The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

21 January 2007

Rush Limbaugh, Bloomington Program Cancellation


What's The Real Reason Behind Limbaugh Station Loss?

While other syndicated radio hosts routinely see affiliates come and go, for talk titan Rush Limbaugh, that's simply not the case. Though many stations would love to grab El Rushbo away from crosstown competitors, few willingly give up the top- rated program.

That's despite Limbaugh's relatively high carriage fees, while most other national radio programs are offered on a barter (free if you run network advertising) basis.

As a result, on the rare occasions when Rush is dropped somewhere, it tends to make headlines. Beyond the "man bites dog" nature of the story, mainstream media types salivate at the thought their number one enemy might be in trouble.

That's why news that a small Bloomington, Illinois station is canning Rush after many years has the potential to generate MSM coverage this week, especially for the reasons given by WJBC's station management:

The Rush is no longer going to be on the air on WJBC. Radio Bloomignton General Manager Red Pitcher announced this afternoon the syndicated Rush Limbaugh Show will air for the last time March 2, 2007. Pitcher tells WJBC's Steve and Beth on The Drive, local programming will replace Rush.

Pitcher believes Limbaugh's popularity is declining becuse of controversial remarks that are offending even his Republican fans. He pointed to today's show in which Limbaugh compared players in the NFL with gang members.

Details of the local programming line-up that will begin on March 5th will be announced in coming weeks.

Hey, more local programming sounds great, doesn't it? Your Radio Equalizer has been fighting that battle for years. If that were the real reason, it would be tough to argue against, as long as an even better program is waiting in the wings.

But in this case, there apparently isn't one.

And what about the claim El Rushbo's popularity is declining? We've seen no indication of that. In fact, Rush led a huge fall 2006 talk radio ratings surge that saw his audience double in Boston for the key 25-54 adult demographic target group.

And in San Diego, he was up 68% in the same category, with a single- digit gain in New York City, an even performance in San Francisco and a small loss in Chicago. At this point, we're still awaiting detailed data from several other cities.

In Bloomington itself, WJBC just turned in record ratings, rising from a 9.7 to a huge 11.3 share of the audience. While we don't have the breakdowns, it's really hard to believe Rush was a drag on the station's obviously significant popularity. More likely, he helped to fuel it.

How about the station manager's claim that Limbaugh is offending even his Republican fans? Would WJBC care to provide an example?

And to top it off, the comparison between NFL players and gang members was apparently made by a caller, not Limbaugh himself.

So what's the real issue? Our guess is that Limbaugh's fees simply became a bit more than WJBC's parent company was willing to pay, hence a termination date that coincides with the beginning of the second quarter. Programming with this long track record of success isn't cheap! Should it be?

A second theory is political: many news- talk station managers have liberal political tendencies and secretly salivate at the thought of dumping the conservative movement's primary voice. This has occurred a few times in the past.

And elsewhere, WJBC parent Regent Communications recently became one of the only companies to place Jane Fonda's Greenstone feminist network on one of its stations.

By cooking up a bunch of excuses for cancelling Rush, WJBC is hoping to head any significant listener revolt in advance. Will it work?

Your Amazon orders that begin with clicks here, regardless of what you ultimately purchase, greatly help to support this site's efforts. Thanks again!

Technorati tags:


  • >>In fact, Rush led a huge fall 2006 talk radio ratings surge that saw his audience double in Boston for the key 25-54 adult demographic target group.

    There was talk that WRKO Boston might go back to a "big 3" concept: with shows running 6-10 am (Finneran), 10a-2 pm, and 2-6 pm (Howie Carr would move back an hour) or maybe WRKO could have hosts from 10-noon and have Rush or
    another host 12-2 pm...But it was said
    Rush stations must run all three
    hours. Not sure if that's so.

    So maybe WRKO figures we're getting good ratings from Rush and Howie,
    so leave them as they are...(Red
    Sox games will often run at 7 pm
    with a 6:30 pm pregame on sister
    WEEI, but if Howie were moved back to 2-6 pm, they could do an hour
    pregame/talk show from 6-7...)

    By Blogger raccoonradio, at 21 January, 2007 13:56  

  • If I may break down the Bloomington numbers--from All Access--for starters Bloomington is market 241. This isn't Baltimore where Limbaugh went from WBAL to WCBM.

    WJBC was the number 2 station according to the ratings. Number one was Country WBWN (15.1). In total, Regent in Bloomington has five stations under its belt

    Regent, based out of Cincinnati, owns stations in 14 markets, mainly mid to small ones like Evansville, El Paso, Flint, MI and Albany.

    Now sometimes you can get the big blowtorch Chicago stations like WLS 890, which came in 9th at 3.1. WLS airs Limbaugh. The closest news/talker according to Radio-Locator is 1470 WMBD--about 30 miles away in Peoria. WMBD, owned by J M P Media Corp., airs Limbaugh as well.

    While I too applaud the need for local radio, I question Regent's motives. There's no other Bloomington AM station, unless one of that city's non Regent-owned FM stations switches to FM Talk and runs with Limbaugh.

    You know, years ago WLAD in Danbury, CT-Stan used to air Limbaugh until it became too expensive in terms of ad revenue. These days at noon, they have an hour of news, followed by Dr. Laura 1-4. This station also plays AC music during their local drivetimes.

    By Blogger The Real Bob Anthony, at 21 January, 2007 16:39  

  • "A second theory is political: many news- talk station managers have liberal political tendencies and secretly salivate at the thought of dumping the conservative movement's primary voice. This has occurred a few times in the past."

    Okay Brian... this one you are pulling out of your ass. I worked in radio for 20 years and there were two bastions for conservative programmers... country and talk. I've worked for a number of radio groups and fought with a lot of programmers and I have found very few talk or country programmers that weren't "dyed-in-the-wool" conservatives. And I don't know if you've ever worked in management, Brian, but few programming decisions are made for political reasons. They are purely ratings and revenue driven. My politics may be left of center but my management style was decidedly fiscally and socially conservative. My staff can attest that I was budgetarily strict, unsympatheic about malingering and personal time and rigid in my no fraternization policies... and the station's most vocal liberal. I may despise Rush personally but I did everything to promote him, elevate his profile in our market and create marketing and promotion packages that squeezed out every dollar we could from advertisers and sponsors. In fact, when we were negotiating our most recent contract with Rush's syndicator, I was probably the most vocal in keeping him on. And, I will happily admit... he and O'Reilly were great show prep because I would follow both and disprove every specious cliam they made with something they seldom cite... facts. And not left winger blogger stuff. No, no, no. Most of my materials were boring, tedious government reports that I could point by point show how both were either liars or idiots. My god, what great lead ins for my show. Why in the hell would anyone want to drop these guys? And then, to be followed by Savage? Jesus, what a dream come true! So, again, I think that you should sometimes take the politics out of your argument. On this point, it is not only patently false, it cheapens your other political arguments and reveals that you may not actually know what you're talking about.

    By Blogger Dave Carroll, at 22 January, 2007 01:02  

  • Dave,

    If you were so really great, why weren't you picked up nationwide for the "Great Liberal Antidote" to Rush? Maybe in a truly honest formu your bushwa didn't hold up, and that you drove away listeners and advertisers that were paying premium for Limbaugh?

    Reality is the proof of the pudding. And, many PDs are liberal and insufferably so.

    By Blogger PCD, at 22 January, 2007 08:55  

  • The real reason Rush is being dropped is not ratings, it's advertising. His audience is a bunch of un-employed sopciopathic loonatics. An unattractive audience, with no money. No body with an IQ above 80 listens to this drug addled, no family values, bigoted piece of shit. His listeners have no $$$$. I know, I ran a call center and one of our products was advertised heavilly on the drug addled pig man's program. The callers had NO CREDIT CARDS. I was successful in convincing the marketing staff to pull all the spots from the drug addled pig man's show. I consider this one of my biggest accomplishemts, to cost the bigoted freak, a nice $200,000 advertising deal. The man deserves to be on the street talking to himself, he is an unqualified, disgusting hack. I have heard more grounded arguments from the homeless! Seriously, this filthy little nazi attacked Obama last week because he likes the Chicago Bears, and not the Saints!!! Only a degenerate, flunkie on SSI would listen to that slime.
    From the bottom of my heart, I wish Rush nothing but bad, he has contributed to destroying America, he deserves at least to lose everything he has, and to wind up selling billboards again.

    By Blogger Minister of Propaganda, at 22 January, 2007 09:25  

  • Misister of poop,

    Nice seeing what you project about yourself upon Rush Limbaugh. No wonder your so jealous and misguided. Your mind is a sewer boy! That's it, I'll just call you sewerboy.

    By Blogger PCD, at 22 January, 2007 09:41  

  • Now, now, Fudgepacker Dan. Let's not the pot call the kettle...

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 22 January, 2007 09:53  

  • Incidentally, avid readers of Brian's column will remember that I predicted the beginning of the junkie's fall from radio grace over three months ago, even prior to his sick ridicule of Michael J. Fox's medical disability...knowing it wouldn't sit well with millions of conservofreaks who idolized his "Family Ties" character's making it cool to be brainless...

    I also recall warning that if SOME PEOPLE didn't at least stand up and intervene in this degenerate's frightening slide into addiction and Viagra-fueled sexual depravity, his rep would catch up with him before the coroner could...

    Oh, such family values, from the beautiful finance capitalists!


    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 22 January, 2007 10:14  

  • Limbaugh is a digusting degenrate, with ZERO family values, quick to judge others. PCD must be similiar to Limbaugh, a fraud who does not practice what he espouses.

    For limbaugh to have any career in Radio, only says one thing, radio has the same values of an escort service, anything for a $$$.

    how's the oxy comming PCD???

    By Blogger Minister of Propaganda, at 22 January, 2007 11:39  

  • So - not one of Brian's loyal "fans" is going to call him to the carpet for inappropriately using the story of a woman's tragic death to smear AAR?

    By Blogger TJ, at 22 January, 2007 12:48  

  • 600 stations, 15 million listeners,
    no shortage of ads...even if he's on the way down, Limbaugh's doing a lot better than, say, Air America, which couldn't survive even in liberal Boston. Contrast number of stations dropping him with number of stations
    that dropped AAR recently.

    (And I'm not even into Rush...)

    >>that saw his audience double in Boston for the key 25-54 adult demographic target group.

    If an AAR station's audience
    doubled, that means it's gone
    from 0.2 to 0.4. As for Rush
    even if he's fading a bit he
    still does quite well, at least
    in Boston (as an alternative to
    the liberal media and the fact that 95 per cent of politicians are

    AAR is off the air, and Rush doubles
    his 25-54s on WRKO. In Kennedy country. It's a beautiful thing.

    By Blogger raccoonradio, at 22 January, 2007 12:52  

  • Hash and sewerboy,

    Oh, and what have you to sell besides censorship, confiscation of wealth and posessions, racial quotas, enslaving the middle class to provide the "enlightened few" the upper class lifestyle they have been denied by the GOP and Capitalism?

    By Blogger PCD, at 22 January, 2007 13:14  

  • enslaving the middle class to provide the "enlightened few" the upper class lifestyle

    More ramblings from a mentally sick enemy of America. You are the enemy, understand? This country rejects your anti-American bullsh*t, it is over, you are the moon-bat now, get used to irrelevancy. You have your own distorted,insane views to blame. Your sick party has destroyed the middle-class, America gets it, all the hollow AM talk radio rhetoric in the world will not change it. America is smarter than you think.

    By Blogger Minister of Propaganda, at 22 January, 2007 14:16  

  • PCD,
    What the Dems have to offer is the antithesis of George Bush, Dick Cheney and the bounty from a immoral and failed war. Everything else is minute in comparison.

    My suggestion is in the next Republican primary, select someone based on criteria other than whether you would like to have a barbecue with them and whether they speak directly to Jesus.

    By Blogger none, at 22 January, 2007 14:25  

  • Elmo,

    I select my candidates based on ethics and honesty, something I find totally lacking in the Democrat party with the likes of Harkin, Vilsack, The Clintons, Pelosi, Reid, Kennedy, Kerry, Biden,...

    When you Democrats totally screw up and try to implement your socialist utopia, middle America will throw you out with a vengeance.

    By Blogger PCD, at 22 January, 2007 15:11  

  • Sewerboy,

    You are the epitomy of a moonbat. You think you can say I'm not a moonbay, you are to cure your mental illness? Keep running up the bill. don't cry when it comes to pay.

    By Blogger PCD, at 22 January, 2007 15:13  

  • to PCD anything with the letter "R" is acceptable

    This freak of nature has eaten the shit this administration has shoveled in his face for 6 years. America will not eat the Bush shit anymore

    PCD, hates the troops, he accepts this

    America will not accept this, america has rejected you and your degenerate anti- American freaks of Nature
    Middle America has struck back, they removed your murderous thugs from power

    You will remain powerless for 40 years,
    America rejects you

    shrieng about Pulosi like a little sissy will not change it
    You AM talk radio loving coward

    you are all alone with the 31% who take "R" over America
    live tonight
    exposing the radical anti-American right
    mocking the radical anti-American right

    By Blogger Minister of Propaganda, at 22 January, 2007 17:56  

  • MOP said “The callers had NO CREDIT CARDS”

    I have to say you could be on to something about Rushes callers. I for one have NO credit cards. I have not had any in about 15 years. If you think that means someone does not have money you are wrong. I have money because I don’t have cards.

    Try this look at your credit card statements and see how much money YOU do not have. Go ahead and say it “I pay off the balance every month” Yeah I have heard that before. Now look at your credit rating I bet yours is better than mine. My credit rating is (0) I have not made a payment on a loan in the last 10 years. If I went to a bank to buy a car on credit I would be turned down, but I could write a check and take the car home. Its not that I have a bad credit rating. Its that I have no credit rating.

    MOP don’t make up lies about stuff you no nothen about. It’s one of the reasons people do not believe you. If you have proof that Rush’s listeners are unemployed Bla Bla Bla then prove it.

    Que hash for stupid remark

    By Blogger pf1, at 23 January, 2007 03:54  

  • Yeah, Republicans don't believe in going into debt.

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 23 January, 2007 12:45  

  • Hash, True Conservatives do not believe in going into debt, but RINOs and Lib-GOP do if they can't spend someone else's money.

    Hash, does your dealer take credit cards? If so, does he give back the plastic after taking it?

    By Blogger PCD, at 23 January, 2007 14:55  

  • There is no such thing as a "true" conservative. You are ALL part and parcel of the same miserable cancer on this nation, no matter how you try to distance yourself NOW from the dim son, the national debt, your tax cuts for the rich, weapons handovers to Israel, open borders, etc.....all things real Americans (who, by definition, cannot be conservative of any stripe) are firmly opposed to...

    Dealer? Not using credit cards myself, I wouldn't know...I'd assume, if I tried to use it to buy an hour or two alone with your mother, it wouldn't meet the minimum charge limit....

    Get ready to repay what you have stolen, neocon extremists!

    And if you can't take the bitter truth, might I suggest sultanknish or for your blogging pleasure?

    Perversion and drug-addled fantasies are welcome there!

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 23 January, 2007 18:25  

  • Hash,

    As far as frequenting your choice of websites, you are the one with experience thate. Why not return? Your drug induced fantasies and hate are not facts in reality.

    Hash is a true liberal. He doesn't own this site, but he's toing to take ownership and say who can or cannot post here and what they can say if thay do. What an un-American totalitarian!

    By Blogger PCD, at 24 January, 2007 08:04  

  • I'm not the one who can't even spell correctly while hurling insults....

    Musta been homeschooled, I guess.

    You have no patriotism and your life is worth nothing to anyone because your life is a fraud. No service to country, no service to anyone but your own.

    I predict you will soon realize the fruits of your parasitism...

    Oh, well. Not a "liberal" issue..

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 24 January, 2007 11:29  

  • Now, for the rest of "Bizarro World":

    Has it ever once occurred to you that, if Rush had something worthwhile to share, listeners would actually tune in?

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 24 January, 2007 11:31  

  • I'm sorry for being late to this post, but may I, with all due respect, point out something? The evidence put forth that a “political theory” explains a single programming choice at a radio station in a medium-sized midwest city is rather weak, as Mr. Maloney seems to recognize. [For example, the fact that the corporate owner of WJBC is running a (gasp!) feminist talk lineup on a single station in another market is not particularly good evidence of its bias. Since disloyal radical leftists are apparently all over the place, especially in latte-drinking areas, it makes sense that they would comprise a market to sell to, right? Capitalism and such, yes?].

    But let's say that is was purely political. That there was a sinister leftie running the station in Bloomington. If you owned a radio station, would you want to air a show hosted by Jane Fonda, given the choice? What if it made you money? No? Would you try making as much or even more money airing something else? Then you won't begrudge an actual radio owner from dropping the show whose personal politics he happens to despise.

    I believe you’re definitely right on one point, though-- more local programming I'm all for, all across the country. And if people want to listen to Rush, they should have that option (personally, I wish he’d move to satellite with Howard Stern, so anyone in the country could listen to them and I could better ignore both). At the very least, there should be a balance of left and right wing voices in every market, putting aside the issue of whether the gov’t should do anything about that.

    But you can hardly claim that there a real concern that conservative voices are being crowded off the airwaves. Any list of the most popular radio shows in the country belies that idea. If there’s a left-wing conspiracy to forcibly evict conservatives from the air, it certainly isn’t a very effective one. Personally, I wish more station owners would agree with me that the sensationalist bile that underlies much of Rush’s show (and occasionally bursts forth) is not worth putting on the air. Above all, I wish more of my countrymen would agree with me. Until then, I guess we’ll both just have to put up with what the market gives us.

    If anyone wants to debate the point, please do. Or we can go back to calling each other names. Thanks.

    By Blogger EONJ, at 10 February, 2007 08:11  

  • "Many news- talk station managers have liberal political tendencies and secretly salivate at the thought of dumping the conservative movement's primary voice." I would say that "many station managers have liberal political tendencies" in the same way that many jackasses are secretly race horses.

    By Blogger KRXAHAL, at 13 March, 2007 12:02  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Page Rank Checker

Powered by Blogger