Bad ratings news is rolling in for Rush Limbaugh as his show has fallen to 22nd in New York and 37th in Los Angeles. Limbaugh’s ratings are in a state of major decline.
Rush Limbaugh’s claim to radio fame has always been that he is a right wing talker who brings big ratings to major markets in blue states, but this isn’t the case anymore. Since he moved to Clear Channel his ratings in the nation’s two largest markets have nosedived. Rush Limbaugh went from having the number one talk show in Los Angeles to falling down to 37th place in the ratings. In New York, Limbaugh has dropped from fifth in the city to 22nd. His audience is now so small in both markets that he is being outdrawn by Spanish language stations and NPR.
It’s amazing that radio stations are paying this man who can’t draw an audience any more millions of dollars to carry his program. Limbaugh’s ratings collapse has been building for a long time. His comments about Sandra Fluke tarnished him within the radio industry, but the real problem has been a lingering boycott that has caused Fortune 500 advertisers to avoid Rush like the plague.
The signs have been visible for a couple of years. Conservative talk radio is a dying genre. The audience is old, and getting older by the day. More and more stations are switching from political talk radio to sports talk radio.
As Jerry Del Colliano, publisher of the radio-centric Inside Music Media put it, “We’re watching the end of right-wing conservative talk radio. The genre is dying among ratings and dying among advertisers … Rush is at the end of his career. His constituency is all wearing Depends. And he’s getting himself into trouble he doesn’t need. So can you put Humpty Dumpty back together again? They have been able to improve their advertising picture, but they have not been able to come back.”
The answer for why Limbaugh’s show is dying can be found in demographics. Rush’s average listener is 66 years old. Younger people aren’t turning on their radios to listen to Hannity, Beck, Limbaugh, and Savage. Their audience mirrors that of the Republican Party. It’s white, conservative, and male.
What’s happening is that Limbaugh’s listenership is starting to directly mirror the Republican Party. Limbaugh remains strong in conservative areas, but his days of dominating major markets in blue states look like they are coming to an end.
The end is finally near for Limbaugh. He is on the downside of a career that will be coming to an end sooner rather than later.
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