Sunday, May 12, 2013

Advertisers Avoiding Rush Like The Plague

(This caricature of Rush Limbaugh is by DonkeyHotey.)

I'm sure Rush Limbaugh thought it would be a short-term problem when advertisers starting leaving his show in droves. Things would die down, and the advertisers would return. But that hasn't happened. According to one executive at Cumulus Media, 48 out of 50 of their biggest advertisers now require that their advertising on that network not be played on the show of Rush Limbaugh (or his right-wing buddy Sean Hannity). This means Rush Limbaugh is not the money machine that he once was for the radio stations carrying his show.

Will Rush survive? He well could, because there are still a lot of right-wing nuts that listen to him. But with the radio stations bleeding money during his show's hours, you can bet that Rush's next contract won't be nearly as lucrative as his last one. After all, the primary reason these stations exist is to make money -- and they won't pay him huge money if they can't sell advertising on his show. Here's how Media Matters sums up the current situation:

As numerous members of the conservative movement flee from the Heritage Foundation's flawed immigration study, conservative talker Rush Limbaugh has maintained a stalwart defense of the organization.

Not a surprise considering Rush Limbaugh's syndicator, Premiere Radio Networks, is the single largest independent contractor to the Heritage Foundation according to their latest 990 filing with the IRS, receiving $2,236,555 from the think tank.

With advertisers fleeing his show, and as a result radio companies suffering major losses, the fiscal sponsorship of the conservative movement is now fiscally critical. A "very high ranking" official at Cumulus, the owner of Rush and Sean Hannity's flagship station WABC, told Radio Ink, "Forty-eight of the top 50 network advertisers have 'excluded Rush and Hannity' orders. Every major national ad agency has the same dictate."

Without wingnut welfare, which has also included sponsorships from FreedomWorks, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity's shows would not be financially viable.

The financial relationship between the conservative movement and its radio hosts has existed for years -- Heritage has been a major sponsor of Premiere Radio talent, specifically Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, according to a 2011 report by Ken Vogel of Politico -- however with Limbaugh and Hannity's recent well publicized problems attracting sponsorship to their programs the role of the conservative movement is not rightwing radios key sponsor.

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