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Thursday, April 28, 2016
Will WFOY/Hate Radio Lose Rush Limbaugh?
Impecunious radio station WFOY, 250/500 watt "Hate Radio" station owned by mayoral candidate Kris Phillips, may be losing its star attraction: RUSH LIMBAUGH.
Republican shock jock Rush Limbaugh has been propagating malicious vitriol on public radio, five days a week, three hours a day, to millions of people, for decades. He represents so much of what’s wrong in this world, and his odious spews have helped to create many activists who continue to kick his assets. You don’t call a college student who’s advocating for birth control coverage, a “slut” and a “prostitute,” on air, for three days—and get away with it. He didn’t. You only need to watch 25 seconds of this video to understand what contributed to the slow painful death of conservative talk radio:
In between writing about Limbaugh losing sponsors, radio stations, and celebrity, its been enjoyable reporting on his parent companies,iHeart Media (formerly Clear Channel)and Cumulus. Both media giants (combined) carry The Rush Limbaugh Show on hundreds of stations around the country. We’ve watched their “52-week lows” sink so low, that the price of owning one share of stock, from either company, is little more than pocket change.
IHeart is facing bankruptcy and Cumulus is tagging close behind. The network CEOs kept Limbaugh on air after being boycotted and petitioned. In a way, that has been a good thing. By him Limbaugh sticking around, the protest against hate-filled radio/media has continued to garner more national attention to the amount of racism, misogyny, homophobia and xenophobia that exists and is being perpetuated on our public radio every day.
At first there was an initial blast of advertisers who left, and thanks to StopRush/FlushRush/BoycottRush volunteers and activists, the trail of advertisers that headed for the the door never stopped Over time, thousands of sponsors began to realize the boycott was real and dashes as well.
Some people asked, “How could Rush Limbaugh have thousands of advertisers?” Well, his show is aired on over 600 iHeart/Cumulus stations nationwide. Each show has local sponsors and/o national sponsors (what’s left of them). As one adverister would leave, another would jump in only to be called/petitioned/boycotted by relentless volunteers. It adds up and it has gotten so bad that some companies say they were offered discounted/free spots by stations in order to fill up some time. Limbaugh was poison and carries the kind of bad mojo no sponsor wants. In 2012, Rush Limbaugh was was swimming in major advertisers. Today no reputable company will go near him. This has forced Limbaugh to hold on to scam companies like the “anti-theft” company LifeLock, that just got fined $100 million by the FTC for — for scamming.
Eric Boehlert with Media Matters does a good summation about where stand for Limbaugh.
This year, his contract is up and the timing couldn’t be worse. The talker is facing ratings hurdles, aging demographics, and an advertising community that increasingly views him as toxic, thanks in part to his days-long sexist meltdown over Sandra Fluke in 2012. (He’s also stumbling through the GOP primary season.)
Today those two defining missteps from the past are crossing paths, which means Limbaugh’s radio future has never looked less bright. This, as Limbaugh passes his 65th birthday, which seems to mirror his audience’s age.
Though it appears Limbaugh’s radio days are over, some think he can easily slide/sliver right over to satellite radio. But there is a problem with that.
“With the aging and decline of Limbaugh's audience, Sirius may not be as viable an option as it once was,” Darryl Parks tells Media Matters. A former talk radio host, programmer, and self-identified Republican, Parks writes about the industry at DarrylParksBlog.
Just look at Boston, where Limbaugh stood out as a talk radio star for years. In 2015, his affiliate there dropped his midday show. Although not unheard of in the radio business (Limbaugh’s show is very expensive for stations to carry), what was surprising was that nobody else in Boston stepped forward to pick up Limbaugh’s program. Desperate not to lose coverage in the tenth largest radio market in America, iHeart shipped Limbaugh’s show down to a has-been station the company owns in Boston. Today, that station ranks 26th out of 29 stations in the market, boasting a .2 rating.
When will it happen? No one knows. How will it go down. No one knows. What is certain is that we are finally approaching the end of Limbaugh’s big payday, good-ol’-party radio days, and we hope the rest of hate radio goes down with his ship.
“It’s not a question of whether it collapses but when, and it’s likely to come sooner rather than later,” suggested Media Life. “It could be within months."
The end can’t come too soon. How lovely when the free market works for the people.
Here are ways people have gotten involved in the fight against hate radio: