On March 7 of 2012, Rush Limbaugh claimed 18,000 advertisers on the approximately 600 radio stations that carry his talk show. I think that his estimate may be reasonable.
At the time, the media was reporting that 28 (national brand name) sponsors had dropped the Rush Limbaugh Show. Limbaugh infamously characterized the hit as "losing a couple of french fries in the container when it's delivered to you at the drive-thru." After more than two decades preaching hate virtually unopposed on the public air waves, Rush could not have known that his brutal attacks on Sandra Fluke had crossed an invisible social line, and that this was just the beginning.
Two radio stations dropped Limbaugh in early March. No one expects additional radio stations to drop his program before 2013. The election insures that many stations won't want to make any dramatic changes prior to the depletion of all that Citizens United election money. Also, a number of contracts between Limbaugh and Cumulus radio stations will expire in 2013. (Cumulus is not revealing the exact date.)
That said, events to date in 2012 indicate that the beginning of the downward spiral for the Rush Limbaugh program seems assured. There is a nice chronology of Limbaugh events from February 16, 2012 to March 9, 2012, here. And below are a few of the significant milestones since those early days, when it already seemed to many of us that Rush couldn't possibly survive longterm:
|Feb 29 – Mar 2, 2012||
Rush Limbaugh Attacks Sandra Fluke For 3 Days Straight
|Mar 10, 2012||98 Major Advertisers Drop Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity And Other Right Wing Radio Shows|
|Mar 12, 2012||142 Companies Drop Advertising From Rush Limbaugh|
|Mar 12, 2012||Rush Limbaugh Syndicator Suspends National Ads For Two Weeks|
|Apr 8, 2012||Rush Limbaugh Talk Show Fallout Spreads To Music Formats|
|Apr 28, 2012||“Rush Limbaugh’s Listernship Has Been Eroding” – Industry VP|
|May 17, 2012||More Than 500 Companies Large & Small Drop Advertising From Rush|
|May 21, 2012||Limbaugh Takes Post-Fluke Ratings Hit|
|Jul 11, 2012||Limbaugh Essentially Gives Up On Twitter, Facebook Strategies|
|Aug 8, 2012||Radio Stations Report Ad Rate Has Dropped To "7% Quicksand"|
|Aug 10, 2012||Cumulus Network Reports Millions In Losses Due To Limbaugh|
|Aug 15, 2012||Dial Global Network Reports Millions In Losses (Due To Un-named Limbaugh)|
|Aug 18, 2012||Limbaugh’s 20 Million Listener Claim Reported To Be False|
|Sep 1, 2012||Radio Consultant Holland Cooke Writes In His September Newsletter That Rush Limbaugh Has "Lost Clout"|
|Sep 21, 2012||National Assoc, Of Broadcasters Panel Advocates Replacing Limbaugh, Talk Radio With All-News Format|
|Sep 24, 2012||Talk Radio Consultant Holland Cooke Tweets That Rush Limbaugh Is Losing Influence On Voters|
|Rush Limbaugh is in a slow downward spiral in part because of the activism of consumers, volunteers, and activists who seek to hold Rush accountable for his hate speech. One very active group in this cause is Flush Rush on Facebook. Flush Rush and other, similar groups use the StopRush Database to inform advertisers about where their ads are appearing.
Please consider joining. Small donations are also accepted to fund data storage; visit StopRush for more information.