The Local Resurgence of Conservative Talk Radio

by Shea Lincoln

While Fox News may be suffering from a ratings slump because of the election, that’s not the case for longtime conservative outlet KFYI. Leading up to the election, it enjoyed a ratings surge as did most conservative media. But unlike Fox News, that surge continued past Election Day. After years of being outside the top 10 in terms of local ratings, KFYI started to surge over the summer passing centrist rival KTAR and left of center KJZZ.

KFYI has been right of center for decades and its current lineup includes Limbaugh and Hannity along with conservative local hosts.

In November, KFYI was at the top of the ratings, something that hasn’t happened for at least ten years. Keep in mind, most of that ratings period happened after the election. KFYI slipped to number three in December but it still dominates among news/talk stations.

Unlike Fox News, KFYI stayed on the Trump train while some elements of Fox moved on.

KFYI has become safe space and a sounding board for questionable theories about stolen elections. Pro Trump stalwarts such as Andy Biggs and Paul Gosar are frequent guests. Governor Ducey is persona non grata for taking a more moderate, and dare we say more sensible, stance.

While ignoring the upturn in ratings, the Republic’s Bill Goodykoontz recently did some finger-wagging regarding KFYI’s conspiracy fueled content. Here is a link to the article. While he makes some good points about the need for unity and accuracy, there are also some glaring omissions. KFYI’s Spartan news operation is decidedly down the middle, and fact based. Goodykoontz also ignores his own backyard and Republic columnists such as Ed Montini and Ed’s deep dives into divisiveness and embrace of anti-Trump conspiracies.

Conservatism may be out of fashion for now, but it can still generate ratings. And as social media options dwindle for the hard right, KFYI may become the only game in town.