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Of 86 ads aired on WABC’s broadcast of The Rush Limbaugh Show Thursday, 77 were public service announcements aired free of charge and seven of the remaining nine were from companies that previously vowed to pull their ads from the show, according to Media Matters. (Sometimes there is a time lag between demanding ads be pulled and ads actually disappearing.)The online feed of the show is in even worse shape, Media Matters reports:
“WABC’s online feed included about 5:33 of dead air when ads would normally have run.”
In practical terms that means Limbaugh’s show is mostly without ad revenue right now. To put that in perspective, Limbaugh has entered Glenn Beck territory. Back in 2009 and 2010, Beck’s advertisers deserted his Fox News Channel show on a similar scale. Fox stuck it out with Beck, but after 18 months of broadcasting with minimal advertiser support his show was cancelled.
Talkers, the trade magazine of talk radio, had this explanation:
TALKERS is hearing reports from ad rep firms that are more alarming – especially in these already shaky economic times. That is that major advertisers are issuing yet another round of “no controversial programming” dictates. This is not a new problem for talk radio and the recent Limbaugh case is likely only to add fuel to a fire that’s been simmering for the past 20 years. While no laws were broken by Rush Limbaugh, advertisers who fear backlash from activists, parent’s organisations and other groups – even though talk hosts with loyal followings that are likely to buy their products or services help sell those products or services very successfully – don’t want to risk bad PR, protester harassment or outright boycotts from being associated with a “controversial” talk media figure.
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