Truth Shock: How Alex Jones and GCN Have Revitalized the Talk Radio Industry
Friday, April 15th, 2011
By Rachael Woodhouse
The growth of the Genesis Communications Network has been intricately linked with the success of The Alex Jones Show. Once considered fringe, now a major media star, Jones has been asked to deliver the Keynote at this year’s TALKERS convention.
In a sense, Genesis Communications is “the little engine that could.” While most self-made entrepreneurs would have been satisfied with having established one successful business, Midas Resources CEO Ted Anderson had another dream. His second brainchild, GCN, was established in 1997.
Alex Jones began his broadcasting career in Austin, Texas, with a live, call-in format cable access television program. In 1996, he hosted a show dubbed The Final Edition on KJFK, in addition to his national program. In its infancy, the Genesis Communications Network produced The Alex Jones Show for syndication.
Today, The Alex Jones Show is carried on over 70 AM and FM radio stations across the United States, Shortwave, and XM Radio. As many listeners as that is, Jones’ internet presence is even larger.
Alexander Zaitchik wrote in Rolling Stone: “Jones draws a bigger audience online than Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck combined — and his conspiracy-laced rants make the two hosts sound like tea-sipping NPR hosts on Zoloft.”
Affiliates of The Alex Jones Show testify regularly to the ratings surge they experience from carrying the program. Any fears any Program Director ever has about audience reaction dissipate quickly, time after time, when they see how much people take to Alex.
Carl Como, Co-Owner of WEUS in Orlando, Florida, writes: “As you know, we first started airing Alex Jones live on Sunday for the two-hour show and because of the response, the Big 810 is now airing Monday through Friday from 9:00 p.m. to Midnight.
“Alex brings talent with passion to the broadcast day, he is unique and compelling with a very diverse audience profile. I’d say he is a ‘one-of-a-kind’ talent that would be a benefit to any station for most any daypart.”
Como says his station receives email constantly thanking him for carrying The Alex Jones Show. As one listener wrote, “I would take Jones over Boortz and Beck any day.”
Michael Zwerling, Owner of KSCO in Santa Cruz, California, writes: “Putting Alex Jones on KSCO was the best business decision I’ve made since putting Rush Limbaugh on the station when I bought it back in 1991. Listeners have actually sent the station money as appreciation for carrying The Alex Jones Show — unprecedented in my twenty year ownership of the station! Our audience size and demographics have skyrocketed, (probably doubled or more) in the eighteen months since we’ve carried The Alex Jones Show.”
Jones’s growth on XM has mimicked the way he’s grown on terrestrial radio: what starts out as a trial run turns into a franchise. At first, XM ran The Alex Jones Show on XM 165 on Saturdays only, running Friday’s show on time delay. Due to positive response, they then moved the show to weeknights on XM 158 from 8:00 – 9:00 p.m. Jones’ audience continued to grow; so on January 24th, 2011, XM moved the show to a live timeslot Monday – Friday.
After a decade of consistent growth, the whole industry is finally taking notice. For the first time, Alex Jones made the cut for the TALKERS “Heavy Hundred” list for 2011 at #98. It’s a big jump up from 2010, when Alex was named in TALKERS’ “Frontier 50″, a list reserved for up-and-coming talk media webcasters.
So what is the recipe that has fueled such strong growth and wild listener response?
Part of it is that in the decade since 9/11, Americans are no longer satisfied with spoon-fed propaganda masquerading as soft news. Alex Jones presents the unvarnished truth and isn’t afraid to criticize abuses of power, whether they occur in the public or private sector.
He’s right on the pulse of the American people. There is a growing demand for truly independent programming that uncovers the truth about the dirty deals that go on behind the closed doors of the elite.
Finally, Alex Jones is just plain good. His delivery is impeccable, striking the perfect balance between playing it straight and going into one of his inimitable rants. He has a voice that is instantly memorable, a rapier wit, and a feature seldom mentioned: a great sense of humor.
Alex Jones is one of those rare talents who shatter existing paradigms. In the 1980s, it was Rush Limbaugh who revitalized talk radio and inspired a legion of followers and imitators. But in the process, a left/right divide was created in the industry. The power of Alex Jones’ message lies in the fact that he isn’t a right-wing radio host. He represents something totally new in the world of radio. The Alex Jones Show has the potential to do for talk radio what Michael Jackson’s Thriller album did for the music industry: reveal what is possible, and set the bar higher.
On any given day, the phone lines start ringing an hour in advance in the GCN studio. Alex Jones has global listeners, from Singapore to South Africa to the South Pole. Every day, his live audience numbers from 300 thousand to 350 thousand, with his replays nearly as high. His downloads, podcasts, and archives push his daily numbers into the millions.
But the real marvel of his success is how mellifluously Jones has become a multi-media mogul. His official YouTube channel has received, to date, over 121 million views. His websites, Infowars.com and PrisonPlanet.com, are ranked at Nos. 545 and 1,151 for U.S. web traffic according to Alexa.com (*as of 4/14/11), outranking Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and Sean Hannity.
Alex Jones has not only inspired his listeners, but by his mere presence, encouraged others who break the left/right paradigm to try their hand at talk radio. Many of these hosts reside at Genesis. The GCN Radio Network is committed to giving airtime to the new school of talk radio hosts, independent journalists, and vigilant bloggers who are determined to uncover the truth and reveal it to the American people.
Alex Jones is the diamond that has been hidden in the rough. His show delivers cumulative results to any radio station that dare step outside of the box.
Why? It’s very simple. The truth sells.