WRKO in Boston became the latest major market radio station to drop Rush Limbaugh. Limbaugh’s show will also be leaving 93.1 WIBC in Indianapolis on July 3.
According to radioINSIGHT:
Premiere released the following statement today regarding the inability to come to terms, “We were unable to reach agreeable terms for The Rush Limbaugh Show to continue on WRKO. A final broadcast date will be announced in the near future. Rush Limbaugh airs daily in every measured media market in America, and we look forward to announcing exciting news for our Boston listeners soon.”
WRKO is the second major Conservative Talker to announce plans to drop Limbaugh. Emmis’ 93.1 WIBC Indianapolis announced in April it will stop airing the program as of July 3.
Limbaugh has never recovered from the Sandra Fluke scandal. His national advertisers left, and the vast majority have never come back. Limbaugh is expensive and toxic. The cost of airing Limbaugh’s show combined with the inability of radio stations to recover these costs through advertising revenue has made it more lucrative for stations to drop Limbaugh than to keep him on the air.
As I wrote last month, Limbaugh’s ratings drop has gotten so bad that radio stations no longer want his show.
Daryl Parks explained how radio stations get stuck with Limbaugh, “Premiere Networks and its owner Clear Channel Media + Entertainment iHeart Media has crammed down Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck on its talk stations, not allowing local stations to make needed changes to their programming, changes that could provide some hope of staying relevant. It was a great business model…in the 20th century! In business speak it’s called “vertical integration.” The company produces the product and then uses its distribution arm, its radio stations, to broadcast the shows. Guaranteed clearance, plus in Limbaugh’s case and some of Hannity’s stations, the local stations have to pay a “rights fee” in addition to the barter commercial inventory they broadcast from the network. There was no negotiation whether to broadcast the show or what fee was to be paid. Here’s the number you pay was the only conversation during the budget process. This, as you can imagine, affected cash flow and coupled with the increasing demands for talk stations to generate more profit, it forced local stations to lay-off other talk hosts, producers and gut news departments. Talented people left the radio business and the death spiral for talk radio began. It began years ago.”
Conservative talk radio, just like Fox News and the Republican Party, is dying off. Limbaugh was the leader in the genre, and the advertiser boycott of his show helped to accelerate a decline that was already under way. The average age of Rush Limbaugh’s audience is 67 years old and rising. For context, the average age of Fox News viewers is 68 and rising.
Political talk radio is being replaced by the younger-skewing, and more profitable sports talk radio in markets across the country. Rush Limbaugh is a symptom of a much larger disease.
Conservative talk radio, just like its audience, is slowly fading away.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a 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