Rush Limbaugh In Sunday NYT Cover Story, Big New Radio Deal
Rush In NYT Cover Story, Stunning Contract Renewal
*** NEW: KANSAS CITY STAR LEADS ANTI-RUSH ANGER BRIGADE ***
*** NEW: THE LEFTIST BACKLASH BEGINS ***
*** NEW: BOSTON HERALD- HOW THE RADIO EQUALIZER BROKE THE STORY ***
*** CONTRACT INCLUDES UNPRECEDENTED NINE-FIGURE SIGNING BONUS ***
*** ONCE AGAIN, YOU SAW IT FIRST AT THE RADIO EQUALIZER ***
*** WITH UPDATES BELOW ***
Venturing deep into enemy territory, Rush Limbaugh has given the New York Times unprecedented access to his election year sentiments. Can the talk titan trust his longtime foe to represent him honestly and accurately?
In an 8000- word piece written by Zev Chafets, the New York Times Sunday Magazine probes El Rushbo's thoughts on Obama, McCain and others, with perspectives we apparently haven't heard on the show.
Though the text of Rush's interview has been kept under wraps for now (update: see it here), Time Magazine's Mark Halperin has managed to obtain a couple of quotes:
On McCain: “If your team isn’t in it, you root for the team you hate less. That’s McCain.”
On Obama: “He’s a liberal. I oppose liberals. That’s all that’s involved here.”
Meanwhile, a key industry source confirms speculation that Limbaugh has signed a stunning mega contract renewal deal with Premiere Radio Networks and parent company Clear Channel Communications.
Said to be Limbaugh's most lucrative deal ever by far, the new agreement runs through 2016 and includes a previously unheard-of nine figure signing bonus. For those of you in Rio Linda, that means more than $100 million, upfront.
With that kind of bread, will he purchase Rio Linda outright?
This news follows our recent scoop on the lucrative new deal signed by Sean Hannity, a three- way agreement that includes Citadel-ABC and Premiere.
Beyond infuriating the left, that staggering sum is sure to reinforce the widespread industry belief that talk represents one of broadcast radio's only remaining bright spots. While several other major outfits are struggling to survive, Limbaugh and Premiere have provided a steady revenue stream for Clear Channel.
In fact, while advertisers have begun to abandon music radio for the Internet and other media, Limbaugh has recently added sponsors.
Expect Rush's massive renewal deal to spark a fresh round of hand- wringing from the left, where their own "progressive" talk radio format remains stalled.
UPDATE: Premiere has confirmed our report and issued a statement. Note the correct figure of 20 million listeners, not 14 million as often reported by his detractors:
LOS ANGELES, July 2, 2008 – Rush Limbaugh, who’s heard weekly by nearly 20 million listeners on about 600 radio stations nationwide, renewed his contract with Premiere Radio Networks and Clear Channel Radio, continuing syndication of The Rush Limbaugh Show many years into the future. The deal also includes continued syndication of The Rush Limbaugh Morning Update, a 90-second commentary that airs Monday through Friday. Furthermore, Premiere Radio, in partnership with Mr. Limbaugh, will continue to oversee The Limbaugh Letter, a monthly newsletter with a subscriber base in the hundreds of thousands, and RushLimbaugh.com, one of the most popular broadcast media websites that incorporates Rush247.com, a subscription service.
Mr. Limbaugh stated, “This is exactly where I want to be, doing what I was born to do, with an amazing audience and phenomenal support from affiliate stations and sponsors. I’m having more fun than a human being should be allowed to have. There’s a relationship between the audience and the host here that is second to none. We’re going to continue to provide Broadcast Excellence and have a lot of fun along the way.”
SPECIAL THANKS TO Hot Air, Instapundit, Memeorandum, Kathryn Jean Lopez, Red State, Gawker, Lucianne, TVNewser, Conservative Grapevine and others for linking to this piece today, especially those who properly credited this site for the scoop.
UPDATE: a quick excerpt from the NYT cover story:
“It’s just that we aren’t used to seeing reporters here,” said a woman named Dawn. She is a stenographer whom Limbaugh hired in 2001, after he went deaf. These days he has a cochlear implant that enables him to hear callers, but Dawn sends him real-time transcripts of on-air conversations, just in case.
“The media doesn’t know about this place,” she said. “They don’t know where we are. During Rush’s big drug story they staked out the whole town, even his house, but they never found us here.”
For the next hour I sat behind the glass panel of the control booth and watched Limbaugh at work in front of the “golden E.I.B. microphone.” Unlike Howard Stern or Don Imus, he has no sidekicks with him in the room. He does, however, keep up a running conversation with an unheard voice. I always assumed that this was just imaginary radio shtick. Now I saw that the voice was attached to a human interlocutor, Snerdly, who banters with and occasionally badgers Limbaugh via an internal talk-back circuit.
After the broadcast, Limbaugh waved me into the studio and offered me a seat directly across from him. The room’s acoustics make it relatively easy for him to hear, but he also reads lips.
I had come to talk to Limbaugh about his role in Republican Party politics. During the primaries he assailed John McCain as a phony conservative and apostate Reaganite. Despite Limbaugh’s best efforts, it now appeared that the Arizona senator would be the nominee. There was speculation that Limbaugh would not support him in November.
“I’ve never even met the man, never spoken to him,” Limbaugh said. “I’m sure there are things about him I’d like if we meet. This isn’t personal.” He then delivered a litany of the presumptive nominee’s personal failings — too old, too intense, too opportunistic, too liberal. But, he assured me, he would be with McCain in the fall. “It’s like the Super Bowl,” he told me. “If your team isn’t in it, you root for the team you hate less. That’s McCain.”
FOR New England regional talk radio updates, see our other site. NEW THERE: Pops makes a bad investment, Massachusetts gives cigarette smugglers an early Christmas
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