Rush Limbaugh is trying to pretend that he is not to blame for the huge revenue loss resulting from his relentless hate speech against then-Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke, but Stop Rush and Flush Rush have had a definite negative impact on Cumulus’s ad revenue.
Cumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey blames Rush for the stunning loss in revenue that is impacting other talk shows, “We’ve had a tough go of it the last year. The facts are indisputable regarding the impact certain things have had on ad dollars.” Those “certain things” are the successful advertiser boycotts against Rush Limbaugh, also known as Rush Limbaugh’s refusal to be civilized. Dickey made his point.
Cumulus released its quarterly earnings figures on Tuesday morning, reporting a 1.3 percent decline in revenues. Media Matters reported that Cumulus reported a $2.4 million dollar decline in revenue in a first quarter in their first quarter earnings call with investors. But it’s not just the latest quarter. Media Matters pointed out, “Dickey has reported millions in losses associated with Limbaugh in previous quarters as well.”
Things are so bad that Rush’s losses are taking down other conservative shows.
Media Matters explained, “Limbaugh has become so toxic that he’s hurting other conservative talk shows.” In March of this year, Media Matters explained that due to the structure of radio ad buys, the loss of revenue wiped out other national talk shows, resulting in forcing talk radio to move away from conservative talk:
At a Talkers forum last year, Norm Pattiz, CEO of Courtside Entertainment, summed up the destructive effect Limbaugh has had on the entire industry, noting that a “tremendous chunk of advertising revenue was wiped out in terms of support for national talk radio programs.” Pattiz added that “the movement in talk radio to some degree is moving away from conservative talk radio and into other genres.”
Rush is threatening (promising?) to leave Cumulus over their suggestion that he is to blame for their losses. Jason Easley reported Monday for Politicus, “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… Limbaugh’s feelings are hurt because Dickey had the nerve to point out that calling women sluts is bad for business.”
No matter how Rush stomps his feet at Cumulus, the truth is other media companies blame Rush as well. For example, Dial Global blamed millions in losses on Limbaugh in November of 2012, according to the Huffington Post.
Dial listed a whole host of factors for its financial straits. But one of them was “advertisers’ response to controversial statements by a certain nationally syndicated talk radio personality in March 2012.”
Mediaite got an insider scoop on Monday confirming that Rush is indeed to blame as the vast majority of national advertisers refuse to advertise on his show now: “The vast majority of national advertisers now refuse to air their ads during Rush Limbaugh’s show.”
What this means is that the activist groups that took a stand against Rush Limbaugh have been successful beyond their expectations. By using the free market to hold Limbaugh accountable for calling Sandra Fluke a slut and worse, they defunded conservative talk radio.
Rush Limbaugh is indeed free to spew all of the hate he pleases. But airing that hate and expecting to make a profit off of it is no longer looking like a viable business plan.
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