Monday, November 30, 2015

Rush Limbaugh's world is imploding

Rush Limbaugh's radio colossus is imploding, and the liberal boycott over his 2012 remark calling activist Sandra Fluke a "slut" is the biggest reason why.

Rush Limbaugh's world is imploding

Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds, File)
Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds, File)

It's no fluke, but maybe the end of an error in American media:

The Rush Limbaugh Program is considering ending its affiliation agreement with Cumulus Media at the end of this year, a move that would bring about one of the biggest shakeups in talk radio history, a source close to the show tells POLITICO.

Should the move take place, 40 Cumulus-owned radio stations would lose the rights to the most popular talk radio program in the country. In addition, the show might be picked up by competing regional radio stations in Washington, New York, Chicago, Dallas and other major markets.

According to the source, Limbaugh is considering the move because Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey has blamed the company's advertising losses on Limbaugh's controversial remarks about Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown law student. In Feb. 2012, Limbaugh referred to Fluke as "a slut" because she had called on congress to mandate insurance coverage of birth control. The subsequent controversy over those remarks resulted in a significant advertising boycott.

The true extent of Limbaugh's effect on Cumulus's advertising revenue is not known. In an August 2012 earnings call, Dickey said Cumulus's top three stations had lost $5.5 million, in part because of the boycott.

Indeed, Limbaugh's fall here is so epic that he may be taking down the entire industry; many advertisers have been adverse now to running their spots on any kind of talk show (which is unfortunate, and is unfair to decent conservatives who -- unlike Limbaugh -- wouldn't dream of calling someone a "slut" because they disagreed with her). The irony is that Limbaugh could avoided a lot of this with a sincere apology, but just like in most Greek tragedies, hubris is always the greatest of the tragic flaws.

Also, the fact that stations even stick with Limbaugh at this point reminds me a lot of those GOP and pseudo-Democrats sticking with the NRA on background checks, and now paying the price in diminished popularlity. I guess some folks never learn...until it's too late.

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About this blog
Will Bunch, a senior writer at the Philadelphia Daily News, blogs about his obsessions, including national and local politics and world affairs, the media, pop music, the Philadelphia Phillies, soccer and other sports, not necessarily in that order.


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