Yesterday, Politico reported, "In a major shakeup for the radio industry, Cumulus Media, the second-biggest broadcaster in the country, is planning to drop both Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity from its stations at the end of the year, an industry source told POLITICO on Sunday." But don't celebrate the end of hate radio just yet.
That isn't to say that Limbaugh isn't hurting. As Media Matters reported in March, Limbaugh is still so toxic from his attacks on Sandra Fluke (despite receiving a prime time pass from Fox News), that the damage has spilled over to other right-wing talkers:
When advertisers began fleeing from his program, Limbaugh dismissed the losses as akin to losing a "couple of French fries" and insisted that "nobody is losing any money here." This position seemed less tenable after Limbaugh employed the services of a crisis manager to handle the fallout, and the right-wing talker's protestations were proven false once financial reports started rolling in.
For example, Cumulus Media, a radio company that carries Limbaugh's show in 38 markets, reported millions of dollars in lost revenue and attributed the losses in part to the Limbaugh advertiser fallout. Dial Global, a radio syndication company, reported roughly $100 million in losses for 2012 and publicly cited Limbaugh as a significant contributing factor.
...Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey signaled the toxicity of Limbaugh's business model as well as industry adaptation in a recent interview with Bloomberg TV, saying: "We're sort of seeing a shift in spoken-word radio from political-based talk over to sports." Sports radio is popular with advertisers, Dickey explained, and "people may be a bit tired of all the partisan bickering."
On May 7, 2013, Media Matters reported on the continuing financial backlash:
On its first quarter earnings call with investors, Cumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey reported a $2.4 million dollar decline in revenue associated with syndicated talk (which is a polite way of referencing fallout from the Rush Limbaugh's loss of advertisers without calling Limbaugh out by name). Dickey has reported millions in losses associated with Limbaugh in previous quarters as well.
Anticipating this report, a "source close to" Rush Limbaugh's show began making the rounds insisting that Limbaugh is not to blame for the losses, while indicating that Limbaugh is considering walking away from Cumulus, which currently carries his show on 40 of its stations.
Asked to address the Limbaugh issue during today's earnings call, Dickey flatly rejected the notion that Limbaugh is blameless,explaining: "We've had a tough go of it the last year. The facts are indisputable regarding the impact certain things have had on ad dollars."
So that's the backdrop for Dylan Byers' scoop at Politico that Cumulus refuses to pay the money demanded by Clear Channel's Premiere Networks, the distributor of Limbaugh and Hannity. Byers warns that there may be some posturing going on: "As industry insiders caution, Cumulus and Clear Channel have come to the brink before during contract negotiations only to resume talks."
But even if Limbaugh and Hannity get dropped from Cumulus airwaves, hold the party hats and noise makers. The likely replacements may be right-wing-hater clones. Byers says:
(I)n 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.
Savage, who currently has two hours on WABC following Levin, is a totally off-the-wall nutcase who sometimes defies the right wing haters (he felt Zimmerman should have been convicted of manslaughter).
But Savage is also truly mean to others. He never misses an opportunity to disparage Bob Dole’s bad arm (a WWII injury). Savage is old enough to have gone to Nam, but of course he was probably collecting deferments.
BTW, Hannity is the yellowist chicken hawk on the air today though he could have easily volunteered for the first Gulf War. But as he once told a caller, “my father served, that was good enough for me!”
Their arrogance and self-righteous attitudes are turning off a large segment of the population that get bored with Rush and his many clones repeating the same act.
Ha, please — those geezers are still listening to Limpballs and Insanity on Philco radios . . .
Hate radio talkers, its like this: the corporations that own the stations are concerned with one thing — revenue.
When your toxic talk starts to affect that, you’ll either be ASKED to tone down the rhetoric — or TOLD to leave.
Cumulus Media won’t be the only company to drop these toxic, aging media hacks. Other carriers will also review their contracts with these overpaid blowhards.
If Cumulus Media was smart they would drop all their toxic hosts, and hire hosts who are not as controversial. Ad revenue would increase dramatically.
Coming down the pipe for radio:
1. Due to changing demographics, media buyers will be scrutinizing certain shows that are not as offensive. Shows that are extremely toxic will receive less advertising.
2. Fearing advertiser backlash, syndicators will be seeking out non-toxic shows to distribute to other stations.
3. Shows like Rusty and Hannocchio will be phased out in the future.
4. Seeing the writing on the wall, toxic hosts will retire from the industry and write books.
5. Toxic hosts who stay on will be advised by management to tone down their rhetoric. Side note: It’s already happening.
Radio is a business that can’t survive without advertising revenue. Cumulus Media was losing ad revenue, so they had to take action immediately, or it wouldn’t survive.
In the radio industry, being the number one or two most popular radio show in the nation means nothing if you have no revenue to support those shows and their overpaid hosts.
Rusty and Hannocchio are too costly for radio. These two aging bogs are not worth their salaries. They are untalented and repetitious. Some of their listeners have abandoned them for other hosts.
NOTE TO CUMULUS CEO LEW DICKEY
Take your company to new heights by carrying shows that don’t offend people. Demographics are changing and advertising agencies/media buyers/ are targeting those demographics who are the largest spenders of those products. Also, get shows with younger hosts. Your advertisers will love you.