smart broadcaster, so why is he doing that?

    PS “Iraq” 😊

  2. George Corneliussen
    January 9, 2015 at 2:35 pm

    By family connections and business connections, my wife and I are fortunate to be in a situation where we interact with quote “young people” (16 up to late 30s in age) on a daily basis. By and large they are all open minded, very well educated, and probably the least race-based group of people to come along ever.
    None of them have the slightest interest in talk radio as it currently exists because, they see it as representing the complete polar opposite of the lives they lead. The real opening for talk radio, in regard to younger generations, would be if talk radio acted like the current batch of old school doomsayers never existed and simply started a whole new approach that centered on problem solving and didn’t give finger pointing a damn second of airtime.
    In general, today’s talk radio is the equivalent of the knock-the-bottles-over-with-a-baseball game at carnival. You know you your going lose if you try it, but you keep laying your money down anyway.

  3. Nathan Obral
    January 10, 2015 at 4:24 pm

    The notion of James Bond being Scottish was a retcon after Ian Fleming was impressed by Sean Connery’s performance in “Dr. No.” Until he saw the final product, Ian didn’t even want Sean, whom he viewed as an “over-developed stunt man,” playing the secret agent… and Sean didn’t think highly of the “snobbish” Ian Fleming, either.

    So Rush’s statement is not only antiquated and old-fashioned, it is also completely wrong. Is there anyone in his inner circle that bothers to do research, or is it all a bunch of Bo Snerdly head-bobbers?

    • Hans von Balkovsky
      January 13, 2015 at 10:05 pm

      So you believe it ever occurred to Fleming that Bond would be played by a Negro, or whatever it is politically correct to call Africans these days?
      However I myself would now have Bond on Putin’s side and Fleming might not appreciate that either. In fact I was hoping the first act of Scotland after it won independence would be to lease bases to Russia.

  4. AKH
    January 11, 2015 at 7:47 pm

    I found this blog while googling how talk radio has been doing the last few years. I use to listen to talk radio for a few years but stopped in 2006/2007. As one of the “younger people” out there (Gen-Xer, late 30s) this post really hit home as to why I stopped listening almost 10 years ago. Between the out of touch talk, which to me can best be described as a 2 sided, time warp coin the host would flip where one day they sounded like they were stuck in the 1950s and the next like they were stuck in the 1980s. Add to that the same ole, same ole topics. How many times do you really need to hear about about how the NY Times is biased, or evil liberal puppetmaster George Soros, or bitching about what some asshole lib said on MSNBC, or any number of the conservative “golden oldies” that get beaten over and over into the ground on talk radio? It got old and drove me away.

    On the changing demographics:
    I moved to Paulding county Georgia in 2004. The street I lived on was all white, with confederate flags hanging and even a couple of old school, racist lawn jockey statues. The next street over was a new subdivision that was 100% mixed, mostly young families. Black, White, Hispanic, Asian, and every thing in between. And this was in RED state Georgia, 10 years ago. For younger people, we live around and work with all kinds of people even here in the deep south. Add to that where we live virtually. Online we’re used to a world where any kind of idea, opinion, information, people, places, culture, and politics are out there and not so strange. Difference isn’t as scary for us as it may have been for older generations. So when some angry old white guy on the radio is railing against Obama (or the culture), and how he’s not a real or traditional American because of his background, it doesn’t just come off as hyper partisan or possibly racist, it sounds completely detached from reality. And NOT ENTERTAINING.

    On the changing media/technology landscape:
    Not to be a downer but as someone who builds and creates websites, apps, etc for companies and organizations that are run by the 55+ crowd, for TV, radio, newspaper and every other 20th century, dinosaur media it’s over. The people at the top do not understand the new and constantly changing landscape. They’re too set in their ways, too well paid, over leveraged, in to much debt, and based on my experience cannot and will not change (for the most part, there some exceptions). Dinosaur media is the new Titanic running into a demographic and technological iceberg of change, and we are only at the tip of that change. My advice, get out and and make a go on your own. The gatekeepers are DEAD & DYING. We as creators, broadcasters, producers, artists, writers, etc don’t need them. It’s no longer about TV, radio, etc. It’s about content(podcast, blog, film, whatever), connecting with a smaller/niche audience, and then monetizing in any way you can. The delivery device doesn’t matter. Get use to and embrace constant change, cause it ain’t going anywhere anytime soon. Plus, who’s hands do want to keep your career in? Your own or some company billions of dollars in debt and run by people unwilling and unable to change?

    Just my two cents.

    • January 12, 2015 at 2:30 pm

      I’m thinking more like a half dollar’s worth. 🙂 Thank you for your thoughts and input. Darryl

  5. January 12, 2015 at 11:15 pm

    I’m with you on that Darryl. AKH really said a mouthful.

    • January 13, 2015 at 12:48 am

      Dick, That was an entire blog in itself. And there’s nothing wrong with it. It shows the passion that’s out there. I hope you’re doing well. Darryl

      • January 13, 2015 at 1:27 am

        Thank You Darryl, I am. LOVE your blog and the way you programmed WLW. The content you created on-air and then the different and unique content you created online was simply incredible. Art Vuolo turned me on to it. I only wish we had had the chance to meet when we were both working at Clear Channel. I’m glad to have you in my life via your blog. Thank You for all you do in the name of GREAT RADIO.

  6. Hans von Balkovsky
    January 13, 2015 at 10:18 pm

    As usual, Darryl Parks is on the cutting edge of change or wants to be. Here’s where he goes wrong on changing American demographics and fashions.
    He leaves out the part where most of them signal collapse.
    What will talk radio be like after the Collapse?
    Depends on the nation you’re living in, I mean radio probably differs from Kurdistan to Baghdad to Basra, from Damascus to Aleppo, and I hear Tripoli Talk has to dodge the bullets from a myriad of militias.
    I mean Sarajevo radio is nothing like it was in Yugoslavia. And darn it, somebody should do a comparative
    paper on Kiev radio, March 2014 and Kiev radio now.

    • January 13, 2015 at 10:35 pm

      Cue the jingle. “He hates blacks. He hates Jews. He come some more of his Aryan views. It’s Ken!”

  7. Hans von Balkovsky
    January 14, 2015 at 5:52 pm

    Parks wants talk radio to appeal to people like frequent commentor and charter fan club member “Nathan Sobral.”

    Nathan Obral
    January 10, 2015 at 4:24 pm
    The notion of James Bond being Scottish was a retcon after Ian Fleming was impressed by Sean Connery’s performance in “Dr. No.” Until he saw the final product, Ian didn’t even want Sean, whom he viewed as an “over-developed stunt man,” playing the secret agent… and Sean didn’t think highly of the “snobbish” Ian Fleming, either.

    So Rush’s statement is not only antiquated and old-fashioned, it is also completely wrong. Is there anyone in his inner circle that bothers to do research, or is it all a bunch of Bo Snerdly head-bobbers?

    Note, Obral believes since Fleming had a problem with Connery, he would have preferred

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