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Tomorrow at RIC – What’s the political influence of talk radio in RI?

October 16, 2012

Yours truly will be part of a panel discussion at Rhode Island College tomorrow (11 am, Room 110, Alger Hall) examining the local political impact of talk radio.

The chat, sponsored by RIC’s American Democracy Project, is entitled, “Does talk radio still rule?” The lineup for the panel includes reporter Ted Nesi, WPRO evening host Matt Allen, Josh Fenton from GoLocal, and Tim Staskiewicz from CBS Radio Boston. The moderator is Gene Valicenti from WJAR-TV.

Count me skeptical on the question of whether talk radio has decided any political elections in Rhode Island.

Even former Governor Don Carcieri, who leaned heavily on what he viewed as as a more direct way of communicating with constitutents, was doubtful, as he told me in 2003.

“You’ve got to make the assumption that the person listening to talk radio then gets all kind of excited about it — he’s going to pick up the phone and call that rep or senator. The reality is, not a lot of people do that,” the governor says.

“That’s why what happens up here [at the State House] needs four walls in terms of the intensity of the lobbying, because these are people who stay here and don’t leave. They don’t leave until the lights are out, and that’s what they do. No matter what you do, in terms of trying to get people to call, it’s very difficult to compensate for the physical presence of people who are camped out here.”

At any rate, we should have a lively discussion.

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