Talk radio's advertising problem

Still, the 2012 social-media campaigns on talk-radio gave advertisers the jitters, according to syndicators and media buyers. The brands, according to one radio executive, don’t want to risk being “Twitter-bombed.”

Radio stations “now have to consider what the fallout will be before taking” on talk shows, said one veteran media buyer.

Local and direct-response advertisers, such as flower-delivery and financial services, continue to advertise on conservative talk shows. But overall demand has tanked among national advertisers for anything else that could air on the same stations, putting some syndicators and stations in a bind on their programming.

As a result, syndicators are now focused on creating more sports and entertainment news programming that can air on music-oriented stations. Cumulus Media Inc., for example, has invested heavily in its country music brand, Nash, creating a country-music-themed morning talk show and a Nash News feed. Cumulus declined to comment.