Next to Rachel Maddow's "Ultra" podcast series, the best audio content published in the past year was "On The Media's" "The Divided Dial" miniseries, which examines how American talk radio has come to be dominated by extreme right-wing personalities promoting incendiary conspiracy theories, often infused with religious undertones. Sometimes overtones.
Or as "OTM'" host Brooke Gladstone describes it, "our five-part series about the power of talk radio and of one company in particular -- Salem Media -- a little known but highly influential network whose hosts trade in right-wing conspiracies and election denial."
The series is excellent and worth subscribing to -- along with the rest of "OTM" -- if you want to understand the history and the contemporary role Salem has been playing in helping to promote extremist conspiracies that gives new meaning to McLuhan's description of radio as a "hot" medium.
Founded in 1974, to promote religious and conservative values, Salem is now one of the largest radio broadcasters in America, and importantly, is a commercial one that generates hundreds of millions of dollars each year from advertising.
While much of that revenue is still generated from direct selling to advertisers and agencies who either want to support Salem's mission, or some who don't really understand it, I recommend you listen to the "OTM" series to get the full picture, even if it's just an audio one -- and at least be aware of where your ad dollars are going.
On the digital sales front, however, you may not actually know explicitly if you're making audio buys via Triton Digital, which this week announced it has extended its relationship with Salem, including programmatic sales.
"Salem Media Group depends on Triton Digital’s streaming and podcast solutions to power its digital audio strategy and maximize advertising revenue," the companies boast in the announcement, adding that Triton's programmatic supply-side and demand-side platforms are integral to selling its audience inventory to advertisers.
“We are proud to provide the technology solutions that enable Salem Media Group to improve the overall listening experience while maximizing inventory monetization and revenue,” Triton Digital President-CEO John Rosso stated, adding, "The fact that Salem Media Group has been a customer for over a decade is testament."
If you want to support the kind of content Salem is promoting, all the more power to you. It's a free country and the ad industry is a free marketplace.
I'm just suggesting it would be good if you understood what the "little known, but highly influential network" is actually putting out on the airwaves and streaming to an increasingly divided American audience.