Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Report: Rush Limbaugh Could Be In For A Troubled Summer

Rush Limbaugh, who boasts some 600 affiliates on his self-styled “Excellence in Broadcasting [EIB] Network,” and an estimated 13 million listeners per week, is easily the most-listened to talk radio program in the country.

And yet, there are signs that all is not well in the Limbaugh radio empire. Because even as his influence is sky high and his dominance at the top of talk radio remains unchallenged, as a business proposition, Limbaugh’s show is on shaky ground, writes Ethan Epstein in Politico.

In recent years, Limbaugh has been dropped by several of his long-time affiliates, including some very powerful ones: He’s gone from WABC in New York, WRKO in Boston and KFI in Los Angeles, for example, and has in many cases been moved onto smaller stations with much weaker signals that cover smaller areas.

Sandra Fluke
Why? Because four years after Limbaugh called Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke a “slut” on air, spurring a major boycott movement, reams of advertisers still won’t touch him, according to Politico. He suffers from what talk radio consultant Holland Cooke calls a “scarlet letter among national brand advertisers.” And for someone who has said that “confiscatory ad rates” are a key pillar of his business, that spells trouble.

Limbaugh’s extremely lucrative eight-year contract—estimated to be worth roughly $38 million a year—is up this summer. What will happen to “America’s Anchorman,” as Limbaugh quasi-ironically refers to himself, once the contract is up, is anybody’s guess. Because as he is learning, political power does not necessarily a stellar business make.

Limbaugh’s show has been a harder sell since 2012—even if he does still impishly refer to commercial time-outs as “obscene profit timeouts.” If you had to pinpoint a moment when Limbaugh’s business model began to turn, you’d have to look to the Sandra Fluke incident, when he referred to the Georgetown law student who spoke in front of Congress in favor of the Obamacare contraception mandate as a “slut” and a “prostitute.” It was a self-inflicted error that Limbaugh has never recovered from.

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1 comment:

  1. Make no mistake, it is not the advertisers themselves that are contributing to the "scarlet letter" for not only Rush but the entire News/Talk format, but the ad agencies that are mainly all controlled by left wing women who are also afraid of their clients being named on Media Matter's Rush affiliate list (which nobody reads.) Many of the clients themselves don't even realize that their agency is performing a dis-service by keeping their spots away from this loyal audience. It's only a matter of time before the right comes up with a counter group who publicizes businesses that will not do business with News/Talk radio. The News/Talk audience is a very loyal one that will respond to such, if the ad agencies don't back off this stance. Westwood One and Premiere have also contributed to the issue by making it too easy for the agencies to buy around these shows by creating ad networks that keep their clients off said stations without them even having to request it.