Skip to comments.The mouth that roared (Rush)
Posted on 03/12/2009 3:03:32 PM PDT by iowamark
There's nothing conservative about the boost to WABC radio from Rush Limbaugh's resurgence
Rush Limbaugh likes to complain that President Obama is out to destroy the capitalist spirit in America. But so far, life under socialism has been pretty good for the confrontational talk radio star.
In the months since the Republican rout left Democrats in charge and conservatives on the run, the outspoken Mr. Limbaugh has become the de facto leader of the oppositionand the only radio personality who gets national attention on a daily basis.
Ratings for The Rush Limbaugh Show on its flagship station, WABC-AM, spiked by double digits in January over December, pushing the nationally syndicated program into third place from fifth in its afternoon slot in New York. The bigger audience has bucked up advertising sales for both the station and Premiere Radio Networks, the Clear Channel Communications subsidiary that syndicates the show.
Mr. Limbaugh has become the one bright spot in an industry that was struggling to grow even before the recession pounded it. People may hate him for attacking a popular president in a time of crisis, but observers say that the more polarizing Mr. Limbaugh is, the better.
It's great for the business of talk radio, it's great for the stations that carry him, and it's great for Rush Limbaugh, says Michael Harrison, publisher of the trade magazine Talkers. This will increase his ratings, which will increase his longevity.
Of course, Mr. Limbaugh was hardly suffering before the Democrats won last November. Ever since Howard Stern left CBS Radio to join Sirius Satellite Radio in 2006, El Rushbo has had no competition for the role of biggest pitchman in the talk business. He can command such a premium from advertisers that last July Premiere signed him to a new contract reportedly worth $400 million over eight years.
Mr. Limbaugh's supporters say his appeal to audiences and advertisers goes beyond his politics.
Even people who disagree with him listen, says WABC Program Director Laurie Cantillo. The bottom line is that his show is entertaining. She adds that interest in the economy and the new administration has brought improved ratings and revenue to every show at the talk station, which has an almost exclusively conservative lineup.
A danger of alienating advertisers
But there are critics of Mr. Limbaugh who feel that he has lately become too much of a political campaigner, and that he is in danger of alienating advertisers who are looking for an entertainer.
For them, Mr. Limbaugh crossed the line with his recent nationally televised speech to the Conservative Political Action Committee's annual meeting, where he almost appeared to be running for president.
The issue is whether he has stepped into the role of politician and out of the role of talent, says Jack Myers, editor of a media business newsletter who recently wrote a column critical of Mr. Limbaugh.
Over the years, Mr. Limbaugh's talent for controversy has led many national advertisers to steer clear of him. Some media buyers say it's possible that in the current economy, even more will stay away.
It's a tough economy, and clients don't like complaining phone calls, says Dennis McGuire, regional broadcast director for Carat USA.
But if advertisers are unhappy with Mr. Limbaugh, Premiere insists it isn't hearing from them.
Rush has tremendously loyal advertisers, says Charlie Rahilly, president of Premiere, noting that national ad inventory booked so far for 2009 is above 2008's level. In an otherwise challenging ad climate, we're having a very positive response.
Mr. Limbaugh's longtime advertisers already know what to expect, says Mark Lefkowitz, media director at Furman Roth Advertising Inc., Some of them share Mr. Limbaugh's views, he adds, and a good portion of the show's inventory is sold to direct-response advertisers who aren't worried about their corporate image.
The controversy around Mr. Limbaugh has at least shown that radio still can have an important place in the media universe. It's a sign that people are back, enjoying that kind of personality-driven radio, says Peter Gusmano, U.S. director of client service at GroupM Matrix. That could spark the radio marketplace.
RATINGS RUSH WABC-AM's Rush Limbaugh Show has gotten a huge boost in listeners.
Share of audience, listeners age 12 and older.
December 4.7 January 5.9 Percent change +26%
Rush stands out as one of the few willing/daring to criticize the Obamists.
But Rush is not an organizer, not a political movement.
I’ll bet his listenership in the important ages 11 and under group has fallen.
I think the author misses the point that Rush is trying to avoid life under socialism. Most of us have not had to endure what the Great Obamanation has in store for us.
Heck, even Putin has warned us.
Bovine Scatology ALERT!
Mr. Limbaugh’s longtime advertisers already know what to expect, says Mark Lefkowitz, media director at Furman Roth Advertising Inc., Some of them share Mr. Limbaugh’s views, he adds, and a good portion of the show’s inventory is sold to direct-response advertisers who aren’t worried about their corporate image.
I never thought of that before...maybe I should consider getting a sleep number bed? :)
The left is beside themselves with the idea of Rush facing off against B.O. policy for the next nearly four year. The most important part of that nearly four years will come between November 2011, and November 2012.
Rush focuses people’s attention very well. And nothing could be worse to a Democrat, than focused attention on terrible policy. Obama’s public enemy number one must be Limbaugh. And the DNC is going to do it’s best to destroy him ASAP. They have to.
The DNC has declared war on Limbaugh. He has been a thorn in their side since the late 1980s. They hate it that a person with that much voice, can out them for what they are.
At no time in the DNC’s history have they been more vulnerable to attack. Today they have singled out one U.S. Citizens for utter destruction. They are actually asking the public for ideas how to destroy him. Imagine that, the most powerful arm of the Democrat party is trying to destroy one single U.S. Citizen.
The Marxist left in the United States has a right to the first amendment. They can argue against Limbaugh’s ideas. they cannot argue about Limbaugh’s right to voice them. And yet, that is just what they are doing. They are not trying to defeat those ideas. They are trying to destroy his ability to earn an income.
If the members of the left weren’t so addled, they would recognize this as a very dangerous thing. If a party in the United States can destroy the voice of someone like Limbaugh with everyone watching, imagine what they can do to them when nobody looking.
Go ahead DNC, out your organization for what it is. People need to know.
I must say, in the face of this type of an effort, I find the “Rush is great, but...” crowd to be fifth columnist, useful idiots for the left. And hey, that’s their right. It’s also my right to take notice and call it for what it is.
Rush is the best thing we have right now. Either back the guy or go volunteer to go on the record at the DNC. You might just as well get paid for what you’re doing when you bash Rush.
Indeed. He bills himself as "The Last Man Standing".
It makes one wonder whether he considers the rest of us either less than men or no longer standing.
Surely it is one or the other, by his own words.
I hate to see such a fine message lost among arrogant insults.
you’d think they’d wait to attack Rush closer to the next election when everyone else is watching and not now when only political junkies care about the news. This just energizes the conservative opposition.
It makes one wonder whether he considers the rest of us either less than men or no longer standing.
You mean like....elected Republicans?
I agree. They are just making Rush that much more visible at a time when Obama needs to operate in secret. Dumb. They are walking right into Limbaugh’s spider web.
if Obama refuses to debate Rush then he will just debate him in his absence.
Yes he will. It’s the old empty chair trick.
I mean us, his audience.
If he considers himself the last man standing
then what does he consider his audience to be?
But there are critics of Mr. Limbaugh who feel that he has lately become too much of a political campaigner,
Rush and his sponsors could care less if his listeners have doubled. They are all laughing all the way to the bank on bamas horse.
When Rush says that, I always think of myself as part of his "last man standing". The only difference between he and I are his golden microphone, his vast audience to which he speaks with and of course, his talent on loan from God.
Other than that, he and I are the exact same =).
Oh, one more thing, I’m a girl and he isn’t.
Freud would have a carnival with that statement.
Hehehe. I wanted to say something....but I’ll just giggle to myself!
Fave line: “There’s nothing conservative about the boost to WABC radio from Rush Limbaugh’s resurgence.”
Freud would be way to busy with you.
Finally, one of them ADMITS it!!!
Rush deserves a Presidential Medal of Freedom.
If he considers himself the last man standing then what does he consider his audience to be?
Of course he knows that he is supported by his audience, and he depends on us. But in case you haven't noticed, nobody has gone after your livelihood, or mine, because we post on FR. We just don't have the same profile, and in a very real sense we depend on him to maintain that profile for us.
Is it not for that reason that we glory in the fact that Rush can afford his own private jet?
(And if you don't think that way, just consider how you would feel if conservative talk radio was a financial failure!)
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