Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: May 18, 2006 8:11 AM

Dick Bell of Democracy Cell Project, formerly the blogmaster for the Kerry campaign, got a little spooked after hearing my boss Chuck DeFeo talk about the Salem/Townhall merger and our new goals during a panel at the Personal Democracy Forum.

You can listen to the podcast, here, or you can read it below, because it was just so good I had to transcribe it (emphasis mine):

Q: We've had an hour of presentations at PDF. What were the take-aways from the hour?

Bell: "Well, the most alarming thing that I heard was that the right wing has got a nice scheme now to hook up Townhall with all of the major right-wing radio hosts. And, they are going to be using the radio to drive users to Townhall and vise-versa which will significantly I think increase the ability of the radio hosts to get people to do things as opposed to just talk back and forth on the air."

Q: What kinds of things will they be able to do?

Bell: "They will be much more getting people to think about activities. They'll be using the Townhall as a place off-the-air, sort of off the clock as it were, to tell people things that they can do whether it's registering to vote or contributing money to different causes, making the proverbial phone calls or e-mails to Senators or representatives, and so on."

Q: So, this is similar to the action center we had at the Kerry campaign?

Bell: "Right, well one of the points that he made is that while most of the mSM are losing either readers or listenership, that talk radio has pretty much held its own.

There was a little drop after the election, but it's come back. It's completely different than TV or newspapers. So, the talk radio hosts are very powerful motivators, and if they have a target, a place to drive people to, that's a central sort of organizing site and recruiting site, that really changes the dynamic in terms of the impact of the radio hosts.

They're not just providing information anymore or opinion , is really what they're doing, but they will be acting as recruiters for the millions of people listening every day."

"This is done radio host by radio host. This company represents a number of the major radio hosts so it's a kind of in-house operation where they've got control of all the features that they need ."

Q: What about on the Democratic side, are we hearing any new initiatives?

Bell: "Uh, I didn't hear anything in this particular group, but there wasn't anybody on this panel of five who really would have represented that point of view."

Well done. He's so on-message. We should get him to do more media for us. You can hear Chuck talk a bit about our new plans, here a few minutes into the podcast.