It seems Rush Limbaugh has been on a fast snowball to Hell. Every month, sometimes every week, there is bad news for the for former king of hate radio. Relentless protestors have worked hard to make this happen, and are doing a perpetual Happy Dance these days, as their nemesis continues to lose ground. Limbaugh is falling in ratings (sometimes coming in behind classical and non-english programs). According to StopRush volunteers, some companies have been offered deep discounts and/or free space on Limbaugh's show. Even then, more and more prospective advertisers are asking for 'No Rush' clauses when placing radio ads. Limbaugh seems desperately unable to make or buy his way back into talk show prominence, even with shock, lies, and the Tea Party/Koch Brothers - all tools that used to work for him.
This past month, talk radio consultant, Holland Cooke, once again offered his media expertise in his national newsletter. Cooke not only shows how Rush is losing the war to boycotters - he shows the incredible effectiveness and power of the boycott. Here are a few newsletter excerpts:"The impact has been well-documented. Boycotters boast hundreds of national brands they've scared off; and thousands of local advertisers get an earful, if their spots air on Limbaugh's show, even if only in ROS rotation. They might be hearing from a local National Organization of Women (NOW) chapter, but more likely the flak is coming from an out-of-state boiler room, enabled by streaming audio."Cooke goes on to make three observations:
1. The boycotts hurt big more than small. Listen to what's in Limbaugh's network avails, and you'll hear lots of "enter this Promo Code 'RUSH.'" And affiliates in bigger markets depend more on transactional business from spooked agencies, than smaller market affiliates that are fueled by advertising from local retailers.In his newsletter subscription, Cooke also shares more information and a survey he conducted showing how Limbaugh's show is being hit like no other.
2. Hearing from the boycotters remains a nuisance in smaller markets. One station owner tells me, "we only put a client in the show if they ask to be there." And local clients do continue to renew at Limbaugh affiliated stations I work with, because they get results.
3. If the entire format is suffering the wrath Rush Limbaugh provoked, advertisers too are suffering as a result. Imagine modern day Don Drapers hearing from hundreds, maybe thousands, of the aggrieved; or hearing from a brand CEO who's been similarly bombarded. Network executives tell me advertisers are non-controversial as AccuWeather, Wall Street Journal Radio, and Charles Osgood are on Do Not Buy lists. "Seems like overkill, and the data affirms it.'Under the headine:
"Talk Radio Doesn't Have A Problem. Rush Limbaugh Does."
The people are clearly winning. It's s been a long haul of monitoring, documenting, contacting, and boycotting Rush Limbaugh's sponsors, along with signing petitions. Protestors are letting sponsors know they've had it with Limbaugh and will no longer buy from companies that support his racism, misogyny, homophobia, and bigotry. Thankfully, the sponsors continue to listen.
Here are some things folks can still do:
Thank you, Kossack Richard Meyers. Rest in peace. We will finish this.
Much thanks to Holland Cooke for his industry commentary and expertise. You can find more of his jewels of wisdom on his Facebook and Twitter pages, as well as his website and newsletter.
Special thanks to one of our Kossacks who wishes to remain anonymous.
Photo: Screen Shot from MSNBC's The Ed (Shultz) Show where Holland Cooke often appears as a guest.