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Has Rush Been Flushed

July 29, 2013
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Picture 4Capitalism, pure Randian capitalism has claimed another pair of victims (allegedly).  Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity are allegedly being dropped by Cumulus.  If so, they are being done in by the very system they have embraced.  It’s a dog eat dog world, with those on top claiming the highest ratings.  Ratings sell advertising.

In 2012 Sean Hannity lost nearly 100 advertisers.   That year, a list of companies named Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage, and Glenn Beck as too offensive to represent their products.  Allegedly Cumulus has lost over $100 million in 2012, due to Limbaugh.

No, the advertising boycott and ‘Flush Rush’ didn’t do it. What is destroying Rush Limbaugh is that his once loyal listeners, myself included, began turning him off about five or six years ago.  I know of at least one major ‘conservative’ city, of well over a million individuals, where his previous station has been experimenting with dropping him, for months.  The station owner makes more money without him.  This isn’t because of an advertizing boycott, but because of ratings.  Advertising is based on ratings.  If you are a rating’s whore and are the most offensive person in history, advertisers will purchase ad time, not because they want to be identified with the product, but because people will hear their spot.

“...Back in March, Cumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey admitted that they were still having problems with advertisers over Limbaugh’s Sandra Fluke comments over a year after he made them. As a result, Limbaugh was reportedly considering cutting his ties to Cumulus, around the same time Mediaite learned from an insider that “the vast majority of national advertisers now refuse to air their ads during Rush Limbaugh’s show.” Whether Limbaugh was still considering to depart or not, Cumulus has preempted any potential move on his part by ending its relationship with the two Clear Channel hosts….”

Dateline Hollywood

Dateline Hollywood

Evidently being a far right nut case just isn’t paying all that much.  According to Politico, Rush & Sean aren’t the only ones going to bite the dust.  But – someone is going to get the big time-spot vacated by the pair.  Don’t expect Mark Levin, who is joined at the hip with Hannity to get that top spot.  Michael Savage is too insane.  That leaves Mike Huckabee.  Oh, this could get interesting.

“...But in recent weeks, Cumulus has been quietly reaching out to radio talent agents and political insiders about new local and regional station hosts to fill some of the airtime that will be left vacant by Limbaugh and Hannity, industry sources said. Cumulus is also expected to move some of its existing talent — which includes Mike Huckabee, Mark Levin, and Michael Savage — into one of the slots.

Premiere, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Sunday night, is expected to carry Limbaugh and Hannity on stations in many of the markets where they are currently signed with Cumulus, should the negotiations not go through. A spokesperson for Limbaugh was not immediately available for comment; Hannity did not immediately respond to a request for comment….”

Nature abhors a vacuum.  Watch for Mike Huckabee to be the big winner here.

Media Matters

Media Matters

Don’t get me wrong, the Flush Rush advertising boycott has hurt, but people boycotting by turning off both Rush and Sean is what is hurting the most.  When 48 of the 50 top advertisers on Cumulus ask that their ads not be played on Rush or Sean, it hurts.  People are also turning off the radio, people like The Pink Flamingo, who once listened to Rush and Medved, and a few others.  Ratings are what really hurt.  Then when Rush and Sean lose WABC, their NYC flagship, they’re basically sunk with national advertisers.

Think Progress

Think Progress

“...Limbaugh’s attacks against Fluke triggered a nationwide call for advertisers to pull their ads from the show, a campaign that was so effective that Lew Dickey, CEO of Cumulus Media, which owns many radio stations that air Limbaugh’s show, said in March that Limbaugh’s actions were still negatively affecting his radio business more than one year later. Dickey’s statements came amid the cold reality that Limbaugh’s tirade against Fluke not only caused a mass exodus of advertisers, but a multi-million dollar loss in revenue for Cumulus as well.

Sandra Fluke and women’s health, however, have not been the only targets of Limbaugh’s divisive comments; he regularly engages in offensive racial commentary as well. In 2004, Limbaugh used gang-centric language to describe the NBA, calling it the “Thug Basketball Association,” telling listeners to “call ’em gangs” instead of teams. He criticized the Obama administration’s efforts to rescue GM and Chrysler in 2009 by saying that “[P]eople in the private sector are getting raped by this administration,” and in 2011, he asked if the CDC had ever “published a story about the dangers of catching diseases when you sleep with illegal aliens.” Most recently, Limbaugh claimed that he could now say the word “Nigga’ with an a” because “it’s not racist.”…”

One wonders how the Koch Brothers are going to step in and bail out their mouth-pieces, or have they become a liability.  In a way, none of this matters.  It’s all about FREE MARKET CAPITALISM.   When you become so extreme, and, in Rush’s case, so vindictive and mean-spirited, people listen to other things.  Me – well I listen to the Sirius Metropolitan Opera channel.  I have no doubt, that Rush will do what Howard Stern did and go directly to Sirius.  He will make as much there as on regular broadcasts.

In so many ways, this is truly quite tragic.  Rush Limbaugh had it all.  He could have remained a normal ‘Reagan Conservative’ but was unable to do so because his handlers had a different agenda.  He made us stop and think about what was going on, becoming a national conservative icon.  It is entirely possible the 1994 election would have gone differently without him.  Then – he changed.  He became viscous and nasty.   I quit listening to him in 2008, and haven’t missed him a day.

If I’m a “typical” Rush Limbaugh listener, and for many years I was, and I dumped him, how many others have done the same thing.  An advertiser boycott is one thing, but when a radio station starts losing market shares, that is entirely different and far more critical.  When people turn off one show, they have a tendency to turn off others.  It starts a chain reaction.

There’s one more thing, conservative talk radio is starting to die.  It had a great run, but now it’s over.  They have been done in by the very market forces they have embraced – capitalism.   Laura Ingraham is already on her way out, again market forces at work.  In a Capitalist system like ours, voices of extremism just don’t play well.  Golly, who knew?

Sure, we’re dealing with other factors including the fact that Clear Channel belongs to Bain.  They’re going to prop Rush up, if Mitt Romney is planning to run in 2016.  There are indications that they’re going to prop him up in certain markets, but we shall see.

Damn, the system works!

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