Alan Colmes, a veteran of talk radio before he ever landed at Fox News, has some words for liberals who think that the recent news of Cumulus Media dropping Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh means they're on their way into oblivion: not so. What's really happening, Colmes argues persuasively, is an adjustment of how their shows are distributed.
Cumulus and Clear Channel have been buying up stations in major markets. Limbaugh and Hannity are syndicated by Premiere, which is owned by Clear Channel. Rather than pay fees to Cumulus to carry these shows it makes more sense to put them on their own properties, reduce local talent costs, and save those fees. The two top-rated talkers aren’t going anywhere. They’re just changing dial positions and, in many cases, to better signals.
Colmes does not discuss what role, if any, the boycott on Limbaugh's advertisers, which has reportedly caused significant economic damage, has played or may play in this shift. Colmes does go on to argue that the boycott is misguided because it's harmful to the cause of free speech and harmful to liberal talk radio as well. For the record, I agree with him on the former.
BTW Limbaugh’s desperate announcement last week about his new deal with Cumulus is revealing in a way he did not intend. Limbaugh was trying to spin his situation as yet another victory lap for himself, in that his agent has negotiated a new 3 year deal for himself with almost all of his stations. Although he admitted he’s being taken off the air on his key New York station and is being forced to retreat to WOR. Here’s the thing. Back in his heyday, Limbaugh would not have needed this extra time to negotiate what would have been a slam-dunk deal. They simply would have re-upped him and given him his usual raises, etc. This time, Cumulus dumped Hannity and played a lot harder against Limbaugh’s agent. So our point here stands – the bloom is off the rose for Limbaugh. He’s not going away this year or next, but he’s slowly spinning downward.
“If they get booted from their outlet in Chicago, WLS-AM, the 50,000 watt blowtorch as they used to describe themselves, they might end up on the other con radio WIND. Now whether their fans can actually find that station or not is an open question.”
Actually Lakeview Greg, their fans will produce and pass WIND by eating more beans!
Radio is a business that is dependent on ad revenue. When ad revenue decreases, stations and carriers of shows must cut costs to stay afloat.
Clear Channel is no stranger to cutting staff at varies stations across the country. They even cut sales staff to reduce costs.
Talkers have no control over ad sales. Advertisers decide which show to place their products. If a show is too controversial they have the right to pull their product off the air. Rusty the Radio Clown and Hannocchio the RINO are powerless to stop the ad bleeding.
Advertisers are targeting the internet. It’s less expensive and they can target a larger audience.
Two things that kill a radio show. (1) No advertisers (2) low ratings
NOTE TO ALAN
We never said these two were going away. You and I both know radio is changing especially with the popularity of digital media. Social media is wooing advertisers for less money. Talk radio today has more competition with social media and websites offering low cost or free ads. Money talks
There were those days were I was unhappy with his performance, but overall he made lemonade with the lemon that Fox gave him. I rarely watch the show now that Sean has gone solo and instead enjoy watching Rachel on MSNBC when I’m not watching a sporting event.
I really do hope that Ellen puts up some kind of analysis of Limbaugh’s shocking appearance on Greta van Susteren’s show. I didn’t notice any point where she challenged him on his racist and sexist comments, in the manner she would normally do with anyone else. I didn’t notice her challenging him on his brazen attempts to rewrite history about the 1995 government shutdowns. If anything, I suppose it could be argued that she just gave him enough room to make a fool of himself, but it seemed to me that she was either agreeing with him or holding his tongue.
I also have to wonder with Alan Colmes, who definitely became a bit more assertive after he got out of the Hannity box, why he never challenged Hannity on his outrageous comments. Many of us on the left arrived at the conclusion that he simply wasn’t a very strong personality and he didn’t have much of a command over the facts and the issues – which is of course why Fox News put him there. I would have loved to see Sean Hannity forced to debate an Amy Goodman or a Larry Bensky or a Jeff Cohen. But sadly, we’ll never get that opportunity.
Many of my liberal friends disagree with me and my conservative friends think I’m bluffing and play a game of reverse psychology with them when I tell them that Rush, Sean and the exposure that is provided to the Rush wantabes across the country while Fox News endless programming of demonizing the left has been a great help to the Democratic Party. It has unified us, shows the differences of what each party represents, and reminded us the importance of voting. Not to mention how cartoonish the right has become.