April 25, 2017

Can Bill O'Reilly succeed as a podcaster?

Here, you can listen to his first episode. Key word: Listen. How much of Bill O'Reilly's performance came though the face and the hand gestures? And it wasn't just him, it was all the glitter and noise surrounding him — the crazy moving shapes and words and flashing lights that the opening sequence of "The Colbert Report" had such hilarious fun with.

In the podcast, all we have is the voice. The banging, bonging Fox News music is stripped away. It's just one man's voice, all alone. And it's a TV-trained voice. Whatever it is that works on television, O'Reilly had it. His TV show was phenomenally successful, and his voice was important, but there were many other elements in play as we listened to that voice.

Now, you are invited to take O'Reilly's voice straight — just the talking. I found it fascinating to experience O'Reilly as just a voice. It makes you wonder where the magic was, but you can easily tell that it was not in the voice alone. The voice is familiar but you notice how different it sounds from a professional radio voice. The pronunciation isn't crisp. There's a downbeat quality. O'Reilly may have special reason to be sad right now, but a depressive voice doesn't draw you in and energize you.

Naturally, I compare him to Rush Limbaugh, who developed his style on the radio and figured out what works when you are only a voice. There's so much energy and forward drive in Rush's monologues. You get the feeling that it's fun and funny and you're drawn in and propelled along. It's very different. It's radio. (And that's all podcasting is: Radio.) And Rush doesn't rely only on his fabulous radio voice. Exciting music begins each segment, and he has a line-up of well-chosen and edited audio clips to play to change the pace and give him something to bounce off of.

Has O'Reilly even thought about what it takes to be a radio commentator? Well, the answer must be yes, because he did have a radio spin-off of his TV show for a little while. He was on a thing called "The Radio Factor" from 2002 to 2008. I don't think it did very well, and that was with the assistance of Fox News.

45 comments:

tim in vermont said...

Rush is easily a standard deviation smarter than O'Reilly, Harvard vs autodidact or no.

Laslo Spatula said...

"Now, you are invited to take O'Reilly's voice straight — just the talking."

What is doubly weird is that, when O'Reilly WAS on TV, I only watched with the sound off.

Just waiting for the commentator babes.

I am Laslo.

Carol said...

I used to listen to O'Reilly's radio show, when Rush was off on some boring inside-baseball rant. But O really came off as a smug prick. Rush is genuinely funny, even if it's sort of a "hahaha oh Rush you asshole" kind of funny.

David Begley said...

Question: Can he do a live video cast? Facebook Live?

dreams said...

I think O'Reilly is in the going, gone and forgotten phase of his life. I was never a fan though I mostly agree with his views.

Christopher said...

Wiki says O'Reilly was on radio for seven years, ending in 2009. (Could have been on before as well, I'm not sure)

traditionalguy said...

Next man up time. Hannity has great Radio voice which makes it harder for Murdoch's kids to disappear him like hey did to Ailes and OReilly. Vegas odds are 7 to 1 that Hannity is the next targeted Nationalist type to have trouble with
Women Brit Tabloid style.

mezzrow said...

It makes you wonder where the magic was

“Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!”

antiphone said...

There's no such thing as bad publicity!

Michael K said...

Hannity has a pretty good radio show and the attack on Hannity seems to have flopped. I wonder when they will produce another fake sex victim ?

I was no fan of O'Reilly and not much of Hannity but they were the only semi-conservative voice on TV. Talk radio has been conservative since the "Fairness Doctrine" was ended.

mezzrow said...

RE: Laslo

So true. Some might say that they can't handle the truth.

antiphone said...

on second thought

traditionalguy said...

OReilly was shit canned first and the offended women found later as a cover.

Bill was our American opinion
Leader. Being pro American
Was his sin. We must be told what to
Think by 1% of the 1 % or European
Opinion
Now. I expect to see Obama get a show next.

EDH said...

As with his books and movie productions, O'Reilly likes to think he always has his eye on the next thing.

I suspect this podcast is a placeholder for the time being while he regroups.

I'd expect him to roll-out something more like his TV show on a new platform in the near future.

Clark said...

I tuned into The Radio Factor a time or two. 'Downbeat' captures the tone perfectly. It was not quite morose, but far from energetic.

David Begley said...

Solution! Althouse and O'Reilly on Bloggingheads.

Laslo Spatula said...

After some time, I think O'Reilly's popularity grew bigger simply from him being popular.

He was on Top, so he became the One To Watch, attracting yet more viewers: success breeds success, bandwagon, etc. Shared opinions with a Winner made these viewers winners, too.

Now he has taken a giant step down, which carries the Whiff of Loser.

Many of those viewers who watched because he was a Winner are not going to accompany him down and Identify with a Loser.

The podcast idea is going to turn embarrassing for him, like a band that once headlined stadiums now playing to half-filled small venues.

From Spinal Tap:

Ian Faith: The Boston gig has been cancelled...

David St. Hubbins: What?

Ian Faith: Yeah. I wouldn't worry about it though, it's not a big college town.

I am Laslo.

AReasonableMan said...

Trump Uses 9/11 As A Ratings Benchmark To Proclaim His Own Greatness

"TRUMP: It had 9.2 million people. It’s the highest they’ve ever had. On any, on air, (CBS “Face the Nation” host John) Dickerson had 5.2 million people. It’s the highest for “Face the Nation” or as I call it, “Deface the Nation.” It’s the highest for “Deface the Nation” since the World Trade Center. Since the World Trade Center came down. It’s a tremendous advantage."

exiledonmainstreet said...

"I was no fan of O'Reilly and not much of Hannity but they were the only semi-conservative voice on TV."

There is Tucker Carlson, who I like much more than either O'Reilly or Hannity. It's a bit of a wonder that a preppy guy who used to wear bow ties has somehow transformed himself into a pit bull. I have no idea why leftist idiots keep going on his show and making fools of themselves. I can only imagine that their egos tell them they've "destroyed" him.

richlb said...

O'Reilly relied heavily on those on-screen graphic punches, so much so that Colbert basically built his whole Colbert Report personna around it.

Sebastian said...

"Solution! Althouse and O'Reilly on Bloggingheads." That I'd pay to see. Ann Slice 'n Dice Althouse vs. Bill Buffoon Bluster O'Reilly. Of course, Althouse might need a shot of testosterone to get a word in, but if she does, watch out!

Hagar said...

I do not agree with O'Reilly about very much, if anything, but he had interesting guests at least part of the time, and he had the ego and showmanship talent to carry it off.
So did Megyn Kelly, though she got a little too strident for me.

Fox News "after 6" is in trouble with no successors with that size ego to replace them with.

Matthew Sablan said...

A lot of people with worse scandals than O'Reilly went on to live a good life, so he can probably recover and succeed.

Matthew Sablan said...

"I have no idea why leftist idiots keep going on his show and making fools of themselves."

-- Because the echo chamber on the left ensures them they "destroyed" Tucker, and they believe it.

jaydub said...

"Trump Uses 9/11 As A Ratings Benchmark To Proclaim His Own Greatness"

The standard ARM subject shift begins because Scooter just has to make it about himself, not the subject at hand. On the first of the Hillary book posts the other day, he changed the subject to GWB and before the thread was over, he had led everyone down a Bush rathole. Don't take the bait - stay on subject and let him talk to himself or Skippy.

AReasonableMan said...

aydub said...
down a Bush rathole.


I agree, no one wants to go there. Still, better than some of the alternatives. Where's Lazlo?

Hagar said...

And O'Reilly fundamentally is a Democrat; he just is not their kind of Democrat.

Michael K said...

There is Tucker Carlson, who I like much more than either O'Reilly or Hannity.

I agree and think the trade of Megyn for Tucker was a plus for Fox but I'm not sure he can carry the thing as long as O'Reilly did.

We'll see. I do watch him a few times. "Day of the Jackal" was on last night and trumped, so to speak, all the Fox stuff.

Nonapod said...

Carol said...Rush is genuinely funny, even if it's sort of a "hahaha oh Rush you asshole" kind of funny.

Yeah, with O'Reilly generally I was left with the impression of a guy who was incapable of laughing at himself, which is the key ingredient to having a good sense of humor. I don't feel that way with Rush for whatever reason.

William said...

Walter Winchell was a huge star on radio, but he was never much of a success on television. Another gossip columnist Ed Sullivan became the big star. File this under the nobody knows nothing tag. Ed Sullivan looked awkward and stiff, but he had the top rated show for years.

William said...

I watched O'Reilly with some regularity. It's true that he was bombastic, but that was a kind of sincerity. You got the idea that he was speaking his mind, which was fertile with irritations and pomposities hat were there for all to see....... I think the big attraction was that he solicited the opinions and discussed the issues with attractive blonde women. There was a substrata of flirtatiousness when he did this. It made for effortless viewing. I've seen some of these blondes on other shows. They were much more attractive on O'Reilly's show. He brought out their appealing qualities.

rehajm said...

What is the metric of success for a podcaster? After I have a podcast you can pretty much set the bar wherever you like.

exiledonmainstreet said...

"Day of the Jackal" was on last night and trumped, so to speak, all the Fox stuff."

Great thriller. I remember staying up late in college to finish reading the novel. It’s a marvel because you know at the outset that DeGaulle wasn’t assassinated and so the hit man will be unsuccessful, but you get drawn into the suspense anyway.

Jeff Gee said...

Rush had a short-lived TV show in the early 90s and couldn’t make it work. (It was on late and my dad taped the shows to watch the next day. His hearing (my dad’s that is) was going, and he didn’t enjoy listening to the radio). Rush’s timing was thrown off by the live audience roaring its approval, and he paused too long (or not long enough) during the graphics. He was uneasy using the teleprompter and just wasn’t fun to watch. (I got the impression the monitor was an issue, too) Even tho there’s got be a lot of overlap between the skills you need to do a talk show on radio and on television, he was way, way, way outside his comfort zone.

Nonapod said...

On a related note, Podcasts have spoiled me in the same way Netflix and Amazon Prime Video has. The mild tolerance that I once had for the constant commercial interruptions of terrestrial radio and TV has completely vanished. I wish Rush just did a straight podcast. Yeah, I know you can get the show in Podcast form after its broadcast, but the problem I have with that is that when he gets on a good rant and he has to interrupt it for a commercial break, I feel it breaks the flow. I'm also fully aware that there's no way Rush could ever just do a podcast since a fairly large portion of his listener base:

1) May not even know what a "podcast" is

2) May not have a decent internet connection and/or a device to listen to it on, or at least one located in a convenient location to do so.

3) May not have the impetus to actually go out of their way to find and download a podcast on any kind of regular basis.

Brando said...

I figured he'd do some online video based show, subscription only, free from demands of advertisers or the FCC. And if the Murdoch's are really cleaning house at Fox, he could poach some of the castoffs.

Though I don't know what his fan base is--if they skew old, they might not regularly tune in online.

Rich B said...

Rush is first and foremost a radio guy, even before politics. He knows how to connect with the audience and he has a lot of fun with it (e.g., addadicktomy).

I thought Rush's TV show was great. It was so good that Jon Stewart copied it.

Ann Althouse said...

@ARM

I highlighted and criticized that in yesterday's post about the interview.

Ann Althouse said...

"Rush had a short-lived TV show in the early 90s and couldn’t make it work. (It was on late and my dad taped the shows to watch the next day. His hearing (my dad’s that is) was going, and he didn’t enjoy listening to the radio). Rush’s timing was thrown off by the live audience roaring its approval, and he paused too long (or not long enough) during the graphics. He was uneasy using the teleprompter and just wasn’t fun to watch. (I got the impression the monitor was an issue, too) Even tho there’s got be a lot of overlap between the skills you need to do a talk show on radio and on television, he was way, way, way outside his comfort zone."

Yes, hee was horrible with an audience.

He might be able o do tv if there were no audience. You can watch the "dittocam" feed of the radio show if you subscribe.

But what you see there is the physical effort of producing the voice with all the energy and drive needed for radio.

Ann Althouse said...

"I thought Rush's TV show was great. It was so good that Jon Stewart copied it."

I loathe the sound of a braying audience.

damikesc said...

Does anybody have a podcast that's profitable or relevant?

David Baker said...


The O'Reilly therapy group will not be listening to the so-called "O'Reilly podcast," Thank You. Why? Because we believe it's a complete and total fake. The real Bill O'Reilly would never participate in such an act of Larry-King-ish desperation.

Note: Tonight's therapy session will be held at the Hardee's on Route-6 starting at 8pm. BYOB.

Toto said...

I used to listen to his syndicated radio show. Enjoyed it immensely and was sad when he signed off (willingly). I think podcasting will be a perfect fit for his talents.

Leigh said...

@damikesc -- there are so many good podcasts. The Federalist Society Practice Group and the CATO daily podcasts are both good. You can also listen to a summary of Morning Joe shortly after it airs, if that's your cup of tea. And every Sunday, you can listen to Meet the Press, Face the Nation, and This Week w/Stephanopoulos (Fox News Sunday is always delayed a few days). Planet Money is almost always interesting. So is Ricochet's podcast and Freakonomics. Hugh Hewitt's radio show is also on podcast. All of these are free on the Stitcher app.

@Althouse -- can we find you on bloggingheads via podcast?

Tucker's ratings (though obviously it's too soon to tell after only one night) were just shy of O'Reilly's ratings on his "final penultimate" broadcast -- presumably they meant his last one; I haven't seen him on-air since then. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/tv-ratings-tucker-carlson-tops-first-night-at-8-oclock-997188

walter said...

I'm a bit surprised he went to podcasts so quickly.