Friday, September 01, 2006

How Arrogant And Stupid Is The Murtha Campaign?

"Who's running this campaign?" -- Jim Quinn, September 1, 2006

If you live in southwestern Pennsylvania, you know that some of the best media coverage of the 12th district campaign can be heard on the Quinn and Rose morning show. (For those outside of the area, the show is syndicated on several Clear Channel stations in Pennsylvania and Ohio, and is also available to XM radio subscribers on channel 185.) Co-host Rose Tennant has known Diana Irey for years, and Jim Quinn is a strong supporter as well.

Some weeks back, Quinn reported on the air, John Murtha's people were considering buying advertising time on the flagship station, WPGB. They began having second thoughts after learning that Quinn regularly criticizes Murtha on the air. "Clueless" isn't the word. Quinn has been hated by Pittsburgh-area left since he turned from disc jockey to talk show host in 1993. He has been syndicated in places like Murtha's Johnstown for almost three years now. And yet, Murtha operatives are just learning who Quinn is and what he stands for.

Well, the campaign has made its decision. As Quinn told us this morning, the Murtha camp will not be purchasing any advertising time on any of Clear Channel's six Pittsburgh area stations because of the morning hosts' opposition to Murtha and what he has come to stand for. WPGB is the only one of the six stations that focuses on political talk. The other stations' formats include sports, classic rock, oldies, adult contemporary, and alternative rock. Plenty of potential Murtha supporters could be reached by advertising on those stations. But no -- the Murtha campaign has to have a hissy fit about one host who broadcasts for three hours in the morning, five days a week. They are taking their ball and going to play in another neighborhood.

How does Quinn feel? He's flattered. Quinn's network covers a significant portion of Murtha's district. The Dems could buy air time and run Murtha ads to (as Quinn put it) "get in your face". Instead, they are "punishing" the network by withholding their advertising dollars. Radio, Quinn pointed out, is a business. Revenue comes from advertising money, and a radio host does not go out of his way to lose money for his employer.

By the same token, Quinn's show is political in nature, and he can't change his tone. He makes money for his employer by expressing his opinions on the air. People tune in and support the show's sponsors because of Quinn. The network will not suffer one bit from the absence of Murtha ads and the income that they would bring in.

How about advertising for free? Quinn would welcome Murtha on as a guest. The campaign wouldn't have to pay a cent. (Don't hold your breath waiting for Murtha to accept that offer.)

So Murtha -- or, more likely, the people running his campaign -- feels threatened by an old disc jockey who gets up for work while most of us will still be sound asleep for hours. This, as Quinn said, is good news for Diana Irey. It is an example of "shooting oneself in the foot".

John Murtha has been without serious opposition for so long that he has forgotten how to reach voters. If he doesn't want to go out of his way to reach potential supporters, why vote for him?