Radio networks Dial Global and Cumulus are feeling the impact of the advertiser boycott triggered by Rush Limbaugh's February/March "slut" tirade against Sandra Fluke. Both companies have publicly blamed Rush Limbaugh for their dire financial circumstances.
Dial Global mentioned three causes for their financial disaster, with Limbaugh one of the three. While the proportions of specific responsibility are difficult to ascertain, Dial Global has asserted that the troubles began the day after Limbaugh attacked Sandra Fluke.
followed by sudden, dramatic decline
I had previously published the Cumulus stock chart:
Cumulus – more or less steady decline
The Cumulus Media stock price has
Cumulus had been outperforming the S&P 500 prior to Rush Limbaugh's attack on Sandra Fluke. Since the advertiser backlash, Cumulus has been under-performing.
Admittedly, determining the extent to which Limbaugh is responsible is more art than science. However, I believe deference to a radio industry expert may help to answer the question.
The following content (blogged previously) offers compelling testimony that at least some radio industry experts attribute much of the radio industry's financial troubles to Limbaugh. If you watch the video, let me know what you think in the comments.
Here is the Norm Pattiz video:
This is a partial transcript of relevant content. The video follows the transcript. The most damaging indictment of Limbaugh begins just after the five minute mark.
Partial transcript (excerpts):I'm not going to throw out any one-liners or hope that I get laughs, or anything like that, this is too serious a time for us. This is a time where you really have to see where you are, take stock of what you're doing, and to the extent possible, push for the changes that are necessary. This is what I'm going to talk about: I'm going to talk about the dwindling advertiser support for conservative talk radio on a national basis. [...]
These are all really, really serious questions, so let me start at the top.
I said I was going to talk about the dwindling support for talk radio, I think, on a national basis, from national advertisers. And, you know, the audience for conservative talk radio is still there. It's unchanged. It's, you know, I mean certainly, this year it's probably more intense, and more vibrant, on both sides of the spectrum, than in past years.
But recently, you know. not recently -- months ago -- you're all familiar with the Rush Limbaugh deal, and the Sandra Fluke comment. What was different about that was, it ignited political forces, Media Matters, others, that decided to use this as a way to affect talk radio through its revenue base.
So, people start-- advertisers started being called. And interestingly enough, about seventy percent of the advertisers that were called didn't even know they were in Rush Limbaugh. They didn't even know they were in any controversial radio programs. They just thought they were in ABC News, or CBS, or CNN, or Fox or what have you. Forgetting of course the fact that those news networks have casts at the top and the bottom of every hour, and the programs, you know, and that's not just in the locally produced programs, that's in nationally produced programs as well.
So some advertisers were just so stricken by this, that they just decided to blow off talk radio entirely.
Now, my part -- you know, Courtside which is a boutique operation, you know, um, you know, it's really created to give Bob Moore and Katy Walsh a job... (laughter) you know, Bob needs it (laughter) and we go back a long way, and it's my contribution to his rehabilitation... (laughter)
But the fact of the matter is, a tremendous chunk of advertising revenue was wiped out in terms of support for national talk radio programs.
Now, Courtside works with three different distributors. We work with Cumulus, we work with Dial Global, and we work with Compass. Um, we're probably, I don't know, we're probably unique in that way, 'cause usually most companies who do what I do work with one distributor and that's it. But I sorta like to, you know, if we can, be involved with more players in the industry.
So I've been getting a lot of feedback, you know, this isn't something that's just, you know, analogous to one particular situation. This is something that's industry wide, and I've talked to my friends and colleagues, many of whom are here, and um, you know, those people who go out and say, because maybe they have a vested interest: "no effect, business is up", that's just not true! You know, whether it's down a few percentages, or whether it's down fifty percent, it's down.
And it's, you know, it creates opportunities, you know, Patty Newmark is in the auditorium today, and God knows, Patty knows all of us, and we know Patty, a very important client, you know, who's involved in a wide vari-- with a wide variety of advertisers, many of direct response, you know, it's created a much bigger opportunity for agencies that are in THAT business. But agencies who are in that business because they are very good at what they do tend not to be the advertisers who are spending the most money on the spots.
You know, um, and the effect that that's having has been quite significant. It's not just affecting Rush Limbaugh, it's not just affecting conservative talk radio, it's affecting all talk radio.
Sooo. What does that mean for you? Good question. How many of you who are in this room have been or are currently on the air? (show of hands) So it's something you should be concerned about, because the days of being able to go out and be rewarded for your efforts at the level that you have been rewarded for your efforts in the past is most probably gone, because advertising support on a national level is not what it used to be... [...]
You need to think about the fact that the opportunities that may have once existed may not exist in the talk radio format and the movement in talk radio to some degree is moving away from conservative talk radio into other genres... [emphasis added]
Norm Pattiz: Talkers, Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum
on conservative talk radio
The diarist is active in Flush Rush on Facebook:
|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.