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Mike Huckabee’s radio talk show syndicator has sent an email urging radio stations to replace Rush Limbaugh with Huckabee’s show. The move comes as up to 129 advertisers have made “no Rush” programming demands in their media buys.
Reuters reported that some radio insiders believe that when Limbaugh’s three dozen licensing contracts with Cumulus Media are up next year he will lose many affiliates to Huckabee, who is syndicated by Cumulus:”I can guarantee you that the minute Cumulus’ contract with Rush expires in New York, they will replace him with Huckabee,” said Joel Hollander, the former CEO of CBS Radio now running private investment firm 264 Echo Place Partners.
It’s not that Limbaugh is unpopular — he remains a huge audience draw. The problem is that radio stations must pay to broadcast his show, and if advertisers don’t want to be on or near the show, then Limbaugh loses them money.
Radio Info reported there are two “no Rush” lists circulating among radio networks right now, totaling 129 advertisers:
Cumulus Media/ESPN Audio affiliates just received a list of 31 advertisers “who requested that their commercials not be scheduled in any Rush Limbaugh programs.” The memo instructs stations to “move any spots that may fall in Rush Limbaugh programs to comparably-rated time periods.” Note that this is a different situation from the March 9 TRI story about 98 advertisers who were on a different list. That was about any content “deemed to be offensive or controversial”, not just the three-hour daily Limbaugh show. And that memo was being circulated by Premiere. This one, with 31 advertisers such as Advance Auto (“no in-program and no adjacent” placement), Intuit Turbo Tax, John Deere and Progressive, is from Cumulus/ESPN Audio.
Media Matters reports 52 companies have removed ads from Limbaugh since he called Georgetown University student Sandra Fluke a “slut” because she supports healthcare coverage for contraception. Another 142 companies have indicated they will not put their dollars on his show, according to Think Progress.
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