No one knows how many Americans are boycotting radio stations and their advertisers because of Rush Limbaugh, but some of the numbers are impressive. On Facebook alone, Boycott Rush Limbaugh's Sponsors! has nearly 18,000 LIKE's. Boycott Rush Limbaugh's Sponsors to SHUT HIM DOWN has nearly 52,000. Telling Rush Limbaugh he’s Full of Crap has 218,000, dwarfing Rush Limbaugh's own Rush Babes For America page, which is under 75,000. There are a dozen or so smaller such anti-Rush pages, such as UltraViolet, which has more than 7,000.
While these Facebook pages continue to focus on Rush, Facebook groups tend to be more activist-oriented. Some believe the Rush boycott is dying out, but evidence is to the contrary. One of the most productive Facebook groups, Join the fight to flush Rush Limbaugh!, has had 650 new members join in the past thirty days. This group (affectionately called "Flush Rush" by its members) is also most closely associated with the StopRush database. While Facebook is a hotbed of anti-Rush activity, many other groups, forums, and blogs have similar efforts underway.
How does the anti-Rush effort operate? It is simple: consumer-activists contact advertisers to let them know their ads are being heard on the Rush Limbaugh Show. For many, that simple fact causes them to pull their ads.
And what has been the impact on the radio networks? Just yesterday, Cumulus Radio Network CEO Lew Dickey discussed how the Rush Limbaugh ad boycott continues to be a "drag" on business. The trouble isn't Cumulus overall, but rather, "due to just 10 stations... mostly news/talkers in large markets." In other words, Cumulus ventures not connected to talk radio appear to be doing fine. And, Cumulus doesn't expect Limbaugh's "drag" on business to let up in the next six months to a year.
Rush Limbaugh is on a few Cumulus radio stations. He is on hundreds of Clear Channel stations, the network through which he is syndicated via subsidiary Premiere Networks. While Cumulus talks about how the Rush Limbaugh boycott has impacted business, Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman prefers to whistle past the graveyard. Since the radio division of Clear Channel is privately held (by Bain Capital, Mitt Romney's old company), they prefer to keep their affairs secret. But if Cumulus is feeling the heat from talk radio, Clear Channel (which has much greater exposure) is likely taking a hit that is ten or a hundred times worse.