And nothing makes perception management--the au courant national security euphemism for good old-fashioned "propaganda"--easier than the relentless media consolidation that spawned Rogers' new employer.
Founded in 1997, the creation of Cumulus Media Inc. was a direct response to theTelecommunications Act of 1996 and its radical relaxation of media ownership rules. CumulusCEO Lewis Dickey, Jr. quickly took advantage of the new rules (or lack thereof) to assemble a radio titan second only to the infamously ubiquitous media giant known as Clear Channel. Thanks to the efforts of the Clinton Administration and a majority of Congress, a company like Cumuluscould quickly rise from non-existence to near-domination, reaching listeners in 89 media marketsin less than 20 years.
When Cumulus bought Susquehanna Radio for $1.2 billion in 2006, it did so with backing from heavyweights like Bain Capital Partners LLC and The Blackstone Group. The deal signaled Dickey's status as a major, well-connected player in broadcast media and, by extension, in the media's bread and butter--partisan politics. Indeed, Cumulus radio specializes in a type of partisan blather and cacophonous fear-mongering that sounds more like "Afraidio" than it does radio.
Among its loudest mouths are Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage (who recently replaced adisgruntled Sean Hannity) and Mark Levin--the very first winner of CPAC's "Andrew Breitbart Defender of the First Amendment" award. When it comes to reflexive support for the national security state, fits of Islamophobia and "We're Number One" jingoism, Cumulus has tri-cornered the market.
Cumulus has also positioned itself as a premier distributor of red meat to the hungry masses during the increasingly lucrative election cycles that make America's post-Telecom Act media a self-interested partner in political partisanship. It's a perfect system. Listening to their Afraidio stokes the partisan hunger of its listeners and, on its webpage for the last election, it touts advertising on its massive network as a cost-effective way to "Win more than your fair share of hearts, minds, and votes" by distributing red meat directly to an audience whose hunger is stoked by their hosts in-between the commercial breaks.
And now Cumulus is giving the Spook State's favorite mouthpiece a chance to spread the dread to its inflamed audience. As CEO Lew Dickey said, "We are thrilled to have Chairman Rogers join our team. He has been instrumental in helping to shape many of the most important issues and events of our time and will play a significant role in our expanding content platform."
It's also a perfect platform for DJ Mike to spin tales of shadowy plots, sing the praises of the NSA and, if he is so inclined, to beat his own drum in anticipation of a possible Presidential run. But that may just be Mike dreaming an impossible dream.
The reality is that the Spook State now has a well-practiced mockingbird with access to millions of willing ears. As the soon-to-be former Representative said of his new mega-microphone, "It gives me a chance to talk to people in their cars, in their living rooms, in their kitchens about these issues--about American exceptionalism, about national security."
And, Lord knows, America needs more of that on the airwaves.