Premiere Radio Networks has told all radio stations carrying the Rush Limbaugh show that they do not need to run its national “barter” ads for the next two weeks, according to Radio Info. The move makes the Limbaugh show — currently suffering from a boycott of advertisers — more lucrative for the local stations that syndicate his show.PRN allows local stations to air Limbaugh free of charge. In return, the stations give PRN a set amount of free airtime outside the show for PRN’s national advertisers, in a “barter” agreement. By temporarily suspending that obligation, those stations can now sell the extra airtime to different advertisers.
In addition, Safeway and other advertisers are demanding Rush-free programming for their ads, the radio trade news site reported:
Some advertisers have begun asking stations to submit Rush-free “programming grids.” That’s to ensure that their spots don’t air inside the Limbaugh program. One TRI reader says “Safeway is among the clients now asking for such programming grids for every daypart. And it’s not just Rush, it’s other controversial programming.” Late last week, TRI reported the Premiere memo about keeping 98 clients away from controversial programming, and on Monday the story about the two-week “barter holiday” for all barter spots carried by Premiere’s news/talk affiliates.
The New York Times called the moves the most serious rebellion against Limbaugh in 20 years. It’s a rebellion fuelled by social media: Back in the day, it was difficult for consumers to tell advertisers they disapproved of their support for an obnoxious show. Today, companies’ Facebook walls and Twitter feeds can become clogged within minutes by thousands of angry customers.
The memo suspending Limbaugh’s national barter ads notes only two national advertisers, LifeLock and Lear Financial, have stuck with Limbaugh after he called Georgetown University student Sandra Fluke a slut because she supported healthcare coverage for contraceptives. Here’s the memo:
“Attention Traffic Managers of Premiere News/Talk Affiliates:
“We are suspending the requirement to run barter spots for two weeks, March 12th and March 19th, for our News/Talk affiliates only.
“Please replace/re-traffic any Premiere barter spots immediately. Contractual requirements to run barter spots are being suspended for these two weeks only. Replace them with Lifelock and Lear Financial or a local spot of your choice.
“This suspension does not apply to in-program commercial provided by Premiere within any of its live news/talk programming.”
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