Lost in all the hubbub about Rush Limbaugh potentially leaving Cumulus Media is the fact that the advertiser boycott of Limbaugh’s show is the reason why talk radio is shaking.
Rush Limbaugh is considering ending his affiliation agreement with Cumulus Media because Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey has blamed the advertiser boycott of Rush’s show for the decline in advertising revenue. A source close to the Limbaugh show told Politico, “It’s a very serious discussion, because Dickey keeps blaming Rush for his own revenue problems. Dickey’s talk stations underperform talk stations owned by other operators in generating revenue by a substantial margin. It’s not a single show issue… it’s a failure of the entire station. And trying to blame Rush for that is not much of a business partnership.” Limbaugh’s feelings are hurt because Dickey had the nerve to point out that calling women sluts is bad for business.
What the mainstream media neglects to mention is that all of Rush’s problems can be traced back to the ongoing success of the advertiser boycott. If people would have let Limbaugh get away with calling Sandra Fluke a slut, the rift between Rush and Cumulus would not be happening right now. The fact of the matter is that the boycott is still costing Cumulus and Rush Limbaugh money. Most of the hundreds of advertisers who left haven’t come back.
Rush Limbaugh’s radio program is less valuable than it was before, and we have the advertiser boycott to thank for this development. Without the people who tweet Limbaugh’s remaining advertisers everyday to remind them that they will be held accountable, none of this would have ever happened.
People often get involved with boycotts, only to lose interest as time goes on. This was the behavior that Limbaugh was initially counting on. He thought that he could ride it out, and eventually things would return to normal. What he didn’t realize was that the Stop Rush boycotters had no intention of going away.
Some on the left have considered the Limbaugh boycott a failure, because he is still on the air. However, the point of this boycott has always been to hold Limbaugh, and everyone who does business with him, financially accountable. From this perspective, the strained relationship between Limbaugh and Cumulus is proof that the boycott is working.
If Limbaugh leaves Cumulus, it will be the biggest shakeup in the history of talk radio. It will have a domino effect in markets across the country, and it all began when a group of people decided that it was time to Stop Rush.
You have taken the fight to Rush Limbaugh, and you are winning.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association