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Or at least the "98 large corporations pull ads from Rush Limbaugh, all right-wing shock jocks" interpretation offered by the current front-page story does not appear to be warranted.

Greg Sargent, the alumnus who runs the "Plum Line" blog at the Washington Post, passes along an e-mail message from a spokesperson from Premiere Radio Networks. She confirms the accuracy of the memo discussed in the front-page story, but says:

This is a routine communication that notifies our affiliates’ traffic managers of advertisers that prefer not to be in ANY potentially controversial programs. It is prepared and disseminated on a quarterly basis.
If this is correct, there's a good chance that many or most of the sponsors on the list have been there for quite a while. A lot of companies simply shy away from any sort of controversy as much as they can, so Limbaugh's latest atrocity wouldn't have made any difference for them.

What would be interesting to see is how much bigger this list is than last quarter's list was; some portion of the difference might plausibly be attributable to Limbaugh's smearing of Sandra Fluke. Of the sponsors that are new to the list, it would be useful to know how many of them have actually advertised on Limbaugh's show in the recent past--those are the ones that are actually hitting him and Premiere in the pocketbook. If a sponsor is new to the list but never actually bought time on Limbaugh anyway, that doesn't really affect his bottom line.

The guy's down to PSAs and ads for gold coins anyway. There's no need to muddy the waters by misrepresenting the number of sponsors he's lost.

Originally posted to phenry on Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 01:30 PM PDT.

Also republished by Tactful Saboteurs.

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Comment Preferences

  •  That's what I thought when I read the memo. (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Roadbed Guy, Bob Duck, phenry, Sylv, NYFM, SoCalSal

    These are not necessarily advertisers who've dropped Rush, but, rather, advertisers who never want to be heard on his program.

    There's a difference.

  •  Except Sargent isn't (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lasgalen Lothir, Sylv

    stating this definitively.


    What’s unclear is whether this is a direct reaction to the Limbaugh controversy. Nearly 100 major advertisers are asking to be excluded from these shows. That hardly seems routine. The question now is whether anything like this has happened before and whether these companies previously were okay advertising on these shows, before the “slut” controversy broke out.

    Nelson didn’t respond to repeated requests for a follow interview so I could get clarification on these points.

    Premiere has defended Limbaugh’s right to controversial opinions and said that his apology was sufficient. But this memo raises at least the possibility that Limbaugh is on the verge of losing far more advertisers than previously thought, though more clarification is in order. More when I learn it.


    UPDATE: Ultra Violet, a group that organizes around issues important to women and has launched a campaign to pressure advertisers to drop Limbaugh, is up with a new ad on D.C. cable pressing the issue on Mitt Romney.

  •  You are correct. (6+ / 0-)

    I'll re-post what I said in the original diary here:  Premiere sends out this memo every now and again.  It'll be sent out at the start of the year, and then periodically throughout the year.  I could pretty much recite it from heart at this point.

    I don't doubt the timing of this particular re-send is tied to the Limbaugh controversy, but the memo itself is always the same.  They just have it saved on a hard drive somewhere and update the client list and re-send whenever they feel it appropriate to re-send.  I didn't bother to look for additions to the list because on a glance the sheer size of the list was not noticeably different than previously and because it's just really not that important.  You want Limbaugh gone, get the advertisers to stop advertising locally.  

    To be clear, Premiere doesn't lose a DIME off its network advertisers not airing during the Limbaugh show.  Their advertisers haven't cancelled PREMIERE, so it represents no financial loss whatsoever to Premiere.  Their agreements with stations are like this:  Air one minute of our commercials a day anywhere from 5am-8pm.  (The total number of minutes and the daypart varies, but the point is, it's always a BROAD daypart.)  So they're just telling their affiliates with controversial morning talk shows, air our spots from 10am onwards.  That's it.  Premiere still has all its advertisers and all its money from those advertisers.  They're just not airing during Rush.  Big whoop.  Their advertisers aren't buying Rush or anybody specifically in the first place, they are buying a network of stations because it's an easy and inexpensive way to get your spots heard on a vast national network of stations.

    My only real surprise is that Premiere doesn't just tell its affiliates never to air any of its spots in controversial programming.  As you can see from the list, it's a common request, and it would be easier to just have the blanket rule as opposed to keeping a list of advertisers.  Some other network providers handle it that way.

    •  I agree with you, about 95% (0+ / 0-)

      The memo is indeed routine, and the lack of understanding from our side about how commercial media works (not only here on DK but at places like Media Matters and Think Progress that should know better) is astonishing sometimes.

      Where I disagree with you, somewhat, is about the effect on Premiere if advertisers don't want to be on Rush.

      They're spending some obscenely large amount of Bain Capital's money ($25 million a year? $56 million a year? There are plenty of numbers floating around and I don't completely believe any of them) to put Rush on their airwaves. Bain/Clear Channel/Premiere doesn't spend a nickel these days unless their beancounters know they can make a dime back in return. There are only so many minutes of spots they can sell between 6A and midnight, and if three of those hours become unsellable, except to the Goldlines and LifeLocks of the world, the numbers stop working...don't they?

      Intended to be a factual statement.

      by ipsos on Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 07:32:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  thank you (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SquirrelWhisperer, shenderson

    It's sad, but I long ago learned that I really should start with the assumption that things I read here are false.

  •  That was my suspicion, though chances are more (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Be Skeptical

    companies have been added in the recent past. Still, it does NOT warrant a front-page story stating outright that 98 corporations are pulling ads.

    We don't know if they are or not. It'd be interesting if any past lists of this sort were leaked... But for all we know, 97 of those companies might have been on the list a month ago, or whatever. Speculating and calling it news is silly...

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