Talk radio has been in the doldrums since Rush Limbaugh attacked Sandra Fluke. Industry insiders saw this in today's discussion forum at radio-info.com:
Ratings continue to be a problem for many large market Talk stations. In the top 10 markets,, only KFI, WGN, WLS and WSB finish in the Top 10.Bain Capital-owned Clear Channel is the corporate parent of Premiere Networks, Rush Limbaugh's syndicator.
Clear Channel just discontinued Talk on stations in Atlanta, Market #9, and Boston, Market #10. It seems Clear Channel is not going to run Talk stations that aren't performing well, even in large markets, even if it means some Premiere/Clear Channel syndicated shows, such as Glenn Beck, no longer air in those markets. CBS also is giving up its Detroit Talk station to air the new CBS Sports programming. [excerpt, emphasis added]
—Gregg, Radio Info Member, Posts: 1110, Sept. Ratings for Large Market Talk Stations
Although forum comments generally should not be considered authoritive because of uncertain identities, comments in the radio-info.com forum appear to offer interesting commentary on the state of talk radio. The first comment here is by a forum newcomer; the second, by an oldtimer, as judged by number of recorded posts:
I'd imagine it's tough to sell Talk.The comments reflect the fact that more than 140 prominent national advertisers left the Rush Limbaugh Show within ten days of his anti-Fluke tirade. Fewer than half a dozen have returned, while many others have left in the interim period.
I listen to Talk wherever I go and notice they don't attract many national advertisers. Locally, it's usually ads for gun shows and some auto dealers(and even they're less present).
Even if Talk ranks in the top 10, I'll bet it's still hard to make money these days, because of the stigma.
—Lucha Libre AAA, Radio Info Member, Posts: 20, Sept. Ratings for Large Market Talk Stations
In some Markets Commercial Talk sells male erection products...
—recto101, Radio Info Member, Posts: 2823, Sept. Ratings for Large Market Talk Stations
|As recorded here in earlier diaries,
Limbaugh's once-legendary "clout" has been weakened, with talk radio expert Holland Cooke observing that "voters are, increasingly, ignoring Rush Limbaugh". Limbaugh's audience numbers have been demonstrated as a mere fraction of the twenty million listeners he once asserted, and still does claim. At least since Limbaugh's advertiser troubles were found to be afflicting music formats as well as talk radio, the entire radio industry has been struggling with advertising rates that industry insiders describe as "seven percent quicksand", with many voices lamenting that advertisers currently have too much ability to drive hard bargains in a weakened industry. Some speakers at a National Association of Broadcasters Panel argued last month that Limbaugh's three day rant has all but killed off talk radio as a viable radio format, and advocated replacing Limbaugh specifically, and talk radio more generally, with an all news format. What began as ten sponsors boycotting Rush soon became 45, then 140, then five hundred. Many of us estimate that Limbaugh has now lost more than a thousand sponsors, large and small.
With PREMIERE NETWORKS taking the syndicated RUSH LIMBAUGH and SEAN HANNITY shows to another as-yet-unnamed station in the market, PEAK BROADCASTING Talk KMJ-A and Talk KMJ-F (THE FM KMJ)/FRESNO are, with the exception of the independently-syndicated DAVE RAMSEY show, taking their programming all-local within the next 90 days.Ironically, Limbaugh's success during 2008 negotiations for his $400 million contract may now have a negative impact on his ability to retain radio stations. The Rush Limbaugh Show is expensive; radio stations must not only pay for the program, they must give up valuable advertising slots to Limbaugh's national syndicator. Some stations were also contractually required to dedicate several hours to a Saturday wrap-up of Limbaugh's weekday shows, as well as morning minutes to hype the Limbaugh Show. All of these were great for Limbaugh when he was flying high and bringing in very substantial advertising revenues; now, they may add incentive for radio stations wishing to cut ties.
SVP/Market Manager PATTY HIXSON said; “We value program exclusivity and have long anticipated the opportunity to control our own programming locally rather than rely on national talk shows available in so many other places that can be taken from us at the whim of their owners. Adding 105.9 KMJ-FM over three years ago allowed us to expose our local news and talk shows to the largest available radio audience with crystal clear reception. Building KMJ NOW, our on-line local news platform, as well as KMJ’s APPLE delivered mobile app have given us tremendous reach to every computer and smartphone on the planet.
"KMJ’s future lies in its local programming, and we know we have the best people in the business making it right here in FRESNO 24/7. We are thrilled to have this opportunity to expand our local programming earlier than expected, as we can now offer our advertisers and listeners even more of the content that makes KMJ the leader in CENTRAL CALIFORNIA radio.” [excerpt, emphasis added]
—All Access Music Group, KMJ Going All-Local After Premiere Pulls Limbaugh, Hannity For New Fresno Affiliate
Limbaugh has been losing ground, pretty much for seven months straight. His recent veiled threat that conservatives may some day feel the necessity of committing violence against liberals or Democrats resulted in yet another small flood of activists into anti-Rush groups.
We don't always know who initiates a radio station format change, or why. A certain amount of churn is normal, and expected. In the Fresno situation, the termination of the Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck shows appears without question to have been initiated by the station.
In light of such changes, the significant question for Rush Limbaugh must be: does this recent game of "musical chairs" with radio stations turning away from talk radio portend something more significant for the future?
|Rush Limbaugh's talk radio career 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.