In a move that surely will be blamed on President Barack Obama, Cumulus Media has decided to pull the plug on both Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh’s respective radio programs. As free market economics would have it, according to POLITICO, Cumulus Media has decided against renewing their individual contracts at the end of the year. But as I mentioned before, as we all know too well, this is yet another example of government over-reach; and, you can bet your bottom dollar that Obama’s fingerprints are all over this, much like it was with the IRS scandal.
This from POLITICO:
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.
Cumulus has decided that it will not renew its contracts with either host, the source said, a move that would remove the two most highly rated conservative talk personalities from more than 40 Cumulus channels in major markets.
The decision comes after negotiations between Cumulus and Premiere Networks, the division of Clear Channel that distributes Limbaugh and Hannity’s shows, broke down due to disagreements over the cost of the distribution rights, the source said. Cumulus is known to drive a hard bargain on costs, and Clear Channel is known to seek top dollar for big names.
As industry insiders caution, Cumulus and Clear Channel have come to the brink before during contract negotiations only to resume talks. But the source told POLITICO that Clear Channel was unlikely to reduce the cost for distribution rights to a level that would satisfy Cumulus.
[…] 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.
As excited as I am to hear this, the reality is that these right-wing talking heads are not going away. They will be carried by Clear Channel in the 40 markets where they exist under the Cumulus banner. Though Limbaugh has lost major advertisers in the wake of his controversial remarks about Sandra Fluke, the truth is that he (and Hannity as well) are major moneymakers in the radio industry. So while this may bring us lefties a moment of joy, we must realize that this is temporary — yes, these assholes aren’t going anywhere, But don’t tell that to the conservatives who will blame Obamacare, colorofchange.org, or kibweK NEDI fir their demnise. If you think they wanted their country back in 2009, wait ’til this one hits ’em.
This from politicsusa.com:
The main reason why Cumulus would even think of dumping Limbaugh and Hannity is that the boycott has made their shows much less profitable. Forty eight of the top 50 advertisers on Cumulus asked that their ads not be played on Limbaugh and Hannity’s shows. Limbaugh and Cumulus have had a running feud over who is to blame for the flood of advertisers that have abandoned the top rated right wing talker. Limbaugh and Hannity denied that they had lost any advertisers, but Limbaugh’s Sandra Fluke comments cost Cumulus millions after a successful and ongoing boycott caused his advertisers to flee.
In reality, this news is all about the success of the Limbaugh advertiser boycott. Without the public pressure, bad publicity, and shame that the boycott brought on to his advertisers, Rush Limbaugh and Cumulus would probably still have a happy marriage.
What’s interesting about this is that Cumulus has also decided to drop Sean Hannity. The Fox News primetime host wasn’t dealing with a radio show advertiser boycott, but Limbaugh’s Sandra Fluke comments were so damaging to the industry that Rush has made controversial right wing radio toxic to mainstream corporate advertisers.
This story could be a negotiating tactic on the part of Cumulus, but they are going to need Limbaugh’s price to come down substantially in order to recover the money that the boycott is still costing them. It is unlikely that Limbaugh will lower his price, so it will probably be goodbye, Cumulus, hello, Clear Channel at the end of the year.
We’ll see what happens, and most importantly how the right-wing will spin this.