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Where The Oprah Went Wrong

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Now, Snerdley said something. We talked about Oprah a couple of weeks ago.  I raised the question, "How can Oprah have been so popular on TV and have her network not do well?" There are two answers for this.  Some of this may be a little inside baseball, inside broadcasting baseball. But when it comes to radio and television, people watch shows, not networks.  That's number one.  People watch shows. Be they ensemble shows, entertainment shows, dramas, or be they talk shows.  They watch or listen to shows. It doesn't matter what network it's on.  So when Oprah leaves her syndicated network and forms her own network called OWN but isn't on it, and in it in her place is Rosie O'Donnell talking about whatever's fascinating to her at seven o'clock at night?

Sorry, you got a big problem. 

I'm gonna tell you when Oprah really blew it, and this is pure broadcast opinion.  This is broadcast professional opinion.  Oprah Winfrey, if you check Oprah's numbers... Why did Oprah give up that syndicated show?  She gave it up because the numbers were declining and it's the old thing: You want to get out on your terms. You don't want to be Willie Mays dropping fly balls in short-center field a year or two beyond when you should be playing. So she made a wise choice; she got out before the bottom fell out. But why did she start getting out?  It's very simple, folks.  The minute Oprah endorsed Obama is when it ended for Oprah.

Because up until that time, Oprah did not have a racial identity about her.  Oprah was whatever her audience wanted her to be.  She was for women; she was concerned with women; she was a supporter or a calm shoulder for whatever.  But when she endorsed Obama, well, then she's political. It's like why Michael Jordan doesn't say anything political.  He's a big Democrat, but he's not gonna run around and get involved in politics for two reasons.  A, the good press coverage will stop; and, B, Republicans will stop buying Nikes. And he can't afford that.  He wants Republicans to buy tennis shoes too. Well, Oprah violated that. When she endorsed Obama, then that gave her an entirely different identity that she didn't have.  

That's when a sizable percentage of the audience just said, "Okay, Oprah, I'm gone." 

She eventually said that political matters and racial matters mattered more to her than the stuff they thought mattered most to her, meaning her audience.

END TRANSCRIPT

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